Ben Daley will make the move to the Rebels next season.
Ben Daley will make the move to the Rebels next season. Mark Nolan

Force exodus begins with Daley signing for Rebels

THE Rebels have signed experienced former Force and Wallabies prop Ben Daley in what is expected to be the first of many Super Rugby moves from Perth to Melbourne.

Daley, 29, has three Tests and 88 Super Rugby games to his name and has signed until the end of the 2019 season.

Many of the now defunct Force players are expected to join Daley in Melbourne, including Wallabies stars Adam Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty, as well as rising coach Dave Wessels.

"I'm grateful to the Western Force and their supporters for the incredible support this year, but given the current situation I had to make the difficult decision in the best interest of my family and my rugby career," Daley said.

"I am excited about the opportunity in Melbourne, direction of the club and really look forward to contributing to the Rebels."

Daley spent nine years with the Reds, where played 79 games and started in the club's 2011 Super Rugby title-winning season.

The deal is another boost to the Rebels forward pack for 2018 following the signing of homegrown talent Tetera Faulkner and re-signing of fan favourite Amanaki Mafi.

"Ben's balanced approach to rugby through his quality work on and off the field will be a great addition to the Melbourne Rebels and fits well with the club's values," Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson said.

"We're compassionate for the challenging situation that faced Ben and his family but we're pleased that the Rebels can provide him with an opportunity to continue his Super Rugby career and an avenue to pursue his Wallabies dream."

The Rebels continue to build its squad for 2018 with Daley the latest addition following the recruitment of Wallabies vice-captain Will Genia, the return home of Faulkner, rising stars Harrison Goddard and Henry Hutchison and former England international Geoff Parling.