NRL: Iro rejected improved offer from Warriors

By Steve Deane

Tony Iro. Photo / APN
Tony Iro. Photo / APN

Long-serving Warriors assistant coach Tony Iro turned down an improved offer to stay at the club, instead opting to effectively become unemployed rather than join the Matt Elliott-led revolution.

The Herald understands Iro is still in negotiations with the Sydney Roosters, however the Sydney club is no longer confident of luring the Kiwis assistant after failing to reach terms.

Iro is believed to be eyeing an opportunity at the New Zealand Rugby League. Chief executive Jim Doyle is to retire at the end of the year. Doyle protégé Tony Kemp is understood to have applied for the top job. If he gets it, that would free up Kemp's general manager high performance role - a job for which Iro would be a natural fit.

The Herald understands the Warriors made a big play to keep Iro, who would have been a key figure in helping Elliott get the players on board as he begins his tenure.

Having brought many of the current NRL squad through the ranks during his time as the club's NYC coach, Iro was immensely popular figure with the players.

And having served all through Ivan Cleary's largely successful six-year tenure, Iro's wealth of knowledge about the club's intricacies were viewed as a valuable resource for Elliott. The Herald understands the club initially offered to improve Iro's terms in a bid to convince him to stay, however negotiations soured when Iro would not quickly commit.

Former Raiders assistant coach Andrew McFadden is being tipped to replace Iro. The club is expected to confirm the identity of Elliott's two assistants tomorrow.

The club yesterday confirmed the make-up of its backroom staff. Club legend Ruben Wiki has moved from part-time to a fulltime strength and conditioning role.

As well as Wiki the club has appointed three more fulltime staff to assist head trainer Carl Jennings.

Australian Brad Morris is the sports science manager, long-time servant Dayne Norton becomes rehab and speed coach, while former Crusaders staffer Adam Sadler joins as a performance analyst.

"I love this place and being involved with the players like this is my passion," Wiki said. "I'm really looking to working with [coach] Matt [Elliott] again and also Carl. We go back to the Canberra days."

Wiki's 225-game Canberra career ran from 1993-2004. Elliott was happy to be reunited with Wiki.

Apart from his strength and conditioning role, Elliott said Wiki would also contribute in a coaching capacity by mentoring NRL players.

- NZ Herald

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