Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

NRL: Warriors to have a familiar feel in 2012

Tony Iro. Photo / Jason Dorday
Tony Iro. Photo / Jason Dorday

The final touches are being put to the Warriors coaching set-up plans under new coach Brian McClennan. In summary: not much will change.

An announcement is expected soon - probably within the next week - which should see McClennan assisted by incumbent Tony Iro with John Ackland continuing as the championship-winning mentor of the under-20s.

Iro fronted media last week in place of coach Ivan Cleary at Wednesday's open session before the Warriors left to play Cleary's 2012 club Penrith last night and indicated there was little left to quibble over in the contracts.

"There's a couple of things to work through first before they make any announcement. We're still talking. I wouldn't think there'd be too many problems working with Brian; we get on well, we've been mates for a long time. Brian gets on with most people to be honest. We're getting pretty close [to a deal]."

McClennan is understood to have backed Iro, the same person he brought into the Kiwis management structure when he was coach in 2006 and 2007.

Iro's strength is that he has the respect of the players, management and fans, as well as taking the under-20s to the finals in his two years in charge at Toyota Cup level. Ackland should command a respected place at the McClennan table, too. Both those wider families are friendly, sometimes spending time together over Christmas.

Ackland is likely to stay focused on the club's juniors but his knowledge and talent identification skills could give the Warriors unparalleled continuity for the next generation compared to other NRL clubs. McClennan is expected to take over as 2012 coach next month.

- Herald on Sunday

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