NRL: McClennan leaves Warriors

Warriors coach Brian McClennan Picture / Greg Bowker.
Warriors coach Brian McClennan Picture / Greg Bowker.

Brian McClennan has parted ways with the Warriors, with assistant coach Tony Iro taking over for the last two matches of the 2012 NRL season.

While McClennan was contracted until the end of the 2013 season, Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said both parties had agreed on an early release in the best interests of the club.

He said Iro would take over the coaching role on an interim basis from today to prepare the Warriors for their final regular season matches against St George Illawarra on Saturday night and Canberra on Sunday, September 2.

The Herald first reported last week that McClennan was on shaky ground at the club and would face the axe if his side failed to perform against the last-placed Panthers on Sunday. The side fell 18-16, their sixth straight defeat, after conceding a late try.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney, who himself was sacked as head coach of the Parramatta Eels earlier in the season, is a potential replacement for McClennan after watching Sunday's loss in the stands as a guest of Warriors owners.

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McClennan, appointed Warriors head coach last August, was 'very disappointed' his tenure hadn't produced the results he expected.

"It was exciting coming into this job with the Vodafone Warriors and everyone has worked so hard to try to get the performances and results we all expected of ourselves,'' he said.

"No one is more disappointed than me that things haven't worked out. I gave it my best shot. I've put my heart and soul into this and everyone has been terrific with their efforts.

"I've always said I was driving the bus and I accept accountability. It stops with me.

"For whatever reason, we haven't made the progress we all hoped for.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity the Vodafone Warriors gave me and wish the club all the best for the future.''

McClennan, 49, coached New Zealand to Tri-Nations success in 2005 before finishing with a 7-9 record with the Kiwis.

He then guided Leeds to back to back Super League titles in 2008 and 2009. He was working as football development manager for Auckland Rugby League before being named as Ivan Cleary's replacement last year.

Scurrah said: "We know how disappointed Brian is and we're equally disappointed for him and for everyone who is associated with the Vodafone Warriors.

"Brian is a person of wonderful character and integrity, he's so passionate about rugby league and he's put in an exceptional amount of time and effort into trying to turn the team's fortunes around.

"He brought a lot of energy to the club and made a fantastic contribution off the field with his interaction with sponsors, members and in the community.

"We wish Brian and his family all the best for the future and thank him for his efforts.''

Scurrah said the club now had the opportunity to rebuild.

"Confidence is understandably low at a time like this following the results on the field from our NRL side,'' he said.

"However, the club is in strong shape in all other areas. The Vodafone Junior Warriors are again performing well in the NYC while we've had a season of significant growth in terms of our crowd numbers, sponsorship revenue and membership numbers. We've also strengthened and developed our work in the community.

"Our resolve now is to rebuild, as we had to after a poor season in 2009. We're confident we can recover quickly.''

Scurrah said the club would now put a process in place to consider options for a new head coach.

TIMELINE - BLUEY'S TIME AT THE WARRIORS

August 1, 2011
McClennan new Warriors coach

February 14, 2012
McClennan aiming high

March 8
Can Brian McClennan take the Warriors all the way?

April 10
McClennan confident turnaround is coming

July 30
Warriors back McClennan

August 12
Damage control for Warriors coach McClennan

August 16
McClennan hopes to remain in charge

August 17
Axe hanging over coach McClennan

August 20
Warriors' coach escapes axe - for now

- APNZ

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