League: Warriors wanted Iro to stay

Tony Iro. Photo by Getty
Tony Iro. Photo by Getty
Long-serving Warriors assistant coach Tony Iro turned down an improved offer to remain at the club, instead opting to take his chances on the open market rather than stay to join the Matt Elliott-led revolution.

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

Iro last night told the Herald he would make a decision on whether to relocate to Australia within the next week.

He is also understood 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 protege Tony Kemp has 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's background as a talent groomer for the Warriors would make him a natural fit.

Iro made his decision not to remain at the club if he missed out on the head coaching job during the interview process, figuring a change would be best for his own development and some of the players he had coached for many years.

"I recognised I might have to get out and have a look around, widen my experience a bit," he said.

"I had a lot of those young boys in the team - at least a dozen of them - for six years. It was always going to be tough to leave but in the long run I think it will be best for me and probably best for them to hear another voice."

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 an immensely popular figure at the club.

And having served all through Ivan Cleary's largely successful six-year tenure, Iro's wealth of knowledge and familiarity with the club's intricacies were viewed as a valuable resource for Elliott. The club offered to improve Iro's terms in a bid to convince him to stay, however after "three really good conversations" with Elliott he decided to stick by his original decision.

There was no bitterness on either side, he said.

"The club was really good about giving me the time to make my decision and I really appreciated that," he said.

- by Steve Deane of the NZ Herald