Seven games for Rea to mark Broncos return
London Broncos caretaker coach Tony Rea has seven matches to help the club avoid the wooden spoon and give himself a chance of keeping the job.
The 45-year-old Australian has been brought back to the club and put in charge for the rest of the season following the sacking of Rob Powell, starting with the visit of Stobart Super League leaders Wigan Warriors to the Twickenham Stoop tomorrow.
The Londoners have begun the search for a long-term successor to Powell but chief executive Gus Mackay admits Rea could put himself in the frame over the next two months.
“We’re going to advertise globally to see who comes out,” Mackay said.
“It’s an interim appointment but, if Tony wants to put his name into the hat, then he’s more than welcome to do so.”
Rea, who spent 13 years at the Broncos after joining them as a player from Brisbane in 1994, is synonymous with the club’s most successful era.
He was their chief executive when they finished as Super League runners-up to Bradford Bulls in 1997 and reached the Challenge Cup final two years later and, as coach, took them to the play-offs in 2003 and 2005.
The only survivors from Rea’s coaching days are overseas trio Karl Temata, Luke Dorn and Chad Randall, who was a tryscorer in his last match in charge, a 24-16 win over Castleford Tigers almost six years ago to the day.
Rea, who arrived from Australia yesterday to begin preparations for the Wigan game, said: “I’ve seen the players for the first time and we had a good day of training.
“The communication between the players was great and towards the end of the session things really started to click.
“The boys looked strong as a team and they are looking ready for the game against Wigan.”
Rea, who is able to recall captain Craig Gower and prop Antonio Kaufusi after both lost their ever-present records in the last match at Bradford a fortnight ago, could hardly have faced a tougher start to his new spell in charge.
Wigan have won on four of their last five visits to the Stoop and have the chance to open up a five-point gap on Warrington Wolves, who go to Castleford on Sunday.
The Warriors are set to give a full debut to scrum-half Matty Smith, who was ineligible for last week’s Challenge Cup semi-final but made an impressive debut in a cameo role at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats a fortnight ago.
“I thought he was brilliant,” said coach Shaun Wane.
“He had a team run the day before but you would never imagine he was a new player.
“He just fitted in. He knew the calls and understood what his roles were, it was unbelievable.”