Rea named permanent Broncos coach
London Broncos have appointed interim head coach Tony Rea as the long-term successor to Rob Powell with immediate effect.
The 45-year-old, who was head coach of the Londoners from 2000-06, returned from Australia to take charge of the last seven matches of the season and has now signed a two-year contract.
Broncos chairman David Hughes said: “We’ve had lots of applications and have given them all due consideration but I think Tony Rea is the man for the job.”
Today’s announcement represents a change of heart by Rea, who initially returned to the club as a favour for Hughes and insisted he had no intention of making the appointment permanent.
However, after masterminding three consecutive victories, including a 62-18 rout of Carnegie Challenge Cup finalists Warrington Wolves last Friday, the former Brisbane Broncos hooker was happy to perform a U-turn when offered the position by the chairman.
“He came sat me down and asked me to think about it and it was purely a coaching decision,” Rea said. “If I scratch myself hard enough, I did miss coaching.”
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 Stobart 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.
Rea left London at the end of 2006 - to be replaced by Brian McDermott, who was subsequently succeeded by Powell four years later - and joined Australian rugby union team the Brumbies.
Since leaving the Brumbies last year, he has been working in the business world as a performance coach but responded last month to an SOS from Hughes, who decided to part company with Powell with the Broncos bottom of Super League.
Hughes said: “One shouldn’t underestimate what a tough task it is coaching a club like the London Broncos but I think Tony Rea is the man for the job.
“I believe in his coaching. His prowess has strengthened in his time away from us.
“He’s experienced another code and, allied to his motivational work, this has made him the ideal candidate.
“He’s got a massive desire to coach again and he’s impressed on me that coaching is all he wants to do.”
Rea will return to Australia at the end of the season as planned but will be back for the start of pre-season training in November.