Tony Iro released by New Zealand Warriors

Last updated 20:15 31/10/2012
Tony Iro
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JUMPING SHIP: Tony Iro has moved from the Warriors to a full-time role with the Kiwis.

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New Zealand Warriors' assistant coach Tony Iro has been granted an early release from his contract to pursue other opportunities.

He has been at the Warriors since 2005 and leaves with two years left on his contract.

Iro, who coached the Junior Warriors in the National Youth Competition in 2008 and 2009, before being promoted to assist Ivan Cleary with the first-grade side, said the decision was a difficult one.

"After so long here, I had a lot to weigh up," he said.

"The Vodafone Warriors gave me the chance to start my coaching career. I've had plenty of great times with the club and I've learnt so much.

"I'm grateful for the chance I was given to start my coaching career here but I've decided to move on to explore other opportunities. I want to thank all the coaching staff, players past and present and staff I've enjoyed working with."

The Warriors had been waiting on Iro's decision since he was overlooked for the top coaching job at the NRL club.

The Warriors brought in experienced Australian coach Matthew Elliott to take over from Brian McClennan who was sacked with two games left in this year's sorry campaign.

Elliott wanted Iro to stay on as one of his two assistant coaches but it seems the well-respected New Zealander is going to cross the Tasman.

He held that position when McClennan took over from Cleary.

Iro has also been assistant coach with the Kiwis since 2009.

Iro has strong links to the Roosters, having played there from 1994-96, making 60 first grade appearances.

Ironically Iro's move to the Roosters will see him replace Elliott who was an assistant to Brian Smith there this season.

With the Roosters' season ending in disaster, the club have replaced Smith with Trent Robinson has their head coach.

Iro's presence there will give the fashionable Sydney club a strong link back to young talent in New Zealand.

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said the club had been keen for Iro to continue in the role he has filled with the NRL side for the past three seasons.

"Tony has made a major contribution since joining our football department in 2005, most recently with our NRL side," he said.

"It's disappointing he won't be staying on but we gave him time to make his decision and respect the choice he has made.

"We're extremely grateful for what Tony's done for the Vodafone Warriors. He is looking at other opportunities and we wish him and his family all the best for the future."

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As a player Iro made 25 test appearances for the Kiwis from 1988-1998 and played almost 250 games in both the Australian and English competitions for Manly, the Sydney Roosters, Hunter, Adelaide, the Sydney Roosters, South Sydney, Wigan and Leigh.

- Fairfax Media

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