Iro 'confident' in new high performance role

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 21/11/2012
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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Former Warriors assistant coach Tony Iro insists he holds no bitterness towards the Auckland-based NRL club, despite having missed out on the top coaching position.

Iro, who is also the Kiwis assistant coach, was announced yesterday as New Zealand Rugby League's (NZRL) new high performance manager, a fulltime role until after next year's World Cup in England and France.

He will work closely with the Kiwis and Junior Kiwis, while also developing the skill levels of representative coaches throughout the country.

Two months ago, Iro, who has long held first-grade coaching aspirations, was gunning for the top job at the Warriors after the sacking of Brian McClennan.

After missing out on the top position to former Raiders and Panthers boss Matt Elliott, the Warriors offered Iro an assistant's role.

He was also connected with glamour club Sydney Roosters in a similar role.

Iro turned down both, opting to dedicate his energy to the NZRL, and giving the Kiwis the best possible chance to defend the World Cup next October and November.

Of the recent changes, Iro, who had been at the Warriors since 2005, said: "I don't do bitterness very well.

"Even if I tried to, I'm not very good at it.

"What the problem was, was they wanted me to stay and I, obviously, wanted to do something else," he said.

"So it was always going to look a little acrimonious.

"I had some really good chats with Matthew Elliott but in a selfish way, I had to look at what I really wanted to do next. My idea of that, through the process, was if I wasn't ticking all the boxes, I had to go somewhere to try and do that," he said.

"I'm really confident in the decision I've made, and really happy in the decision I made."

His new NZRL role was formerly filled, part-time, by Kiwis legend Ruben Wiki.

Wiki has since moved to the Warriors as assistant trainer.

Iro said his new position would be more focused on high performance than Wiki's role was, with more frequent involvement with Kiwis players and NRL clubs to learn how to get the most out of them.

"His role was probably more community focused," Iro said.

"It's [the new role] come at a pretty good time with the World Cup now less than 12 months away," he said.

"Having been involved with the Kiwis in this sort of way since 2009, we've always had our eye on its defence.

"So I'm really looking forward to helping us out more, and getting the squad best prepared in the best way we possibly can," he said.

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