Tony Rea: It was always the plan for me to leave

Outgoing London Broncos coach Tony Rea has revealed it was always his plan to step down at some point in 2014.

The 47-year-old announced today that he was to step down with immediate effect, leaving assistant Joe Grima to fill in as head coach for the rest of this season and 2015.

Rea said: “It was always intended that I wouldn’t be here next year. The troubles of the recent past have been well documented and they took a lot of dealing with but we got the club up and functioning. We’ve had a difficult start to the season but that’s about to change.

“In planning for the future, both short and long term, we thought it was best for all of us, the club and myself, that we give Joey the opportunity to take the club on.

“I would like to thank everyone. I feel we’re going to have a great back half of the season and part of me is disappointed not to be a part of that but I also accept that it’s the best thing to do.”

Broncos chairman David Hughes said: “Tony was instrumental in saving the club. In hindsight maybe it was far too late but we did save the club. So it’s a big thank you to him for assembling the squad and putting us in a position to go forward.

“We’re about halfway through out season and it was always intended that Joey would take over as head coach towards the end of this year and certainly for next year. He has agreed to do that.

“We thank Tony of course, not just for the last two seasons, when he came back from Australia to help us out, but for his work with the club in the past, which everyone is aware of. We wish him good luck in his future plans and business activities.

“Joe Grima played and coached at Parramatta for 19 years and was assistant coach to Ricky Stuart at Cronulla for three years. He was highly recommended and joined us from St George Illawarra Dragons where he was assistant coach. Joey always had an ambition to be a head coach in Super League and will be free to form his own coaching team.”

Broncos winger Keiran Dixon has spoken of his shock at Rea’s departure.

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