Super League: Head coach Tony Rea leaves London Broncos
Last Updated: 05/05/14 4:58pm
Tony Rea: Leaving London Broncos with immediate effect
London Broncos head coach Tony Rea has left the club after they dropped to the foot of the Super League without a win all season.
He will be replaced by assistant boss Joe Grima for the rest of this season and next, the club said in a statement on Monday.
Rea, who played hooker in his native Australia, joined the newly-named London Broncos in 1995 and played in the inaugural Super League 1996 season before going on to become chief executive at the Broncos.
He stood in as temporary coach several times and then as head coach before leaving in 2008 to join Canberra-based Brumbies.
He returned to London in 2012 to help guide the Broncos as they battled major financial difficulties and to rebuild the squad.
But on Thursday, in a 48-18 defeat at St Helens, Broncos could only muster three tries to their hosts' nine and dropped to the bottom of the table following Bradford's shock 34-28 win over Warrington.
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.
"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."
Fellow Australian Grima was brought into the club in February and Rea said the intention always had been for him to take over in 2015.
"It's better to make the change now," added Rea. "Joey is a good man. He's a great set of hands. He's had a big impact already and has run some fantastic training sessions."
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 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."