He may have made the choice to leave the New Zealand Warriors as an assistant, but for Tony Iro, it was not too long before he found himself in a new role – joining the New Zealand Rugby League as their new High Performance Manager.
The new role will see Iro work closely with both the Kiwi and Junior Kiwis sides, as well as alongside other NZRL coaches and staff members.
NZRL CEO John Doyle, said that the organisation is thrilled to have Iro on board and look forward to what he can do.
“With 2013 a major year for the sport, and especially for the Kiwis, it's great to have someone of Tony's calibre involved full-time,” says Doyle.
“Tony will be focused on the Kiwis defence of the World Cup, but he'll also work heavily with Tony Kemp on our high performance programmes. He'll be a great resource for the coaches in this country too.”
Iro, who played a total of 250 first-grade games for teams in both England and Australia, as well as representing New Zealand 25 times over a 10-year period, is looking forward to undertaking his new role.
“I'm there to give the Kiwis the best chance of defending the Rugby League World Cup,” says Iro.
“So I'll be looking at every part of preparation and what the team, and the staff, need to deliver their best.”
Tony Kemp, the NZRL General Manager of High Performance, knows exactly what Iro will bring to the table.
“Tony has been an integral part of the Kiwis administration for eight years,” says Kemp.
“He helped build the culture of the current squad and he is held in high regard by both the players and the management. Tony understands what being a professional athlete is about and, critically, his knowledge of the game is current. Having him in the High Performance Manager role will allow the Kiwis to be better prepared for the World Cup and also for the NZRL to be better connected with our players on both sides of the Tasman.”
With the departure of Ruben Wiki from the role earlier this year, whilst Iro is a direct replacement for Wiki, he will not be filling the same roles as the former New Zealand representative.
“Ruben's time was split between community and high performance work. Tony's role will be high performance and Rugby League World Cup.”