Struggling London Broncos have sacked head coach Rob Powell and appointed Australian Tony Rea as his successor on a temporary basis until the end of the season.
Powell, who at 31 was the youngest head coach in Super League, paid the price for a dismal season for the Londoners, who are bottom of the table with just three wins from their 20 matches.
Broncos chairman David Hughes said: “I’ve had regular contact with Tony and he feels for the club. I’m pleased that he has been able to come over and help us out at this time.”
Rea first joined the Broncos in December 1994 and made 47 appearances at hooker before retiring at the end of the first Super League season in 1996 to become chief executive.
At the end of the 2000 season he took over as head coach from John Monie and under him the Broncos made the playoffs in 2003 and 2005.
Rea’s first game of his second spell in charge will be against Wigan Warriors at The Twickenham Stoop on Saturday and the former Brumbies interim coach can’t wait to get started.
“I always check the Broncos’ results,” he said. “Being down in Australia there are a lot of ex-players. The network’s still strong here and we spend a fair bit of time ringing each other and talking about the club.
“I want to get people to enjoy playing again. It’s not about tactics, coaching or structure but belief and morale, making sure people reconnect. Knowing the people who support the club I want to validate their decision and help get them to be the club they want to be and Rob will be included in that.”
Rea will try to lift the team off the bottom of the table over the final seven games of the current campaign, but the club is already considering candidates to take charge on a permanent basis next season.
“We are advertising for a new head coach, both in the UK and worldwide, with a view to him being in place for pre-season on November 1st,” Hughes said.
Although Powell has stepped down, he has been offered the chance to remain with the Broncos as part of the coaching staff.