McClennan declares interest in Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McClennan declares interest in Warriors

Robert Lowe 29/06/2011 03:45:16 PM Comments (0)

Former New Zealand Test mentor Brian McClennan is interested in coaching the Warriors, after it was announced incumbent Ivan Cleary would depart the NRL club at the end of the season.

McClennan is seen as one of three contenders to replace Cleary, who on Wednesday confirmed he is heading to Penrith on a three-year deal.

The others are Cleary's assistant, Tony Iro, and the club's under-20s coach, John Ackland.

McClennan confirmed he would throw his hat in the ring when applications were called, but was reluctant to comment further.

"Yes, I'd be very interested, but in the meantime the Warriors still have the 2011 season to complete and I don't really want to say much more than that," he said.

"If they would like to talk to me, I would like to talk to them, but everything has to be done in due course and in the right process."

McClennan, who guided the Kiwis to the 2005 Tri-Nations title in his rookie year as national coach, returned to New Zealand last year after three successful seasons with English club Leeds.

He now works at the Auckland Rugby League, but took time out this month to coach the Exiles to victory over England in an international fixture.

Unlike Iro and Ackland, McClennan is not part of the Warriors' set-up.

Iro, who is also the Kiwis assistant coach, has served his apprenticeship as first-grade understudy to Cleary for the past two years.

Ackland held the assistant's job before him, before taking the Junior Warriors to the under-20s title last year.

Chief executive Wayne Scurrah said the club would let the issue of Cleary's replacement lie for a couple of weeks.

"We want to get back to playing footy and trying to win footy games," he said.

Scurrah said he had spoken to Iro and Ackland, and given McClennan a courtesy call to advise them about Cleary's impending departure.

"I haven't asked for anyone to apply for the role," he said.

"I clearly told them there is a role available, which we didn't know until two days ago, and that at the right time we will talk again."

While there were "three natural candidates" at the moment, "there may be others".

"We've got a very open mind about the future," Scurrah said.

"We simply want the best coach we can to take the club to the next stage."

Scurrah also said the agreement to allow Cleary to leave a year before his contract was due to expire was done in the "most amicable way".

Cleary said his own preference was for his successor to come from within the club.

"I've been fortunate to work with some great people, Tony Iro and John Ackland, as assistants to me and I've learned a lot from those guys," he said.

"I guess it's going to be up to Wayne and the board who it's going to be, but my personal hope is that it will be someone from inside."

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