FORMER Warriors assistant Tony Iro still harbours dreams of becoming a head coach in the NRL.
Iro, who was announced as New Zealand Rugby League's new high-performance manager during the week, had been gunning for the Warriors coaching job for the past two months, following the sacking of former boss Brian McClennan.
The Kiwis' assistant coach has made no secret of his desire to coach an NRL team but, despite being interviewed for the top Warriors job, missed out on the position to former Raiders and Panthers coach Matt Elliott. Iro, whose focus now is on helping the Kiwis defend their World Cup title in England and France next year, turned down assistant coaching roles with the Warriors and Roosters before taking up his new spot with the NZRL.
However, Iro - who filled in for the closing rounds of the NRL season after Brian McClennan parted ways with the Warriors - admits he still hopes to again coach at first-grade level. ''Definitely,'' he said. ''I love coaching and that's the thing with this role, I still get get my hands dirty, albeit not long term. We've got a Test in April and a five-week tournament in October and November. As a coach, it's not just about coaching. You have to learn other skills and I'll be dealing with other NRL clubs.
''I'll be having a good look around to see some of the things they are doing and not doing.''
Iro's role with the NZRL means he will take an increased ''hands-on'' role with the elite Kiwis players, while working with other NRL clubs to see how to get the best out of the New Zealand players as they build towards next year's World Cup. He will also work closely with developing representative coaches in New Zealand.
''I think it's a great step in terms of my development and a great road to go down,'' he said.
Iro insists there is no bitterness towards the Warriors despite being overlooked as McClennan's replacement. The former Kiwi international was said to have the widespread support of the playing squad, who were keen for him to be their new boss.
''What the problem was, was they wanted me to stay and I, obviously, wanted to do something else,'' he said.
''So it was always going to look a little acrimonious. I had some really good chats with Matthew Elliott but, in a selfish way, I had to look at what I really wanted to do next.
''I'm really confident in the decision I've made.''