25 July 1966 |
Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia
Tony Rea (born 25 July 1966 in Bundaberg, Queensland) is an Australian professional rugby league football coach and the current head coach for Super League club, London Broncos. A former rugby league hooker, he played club football in the Brisbane Rugby League for Brothers, in the New South Wales Rugby League as captain of the North Sydney Bears, and in Europe's Super League for the London Broncos, later becoming their coach. Rea also briefly coached Super Rugby team, the Brumbies before returning to London to coach the Broncos.
He was recruited along with many fellow Antipodeans in 1994 by the new Australian owners of the London rugby league club, who changed the name of the club from London Crusaders to London Broncos. He played for the club during the change of top-flight rugby league in England from the winter season to summer Rugby League, with the advent of the new Super League competition in 1996.
After 47 London appearances scoring 11 tries, Rea retired from playing at the end of the inaugural Super League season in 1996 to take up the Chief Executive role at the club. He stayed in the role until 2000.
Key moments during his time as Chief Executive include:-
- 1997 - London Broncos defeat top Australian side Canberra Raiders in the ill-fated Super League World Club Championship series
- 1997 - Richard Branson's Virgin empire buy a majority stake in the club (Virgin sold stake in club in 2001)
- 1998 - Head coach Tony Currie leaves the club at the end of the 1998 Super League season
- 1999 - Club appoints Dan Stains as head coach; Stains leads Broncos to first Rugby League Challenge Cup Final in the club's (Fulham, London Crusaders, Broncos) history. Broncos lose in the final against Leeds Rhinos
- 1999 - Club sacks Stains after Broncos endure long losing streak during the 1999 Super League campaign. Rea appointed temporary joint head coach with Stains' assistant Les Kiss. Rea and Kiss manage to steer Broncos out of slump.
- 1999 - Club decide to move home, from Twickenham-based Harlequins' Stoop ground to south-east London football outfit Charlton Athletic's Valley stadium (Broncos have subsequently moved to Brentford FC's Griffin Park in 2002 and back to the re-branded Twickenham Stoop in October 2005)
- 2000 - Club appoint John Monie as head coach. Monie only stays in the job until the last month of the 2000 Super League season, the club endured a mediocre season during his tenure. Rea takes over caretaker coach until the end of the season, Broncos sail to mid-table security
Rea was persuaded at the end of the 2000 season to become head coach on a full-time basis, so this meant he had to resign his Chief Executive role. During his time as head coach, he led the Broncos to two post-regular season Super League play-off appearances (in 2003 and 2005).
On 8 July 2006, after a disappointing run of form for the team, the Harlequins Rugby League club announced a re-organisation of the coaching set-up. Rea was replaced as head coach by Leeds Rhinos' assistant coach Brian McDermott, but was appointed onto the club's board of directors.
On 4 June 2008 he revealed he has accepted the assistant coach role with the Brumbies, the rugby union Super Rugby side based in Canberra. He was appointed the Brumbies 2011 head coach after Andy Friend was fired two games into the season. In July 2012, Rea agreed to replace Rob Powell as interim London Broncos head coach until the end of the 2012 season. This was made permanent in August 2012.
- "CA Brumbies unveil 2009 coaching staff". Brumbies. 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- ACT Brumbies coach Andy Friend sacked after loss to Melbourne Rebels Herald Sun, 1 March 2011
- "Rea replaces Powell". 17 July 2012.
- "Tony Rea replaces Rob Powell as London Broncos coach". Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- Tony Rea named permanent London coach rleague.com, 21 August 2012