London Broncos assistant head coach Joe Grima has stepped up to replace Tony Rea as head coach until the end of next season

Times Series: Tony Rea (right) and Joe Grima (left). Picture: Action Images Tony Rea (right) and Joe Grima (left). Picture: Action Images

London Broncos head coach Tony Rea has stepped down to be replaced by assistant Joe Grima who has signed a contract until the end of next season.

Rea's departure ends a long-standing affiliation with the Broncos, which began in 1995.

The 47-year-old first joined the re-branded Broncos 19 years ago, playing in the first Super League season a year later.

Rea subsequently took up the posts of head coach and chief executive, moving back to Australia to in 2008 before returning to the club to succeed Rob Powell in July 2012.

Speaking to the club's website, chairman David Hughes said: "Tony was instrumental in saving the club. In hindsight maybe it was far too late but we did save the club. So it's a big thank you to him for assembling the squad and putting us in a position to go forward.

"We're about halfway through out season and it was always intended that Joey would take over as head coach towards the end of this year and certainly for next year. He has agreed to do that.

Hughes continued: "We thank Tony of course, not just for the last two seasons, when he came back from Australia to help us out, but for his work with the club in the past, which everyone is aware of. We wish him good luck in his future plans and business activities."

Rea added: "In planning for the future, both short and long term, we thought it was best for all of us, the club and myself, that we give Joey the opportunity to take the club on.

"I would like to thank everyone. I feel we're going to have a great back half of the season and part of me is disappointed not to be a part of that but I also accept that it's the best thing to do."

Grima - who boasts 19 years experience playing and coaching Australian side Parramatta - picks up the reigns with the Broncos bottom of the Super League without a win or a point after 11 league matches.

The departure of Rea comes just two months after chief executive Gus Mackay stepped down from his role.

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