SPECULATION linking Tony Rea with the vacant head coaching role at Wigan next season is thought to be wide of the mark – as Shaun Wane firms as favourite for the job.
Reports in Sydney at the weekend suggested the former London Broncos player and coach was “a leading contender” to succeed Souths-bound Michael Maguire.
Rea has spent the past three years in rugby union as coach of the Brumbies but, after they suffered their sixth loss in seven matches last weekend, was informed his services wouldn’t be required next year. He has worked with Ian Lenagan in the past when the Warriors chairman owned the Broncos – now Harlequins RL.
And Rea is highly regarded by Lenagan, who has previously admitted that he has consulted with the ex-hooker before making signings from Down Under.
But a well-placed source at the Warriors said there was “little chance” of him returning to Super League with the club, either as head coach or as assistant to Wane.
Former Wigan prop Wane has been favourite for the post since Maguire confirmed he would be leaving at the end of this campaign to take charge of NRL side Souths.
Wane has already admitted he would be keen to take command of his home-town club.
And he has been backed to be a huge success from a wide spectrum of current and ex-players, including Wigan legend Shaun Edwards.
Lenagan, who would not comment on the speculation over Rea, is thought to be keen to make an appointment swiftly to ensure a smooth transition when Maguire departs.
The chairman admitted last month that Wane would be in pole position for the role after an impeccable track record with the club’s development teams and as the current assistant coach.
Reports that Australia Test coach Tim Sheens had been offered the Wigan role before he signed a new deal with his current club Wests are thought to have been over-stated.
Former scrum-half Adrian Lam – a huge crowd-pleaser during four years as a player with Wigan from 2001 – was also linked with a return to the club, either as head coach or as Wane’s No.2.
But it now appears more likely that any return to these shores may take place with Salford after he threw his hat into the ring to succeed Shaun McRae.
Lam has worked as an assistant coach at Cronulla, Sydney Roosters and his current club, St George-Illawarra, for nearly six years and is ready for a step up as a head coach.
Salford are currently being guided by ex-Warriors No.2 Phil Veivers, who is manning the ship alone as his assistant, Wiganer Malcolm Alker, is in dispute with the Reds.
Salford’s stand-off, Stefan Ratchford, has been linked with a move to Wigan next season but that is also thought to be nothing more than tabloid speculation.