Interim Parramatta chief executive Matt Phelan is adamant that Ricky Stuart is committed to the Eels despite the recent speculation linking him with a move to Canberra.
The Raiders are currently looking for a new boss following the dismissal of David Furner on Tuesday, with Andrew Dunemann set to take charge of the final three games of the season while the board search for a permanent replacement.
Dunemann himself looks likely to leave club in the off-season, having been linked in rugby league betting markets with a switch to North Queensland, a move that would help find a new coach as it would allow any possible candidates to appoint their preferred staff.
Despite only being one year into a three-season deal at the Eels, Stuart has now emerged as one of the names being linked with the vacant role in the capital, with plenty of punters bet on rugby backing him to make the move. The link is hardly a surprise, having spent the vast majority of his playing career in Canberra, playing a key part in the ‘Green Machine’ that won the championship in 1989, 1990 and 1994.
However, after talking to Stuart earlier this week, Phelan has no doubts that his coach will be staying put, with the boss telling him he plans to honour his contract
This is hardly a new situation for the 46-year-old though, who always seems to be linked with the game’s top jobs due to both his record as a player and magnificent coaching ability.
Despite the constant rumours surrounding his future, Stuart has always said he plans to finish the job he’s started with the Eels and is already thought to be looking into possible signings for 2014, after previously confirming that a number of high-profile players would be leaving the club in the off-season.
A return to the Cowboys would be a dream for fans in Canberra but you get the feeling that with the former Kangeroo coach only just starting his rebuilding job at Parramatta, their wait to see one of their favourite sons return home will continue for at least another two years.