The 2013 season has been nothing short of a disaster for the Parramatta Eels.
On the field, off the field, it doesn’t matter. There is not one single positive thing to come out of the entire season for the Eels.
The low light of this season came when Ricky Stuart called his squad into a meeting, put names up on an overhead projector screen and told the players that if their name was on that list, they were not wanted for next season. It was a huge turning point for the club. It was the moment a struggling team decided to give up for the rest of the year.
The Parramatta Eels spent a lot of money to get Ricky Stuart and his coaching staff to the club. When you consider that the Eels were having to still pay previous coaches and staff that had been at the club, as well as Stuart and his new coaching staff, it all adds up to the Eels paying more money for coaches this season than any other club.
Stuart was given the reigns of the football team. His job was never under pressure. He was told he could do what ever he wanted to rebuild the club.
At times Stuart has gone to extreme lengths to change the Parramatta Eels. He has told fans to be patient and not to allow the terrible results to get them down. He has told fans to have faith in him and in what he is doing to the club. He has told them to stick solid and look forward to the good times ahead.
Now he is off to the Canberra Raiders….
I can understand that the issues at board level for the Eels are massive. I understand that its almost impossible to work under those conditions. That is exactly what Ricky Stuart was paid so much money to do though! He knew what was going on when he took the job on. He knew that he would have to work under a board that was a complete shambles. He pocketed the money, bought in his assistant coaches and training staff, gutted the team, and now he is leaving!
You can’t blame ALL of the Parramatta Eels problems this season on the previous coach. Stuart has to take some of the blame. The Eels have actually got worse this season under Ricky Stuart. You watch this Eels team and they have no direction. Their game plan is almost non existent. The few games they have won have required their opposition to roll over and die.
Their recruitment process has been extremely questionable.
After releasing most of their squad for next season the Eels have made some head scratching signings.
Signing Englishmen Lee Mossop and Gareth Hock was interesting to say the least. Especially when you consider that Hock wanted out of his contract almost as soon as he signed it. After months worth of talks, Hock was given a release by the Eels. Not a great start!
Signing Broncos utility player Corey Norman was talked up like it was a game changer for the Eels. Norman was in OK form at the time and there was even talk he would not end up at the Eels and stay at the Broncos for a while. That was until his form fell of a cliff and Norman found himself playing Queensland Cup. Norman was dropped from a Brisbane Broncos team that could not even make the finals…
Right now, after releasing over a dozen player, the Eels best signing is Nathan Peats from the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Peats is looking for an opportunity and there is no doubt he will get one at the Eels. That is tempered by news that Will Hopoate is looking to get out of his Eels contract and may be looking to sign with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
In short, its turned into a disaster.
For Stuart to walk out on the Eels right now would be a low act. He has made a mess of the clubs roster and now he will walk away and leave it for some other coach to clean up.
After the way Stuarts time at the Roosters ended, and then looking over his time at the Cronulla Sharks, his disastrous run as Australian team coach, and now his time at the Parramatta Eels, you have to wonder why the Canberra Raider would want anything to do with him! When you consider that Stuart will want a long term investment by the Raiders and that he will need his entire coaching staff to come with him, wouldn’t it be smarter for the Raiders to go with a coach that costs less, demanding less of a commitment and who has a better record than Stuart?
Parramatta Eels fans have done it tough this season. Stuart walking out on them would be the final insult. The Parramatta Eels club is completely rotten from top to bottom. What do Eels fans have to look forward to over the next few seasons?
Ricky Stuart will look out for number one. After promising so much, he has delivered Eels fans so little. His parting gift if the knowledge that the new era he promised Eels fans is no longer worth his time or effort.
So congratulations Ricky Stuart, you’ve proven once again what a positive influence you can be on a football team…
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com