Ricky Stuart To Coach The Parramatta Eels From 2013

After the resignation of Stephen Kearney this week, the Daily Telegraph as well as Fox Sports are reporting that Ricky Stuart will coach the Parramatta Eels from the beginning of next season in a move that all but certainly ends his reign as New South Wales State Of Origin coach.

I tend to think this is a terrible career move for Stuart. The Parramatta Eels are a shambles, the football club board is a mess, Stuart is stepping into a terrible situation.

Keep in mind that it was less than a fortnight ago that the Eels appointed Chris Anderson and Ryan Price to give support to Stephen Kearney. This just shows how directionless this club has become. They simply need a broom through the board room. They need new blood running the club.

Maybe Stuart can be a catalyst for change, but the fact is the Eels have paid out millions of dollars to former employees over the last decade or so including a few coaches and a CEO. How is Stuart supposed to build a stable football club in that type of environment?

Then there is Stuart himself. Is he the man for the job?

As for as footballing brains go, you’ll be hard pressed to find one better. I remember when he was coaching the Roosters to so much success a decade ago, I always got the feeling that he was the type of coach that would wear a team out. He demands so much of his players, he is so intense, it works for a while, but it will burn a team out in time.

We saw that happen at the Roosters. He moved on to the Sharks where the intensity and need for instant success saw bad contracts being signed and a team once again playing well for a short stint, but being worn out well before it should have been.

In recent seasons Stuart has been coaching at representative level. I’ve felt that this is probably the best place for him simply because that intensity in short rep camps can be a good thing. However it all but saw him lose the Australian coaching job after he confronted World Cup Final referee Ashley Klien after losing to New Zealand.

For New South Wales, he has done a decent job, but still, he will be leaving the post having not broken Queenslands dominance.

So now Stuart steps into a situation that is not ideal, at a club that demands instant success no matter who the coach is and no matter what the strength of the playing roster. They have salary cap space available to use, but a lot of holes in their squad to fill.They also have well over $1 million of their cap wrapped up in Jarryd Hayne and Chris Sandow, both of him have been extremely disappointing this season.

Worse still, Hayne looks as though he may have suffered a major knee injury this evening. Stuart may be looking at starting the 2013 season without his highest paid player in the side.

Time will tell how this all plays out. From the outside looking in though this just looks like another twist in a sad and sorry tale for Parramatta Eels fans.

I remember sitting at Parramatta Stadium in the mid 1990’s watching them struggle to beat the Gold Coast Seagulls. The clubs had just spent millions on players they bought from other clubs, and it simply hadn’t worked. I remember joking with friends at that game that they had spent $15 million to almost be as good as the Seagulls.

For all the of the money the Eels have spent in that time they should have won’t a few Premierships at the very least. It doesn’t come down to the coach. It doesn’t come down to the players. It all comes back to the people pulling the purse strings.

The board.

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