Eels legend Price backs Kearney
Ray Price says he wouldn’t risk his reputation as a Parramatta legend if he didn’t think under-fire coach Stephen Kearney was the man to get the embattled NRL side back on track.
Parramatta on Friday confirmed Price and two-time premiership-winning coach Chris Anderson will be taking up mentoring roles at the club.
While former Australian Test coach Anderson is being brought in to support Kearney, who played for him in Melbourne’s 1999 premiership-winning side, Price will mentor the younger Eels forwards including the likes of Mitchell Allgood, Taniela Lasalo, Joseph Paulo and Matt Ryan.
Price, who said he’s been knocking on the club’s door for years, is delighted his offer of help has finally been accepted.
“I’m very happy to finally have an input,” Price told AAP on Friday.
“It’s not that much of an input but it may speak louder than words can.
“I’ll just be trying to give them some confidence back and have them believe in themselves and believe in their mates.
“If I can do that and teach them some solid defence I’m sure they’ll be pointing in the right direction.”
Price, who will also assist in a developmental role with the club’s academy players, has backed besieged coach Kearney to revive the side’s season despite the fact he has yet to lead them to back-to-back wins since taking the reins last year.
Anchored to the bottom of the table and with the wooden spoon looming large, the Eels have not managed two straight wins since round 20 in 2010 – the longest stretch without consecutive victories of any NRL club.
But Price, who played in each of Parramatta’s four premiership wins in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1986, is adamant all is not lost.
“I really do believe they can turn things around,” he said.
“I’ve got belief in this squad and I’ve got belief in the coach, that’s why I offered to help.
“If I didn’t believe the coach was the right man or couldn’t do the job I wouldn’t be putting my head on the chopping block.
“I think Kearney will end up being noted for being one of the great coaches of the NRL game.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the man.”
Eels chief executive Bob Bentley on Friday said when the subject of a coaching mentor was broached, Kearney looked no further than Anderson.
He said the news of Anderson’s involvement had already injected positivity into the team.
“When myself and the board spoke to Steve about what kind of assistance he might require to get things back on track, he felt that Chris was the person that could provide him with that experience and knowledge and just be there to support him,” Bentley told AAP.
“Just talking to the players about Chris coming on board there was a bit of lift in their spirits already at training this morning.”
Kearney, who has managed only nine wins in 39 games since taking over as Eels coach in 2011, said he will use Anderson as “a sounding board”.
“To have someone like Chris Anderson in our corner is only going to make us stronger,” Kearney said.
“No one here is under any illusion our results haven’t been good enough this year but what I can say is we are very confident in the structures we have in place to achieve sustained success.”
Meanwhile, Eels forward Shane Shackleton has been granted an immediate release to join Penrith.© AAP 2013