Gallen hopeful Stuart will stay with NSW
NSW skipper Paul Gallen says Ricky Stuart would be able to combine a NRL coaching job and lead the Blues in their quest to finally break Queensland’s State of Origin stranglehold.
Stuart, whose contract with the NSWRL expires this year, hinted in Brisbane on Wednesday that he would carry on in the role following his side’s gut-wrenching 21-20 defeat at Suncorp Stadium, condemning them to seven straight series losses.
The 45-year-old has not worked in the NRL since his unhappy spell with Cronulla came to an end midway through the 2010 season.
However, the 2002 premiership-winning coach has been heavily linked with a move to former side Canberra, with David Furner believed to be under pressure following another disappointing season.
Gallen is resigned to Stuart returning to the NRL, but said the foundations he’s put in place are strong enough for his staff to implement in his absence.
“We definitely want him to stay. He’ll probably get a job in the NRL somewhere but, with the staff he’s got alongside him, he’s probably got the ability to do both,” Gallen said after arriving back in Sydney on Thursday.
“Trent Barrett has been unreal as assistant coach and, being alongside him, he knows all the plans. I am sure if Ricky wanted an NRL job, he could do Origin as well.”
NSWRL general manager Geoff Carr said Stuart would have a short break from the game before discussions would begin about his future, but he would like him to stay.
Carr also didn’t rule out the possibility of Stuart holding down two jobs, but said the matter would not be addressed until he is approached by a club.
“Nothing will happen for two weeks, and then we’ll sit down and discuss what he wants to do and take it from there,” Carr told AAP.
“At the moment, he doesn’t have a job but this job’s here if he still wants it.
“I can’t say he wouldn’t be able to do two jobs because he hasn’t been offered anything else. I don’t deal in variables.
“I can’t rule something out that hasn’t happened. We’ll sit down and work out where we are and take it from there.”
NSW prop Tim Grant said he was hopeful he could play for Stuart again next year after an encouraging debut series.
“I’ve loved being part of this group. It’s been everything I could have hoped for and more, even though we lost,” Grant told AAP.
“Ricky Stuart has been fantastic over the last few weeks, and I desperately want to be picked again next year and hopefully it will be by him.”
Gallen said Cooper Cronk’s late field goal to consign the Blues to defeat would hurt him for some time, and admitted NSW would have to do things the hard way again in 2013 to break the Maroons’ dominance.
“We have two games in Brisbane next year so it’s going to be very tough again,” he said.
“It would be nice to have two games down here in Sydney, but that’s not going to happen until 2014. We’ll just have to win up there.”© AAP 2013
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