Eels great Edge wants Stuart as new coach
Parramatta great Steve Edge has called for the Eels to appoint Ricky Stuart as coach after Stephen Kearney was reportedly axed on Thursday.
New Zealand coach Kearney will announce his plans to leave the club on Friday morning following two disappointing years at the helm.
The Eels sit at the foot of the NRL table with just three wins to their name and only avoided the wooden spoon on the last day of the 2011 campaign.
Kearney’s appointment was heralded with great fanfare at the start of last season having won the 2008 World Cup and playing a key role in Melbourne’s success as an assistant to Craig Bellamy.
He replaced Daniel Anderson, who was sacked a year after he guided the Eels to the 2009 grand final, and Edge said the poor results under Kearney meant the club had no option but to take action.
“You are judged totally on your results and that’s the be all and end all,” Edge told AAP.
“It’s a tough job the coaching game and obviously the board has thought it isn’t working, shook hands and said ‘see you later.’
“It’s a real shame because he is a really nice guy. But it’s all about results. I am sure Steve would have known when he went there what he’d be judged on.”
Kearney’s departure will make him the fifth coach to exit the Parramatta hot seat in six years, with Brian Smith, Jason Taylor, Michael Hagan and Anderson all leaving since 2006.
Edge, who captained the Eels to three successive grand final successes between 1981 and 1983, denied the position had become a poisoned chalice and said NSW coach Stuart can revive the club’s fortunes.
“It’s still one of the top clubs in the NRL and it is a role that a number of coaches would love to take on,” said Edge, who under the right circumstances believed Stuart could still coach NSW along with the Eels.
“Ricky Stuart would do a great job. There is absolutely no doubt about that.
“He’s done an outstanding job at Origin level and it’s a shame they would lose him as he has built up a great rapport with the players.
“But maybe, with the right assistants, he could do both jobs.”
Kearney’s future has been uncertain throughout this season and the Eels board was keen to give the 40-year-old assistance in a bid to revive their flagging fortunes.
He rejected the chance to work with Taylor, who impressed during his brief stint when he replaced Smith midway through the 2006 season, before taking over at South Sydney.
Instead he appointed his former coach at Melbourne, Chris Anderson, last month.
However, the pair only had two games to work together, including a 40-24 loss to Manly which saw the Eels have 40 unanswered points scored against them in 46 minutes.
The club has also missed out on a number of big names, with Tony Williams, Luke Lewis and Cooper Cronk all shunning moves to the Eels.
Manly’s Darcy Lussick is the only signing the club has made for next season and Edge said the appointment of Stuart would entice players to the club.
“He’s the kind of coach that players want to play for,” he said.
“The NSW players have a real close bond and that is what Parramatta need – an experienced coach who can get the team performing.”
Parramatta have refused to comment on the news, but said Kearney and skipper Nathan Hindmarsh would front the media on Friday as scheduled.
Hindmarsh was also in the news on Thursday, revealing he’d lost more than $200,000 due to a poker machine addiction.© AAP 2013
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