Tables turn and Parramatta burns
In October 2009, the Parramatta Eels were at ANZ Stadium battling it out with the Melbourne Storm for the Telstra Premiership. The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks were long gone and already planning their 2010 season.
Fast forward to yesterday and you wonder what the hell has happened to the Eels.
Prior to Friday morning’s press conference, where Stephen Kearney announced he had “resigned” from his post, the Eels got more alarming news.
The hottest free agent in the National Rugby League, Luke Lewis, rang the club personally to tell them he had picked the Sharks over them.
Since that grand final three years ago, Parramatta haven’t just gone missing, they’ve fallen off the face of the earth. They’ve gone through chief executives, head coaches and more players than you can poke a stick at.
On the other side of the city, the Sharks continue to kick butt. They don’t have the facilities or budget of the big clubs, but somehow they continue to punch above their weight.
It’s a club riddled with former Parramatta people. Now Lewis has decided to sign with the Sharks. It’s kind of hard to read someone’s mind, but you suspect the superstar backrower didn’t even consider Parramatta.
Media reports suggest the embattled coach was pushed because he was against signing the Penrith Panther. Now Kearney is gone and Lewis is headed to The Shire.
“I’ve been unable to achieve what I’ve wanted to achieve at the Parramatta Eels” Kearney said at the press conference on Friday.
“I tried my best, but it just didn’t work out.
“I just thought best thing for myself, the club and my family was to move on.”
Very nice of Kearney to say. But in reality, the Kiwi great was axed.
“I’m grateful for the experience the board has given me” said Kearney.
“It’s one I’ve learnt a great deal from.
“I wish the Eels all the best for the future.
“From my point of view we could go through a thousand reasons why and why not and I’m not here to give you those reasons today. I’m here to say that I think it’s time for a change and for the club to move on.”
The Parramatta board have shown their hand and lost again. A monkey could do a better job at running the Eels.
Meanwhile, over in Cronulla, the little tractor that could has scored another victory. Perhaps the Eels could take a pad and pen over to Toyota Stadium and take some notes.