Ricky Stuart has refused to confirm he’ll remain Parramatta coach next NRL season but says he’s had no contact from Canberra about taking over the Raiders in 2014.
Stuart’s first season with the Eels ended in embarrassing fashion on Sunday as the repeat wooden spooners shipped 50 points in a game for fourth time in 2013, surrendering meekly 54-6 to finals-bound Newcastle.
The former Australia and NSW Origin coach has been widely linked with a return to Canberra, the club he played more than 200 games for between 1988 and 1998 as replacement for the sacked David Furner.
But the 46-year-old Stuart, who admitted he does have a get-out clause in his Eels contract, claimed he’d not heard from any of the Raiders powerbrokers.
“I haven’t spoke to Canberra it’s a simple as that. It’s not on my mind,” said Stuart after Sunday’s defeat at Hunter Stadium.
When pressed on whether he would definitely be at the Eels next year, Stuart played a straight bat.
“What more can I say? I have read all the speculation too,” he said.
“I am contracted to Parramatta. I haven’t spoken to anyone about going anywhere else.”
Stuart said different factions at boardroom level were holding Parramatta back and this was the reason he had a clause inserted in his deal which would allow him to walk away at the end of the season.
“We have a volatile board. Why wouldn’t I? (have a get-out clause) but it’s not an excuse for how we are playing,” he said.
“100 per cent (it’s holding us back). But it’s not so much the board but the factions around it.
“I am very embarrassed in regards to our performances this year.
“It’s unacceptable to our fans.”