Will Kearney be humbled by history in the NRL?

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

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    Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville)

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    Sports organisations live off past deeds, and a certain aura surrounds a club with a lengthy honour roll. To pull in the corporate dollar and sell memberships the focus is squarely on trophies won when it comes to the big sell.

    But that can often spell trouble for the future.

    Few clubs can live up to the expectations and continually match the history books.

    English football giants Manchester United somehow buck the trend, but their fierce rivals Liverpool are constantly trying to emulate the heroics of those who went before them in the 70s and 80s – without success.

    It’s not only often unrealistic, but also a huge weight on the shoulders of the current crop of men and women defending the honour of the badge.

    Teams go through golden ages as the stars align to deliver amazing results.

    Sporting form seems to be cyclical, expectations are not.

    In America, every quarter back at NFL side the Denver Broncos is lined up against John Elway. This week they signed star QB Peyton Manning, seemingly ending a relationship with last season’s cult hero Tim Tebow.

    Parramatta Eels, while having a significantly smaller foot print on a global scale, seem to be constantly fighting the same battle and losing.

    Every player is compared to Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Eric Grothe and Ray Price.

    It probably doesn’t help current Eels coach Stephen Kearney that the great Jack Gibson is also on the coaching honour roll at Parramatta.

    Kearney is now well and truly under pressure with the poorest strike rate of any coach in 52 years at the club. Plenty have been dismissed for far less.

    Yes, they’ve had injuries, but so does every team.

    Most coaches go into organisations with three to five year plans. Few get to see the process through until the end. Unhappy fans force board members to scratch that itchy trigger finger more often than not.

    Will Kearney be afforded more leniency though?

    His achievements with New Zealand and time spent under Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy have bought him plenty of credibility.

    But victory is the only currency that matters in rugby league and Kearney is digging around for shrapnel in the back of the couch at the moment.

    Talk of a contract extension is also cheap. He wouldn’t be the first man to be punted after getting “the full support of the board”.

    Too many coaches are sacked without the spotlight being turned on those who hired them in the first place.

    If they believed in the plan put forward during the interview then they need to have the patience to see the term through. Otherwise a club can find itself in a constant state of rebuilding.

    You’ll never move forward while looking to the past. The Eels have a proud history, but whether Kearney gets to write his own chapter remains to be seen.

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2012 @ 8:20am
      peeeko said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      i was prepared to give Kearney the benefit of the doubt as he inherited some of the worst recruitment ever last year (chris walker, Paul Whatuira, chris Hicks etc). give him a bit more time but really there needs to be some improvement over the next month

    • March 21st 2012 @ 10:42am
      Cicero said | March 21st 2012 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      Nathan Hindmarsh insists Kearney is the right man for the job which is commendable but probably an example of misguided loyalty. Under Kearney’s watch the team has taken up permanent residence at the bottom of the ladder. Obviously it’s not all the coach’s fault and the team shoulder much of the criticism. Or it could simply be they aren’t very good. Maybe Parramatta collectively should be relegated to the Metropolitan Cup for a season or two where they would hopefully be competitive and give their fans something to cheer about. They drop players for poor form, why not whole teams?

      • March 21st 2012 @ 2:19pm
        Jay said | March 21st 2012 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        Hindy also commended Brian Smith, then Michael Hagan, then Daniel Anderson…

        • March 21st 2012 @ 5:13pm
          ShyBlueMoon said | March 21st 2012 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

          Hindy’s one downfall is that he is TOO nice…..i agree with him calling for some of his teamates to step up his game, but he should really be doing is forcefully telling his coach to let them offload, throw the ball around a little and build some second phase play. This ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE style of Kearney’s is NOT working, end of story…Hindy needs to speak up, if not publicly, then privatley

    • March 21st 2012 @ 10:48am
      bjt said | March 21st 2012 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      As long as he doesn’t say anything bad about Hayne, he should be safe for a little bit longer.

      • March 21st 2012 @ 5:05pm
        ShyBlueMoon said | March 21st 2012 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

        Hayne is the only real FOOTBALLER The Eels have…take him out of the side and Parra get the wooden spoon both last season and in 2010.

        • March 21st 2012 @ 8:38pm
          bjt said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

          Yeah, he so good that he managed to just get them to 14th in 2011, with a massive 6 wins for the season! Go “No Look” Jarryd!

          • March 21st 2012 @ 10:27pm
            ShyBlueMoon said | March 21st 2012 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

            Since when is it ONE player’s responsibility to lead a team into the finals? Parra have been poor overall, but without Hayne’s efforts (24 try assists and 18 line break assists last season) they’d have collected back to back wooden spoons the last two years.

            • March 22nd 2012 @ 9:13am
              bjt said | March 22nd 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

              Yes, Parra is poor, and Hayne is over rated. The last 10 weeks of ’09 seem like such a long time ago now.

              • March 22nd 2012 @ 12:02pm
                ShyBlueMoon said | March 22nd 2012 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                You must have missed those stats I just gave you…one beats and the other rivals those both Darren Lockyer and Benji Marshall last season.

              • March 22nd 2012 @ 12:03pm
                ShyBlueMoon said | March 22nd 2012 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

                ‘Over-rated’ is a meaningless word that could be logically applied to ANY player by someone who doesnt like or appreciate their talents. The word is a short-cut to thinking, for the usage only of uninsightful hacks.

              • March 22nd 2012 @ 4:19pm
                bjt said | March 22nd 2012 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

                You use the term “real FOOTBALLER” and I will use the term overrated. You tell me which is more meaningless in a discussion of rugby league.

                The fact is Hayne hasn’t lived up to the hype he generated in 2009. Does Old Man Minichiello’s selection over him for the Number 1 jersey in Origin 2 2011 say nothing?

    • March 21st 2012 @ 11:25am
      Matt F said | March 21st 2012 @ 11:25am | ! Report

      I wasn’t too surprised with how they went last year because their playing list was woeful and kearney, for the most part, had no part in that. I’m baffled by their recent recruting though. I can’t believe that they paid so much for Sandow. Sure he’s got talent but is way too inconsistent to be on the kind of cash that he’s supposed to be earning. Sigining Hopoate for 2014, after he’s been out of the game for 2 years, is also a very confusing one. I know the salary cap will increase with the new TV deal but it’s a lot of money to pay for a player who will most likely take a long time to find his best form when he returns. Making such a big signing for 2014 also gives the impression that they’re really giving up on the next few seasons which isn’t what I’d like to see if I were an Eels fan.

      Having said all that, there has been alot of criticism about the leasdership of the senior players at Parra for a fair while now. If you keep changing coaches and still don’t succeed, maybe it’s not the coach who is the real problem?

      • March 21st 2012 @ 3:35pm
        Bearfax said | March 21st 2012 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

        I think Matt that the signing of Hopoate was a package deal. It meant they also got Jamil Hopoate, who some say is potentially better than his famed brother and has apparently been going gang busters in the lower grades. Two Hopoates in the Parramatta team in 2014 along with Hayne and Sandow (if he gets his head together and stops wasting his time increasing his betting debts) and of course Burt if he stays is a pretty formidable backline.

        • March 21st 2012 @ 5:07pm
          ShyBlueMoon said | March 21st 2012 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          Burt will be retired by 2014….he’s a Champion, but he’s stuggling with the pace of the game NOW…time catches up with all of us

        • March 21st 2012 @ 5:14pm
          Matt F said | March 21st 2012 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

          No doubt that it is a long-term plan but it’s an enormous risk that has the potential to backfire spectacularly. The name escapes me but I do remember a supposedly very talented Roosters player doing the same thing and he was never the same player when he returned. To me it still gives off the impression that they’ve basically written off 2012 and 2013 which would worry me……if I were unfortunate enough to be an Eels fan 🙂

          I’d also say that there could be a fair chance that Jamil could follow in Will’s footsteps and go on a mormon mission as well during his career.

          ShyBlueMoon is right, Burt will be long gone by 2014. Sandow finally developing some level of consistency seems very remote as well.

    • March 21st 2012 @ 11:55am
      B.A Sports said | March 21st 2012 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      Kearney got a free pass last year, but the nuffies the Eels signed are all gone.

      Its on his watch that the club have spent big dollars on Sandow and Tonga (And then spent extra on Esi just to get Willie there. its also on his head that the club have spent extra cash to get Hoppa with the irony being that Kearney could be gone before Hoppa arrives.

      At the end of the day some of that money spent, should have been put toward an attacking, agressive forward (ie Adam Blair). Parramatta forwards are all robots. You need some robots, but they all do the same thing and none can throw a pass at the line, pop a ball around the corner or break the line and run 60m. Lasalo is a park footballer, Hindy is really just a prop now who can play long minutes, Fui is good but on the decline and Mannah is just a meter getter, not a match winner. The only forwards they have with any flair are Matua (past his best) and Horo who is out of favour.

      Anderson got stitched up at Parramatta (several times in his life actually), and while you can look at dozens of players they have let go which they should have kept over the years releasing Mateo, a favourite with the players, the fans, the sponsors.. oh and a match winner, was all on him. It has put Parra back another 5 years.

      That said, the club is a shambles, from membership, to football management through to the Board. The whole place is a disaster right now.

      • March 21st 2012 @ 3:00pm
        Long Time Eel said | March 21st 2012 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

        My mail is that Anderson had little or even no say in who was hired or fired while he was in charge. Apparently, it was all Osborne. It is said that the only players Anderson bought were Justin Poore & Shane Shackleton. The rest – including the paying overs for Mortimer & Tahu as well as the releasing of Mateo & Inu – were done by the hierarchy. The current administration did not want any links (including the coach) to the previous one. Stephen Kearney was always on their radar and had Anderson not rallied a team of misfits as he did in 2009, he would have been gone then.
        Anderson is a good coach & I would happily have him back but that will never happen while Parramatta is controlled by the current muppets. They seem destined to go down with the ship…

        • March 21st 2012 @ 3:55pm
          B.A Sports said | March 21st 2012 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

          One of the things that bugs me is when people use Osborne’s complete ineptness to suggest it was a mistake to punt Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had to go, they needed fresh, untainted blood. They just made the wrong choice in Osborne.

          • March 21st 2012 @ 5:09pm
            ShyBlueMoon said | March 21st 2012 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

            Any club that lets Feleti Mateo walk out the door, while failing to sign anyone even resembling a star player to replace him the following season clearly has management issues.

          • March 21st 2012 @ 7:33pm
            Long Time Eel said | March 21st 2012 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

            You’re taking my opinion out of context. At no stage did I mention Fitzgerald. The bloke was (& still is as far as I know) an arrogant ass. All I am saying is the people running the club at the moment make him look like a martyr. To sack a coach of Anderson’s ability and credentials for nothing more than an assistant coach (sorry but that is my opinion of Stephen Kearney) was ludicrous. What I find funniest of all (not that I really am laughing much these days) is that the reason they sacked Anderson was due to poor results and missing the 8 – and bloke got them to GF. Hello???

      • March 21st 2012 @ 3:02pm
        kiwidave said | March 21st 2012 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

        Dear Parramatta,

        Thanks for Feleti Mateo, fancy having Inu back?

        Your sincerely,
        The Warriors

    • March 21st 2012 @ 4:50pm
      Gareth said | March 21st 2012 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

      I thought Parramatta were going to sort out Chris Sandow’s defensive issues. Not the fact that he’s a little bloke who will always struggle against much bigger guys, but the way he charges up out of the line and leaves massive gaps to run through. All of the Cowboys traffic was directed at the fringes and nearly every single member of the NQ backline posted a linebreak, as did Cooper and Taumololo.

      It’s entirely possible that Kearney’s entire reputation has been based on the rosters he’s worked with, like how Craig Bellamy was a dismal failure as NSW Origin coach, but very successful at coaching a team that features arguably the best fullback, arguably the best halfback and arguably the best hooker. Mind you the same could be argued that any coach would fail if forced to pit any old rabble against those same elite players in the game’s most elite competition.

      • March 21st 2012 @ 5:16pm
        Matt F said | March 21st 2012 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

        Yeah I’d say that there would be very few coaches who would have done better then bellamy as NSW coach. The gulf in class between NSW and QLD over the last few seasons is unbelievable considering the history of Origin. Sadly it doesn’t look like ending that soon either…..

        • March 21st 2012 @ 5:53pm
          ShyBlueMoon said | March 21st 2012 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

          The gulf might lesson if NSW would pick a team of their best and most dangerous attacking players instead of pussyfooting around with ‘safe defensive teams’ for game one every year and picking proven brain-snap fumblers (Kurt Gidley, Brett Morris) who clearly cannot handle the hi-octane pressure of Origin football. Not to mention those ‘Origin Style Players’ (Michael Ennis – since when does ‘niggling’ win Origin?)
          Stuart is already chirping about Terry Campese being the NSW #6, the same Campese who has barely played in over a year and has really shown nothing so far this season to suggest he should be the Blues Five-Eighth, but like Dugan, he’s one of Ricky’s boys….meanwhile, attacking dynamo’s like James Maloney, Feleti Mateo, Jamal Idris and Brett Stewert continue to be ignored. Another attacking dynamo Jarryd Hayne, who can play just about anywhere and more importantly scores POINTS for NSW in every series he plays in (he’s up to 7 Origin tries now) will likely be left out of game one again this year (Stuart doesnt like Hayne personally, you can see it in his body language and expressions every time he talks about him…but disliking a player is not reason to leave them out of a side).
          Your right…it sadly doesnt look like ending….the reason for that is not JUST due to the Maroon’s class. Truth is, as Phil Gould has pointed out, we have gifted a lot of QLD’s success to them.
          You REALLY wanna beat The Maroons? Only one way to do it….score more tries than they do (obviously)…to do that you need an ATTACKING team…..but in the build up to watch Game One this year in Melbourne, watch the pussyfooting by Stuart begin

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