Going south: Ricky Stuart is off to Canberra. Parramatta’s chairman says the club will draw up a short-list of replacements on Monday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Parramatta directors will draw up a short-list of potential replacements for Ricky Stuart on Monday as they begin interviewing applicants for the football and leagues club chief executive roles, and chairman Steve Sharp is confident the Eels will have no trouble attracting a top coach next season.
Stuart’s decision to invoke a get-out clause so he can take up a three-year deal with Canberra means the club now has no coach, no football club or league club CEO and no major sponsor, but Sharp said two of those positions should be filled within the next two weeks.
The Eels want a coach in place by the time the players, who will continue training for the next two weeks, return from their annual break in six weeks. Sharp said directors would consider possible candidates at a meeting on Monday.
”We know who is out there so we will probably just get together on Monday when we are doing the interviews [for the chief executive jobs] and come up with a short-list of candidates that we think would be suitable for our club and from that we will go through a process,” Sharp said.
”I am not sure exactly what that process will be but we will certainly do a short-list and then approach someone to come and give us a presentation.
”I think when you are selecting a coach for a club like ours, it is not so much us sitting down asking them questions, it’s them to come and tell us what they can do for our club.”
North Queensland coach Neil Henry and Sydney Roosters assistant Jason Taylor are the favourites but Fairfax Media understands neither they nor any other candidate – including Stuart’s deputy Matt Parish – have been contacted about the job.
If Parish misses out on the top job, he is likely to be offered an assistant’s role at Canberra, along with Stuart’s other coaching offsider at Parramatta, Dean Pay.
With the Raiders job filled and St George Illawarra ruling out any change to their coaching structure in 2014, Test coach Tim Sheens is also likely to come into contention for the Parramatta job.
”There is a whole series of coaches out there, I could go through 10 or 12 names right now,” Sharp said. ”Daniel Anderson, Brad Arthur, Tim Sheens, Neil Henry, Trent Barrett, Rick Stone, Justin Morgan, Steve Georgallis, Steve Folkes, Jim Dymock, Andrew Dunemann … I could keep going. It is just a matter of us sitting down and working out what we need at the moment.”
Despite the Eels finishing last in the past two seasons, Sharp said Stuart had left the club in good shape for his successor and predicted the addition of Will Hopoate, Corey Norman, Lee Mossop, Nathan Peats and Justin Hunt would give Parramatta a strong roster.
The Eels are also believed to be close to finalising a deal with Dragons forward Matt Prior.
”Whoever takes the reins of Parramatta will get an opportunity to hit the ground running because there are some quality players coming,” Sharp said.
”Will Hopoate is a potential superstar and we have got one of those already with Jarryd Hayne so that puts us in good stead when we have got two potential match winners in the side at one time. Melbourne have got three and they have shown what they can do with strikepower like that.
”Put the players who are coming together with Jarryd Hayne and Tim Mannah and Fuifui Moimoi and those good young players who got their chance under Ricky this year, and I am pretty excited about next year.”