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BRAD Arthur will be given unprecedented support, expertise and structures to transform Parramatta into a consistent premiership force.

Three months after announcing a top-to-toe examination of the Eels’ football department, CEO Bernie Gurr has revealed the critical outcome of the review which included 162 interviews of players, coaches, board and management.

The Eels board ordered the independent review amid their woeful 2018 season which ended with the club’s third wooden spoon in eight years.

The review ultimately supported Arthur’s tenure as head coach for next season, however it identified a number of deficiencies within the football department structure which, as a result, has triggered a major overhaul of how the club recruits, develops and coaches its players from NRL down to elite-level under-16s.

The wide-reaching revamp will ensure that no longer will the blue and gold army have any excuses for failure.

Leadership expert and consultant Shane McCurry was charged with conducting the review.

“The review was done because when you go from 16th to eighth and eighth to 16th, we had to sharpen our lens on the footy department,’’ Gurr told The Telegraph.

“It covered all areas of the footy department, NRL, ISP, 20s, 18s, 16s and Tarsha Gale (women’s).

“It covered recruitment, salary cap, player roster management and the junior leagues — so that we can have a best practice high performance football department.

“We want a sustainable, competitive, successful NRL team and a vital part of that is head coaching.

“This is to give Brad and his coaching staff and our players the tools to be successful.

“No one wins a comp every year, but you want to get to that Storm, Roosters-like level of consistency.’’

The Eels have reacted immediately to the review, appointing Mark O’Neill in a newly created role as general manager of football.

O’Neill’s task is diverse and demanding, charged with ensuring the high performance of the club in every facet, reporting to Gurr, working in recruitment and roster management with Arthur, while also overseeing the club’s entire football program.

“He’ll take pressure off Brad, he’ll take pressure of me and he’ll be the one day-to-day enforcing high performance best practice,’’ Gurr said.

A full-time junior coaching co-ordinator “for the 20s, 18, 16s and Tarsha Gale with a direct line to Brad” will also be appointed next week, while another key inclusion for the Eels will be a new head of recruitment.

The in-depth role will be separate to that of current recruitment manager Peter Sharp, who will focus specifically on NRL talent.

“The review has confirmed we need to be more sophisticated in our recruitment,’’ Gurr said.

We need to get more data-centric and more analytical in how we go about recruitment. It’s not Moneyball, but it’s touching on it.

“We’ll have a centralised database that gives a consistency in our evaluation of players.

“The reality is, since 2009, the club has been basically been in turmoil.

“And last year showed, particularly in a more competitive competition, we need to update our recruitment processes.’’

The Eels’ 12-year relationship with reserve grade feeder-club the Wentworthville Magpies in the NSW Intrust Super Premiership competition will conclude at the end of next season.

The Eels will field their own Parramatta ISP team in 2020.

“The review confirmed that Parramatta needs to be a development club, that’s our DNA,’’ Gurr said.

“Not unlike the Panthers, who are a development club, or the Broncos and Cowboys.

“If we’re going to be a legitimate development club, we want to have a cradle-to-grade scenario where you come in at 16s, 20s, reserve grade and NRL, you put on the blue and gold. We’re one club, one logo.’’

Separate to the review findings is a backdrop of uncertainty surrounding several of the club’s most important pieces of their 2019 puzzle, including Mitchell Moses, Corey Norman and Jarryd Hayne.

Coupled with that is the club’s desire to promote young forward Stefano Utoikamanu 18, explosive winger Greg Leleisiuao, 21, and hooker Kyle Schneider, 18, who if they impress in the preseason can push for NRL selection.

Both on-contract next season, halves Moses and Norman have been continually linked to rival clubs.

Asked if they would both be at preseason training on November 1, Gurr said: “Yes. At the moment, our position is, they’re contracted they’ll be here next year.’’

Hayne remains without a deal for 2019 and has 22 days before he’s a free agent.

“We’d like to keep him, no question,’’ Gurr said. “We’re about to talk to him to see what he wants to do.’’

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I think the whole blame should be on Arthur, he assembled this squad and now he has us where we were five years ago with another rebuild on the cards.

As a coach or a manager your goal should always to leave the place in a better condition then when you found it and if Arthur was to leave tomorrow, he would have us in a worse off position than when he turned up.

Failing to prepare for the future is a key characteristic that many people in power either get wrong or ignore and Brad Arthur slips into this category.

He doesn't deserve a second chance.

If he was on less than 1 mil, lets say it was $500K he would've been sacked the day after the Roosters game, this review was not to see what to improve, it was used to shut us up about doing something and saying see we are trying now lay off us.

yes he's starting to name youngsters, why? so he can say to the board don't sack me as I need a few year too develop them, in which he can't based on what he's shown with various juniors going backwards. 

I really hope I'm wrong and he performs but I'm seriously not confident.

Without doing any review, interviews, months of work and throwing a tonne of $ at it.. I deadset think almost half the members of this board coulda put those recommendations out there. Another 25% probably could've recommended even more that should be done.

Good job Bernie.

To be fair the majority of this is just common procedure that needed to be put in place, dressed up and sold to the members.

Its the 2019 answer to being unwilling to pay out BA whilst at the same time creating the illusion things are being done and he's getting everything he needs to succeed. 2019 is a write off  as we transition into the post BA era.


Being given ten rounds or gone, is hardly being backed.  More rubbish PR spin from the Club.  If that is given someone full supported backing, I would hate to see what isn't.

The club has never said that. That is media spin.

Fair dinkum, the coat tails are getting longer by the day. I'm not saying BA is the right coach for us but have a look at his 5yrs here, he has had one bad year and you want him gone. 2019 will be his test, he will have the resources he didn't have this year so it's all up to him now. I would love for some of you to have a bad week at work and your company decides to fire you. There would be whinging and b******* like never before, unfair dismissal, this is an outrage and so on. If your company didn't give you the resources you needed to do the job I think you would be pretty pissed if they tried to sack you.

1 bad year? He's won 45% of his matches and 0 finals matches in 5 years.

He took  a team many expected to finish top 4 to stone motherless.

The board backed him before the review started for no other reason then they aren't prepared to pay him out. If 2018 was the last year of his contract he would've been made the scapegoat of the review, which is what is going to end up happening next year. There's a multitude of problems at the club, but his lack of coaching ability is a major one. Tactically he's dreadful, and the culture and discipline of the top squad is an utter disgrace. He is the one who sets the culture. Its pretty clear he's an assistant coach who has an ability to connect with players at a certain level, he's just in way over his head.

Spot on as usual GWF.


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