The Eels' head coaching thriller began in secret closed door meetings, less than 24 hours after Jason Demetriou's offical sacking from Souths on April 30th. It has been a Hitchcock masterpiece. Suspense. Mystery. Inneundo. And the blonde damsel in distress yet to be revealed.

Most of the mainstream media has been riding the highly-touted Jason Ryles and Josh Hannay bandwagon. The next hot, young, hot things, apprentice "head coaches in waiting" - ever since Bennett was officially lost to Souths on May 21st.

It also follows a recent value-added trends of the likes of Ciraldo, Benji Marshall, Webster, and Payton et al with mixed results.

Slowly, the jigsaw puzzle is revealing itself.

One of those pieces is Brian McDermott.

He barely got a mention in the mainstream media outside the likes of Gus Gould who suggested him.and only him, and who warned us about going the rookie path.

Very few outside some on our site, the likes of Gus, the Knights fraternity and cluey onlookers saw his immense value in the NRL world.

After making some inquires with some sources, unfortunately, Gus was right - he was too far a left-field choice and won't be our head coach.

Like many of us, he felt he could have done a great job for the Eels as the most successful Super League coach in history to date with unparalleled life experience as a British Royal Marine, a pro boxer, and a test-match Bradford 250-gamer. He has a burning passion for head coaching in the NRL and had belief he could have turned us around.

The fact he upended his roots to Australia and even helped the Knights to a fourth-ranked defence last year their best in NRL history and helped build more resilience - an area we baldly falter in for decades - is another sad testament to this.

Given a chance with the right club who respects and values him, he will make a damn good NRL head coach and a winning club.

Sadly, for now, our club is not that club. We lost a winner without ever really knowing what we could have had in our hand. 

The temptation of two, young hot Aussies is too much to resist. But which one?


Cheika and Demetriou are also out

Michael Cheika is also out of the running. Apologies Poppa. 

Earlier today, Brent Read told MMM's in  Ready's Mail that he spoke with Cheika yesterday who told him he did not make it through to the next round of interviews.

"No, he's (Cheika) not going to the Eels," Read told MMM.

"I think he's pretty dissappointed about it. I spoke to him late yesterday about being in the mix for the Parramatta job."

"The fact is he applied and made the shortlist of six for that position."

"He found out late last week that he hadn't made the final cut."

"On that front, it's a straight shoot out between Josh Hannay and Jason Ryles."

"Josh Hannay is obviously in Origin camp, so they can't really do anything with him for another couple of weeks."

"Certainly with Jason Ryles they can begin those second round of interviews."

"I think we'll have a decision after they speak to Josh Hannay in a couple of weeks."


Eels' club had concerns about Chieka's capacity to handle the day-to-day of NRL coaching

"He (Cheika) is dissappointed this didn't progress, but they basically said to him, as I understand it, that they were worried about his capacity to handle the day to day drama of an NRL coach," Read added.

"I mean this is a guy who coached in France, thirty-five games a year, and over there you have got to deal with pretty mad French owners and billionaires who are quite flighty. So, I think he was dissppointed that Parramatta felt that way".

"I did ask Mick ... He is committed to being an NRL coach.He wants to be an NRL coach at some point down the track." 

"And now it's a shootout between Josh Hannay and Jason Ryles."



It's bamboozling.

Why would a rookie apprentice handle the day to day dramas of head coaching better than seasoned coaches with over four decades of top-tier head coaching experience between them? 


And we are prepared to wait for Hannay and respect his origin commitments. But for Madge? It does hint at what the underlying ideology was all along.


Earlier in the week, Jason Demetriou, told the MMM's Monday Scrum (at 37:30 - 39:00) that he was informed last week that he did not make it through to the next round of interviews.

"No, I'm not in the next stage. They've let me know, which is great and I appreciate the opportunity," Demetriou said.

"But it was good to get the adrenaline going again and sit in front of the guys there."

"They've got some great candidates, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that progresses."

When asked by Brent Read who was in the next stage, Demetriou was upfront shooting straight.

"I have no idea. I didn't ask. And I don't want to know."

Demetriou was also asked about the interview process and what was discussed there.


The Interview Process

"It wasn't powerpoint, it was informal with Sean the chairman, Jim the CEO, and Buckets, Mark O'Neill who's the GM of football," Demetriou told MMM.

"I just spoke for a couple of hours about your journey and how you got to this point and all that sort of stuff, and their vision for the club."

"And their next phase was to shorten that down again. And the few that are selected will go on to do some sort of presentation was my undestanding."

"It was pretty clear they were looking to get on with it and make a decision pretty soon."


What's Old Is New Again

Just like the box-office smash hit Barbie World. Two Hot, Young Things.

Eleven years ago we also offered a rookie assistant coach who also had been "involved with winning cultures" an opportunity by the name of Bradley Arthur. And not too long before him there was another highly-touted head-coach-in-waiting from the Melbourne School. Stephen Kearney. 

We've gone full circle, in feared of bolder left field choice.

But will we get different results from the last few decades where resilience without the ball is not our forte, more a razzle dazzle with the ball in Offloading City?

Over the next 12-36 months, when the bulk of our top half of the squad and most highly paid are approaching mid 30s we'll find out if this was worth it. Or whether it feeds arid vultures and hyenas  like Hooper even more.

Potentially, for all the optics and all the excuses, after Bennett was lost, it was probably always going to be the rookies. For the Media. For The Court of Public Opinion. For the most popular trend. For the apparent Modern Ideolodgy, gone full circle. And for our Club.

We went from the most reputable NRL coach to the most reputable heach coaches in waiting. Hot reputations. Hot shows.



There has been no confirmation on the status of Justin Holbrook or Trent Barrett, hitherto, but you would assume they're long odds. 

A plot twist?



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  • Pretty much sums it up HOE. It will be at least a month before a decision is made, with Hannay on SOO duty I doubt he will talk before the series is over.

    • Yep, Micheal. Unfortunately, we lost the two best candidates for different reasons.

    • Well after Game II is when the final pitches will take place, Hannay set to do a presentation. Then after Game III will be the announcement as you say.

      • LB, That's what Read thinks. I don't know. Byes are usually great opportunities to announce sackings & appointments. So, if not now over the bye, it's probably Hannay v Ryles waiting for a breathe from Origin

  • It's a sad state of affairs HOE. 

    Very dark days ahead for Parramatta. 

    • Agree. These blokes are total flops

    • Ladies and Gentlemen, Finally. A small plot twist. Dean Young now steps into the Hot, Young Thing Barbie convertible; compliments of Mr Bennett. Hopefully, a more plot twists to come in the cliffhanger.


      The Eels' Head Coach Job: The Hitchcock Cup


      1 NRL Most-ReputableBennett (gone)

      2 NRL Reputable Rockstar RookiesHannay (in Origin)Ryles, and maybe Young might be a dark horse; they appear to have wowed us enough to date; three's plenty a crowd on the hot Barbie convertible of Hot, Young Things

      3 NRL Recycled Rehashes: Madge (gone atm) Holbrook (TBC), JD (gone atm), Barrett (TBC)MaryMorrisTaylor, and Steve Price (the most successful assistant 2010 title Dragons under Bennett, 2016 title under Flanagan, 30-0 Kiwis title under Madge) etc et al 

      4 Left FieldMcDermott (gone atm), most successful and competent rugby league head coach in this field after Bennett, an English Supercoach who recruits the likes of Sonny Bill, by far - but largely unknown in the NRL world except for a minority such as Gus Gould who suggested him and warned against us going for the Rockstar Rookies without more experience behind them at the club. 

      5 Far Left FieldCheika (gone atm), wowed our board at the interview but they are worried about his capacity to deal with day-to-day NRL head coaching dramas (Read talks to Cheika).



      Dean Young emerges as shock contender for Eels coaching job
      Most pundits felt the bid to succeed Brad Arthur was a race in two. However, Dean Young, armed with an endorsement from Wayne Bennett, is also a lead…
      • Would take Young over Ryles or Hannay but would still prefer McDermott or Holbrook. 

  • HOE-Man, 

    Sorry, long post alert. 

    Thanks for the update, and a bigger thanks for the time & effort you put into ensuring the club saw the full ensemble of Brian McDermott’s coaching & personal credentials.

    I hope everyone here understands the lengths you went too. You couldn’t have done anymore. 

    As fans, we probably don’t understand 97% of what it takes to win an NRL premiership, but, we do know it goes well beyond a talented first grader roster.

    There’s obviously many levels, many flights of stairs to climb from the basement to the penthouse, with each floor as important as the next, all moving in one direction.

    And while we can’t presume to know what’s best from the outside looking in, we can see an opportunity of someone who does know, who does understand & who has achieved that long, painstaking climb to the penthouse four times previously. 

    Theres likely thousands of moving parts in a successful club, hundreds of cogs working meticulously together, all in sync, that's a lot to ask a rookie learning on the job to manage when the Eels' clock keeps ticking, louder & louder.

    Knowing Brian McDermott wanted this position, and felt this club & roster was worth fighting with & for, is the toughest part to swallow for me.

    There’s a multitude of reasons most of us believe he was the best candidate, but standing above all for me, was that experience & life path that proves he understands the power of the most important resource available when separating the elite from the elite - mental application.

    Of course, we could be wrong, and whoever becomes the next Eels coach proves, given the time & opportunity, they were the correct decision?

    We’ll support them & give them that chance, of course.

    But if the Knights or another club give Brian McDermott that chance, and he prevails, there’s no coming back.

    I am beyond disappointed & pissed off with the clubs decision & direction, but, imo, there’s still far more reason to be hopeful on any new path than the one we were on under an exhausted BA.

    Just my thoughts & thanks for your efforts HOE, let’s hope like hell we were wrong.


    • Yep HOE has provided the best chance for the club to make a great appointment 

      sometimes I think ( these days especially ) egos get in the way of ppl taking advice / info for their benefit ..... it's just crazy 

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