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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      • Thanks, Carlo. Well said. It is what it is. Not much we can do about it. 

        Sometimes, ideologies and ideas get in the way.

        IMO, A successful organization needs high-octane courage, passion, experience and competence not just ideologies and ideas.

    • Thanks NOS. And I appreciate all the support and friendship behind the scenes.

      I agree mate, and as much as we disagree with the rookie route for us - and feel it's "Ideologically" not "Competence" driven -  hopefully it works out. Surely, we won't see a plot twist or U-turn? Lol. I'd love that.

      Competence takes experience. Time. Years. Usually many years. 

      Rookie head coaches need to make mistakes to learn. But we don't have much time with this ageing squad, any juniors coming into NRL and new additions to strengthen or overhaul the ageing squads. Maybe, it's a five to ten year plan? Dunno.

      Ultimately, a core group of us failed. But the club are doing what they believe is best for the club.

      We're just watching the movie unfold, we're not directing and producing it.

      Let's hope we are dead wrong mate and this somehow works out. 

      Who knows, many of us have been following the Eels for decades. I started in 1980 others 20-30 years longer. One day, years from now, in a different landscape, we might decide to go for McDermott given more exposure to the NRL world. We're trend followers after all. We might be braver and bolder then.

  • Maybe Chief is Jim Sarantonis? He stated that we should not listen to Gus.

    I cannot believe McDermott is not in the final round of interviews at the very least.

    5 year plan number 5 coming up. Kearney, Stuart, Arthur pre and post 2018 debacle, and now the new guy.

    • Someone said in one of the blogs here that MON had worked/played or coached by McDermott before. Could it be that MON had some 'inputs' provided to the other pencil pushers and this might be the reason why McDermott is not being considered???

  • Totally agree, I dont believe an inexperienced rookie is what we needright now. Wew need leadership, experience, direction and respect. McDermott would, I believe, provide this and much more, I will be pissed off at the lack of foresight and direction shown by the board, If either Hannay or Ryles get the gig

    • Ah! what can you say other than it ain't over yet, until somebody/ anybody sings.....Carlo is not fat so she aint the lady!

      It never ceases to amaze me how our current corporate world survive in an environment of cut throat efficency but take the easier and politically correct route and invariably fail. I have no doubt that the members of this selection panel.....(its not the board, the remaining board members left are basically impotent!) have taken a route where they stand to be less criticised, not realising their lack of courage is where the criticism will ultimately end them.

      We have all said it, ably led by Hoe that this was/is a wonderful opportunity we are pissing down the drain. 

      If Wiz is right and Ryles cannot run his sisters coffee shop and Ryles has some new issues emerging with his regard in the Storm system open to conjecture then he starts in a no win situation. Will this guy attract players ......NO.

      Josh Hannay is a young journeyman, cannot imagine him to be anything but naive when operating at the sharp end. His experience of the QLD origin scenario is akin to thinking that Mal Meninga was a great coach. He is a young yes man that will do what he is told.....he is popular with the players, in his setup god help him if he wasn't. Will he attract players NO!

      But this is the best we can do and where we pass up the opportunity to have two of the best head coaches, maybe ever in a competition bereft of quality coaches...... secretly I was hoping that McDermott or Cheika would indirectly teach our board something about sport and winning, Fong is right these blokes are too stupid to know they have given up a wonderful opportunity.

      The final point is those two wanted to actually help Parramatta on a journey quiet simply we have repeatedly failed at! I wonder if they will ever realise in hindsight the opportinity they have lost.

      PS If Holbrook is in the race still, he will be a much better choice than the "barbie duo".

      • Pops, You're right. The suspense thriller is not over yet. Maybe there will be a last-minute plot twist, U-Turn or detour off Rookie Road.

        There has been no confirmation on Holbrook that I know. Nor Barrett. Wiz, you heard anything?

        Fongie in principle is completely correct. Competence is everything along with passion.

        That's what I fear. We have gone with an "Ideological" idea not choosing the "most capable and competent" RL head coach. McDermott is. And he has more faith in our squad and club than we do.

        Maybe there are futuristic notions of who the rookie coach "could be"  based on his Schooling and what he symbolizes theoretically - rather than what he has done in head coaching in reality. Nada.

        The intentions are probably good, but the consequences may not be.

  • It is just unfathomable how the obvious standout for the job, who has true winner mentality, is not going to get it. I think winner mentality and dislike towards the patriarchy/positive thinking is being drummed out of the education system at every level. I once had a lovely guy very cleverly catch me in a wonderful exchange when fishing. He was making conversation and said he was going crab fishing the next day but he never puts a lid on his crab bucket after he lands them. Of course I asked him "why no lid"? he said "these are woke crabs, if one tries to escape the others will pull it back down into the bucket". Got me.

    I like the Hitchcock analogy (although the picture on top is not Hitchcock and Grace Kelly). Hitchcock was successful on many levels partly because he had someone pulling "the strings" in the background. His version of Crowe, Gus, Politis etc. It was Bernard Herrmann who wrote and conducted most of the music for his movies including the shower scene. We do not have a Bernard Herrmann to conduct our orchestra. Maybe we could convince Parra supporter Paul Hogan who grew up in Granville?

    Bernard Herrmann also wrote the theme for Jason and The Argonauts 1963. You need a top level team at every level to achieve success.





    • Brilliantly said, ParraTragic.

      I suspect who will be head coach is "Ideologically" not "competence" driven. It was my fear from the start.

      The queue of candidates hazed in mystery (is it 6 or 26 candidates ) promises a strong scent of corporate professionalism, proper process and "due diligence".

      Ultimately, though, they choose who they "like" or "feel is the right fit" -  for the club or "who wowed them" face to face - and justify it later.

      All well intended. But, it's the consequences I fear most. The road to hell is paved on good intentions. 


      PS: I'm holding out to be dead wrong or either by miracle or some deviant U-turn or detour there is a plot twist. 


  • Great work again HOE. McDermott was certainly worthy of more investigation. As I've stated previously I'd love to hear what each candidate was proposing but at this distance we dont really know much at all. I always thought it would be between Ryles and Hannay. Modern coaches as opposed to old school coaches (which included BA).  Time will tell if that strategy bares fruit or if it's just theoretical mumbo jumbo. I mean they don't come more old school than Wayne but maybe he's an exception?
    My guess is Hannay 

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