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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              • JD was an assistant at Souths who become the head coach. Woolfe is an assistant at the Dolphins who is poised to be head coach from next year. Hannay was an assistant & interim coach but didn't get the coaching job at both clubs.

            • Yet Sharks locked him as assistant coach, must think has something to offer. And now with a couple years more experience who knows.

              • Yes, an assistant does everything that is signed off by a head coach. They don't do anything without permission from the coach. World's apart. Some people are kidding themselves. They don't take any responsibility either. 

                A PA/personal assistant might win accolades but they won't take blame for bad quarters result for the CEO.

                • Facts HOE.

          • Graham, That's poor, lazy thinking; almost illiterate logic; reading with cataracts or an eye patch.

            Even Bennett has been sacked. So, has Holbrook. It happens.

            And like BEM has said who hired Hannay a head coach after getting a taste of his coaching?

            • Just facts.

              • It's also a fact that the two clubs he did poorly at in the interim role didn't hire him because he was shite.

  • HOE - "If they went for McDemott the problem is he is left field. They would look like punters. Gamblers. It's doesn't fit into those circles".

    They should view it as a positive that appointing McDermott could be viewed as a gamble. A gamble worth taking. What are they worried about? That he may teach them a thing or two about having every person in the organisation own their specific role and be all pulling in the same direction. So many fans would be happy to give it a go and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, I reckon there would be less baggage attached to any termination as he is not tied up in what the media thinks of him. Less bleading hearts being upset about his feelings or image.  Also, all these dopes who just assume that a person's age dictates whether they are a "modern" coach is a joke. Who says an older coach can't be the leader of new ideas or ways of achieving success. McDermott himself talks about how he is always learning and happy to explore new ideas. They are scared of him, as he also has some success in coaching/driving improvent in business and corporate environments. 

    I liked a lot of things about BA as a person and his passion for the club. But the club now needs to remember, that as the last Head Coach appointment, he too was basically the "rookie" option at the time. The "new face" of coaching back in 2012. What's the harm in trying a different approach this time?

    • Old School, well said. I agree with you.

      But Bennett was the most NRL reputable. An Aussie too. The next are on on Rookie Road. Top NRL Schools. Top NRL Apprentices. Top NRL head coaches in waiting. Loved & Highly touted in the NRL world.

      McDermott is the most competent and succesful RL candidate from outside NRL land, (Cheika for RU and business) - but how much of that  does he have all? 

      He doesn't fit into their Ideology at the moment. Maybe later, who knows. 

      The biggest question for them is which one. Probably Hannay.


      PS: I'd be shocked if they were still genuinely in the running, but i don't know if Holbrook or Barrett are out.

  • Eddie the Hooter remains of the belief Brian McDermott will be the new coach in 2025.  Can someone specifically point to evidence that shows otherwise?

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