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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        • Yep. That media leak we "Backed BA & Passed on Bennett" (May 2nd) conveniently happened the day after we secretly sacked BA & began hunting Bennett (May 1st). It was the day after JD was sacked & Souths declared Bennett their target (Apr 30th).

          All too much coincidence if you ask me. 

          I don't think it was too protect BA and let him wait for Moses though. I think it was to ensure we could do what we wanted without prying eyes and public scrutiny. A lot easier to work in the shadows that have your head above the parapet.



          "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action", Mr Shaken not Stirred.

          South Sydney Rabbitohs to offer Wayne Bennett three-year contract
    • BringBackSemi  mate you pay Matt Cameron (Penrith CEO) what is needed to get him here and go from there. Matt Cameron would know who to get as head coach. I have said this for a while....but ultimately the board will do their own thing and also with MON's advice. Matt was Parra through and through years ago.....pay him a top wage and bonuses etc and allow him to bring in his team. Turf MON and co

      • Agree, and as Jack Gibson said, winning starts in the front office. I look at the Bronco's in how things have turned around, and one of these key elements was poaching the CEO from the Storm. Wish we had a Politis or Russell Crowe pulling the strings at Parra. They just make things like this happen, like Rusty did with Bennett.

  • Short of a miracle (They do happen but are very rare, hence the name miracle), a rookie coach isn't likely to suceed at Parramatta. Highest chance of failure if we are being honest. So why would our board go from trying to get Bennett, a proven with the track record to show it, to a rookie? It is obvious that the board at least somewaht suspect that they need someone with a record of success so why would they all of a sudden now be going for someone who is unproven? This defies logic!!!

    Either the Eels board are truely clueless, or this is to throw everyone off?

    The Eels board have been around almost as long as BA and he is gone because he wasn't able to ge the club to that next level. 

    If the board go with a rookie/unproven coach and he fails misserably/fails at all, they will be the only reason it will have happened. They will have no one else to blame but themselves. At least if they go with McDermot they can say they got the best candidate with a record of success and it didn't work. 

    This move of highering a rookie coach (If that is actually what they are doing), is called we don't know what else to do and are putting it all on black/gambling/a hail mary. For their sakes, I hope it works because if it doesn't. It's obvious that they are the issue and need to go!!! 

    • Matthew, you're right. Let's hope for a miracle or sudden change of Heart. A theory was outlined to Muttman on why they could go from Bentley Bennett to the expected, highly-touted, trending Rookie Road - rather than a WTF left field. Reputation is the Venn Diagram commonality.

    • They will blame O'Neill.

      Old School Management 101. There is always a scapegoat.

      They will finally realise O'Neill is not the man for the job and move to get some other chump they can then blame for their future failures.

  • We were chasing an older experienced coach in Bennett, so shows the direction we were taking. Still think thats what they want, not rookie coaches

    •  Excellent point, why chase Bennett then go 180 degrees down the rookie route?

      • There is a common theme.
        Bennett was the most NRL reputable.
        Hannay & Ryles. Top NRL apprenticeships. "Involved with" Top Winning NRL Cultures/Origin. Gushing NRL media.
        From the others who has this?

        • And the Bellamy / Slater enforcements that come with that, HOE?

          If the club give these 'references' a call it would be hard not to listen & respect their highly regarded opinions.

          Not sure McDermott has someone vouching for him of the same ilk? Which of course means nothing when standing in the spotlight of head coaching without that support network they've been used too, but, might be playing a part in why these two rookies in particular are being highly considered. 


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