NRL: Eels cut Kearney loose

By Steve Deane

Stephen Kearney. Photo / Daily Post
Stephen Kearney. Photo / Daily Post

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney is expected to be sacked by NRL club the Parramatta Eels today.

The bottom-placed Eels are to hold a press conference, understood to confirm Kearney's departure from the Sydney club.

The Eels have won just nine of their 41 matches since Kearney took over at the start of last season from Daniel Anderson. That includes just three from 17 in the current campaign. They finished 14th last season.

New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart is tipped to replace Kearney, although he has been linked with the Canberra Raiders. It is expected recently-appointed assistant coach Chris Anderson and Brad Arthur will take charge of the Eels in the short term.

Kearney has a clause in his contract allowing for a full year's payout if it is terminated, but it is not clear what conditions he and the club have worked out.

Better was expected after Kearney recruited heavily this year, bringing in former Rabbitohs halfback Chris Sandow, as well as former Kangaroos centre Willie Tonga and former Kiwis five-eighths Ben Roberts.

None have fired at the Eels with Sandow battling weight issues, Tonga bedevilled by injury and Roberts dropped to reserve grade after a string of sub-par performances. Kearney also created waves at the club by dropping fan favourites such as Luke Burt and Ben Smith.

The Kiwis coach had received strong backing from the club's board and major sponsor Pirtek, but that appeared to subside three weeks ago when former Kangaroos and Bulldogs coach Anderson was brought in to assist Kearney.

- NZ Herald

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