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Ricky Stuart and Peter Nolan interview

slip

slip

courtesy of Rugby League Player Magazine and Electric Eel

Members of the Eels Army interview recruitment manager Peter Nolan, and their
chosen one; Ricky Stuart.

Paul – Ricky, how do you see the current culture at the club and what is the culture you’re working towards?

Ricky – To give you one word – “effort”. All the boys are trying very hard at training. Everybody is accountable for their own performance, and we’re training with the same attitude and intensity that they play under. Rugby League’s probably one of the toughest games in regards to collisions, intensity, pace, so you have to train that way. If we can replicate that, in 12 months you might think they’ve gone to the next level and we’ve achieved a lot. For me it’s that we are unified as a playing group. We’re going to be competitive in every football game.

Jessie – Ricky, I’m a big fan of you personally, and I really respect what you’ve done for NSW Origin. What are your plans to bring the Eels back to being a force in the NRL? We have the players, the nursery and the staff. Have you got something up your sleeve training-wise?

Ricky – I’m a big fan of you Jessie now too! Effort is again important. From the perspective of coaching this group, I’m really excited about their energy-levels and enthusiasm which has really helped me create an environment of them wanting to be here. It’s like you, if you enjoy going to work each day you do a good job, so I’ve got to create a healthy environment for them to want to train well, because that’s the only way you play well.
In the short-term, I have to do everything I can to improve each individual. It’s an individual’s responsibility to buy into a program we set and to want to improve. So if we each have that type of attitude – and that’s from the coaches through to the players – we will improve as a team. How much we improve well, will depend on how quickly we get into the act.

John – Peter, with the team running a clear last In 2012, why do media reports say that we have $110,000 dollars left in our salary cap? With all the players that have retired and found others clubs, we have only bought fringe first graders. If the reports are correct, how is this possible? Also, if the media isn’t correct, why doesn’t the club put this nonsense to rest?

Peter – Well most papers I’ve seen here cost a dollar and most of the
information is probably worth that. I don’t pay too much notice to media speculation and I’m not big on feeding them with answers, whether they’re right or wrong, because that gets another story the next day.
It really bugs me sometimes to read figures about what players are getting paid and how much we’ve got left in our salary cap. I think people have got to understand a little bit of history. From the 1st of November, 2011 until the end of the 2012 season we’ve had 27 players leave this club from the top and second tier. Two retired, some have gone to England, but 27 players is a massive amount. Some had contracts that were long-standing into 2012 and 2013. When they leave – particularly those on higher money – they’ve got to be replaced. Sometimes, what happens though, when replacing players, you’re paying for two players in the one position and it gets really hard to juggle.

Scott – Pete, which forwards are we targeting for 2014?

Peter – We’ve got a number of positions that we need to improve on in 2014 and front row is one of those. We’ve spoken to a couple of players already. The first thing we did with Ricky when we came down was look at our playing list for now and for 2014. We’re in a very healthy position in that regard; and we are looking for a prop forward, there’s no secret about that. But I can’t be announcing any names here today.

Betty – Why do Parramatta show the young players with potential the door – Krisnan Inu, Kris Keating, Feleti Mateo – and buy players that are knocking on the door of retirement for ridiculous amounts of money? Stick with the juniors!

Ricky – Totally agree. I’m not concerned about what’s happened over the last few years. It’s about what’s happening now and what’s going to happen in the future. Look, we’ve got to create a new beginning, we’ve got a very proud tradition and I’m fortunate now that I’m a part of it. I’m very conscious of our community and want us to be a community club and I don’t say that because I have to. It’d be a lot easier not to say it, than to be concerned with what they do here. I want the boys, to be involved, I want you to be a part of us, and it a part of you. If we create an environment in the club we won't lose juniors. I want benchmarks, and to have our players create a family. That's something that's very hard for a player to leave. Nathan Hindmarsh has done it and I can't see why we can't have that for the future.

Jessie - For years now we've seen a lot of our prized juniors forced out of the club due to salary cap restrictions. What are you doing Ricky to secure them?

Ricky - Every football club that has a junior system is always going to lose juniors. It's a job to identify the juniors we want to keep and monitor them. It's not just the club; there are a number of managers who actually take juniors away. They don't see that a junior should stay with the club. It's a very difficult process to keep every junior but we've got to make sure we keep those we want. You don't like seeing juniors leave, and going to another first grade club and starring. I'm making sure we put every effort into helping our juniors play first grade.
The one thing I will say and am excited about is that I've got four 18-year-old boys who were training in a rookie squad, who Peter has identified and put into my top squad. I've never been involved in an NRL club and seen the type of athlete that I'm coaching today in regards to these 18-year-olds. Physically they're up to standards I haven't seen before. Now it's my job to teach them how to train and adapt their lifestyle around being a professional footballer and then hopefully, one day, playing first grade. The four boys are a credit to the system that Peter's got in place. I think one or two of them may play a game or two throughout the course of the next 12, 18 months and over the next two, three years you're going to see some exciting young players come through.

Michael - We understand Michael Basan has come into the role of game developer. How is he fitting in?

Peter - It's long overdue. His primary responsibilty is connecting our junior club and our schools. We've got 22 junior clubs in over 200 schools across our district. We need to work really hard with them to improve the coach education. We need to get these kids to convert from school football to club football, register and become a junior player. We need to provide good environments for them so they fall in love with the game like we all have and play for as long as they can. Game development is crucial to us long-term. If we don't get that right, our future's not bright. So Michael's got a big job.
The academics are all made up of under-16 and under-18 kids. Our model is purely on physical development first, after that we start to teach them some technique and then we worry about how they play. We're not governed by game results in the academy. It's all about development of the individual. Those that Ricky mentioned before are all signed on until the end of 2015, along with a 17-year-old who made the Australian Rugby Union. Two of them were heavily targeted by three clubs - one was Melbourne - and for them to commit to us is a real mark of respect. They're Parramatta kids and they're going to be Parramatta players for a long time.

Scott - Ricky, what is the long-term plan with Jarryd Hayne?

Ricky - I want Jarryd Hayne to be an Eel for life. He's a huge part of our future and the team. When Jarryd's on, we're all on. It's a chat I had with him the other day. When he's training hard, enthusiastic and has high levels of energy the whole squad does. I was pleased to hear he just loves the club. He's a wonderful bloke outside of football and I've got a great relationship with him. I can't wait to coach him week in week out. We haven't yet spoken about negotiations, and it's important you understand it will work out in its own process. I just want Jarryd Hayne to concentrate on getting fit, getting his body healthy and getting on the field. Everything else will sort itself out and that's all Jarryd's concerned about too. 
TS_Quint

TS_Quint

Good interview.
Thanks for that slip.

You didn't have a link for it...did you write that up yourself?
If so well done and an even bigger thanks for the effort. 
slip

slip

Took me 2-3 hours typing, but it goes on my website so it was worth the effort. I have another interview coming, John McMartin, Parra 1966-75. 
TS_Quint

TS_Quint

Cool.
Thanks again. 
bandwagon

bandwagon

Good work slip, an enjoyable read.

Hope the commitment to our junior base is more than lip service. 

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