The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Raiders coach Ricky Stuarthttp://c1.puntersparadise.net/news/photos/Raiders coach Ricky Stuart-1407405365_n.jpg

Ricky Stuart heading for double trouble

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart

Parramatta have little sympathy for Ricky Stuart as they plot a victory over Canberra that would push the former Eels mentor ever closer to a dubious place in NRL history.
Ricky Stuart heading for double trouble
by AAP

By Lucy Hughes Jones and Darren Walton

SYDNEY, Aug 7 AAP - Parramatta have little sympathy for Ricky Stuart as they plot a victory over Canberra that would push the former Eels mentor ever closer to a dubious place in NRL history.

A loss to Parramatta in Darwin on Saturday night could leave the struggling Raiders in last spot at the end of round 22 as Stuart desperately tries to avoid becoming the first coach ever to collect wooden spoons in back-to-back seasons with two different clubs.

After his Eels finished as cellar dwellers last season, Stuart is already just a month of bad results away from becoming the first coach since Tom Raudonikis with Western Suburbs in 1998-99 to collect the wooden spoon in consecutive years.

Rugby league statistician David Middleton reports that rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis (Gold Coast, 1992-93); Brian Smith (Illawarra, 1985-86) Bert Holcroft (Easts, 1965-66) and Jack Rayner (Parramatta, 1958-60) are the only other coaches since World War II to land successive wooden spoons.

But Parramatta five-eighth Corey Norman says Stuart's sorry plight is the least of his concerns as the ninth-placed Eels walk the finals tightrope with five games remaining before the playoffs.

"We've got a job to do and that's to beat the Raiders," Norman said on Friday.

"Maybe after the game they might have a little thought about it. I think we're more worried about the game than Ricky."

Under new coach Brad Arthur, the Eels are on the verge of playing finals football for the first time since 2009.

Parramatta's rise in 2014 has coincided with skipper Jarryd Hayne's return to his scintillating best, but Norman believes the "Hayne Plane" is soaring to heights he didn't even reach when the Eels made the grand final five years ago.

"He's definitely got the talent to take us all the way," said Norman.

"I think he's got a lot more help this year than he did in '09."

By contrast, the Raiders suffered their third consecutive loss after being hammered by the Warriors 54-18 on Sunday.

The defeat was compounded by the loss of forwards Shaun Fensom, David Shillington and back-up hooker Kurt Baptiste and captain Terry Campese to injury.

Anything but The Green Machine, the Raiders are locked in a desperate three-way battle to avoid the wooden spoon with Newcastle and Cronulla.

And while Parramatta has a relatively softer run home than Canberra, Norman says his team's for and against rating means they can't afford to be complacent.

"I think it's our for and against that's pushed us to ninth place now," he said.

"So in these last five weeks we've really got to tighten our defence up and not leak points."

RUGBY LEAGUE PREMIERSHIP COACHES WHO COLLECTED THE WOODEN SPOON IN CONSECUTIVE SEASONS

Tom Raudonikis (Western Suburbs, 1998-99)

Wally Lewis (Gold Coast, 1992-93)

Brian Smith (Illawarra, 1985-86)

Bert Holcroft (Eastern Suburbs, 1965-66)

Jack Rayner (Parramatta, 1958-60)

*Source: Rugby League Information Services





Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories