The poor recent form of the Parramatta Eels has been compounded by news this morning that head coach Daniel Anderson and the clubs highest paid player Jarryd Hayne aren’t seeing eye-to-eye.
There was an inkling of the trouble at the press conference after the Broncos game, with the coach letting his feelings known – that Jarryd wasn’t at his best and still has a few lessons to learn.
It sounds a little like World Cup Soccer syndrome, a case of players becoming unhappy when criticized by the coach.
Whether wrong or right, the coaches word should always be the final say – as he is ultimately the person who lives or dies by the sword.
But the timing of this blow-up isn’t ideal for the Eels, given their poor recent form on and off the field.
They’ve had Timana Tahu unable to cope with the Origin fall-out, the talented centre taking his frustrations out on opposing Knights players and copping a 4 week ban.
Paul Osborne the Parramatta CEO was fined by Police for allegedly shoplifting.
It certainly doesn’t ready like a harmonious club.
The only person laughing would be former club boss Denis Fitzgerald who after being booted out by the 3P ticket would be happy the club is on shaky ground.
But back to the coach and player fallout.
People have suggested that coach Daniel Anderson’s man-management might be too ‘heavy handed’ hence unsettling the likes of Hayne. Some media outlets were quick to point out Andersons struggle with Polynesian players – a label dating back to his Warriors days.
However – the Eels absolutely need a coach in the Anderson style.
In the same mould as Brian Smith, Anderson certainly isn’t a pushover. The Eels players were guilty of turning ‘soft’ under the quietly-spoken management of Michael Hagan. The club seemingly like a holiday camp with players taking advantage of the friendly coach.
All these men are talented coaches, as is Jason Taylor who controlled the Eels for a period also.
However, certain styles of coaches suit playing groups or club cultures better.
Anderson and Smith, love them or hate them – suit the current squad and culture at the Parramatta Eels. When their strict management policy was in place – the club hummed along better.
The Eels despite this years results, still boast an impressive roster. The likes of Feleti Mateo, Kris Inu and Jarryd Hayne can do astounding things on a Rugby League field.
But getting these guys mentally ‘up’ for a game on a weekly basis is the key to unlocking the consistency machine.
Some have suggested that John Lang has an ability to get the best out of Polynesian players. Lang certainly had the Panthers firing on all cylinders in 2003 with their large Islander contingent.
You saw a swift change when Matt Elliott came into play, quite the opposite of Lang – Elliott’s style obviously didn’t suit Polynesian and senior players, with key men unhappy, results dipping and the revolving door policy following.
Puletua left, Pritchard was set to walk and Priddis checked out of the Panthers too.
It seems to be a similar situation at the Eels.
Daniel Anderson is a good coach. He’s achieved success at an early age and has coached around the world.
Jarryd Hayne is a supremely talented player. However, Hayne along with a bunch of other big name players in the NRL need to remember who’s running the show.
The sooner Hayne realises that game plans must be followed and any problems with the coach need to be sorted out directly with the clipboard man as opposed to via a player manager – things will return back to normal.
The Eels have a bunch of issues to work through, but despite an average year so far – they have more runs on the board than they did last year, so they have ample time to turn it around.