Eels great Brett Kenny eager to be NSW assistant

Regarded as the only player who rivaled Origin great Wally Lewis at that level, former Eel Brett Kenny wants to assist Ricky Stuart in the NSW re-surgence.

With the announcement set to be made today by NSWRL Chairman Colin Love, confirming that Ricky Stuart will be the new NSW coach.

Kenny has not only praised the decision to make Stuart coach, but he’s thrown his hat into the ring in order to be the assistant coach for NSW.

It is believed that Stuart will be offered a 3 year deal, much like QLD coach Mal Meninga was when he started, since breaking tradition when he became QLD’s long-term Origin coach.

Following NSW’s fifth successive loss, and suffering a 3-0 white-wash in the 2010 series, former Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan was approached to put together a report which stated that NSW should follow in QLD’s footsteps, and employ a full-time coach with no club ties.

Stuart, who has been linked to abut 3 NRL clubs has a get-out clause in his Origin deal giving him the luxury to step down from the position if he is offered a role by an NRL club.

Kenny, who is perhaps the greatest NSW Origin player played 17 games against Lewis at five-eighth and in the centres, and is full of praise for Stuart’s appointment as he sees this as a step in the right direction to ending the dominance from QLD.

“It’s about time they started to listen to former players and people who know what they’re talking about,” Kenny told the ABC’s Grandstand Sport.

“We need to follow Queensland, they’re obviously doing something right, they’ve won it five times in a row.

“We need a full time coach and I think Ricky Stuart if the perfect guy to take up that position.”

And Kenny said he was keen to line up as Stuart’s assistant if, as expected, the latter was appointed to the job.

“I’ll certainly be putting my hand up and giving notice,” he said.

“I’d like to be able to help Ricky turn Origin around again.”

Kenny also added that Stuart wasn’t tied down by club commitments like Craig Bellamy, thus giving Stuart time to focus solely on NSW and their players.

“A non-NRL coach has more time to work on his team, to look at players and work out what they need to do to win at Origin level,” said Kenny, a marvellous tactician in the Lewis mould.

“Ricky’s been there before he knows what it’s like and this time it will be easier.”

Stuart has always been a very passionate coach, and it was that passion, perhaps a bit too much of it, that cost him his job as the Australian coach in 2008.

Kenny however believes that such passion for the game and a team is exactly what NSW Origin needs, and he believes Stuart is the man to deliver.

“State of Origin is a very passionate competition. The more passionate the coach the better, the players live off that and respond to that,” he said.

“He’s very passionate about Origin as are a lot of NSW players.

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