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Dragons fullback Darius Boyd could follow mentor Bennett out of Dragons

Dragons fans and players alike, are pleading with Dragons officials to renew Wayne Bennett’s contract with the club before players start leaving.

Clive Churchill Medalist Darius Boyd has recently admitted that should his long-time mentor in Bennett leave the club or not be granted a contract extension, then he may consider leaving the club.

Supercoach Bennett, who has been constantly linked to a return to the club that he guided to six premierships, the Broncos, is believed to be considering his options at this point.

If Bennett decided that he was to leave however, Darius Boyd may well follow suit.

“I’ve only really had him as a coach … I really couldn’t see myself under anyone else,” the Queensland Origin star told Rugby League Week.

“He’s a great man and a great coach and he’s been great for my career off the field as well.

“I don’t know, I owe him a lot and I’m very proud to be part of the success of this club as well.

“(So) in saying that, the Dragons club has been a great club and won a premiership so … I’ll just wait and see what happens, I suppose.”

The pressure will well and truly be on for the 2010 premiers, with the players calling Wayne Bennett “the greatest coach ever”, as they push desperately for him to be re-signed.

“Wayne has proved himself to be the best coach in the history of the game – bar none,” trumpeted five-eighth Jamie Soward.

“He has put the belief into the group and he brought us all together and made us the team we are.

“I want to play out my career here – but I want to do it under Wayne.”

Stephen Kearney set to be named as Eels coach

Having worked as an assistant coach under Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy for several years, Stephen Kearney is primed to assume command of a first-grade team at some stage. His time has now come.

Kearney is set to be formally introduced as the new coach of the Parramatta Eels tomorrow, as they look to find the man to guide them back to the finals.

Kearney’s signing as coach won’t come as a shock to Eels and NRL fans alike however, as the rumours of Kearney becoming Eels coach go way back to the headlines that saw Eels CEO Paul Osborne visit Kearney in the latter stages of the season about becoming coach.

The speculation never ceased, as time after time, we saw rumours and reports linking Kearney to the top job at the Eels.

Rumours and reports that Eels officials constantly denied on a regular basis, stating that former coach Daniel Anderson’s job was safe.

Clearly this was not the case, as the Eels club sacked Anderson with the rumours of Kearney as the new coach still persisting even at this time.

Despite all the evidence pointing to Kearney being the new Eels coach, he managed to sidestep any questions regarding the matter at unveiling of New Zealand’s Four Nations team in Auckland today.

“Today is about the Kiwi side and I’m sure that in due time that you may hear something,” Kearney said.

“I think what will happen, will happen”.

“It will transpire in the next few days I guess. At this stage my focus is purely on making sure we prepare well for the Kiwis campaign.”

After today’s announcement, Kearney has conveniently flown back to Sydney in light of the Eels scheduling a press conference for tomorrow at 11am.

Normally, in cases like this, speculation can derail a coaches plan to prepare a side for an international competition. In this case though, Kearney shrugged off the claim.

“Not at all really.

“This is my responsibility, looking after this Kiwi side.”

Ben Ross granted 2 year extension after amazing recovery

South Sydney prop Ben Ross is set to complete one of the NRL’s greatest ever comeback stories, after re-signing for 2 years with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The Maroon, who hasn’t played since the start of the 2009 season after breaking his neck whilst playing for the Sharks, was offered a life-line for the start of the 2010 season by the Bunnies.

Ross, who is also a former Dragon and Panther, had initially been anticipated to make his return to the field for the Bunnies this year, but after some conservative advice from Rabbitohs medical staff, both he and the club doctors agreed that it was best if he didn’t play in 2010.

Despite what has been a traumatic experience for both the club and player, the Bunnies have stuck by Ross throughout the course of his injury, and the club evidently showed their faith after rewarding him with this new deal.

“I’m very excited about playing again and to be able to return with South Sydney is an honour in itself,” Ross said.

“It’s been a long two years to get back into a position to play again, and I’m very grateful to the South Sydney Club to, firstly, help me get back on the field and, secondly, show faith in me to sign a two-year deal.”

“I’ll be doing everything in my power to repay the club and its members over the next two seasons.”

There was talk that Ben Ross would be cut from the side, or placed on the injured list indefinitely, but Bunnies chief executive Shane Richardson says that many at the club are eagerly waiting for the day when Ross makes his debut in the green and red jersey.

“Ben is effectively a new recruit for the club in season 2011 and we’re looking forward to seeing him return to his damaging best over the next two years,” Richardson said.

“He brings great experience to our pack, a winning attitude, and his journey to return to playing after such a bad injury and long rehabilitation period is inspiring.”

“I’m sure our ticketed members will turn out in force to support Ben and the Rabbitohs in his first game back at Return to Redfern 2011.”

Roosters will learn from grand final loss

Sydney Roosters inspirational captain Braith Anasta has stated that the way in which his side conducts themselves in 2011 will determine if they learnt anything from a grand final loss.

In what was a poor sec0nd-half for the Roosters, conceding 26 points, a performance that left the entire Roosters team heart-broken and dwelling on what could have been had things gone their way.

In the last year however, the club has turned their fortunes around drastically with a reformed Todd Carney firing, and one of the games best coaches in Brian Smith nurturing the younger players, and instilling them with his own unique style of coaching.

What remains to be seen however is whether or not the Roosters can replicate their form of 2010, and whether they can again be a force to be reckoned with.

From 2009 to 2010, the Roosters improved drastically. Doing the same in 2011 however, will be even more difficult given the stellar season that the Roosters had.

“We’ll find out next year,” Anasta said when asked if the club would take anything from the grand final loss.

“They’ll learn a lot from not just (that game) but the whole year, I think they were fantastic.

“I’m proud of every individual – I told them that before we played – and I thought they had done their club very proud.

“It’s definitely restored pride in the Roosters jersey.”

Somewhat reluctant to do so after their loss, captain Braith Anasta, coach Brian Smith and the other players acknowledged the clubs tremendous turn-around in just one year.

The players and coach remain optimistic for the 2011 season given that the club have kept the core of their side together, and added a few talented players to their roster.

Raiders winger Justin Carney and Cowboys utility Anthony Watts were the key purchases, with Lopini Paea and James Aubusson the only two players who seem destined to leave the club.

Todd Carney and Mitchell Pearce will once again be the key to the Roosters success in 2011, and the two will be looking to build on the impenetrable partnership they developed over the course of the year.

Stephen Kearney quits Storm to become Eels coach

Melbourne Storm assistant coach has today told the club that he wishes to leave his position in order to assume the head coaching position at the Parramatta Eels.

The Eels, who earlier sacked previous coach Daniel Anderson, had previously made it known that they were chasing Kearney heavily.

Kearney has been the understudy, or assistant coach under Storm coach Craig Bellamy, and is highly regarded my many at the Storm club as a top-line coach.

Parramatta Chief Executive Paul Osborne is yet to confirm if Kearney is in fact coach, but that fact seems almost inevitable.

“There’s two great teams playing in a grand final tomorrow,” said Osborne

Kearney has one major achievement to his name as a head coach, having won the Rugby League World Cup in 2008 with New Zealand.

“As expected, Kearney today informed club officials he would be taking up the vacant Parramatta Eels coaching role in 2011,” a Storm statement read

A replacement for Kearney is imminent, and should come very soon according to Melbourne Storm CEO Ron Gauci. Storm backs coach Brad Arthur is also set to jump ship and follow Kearney to the Eels.

“Stephen has been a great servant of the Melbourne Storm both as a player and a coach,” Gauci said.

“The entire club is greatly appreciative of the role Stephen has played here and the life membership he received just last month was evident of the respect he holds here.

“We were always aware that, at some point in his career, Stephen would want to take the step up to a head coaching role and we had been planning accordingly.

“We are confident that we will be in a position shortly to publicly announce a replacement for Stephen.”

Manly great Steve Menzies disappointed at no Manly offer

The Manly Sea Eagles had the chance to offer Steve ‘Beaver’ Menzies a contract, but they didn’t. Not doing so has made the club stalwart fairly disappointed as a result.

Menzies, who will be 37 when he laces his boots to play for ESL club Catalans, has revealed that had Manly tabled him an offer, he would have considered one final swansong with the club that has made him a household name.

Whilst he acknowledges that the salary cap plays a part in the pressure clubs face, but he has struggled over the years to play for any team bar the Sea Eagles.

“I was disappointed I had to leave in the first place, I was disappointed last year and disappointed again now,” says Menzies.

“Only playing for one club in the NRL, I always just wanted to play for them.

“If I had an offer it would have been a hard decision, there’s been a bit written in the paper but there was never really any offer or much talk to Manly at all. It was always a 95 per cent chance it was going to be over (in Super League), but I’m really excited about going to Catalans.

Menzies has been asked if 2011 willbe his last year, but he said he may not be able to say not to playing as a 38 year old.

Having played alongside fellow Manly great Cliff Lyons for so many years, Beaver has said that many benefits have come as a result of playing alongside Cliffy.

“Maybe all those passes he threw to me, he’s flicked something else onto me, some craziness that I want to keep playing year after year,” he said.

“I promise this will be probably, definitely my last one. I can’t play again, surely!

Since Brett Stewart was cleared of his sexual assault charges, Menzies acknowledged that he has spoken with Stewart.

“It’s a great outcome for him and the club, having something like that hanging over you, I don’t think any of us can really imagine something like that hanging over your head for such a long period of time,” he said.

“I spoke to him the other day and he sounds like a different person so hopefully he can put it in the past and move on and get back to playing footy and scoring tries and enjoying his life.”

Wayne Bennett hasn’t promised Dragons a premiership

Wayne Bennett, regarded as the game’s best coach has said that he didn’t promise the Dragons a premiership, and he has also said that should the Dragons win the grand final, it doesn’t mean that the team has turned around.

Should Dragons fans win the grand final on Sunday, a sea of Saints fans will deem Bennett as a true saint as they chase premiership glory for the first time in 31 years.

The games best coach, who led a star-studded Broncos sides to 6 premierships, made his acquaintances quickly and turned a bunch of discards, juniors and experienced veterans yet to experience premiership glory, into one of the competition’s best teams in just a short period of time.

Bennett initially promised to ensure that he would make the Dragons a top side, but he didn’t say that he was going to promise a premiership.

“Believe me, I’m not that stupid,” Bennett told AAP.

“They asked for none and I gave none.
“All I said when I arrived here was I’d do all I can to make them a consistent football team and our record shows we are.”

Long waits don’t always equate to pressure being placed on the Dragons, and given that the Dragons have won the last two minor premierships, they’ve shown that they can match it with all the other teams to finish on top at the end of the season.

“I knew through consistency would come that success that everybody and fans want for their club, it doesn’t happen the other way,” he said.

“You don’t come in with a magic wand and come up with a lot of hair-brain ideas to make everyone feel good. They might work good for two or three months.”

“I said when I came here I wouldn’t leave until the job was done and that didn’t necessarily mean for me or the team to win a grand final,” he said.

“My goal was to give the administrators and the board and fans a club they could be proud of.
“I said when I came here I wouldn’t leave until the job was done and that didn’t necessarily mean for me or the team to win a grand final,” he said.

“My goal was to give the administrators and the board and fans a club they could be proud of.

One of the greatest criticisms that the Dragons have been forced to put up with on countless occasions this year, is that their inconsistency would let them down, and that you never knew which Dragons side would show up.

The Dragons have obviously put such murmurs to bed.

“We’re on that road now, we’ve done it two years in a row.”

Bennett won’t divulge as to whether he intends to remain at the club beyond this season, but he has said that his family have been given him a deluge of support during his time at Wollongong, and that he’ll approach them before he makes any other decisions.

“I’m away for 10 months but it’s worked because I have a wife who is totally unselfish and is happy to see I am doing what I want to do (rather) than having me at home being grumpy and cranky,” he said.

“My coaching career is coming to an end, it’s a matter of when, two, three, five years, I don’t know.

“It’s not another 20 years in front of us and she accepts that.

“I do get home at times and I keep myself pretty busy, that’s the key.

“The worst days are when you sit around and do nothing, they’re the toughest days.”

Peter Wynn considering at a possible challenge to current Eels board

Eels great Peter Wynn is just one of many former Eels greats that are seriously contemplating making a run for a position on the Eels board.

After the controversial decision made by current board members to sack coach Daniel Anderson, the pressure is mounting on them at a rapid rate.

Wynn, who was a member of three of the Eels premiership sides in 1982, 83 & 86, has previously knocked back several offers to join the club in some capacity, but he stated yesterday he was seriously re-thinking his initial thoughts, in light of recent events at the club.

Daniel Anderson, who was sacked via email on Monday night, a mere 12 months after he had taken the Eels to the 2009 grand final, was reassured only weeks before his sacking that his job was safe according to Eels chairman Roy Spagnolo.

Although those on the Leagues Club board are still safe, elections for the football club are in December, and if recent criticism is to be believed, then many Eels fans are considering voting out Spagnolo and his brigade.

Wynn, who is a successful businessman, and owns his own NRL merchandise store on Church Street in Parramatta, says, “There is an option there if a bloke wanted to pursue that area”.

“I don’t go into anything unless I go in 100 per cent. If you want to put your hand up, you have to go in with the right intentions.  I haven’t made a decision.”

Wynn and another Eels legend Michael Cronin, both acknowledged that they are sincerely disappointed at the way Daniel Anderson was treated by the club.

“It just seems Daniel Anderson’s biggest mistake was being appointed by (former chief executive) Denis Fitzgerald,” Cronin said.

“Once the coach is appointed, from my point of view he should have the whole say in the buying and selling of players and running of the football team. It doesn’t look like Anderson was given that.”

Eels centre Timana Tahu says sacked coach Daniel Anderson made him play with injury

Eels centre Timana Tahu has made claims that sacked Eels coach Daniel Anderson continually forced him to play despite suffering a severely sore ankle injury early on in the season.

The dual international’s comments came after the Parramatta club held a board meeting on Monday night.

Tahu claims that Anderson blatantly ignored repeated warnings from Eels medical staff that Tahu was not fit to play, and that he was forced to play since May with a sore ankle.

2010 is a year to forget for the Eels, after they went from runners-up in the grand final to finishing 12th, despite heading into the season as one of the favourites to take out the premiership.

“I’ve had it since Country (the City-Country) clash and I’ve just been restricted, since Country it’s just been torture with this ankle and it still hasn’t recovered,” Tahu said.

“I could have done things better during the season to get back to 100 per cent but we were struggling during the year and Ando wanted players on the field training so it just got worse as we kept on going.”

There was concern that Tahu’s injury wasn’t managed properly, and as a result, it could have impacted on him making the Four Nations Train-On Squad.

“Yeah it could have been but when the coach overrules the physios and the medical staff, it’s an uphill battle.

“We just had to listen to what the coach wanted, we were under pressure during the year.”

In light of the Eels decision to sack Anderson, Tahu backed the boards decision and has has been speculated before, Melbourne assistant coach Steve Kearney is the leading candidate for the job.

“I support the club and the board 100 per cent,” Tahu said.

“Every club wants to be successful and Parramatta needs to think about the future of where Parramatta wants to go and whatever decision they make I support them.

“It’s a tough business being in the NRL as a player, I’ve been in that situation where you’re not wanted … it should go for coaches as well, if you don’t perform then you know you’re under pressure the same as the players.”

Tahu has received reassurance that his role at the Eels is safe from Eels CEO Paul Osborne.

“It is a bit stressful, I’ve got three kids, I need to put food on the table for my family and I don’t know what my future is,” Tahu said.

“I was supposed to re-sign in round ten and I’m still to sign a contract.

“Ozzie’s saying everything’s fine … (he’s) told me Steve Kearney if he does get the job wants me there which is a positive thing, I’d like to be coached underneath him.

“Every club has spent all their money, I’m hoping that when I walk in soon that there’s a contract sitting on the table waiting to get signed because if not I don’t know where I’m going to go, I haven’t talked to no-one.

“Clubs don’t want injured players and especially at my age, coming to the back end of my career, they don’t want old, injured players.”

Jamal Idris attacked with sword

Gun Bulldogs centre Jamal Idris has been attacked with a samurai sword at a family reunion at Forster last weekend.

The Bulldogs confirmed that their star centre now turned second-rower was indeed involved in an incident up on the North Coast, but have said that Idris managed to come away from the incident relatively unharmed.

The incident is believed to have happened around 2 am on Saturday morning, and the culprit was one of Idris’s cousins, Beau Currie, aged 20.

Police were called to the scene at 10 am on the Saturday, and they arrested Currie for his actions.

It’s alleged that Currie attacked Idris with a Samurai sword causing swelling and bruising around the star’s neck.

Currie pleaded guilty to the unprovoked attack, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and a non-parole period of 14 months.

The accused appeared in Taree Court yesterday and was charged with assault with a weapon and grievous bodily harm.