Many fans have long been asking for Eels coach Stephen Kearney to be given some sort of assistance, and it has come – with the man himself hand-picking his mentor and 2-time premiership winner Chris Anderson, and Eels legend and 4-time premiership winner Steve Price.
Whilst neither will directly influence the coaching decisions Kearney makes, they will each play their own role – with Chris Anderson to have a Director of Coaching type role, whereas Price will teach the players the intricacies of defence, and the culture the Eels want to have at their club.
Although Chris Anderson’s tenure at this stage will only be for the remainder of the 2012 NRL season, if it works out, the option is there to keep him on board as a Director of Coaching for longer.
Price’s precise role will be that of a consultant, as Mr Perpetual Motion will look to mentor the forwards, as the club gets more bodies and minds onto the coaching staff.
With Price a club legend at the Eels, the man himself said that he was excited to finally be involved in the hands-on side of things at the club.
“It would be good to get them to learn how to win again. And to keep winning,” Price said today.
“I’ve been trying to be a part of this club, to do things for years. It’s always fallen on deaf ears.
“I kept persisting at them, I kept pushing and wanting … and now we’re finally going to have a go.”
Although Stephen Kearney is under pressure, the former captain insisted that the besieged coach is the man to turn around the Eels fortunes, and has not yet ruled out a finals appearance this year, albeit unlikely.
“We might struggle to get there, but it won’t be through lack of trying,” Price said.
“I can teach them about the culture of the game, things they need to do to make them wiser on the field. I can show them a bit in defence”.
“The whole game is about believing in yourself. If the Eels are playing really good football, then rugby league is successful”.
Bob Bentley, the Eels Chief Executive Officer said that Anderson’s official role, would be to act as an additional resource for Kearney, starting from this weekend.
â€œChris will act very much as a mentor for Steve, as he has done in the past when the two of them won a Premiership with the Storm in 1999,â€ Bentley said.
â€œBoth Steve and our Board have been pro-active in identifying areas where we can improve our structure and Chris coming on board in a coaching mentor role is an example of that.â€
â€œResults on the field obviously havenâ€™t been great this year but as a Club we have the right foundations in place to improve, and thatâ€™s where the focus remains.â€
For Kearney himself, it was the experience that Anderson possesses both in the game and of the game, he sees the addition of Anderson to the coaching staff as a valuable asset for his and the club’s long-term vision.
â€œChris and I go back a while and he is someone who I have a lot of respect for and someone whose achievements in the game speak for itself,â€ Kearney said.
â€œFor me, the common goal here is to get this Club to where it should be and thatâ€™s challenging for a Premiership each and every year.
â€œTo have someone like Chris Anderson in our corner is only going to make us stronger. Heâ€™s certainly someone who Iâ€™ll use as a sounding board on different things.
â€œNo one here is under any illusion our results havenâ€™t been good enough this year but what I can say is we are very confident in the structures we have in place to achieve sustained success.â€
Having worked together in the past and knowing what Kearney is like both as an NRL employee and an individual, Anderson said he was looking forward to working with him once again – and he has backed the embattled Eels coach to lead the club out of their current slide.
â€œIâ€™ve known Steve for a long time and weâ€™ve always had a good relationship,â€ Anderson said.
â€œFrom my point of view Iâ€™m here to help him in any areas he feels he could use some assistance.
â€œIâ€™m excited to be involved with the Club and from what I have seen, there are some strong foundations already in place.
â€œIâ€™m in a position where I can offer my experience in order to help the Club get to where it wants to go, and Iâ€™m looking forward to doing that.â€