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Wheels in motion for Super League coach to make shock NRL switch

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Struggling NRL side, Parramatta Eels have sacked their head coach, Brad Arthur, with immediate effect. News of Arthur’s departure has re-ignited persistent rumours that one of the top coaches in Super League may make the switch to the NRL.

The Eels have made a slow start to the NRL season. They currently sit 14th in the league table, with just three wins from their opening 10 games. Parramatta have the second worst points difference in the league, on -103.

Arthur’s last game in charge of the Eels was their 48-16 humiliation against the Melbourne Storm, in the NRL’s magic round. Arthur attempted to defend his position after the game. However, the Eels have moved swiftly by removing him from his position.

Arthur had been in the role since 2014, reaching one NRL Grand Final during his tenure. Now, one of Super League’s leading head coaches is being linked with a move to Paramatta to replace Arthur.

Super League head coach linked with NRL move

Steve McNamara made plea after defeat to Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Steve McNamara has persistently been linked with a move to the Eels. Reports in 2013 suggested that McNamara’s was a leading candidate to replace then coach, Ricky Stuart.

McNamara did not make the move then. However, recently, a piece in The Roar touted McNamara as the perfect replacement for Arthur. The piece stated,

“On CV alone, he should be the top of anyone’s list for the next NRL head coaching job that becomes available and if McNamara had been born in Hurstville rather than Hull it wouldn’t even be a debate.”

Current Catalans Dragons head coach, McNamara, only signed a new deal to stay in Perpignan in February this year. Theoretically, his new contract will keep him in the South of France until the end of the 2026 season.

However, a move to the NRL would surely tempt McNamara, and a genuine offer would test his commitment.

Former Wigan man takes reigns at Parramatta

Credit: Imago Images

In the meantime, former Wigan Warriors star, Trent Barrett has been placed in temporary charge of the Eels. Barrett will act as interim head coach until the end of the season.

Barrett, now 46, made 60 appearances for Wigan during his spell with the club between 2007 and 2008. He hit the ground running with the club, earning a spot in the Super League dream team in his first year in Super Leage.

In the statement which confirmed Barrett’s appointment, the Eels stated they would be taking steps to find a long-term replacement.

“Trent Barrett will take control of the team as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2024 season.

“We will provide a further update as we move forward to appoint a head coach for the 2025 season and beyond.”

Barrett won 15 caps for Australia in a stellar career. He also represented New South Wales in State of Origin, making 11 appearances. The job at the Eels is not his only experience as a head coach. He has previously enjoyed spells in charge of Manly Sea Eagles, between 2016 and 2018, and the Canterbury Bulldogs, between 2021 and 2022.

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