Tough NRL debut steels Kearney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tough NRL debut steels Kearney

David Beniuk 27/08/2011 01:31:45 PM Comments (0)

Traumatised Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney says his tough first year at the helm of a NRL side has only made him more determined to drag the Eels off the canvas in 2012.

Kearney's troops let a 12-0 lead slide at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night to lose yet another golden-point game, 13-12 to the Sydney Roosters, the coach struggling to find words to explain the defeat.

It was the Eels' eighth loss by six points or less since round 12 and they face a likely battle to avoid the wooden spoon against Gold Coast next weekend.

Friday night's defeat devastated the Parramatta players, captain Nathan Hindmarsh brushing the post-match media conference as Kearney attempted to instil some hope in fans for 2012.

"It would be easy for them to be disappointed but I'm thinking they're watching the side saying they're putting in a fair bit of effort," Kearney said.

"Yeah, we're not getting the results and we need some improving in certain areas but, from a commitment level, I think the lads have been fairly good.

"I'd tell the fans the same message I keep telling myself. You just have to keep persevering and stay patient.

"It will turn for us at some stage. I'm not sure when."

It wasn't meant to be this way when the club sacked Daniel Anderson last year, 12 months after he'd taken the Eels to a grand final.

The highly-rated Kearney, who had worked with Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett and won the World Cup as the New Zealand Test coach, was expected to lift Parramatta from their 12th-placed finish in 2010.

Kearney inherited an ageing roster but will be expected to improve the Eels' fortunes when 2012 signings, Chris Sandow, Ben Roberts and the Tonga brothers Esi and Willie, come on board.

"It's been a good initiation," Kearney said. "It's been a real test on a lot of levels.

"It's probably made me more determined to get things right.

"I guess it's hard when you come in and you get the feel of a group after six months.That's when we're put under pressure in a footy game. That's when you really get to see what the group is about.

"Given that experience, it's made me even more determined now.

"The potential of what the group can do and have, I think, is a real positive and it's just made me really determined to make sure that we do the right things and get it right for 2012."

The Eels could be without NSW prop Tim Mannah for the Titans match after he suffered a hamstring injury against the Roosters.

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