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Stuart owes Eels explanation: Sterling

Parramatta great Peter Sterling claims Ricky Stuart owes it to the Eels faithful to explain how his brief tenure as coach has not represented a wasted 12 months for the NRL club.

Stuart this week announced he was walking out on the Eels just one year into a three-year deal, and has already begun negotiations on what is expected to be a three-year deal to be the new Canberra coach.

His hasty departure left a bitter taste in the mouths of many involved with the club who felt Stuart had abandoned a ship barely keeping afloat - and having helped punch a few more holes with his much-publicised mid-season clean-out.

Speaking on Triple M, Sterling admitted his disappointment with Stuart's decision to leave, calling on the premiership-winning coach and player to give some justification for what he achieved while at the Eels.

"I'd like Ricky to come out and say why it hasn't been a wasted 12 months for the club and for the players and for the fans," Sterling said.

"...Ricky came, it was going to be a rehabilitation job on Parramatta which is desperately needed and this was the first (year) of a longer-term process.

"For that to finish under his watch after 12 months is extremely disappointing because I think we have to start again.

"Someone else to come in, they'll have their own ideas, their own aims - that's pretty tough."

While refusing to give his backing to any one candidate to take on the role, Sterling does believe Neil Henry had the capability to turn the club around.

A thin playing roster would greet any new coach - with former Parramatta coach and current Sydney Roosters assistant Jason Taylor another contender for the role - but Sterling said the biggest area of work was mental rather than physical.

And he believes Stuart's aborted mission may not have done the playing roster he leaves behind any favours.

"We need to work on the culture at the club ... we need a culture that is a winning one," Sterling said.

"I like Ricky Stuart, but to walk away from a contract, isn't a great lesson for the players there as to what culture we need to establish."


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