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Arthur axed as 'stalled' Parramatta search for progress

Parramatta are on the hunt for a new coach for the first time in a decade after sacking long-term mentor Brad Arthur.

Just a day before he was set to celebrate his 50th birthday, Arthur was axed, bringing an end to his 10-year reign as the club's head coach.

Arthur will be replaced by assistant coach Trent Barrett until the end of the 2024 NRL season.

Beyond then, the Eels will be desperate to find a candidate who can take them to an elusive premiership, after Arthur went within one win of ending a title drought now into its 38th season.

Arthur took the club to the 2022 grand final but his side were manhandled by Penrith, 28-12.

The loss to the Panthers ought to have been the springboard to further challenges for premierships. Instead, the blue-and-golds have been on a downward spiral ever since.

They missed the top eight last season and a foot injury to halfback Mitchell Moses has contributed to them starting this campaign with a 3-7 record.

Rival coaches Ivan Cleary (left) and Brad Arthur.
Rival coaches Ivan Cleary (left) and Brad Arthur during the 2022 NRL grand final fan fest in Sydney. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Arthur's last game in charge was a 48-16 Magic Round hammering at the hands of Melbourne, the club's sixth defeat in seven games.

He labelled that performance "embarrassing" and Eels bosses decided they had seen enough when they relieved him of his duties on Monday.

"It was the view of the board and CEO that the progress of our NRL team has stalled," the Eels said in a statement.

"Our goal is to win premierships and it is time for the club to go in a new direction.

"We want to thank Brad, who has worked tirelessly for the club over a 10-year period.

"During his time as head coach, the club has played in five finals series, including a grand final in 2022.

"We wish Brad and his family the very best in the future and we are very grateful for his services to the club."

Michael Cheika.
Having shown interest in leaving rugby for the Rabbitohs could Michael Cheika be the next Eels boss? (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Barrett will step into the hot seat for the remainder of this year in what is his first coaching appointment since he was let go by Canterbury in 2022.

The former Bulldogs coach is unlikely to covet the job on a permanent basis but the timing of the Eels' move to dismiss Arthur is intriguing.

Wayne Bennett, the most sought after coach in the NRL, is on the cusp of agreeing a return to South Sydney after the Rabbitohs axed Jason Demetriou earlier this month.

Whether Bennett would pull out of a yet-to-be-signed deal with Souths would be an incredible story.

The supercoach does have form for leaving clubs at the altar, but the Eels would be more likely to pursue a coach committed to the long haul.

Highly-rated Storm assistant Jason Ryles could be tempted, facing another year's wait with Craig Bellamy staying in the top job for 2025, while Cronulla and Queensland assistant coach Josh Hannay is also in the mix.

Former Wallabies and Argentina rugby coach Michael Cheika declared his interest in the Rabbitohs post and would likely be interested in the Eels vacancy.