Brad Fittler calls out 'embarrassing' detail as Parramatta Eels announce next NRL coach

Fittler has warned the hapless Eels what they need to fix quickly.

Parramatta have finally ended speculation around their new coach after announcing on Monday that Jason Ryles will take the reins at the Eels in 2025. Parramatta are struggling in the NRL this season, with league greats Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns among the latest to criticise the lack of effort shown by a host of senior players at the beleaguered club.

That's an issue Ryles certainly won't tolerate at the Eels in 2025, having come through his apprenticeship under Craig Bellamy as the Storm's assistant coach. Ryles has long been touted as an NRL head coach in-waiting and was favourite to replace former Dragons coach Anthony Griffin last year, before Shane Flanagan eventually signed on for this season.

On the right is Brad Fittler and Parramatta Eels player Blaize Talagi on left.
Brad Fittler says Blaize Talagi is one of the Eels young guns embarrassing some of Parramatta's senior players. Pic: Getty

Ryles will see out the season with Bellamy at the Storm, before joining Parramatta in a four-year deal from the 2025 campaign. He beat out other top contenders for the Eels coaching job, including Josh Hannay, Dean Young and interim coach Trent Barrett. And Parramatta chairman Sean McElduff said Ryles was the ideal candidate to succeed Brad Arthur, who was sacked by the struggling Eels at the end of May.

"We are delighted to welcome Jason to the Parramatta Eels, the Eels chairman said. "Jason's proven track record in winning environments, combined with his passion for developing young talent perfectly aligns with the direction we are taking our club.

Melbourne Storm assistant coach Jason Ryles has signed a four-year deal to become Parramatta Eels head coach from 2025. Pic: Getty
Melbourne Storm assistant coach Jason Ryles has signed a four-year deal to become Parramatta Eels head coach from 2025. Pic: Getty

"We have a strong NRL roster and a group of exciting young players coming through our pathways programs. We believe Jason is the ideal person to build a strong connection within the playing group, across the club and with the passionate Parramatta Eels fanbase."

One of the first things Ryles will need to sort out is the future of star playmaker Dylan Brown, who holds an option in his contract to leave at the end of 2025. And Fittler has also highlighted the effort areas of Parramatta's players as a massive concern this season.


The Eels are second-last on the ladder and only ahead of the bottom-placed Tigers on for and against. And they have the worst defence out of any side in the competition after conceding a whopping 470 points in just 16 games this season - an average of almost 30 points conceded per game. Fittler says he's sure the coaching uncertainty at the Eels has been a major factor.

"You saw it happen with South Sydney – their form turned around once Wayne Bennett was announced as coach," Fittler said on Nine's Sunday Footy Show. "Obviously they're not announcing Wayne Bennett, but maybe that might have an impact on their form. But you don't lose this many games without effort being a problem somewhere. Effort off the ball, effort at training, whatever it is, there's a lack of effort."

Fittler and fellow league legend Andrew Johns said some of Parramatta's younger players like winger Blaize Talagi were "embarrassing" many of the Eels' senior players by leading the way during games for the struggling side. "Getting stood up by a couple of kids, a couple of 19-year-old kids, says a lot," Fittler added.

Pictured right is Brad Fittler and Parramatta Eels players on left.
Brad Fittler has called out the Parramatta Eels over their lack of effort in 2024. Pic: Getty

Johns said Eels debutants Charlie Guymer and Jake Tago were two of the best in the Parramatta side that crashed to its latest defeat against South Sydney in round 18. And the league 'Immortal' said it should be embarrassing for Parramatta's senior forwards to be shown up by rookies.

"He killed it... he embarrassed his other forwards who are rep players," Johns said about Guymer. "He got out there and actually led the way. It's just not working... You can see how they're down on confidence, and when you're down on confidence, things just don't happen for you. It's a tough watch."

with AAP