Craig Bellamy lifts the lid on Storm's Jason Ryles stance as Parramatta search for new NRL coach

The Storm coach says he won't stop Jason Ryles from leaving if he wants the Eels job.

Craig Bellamy insists he won't stand in the way of Jason Ryles if the Melbourne assistant coach wants to take the vacant Eels job. Parramatta are on the hunt for a new coach after Brad Arthur was sacked with immediate effect on Monday on the back of the Eels' second-half collapse against the Storm in Magic Round.

Arthur had been Eels coach since 2014 and took the club to the grand final in 2022 where they lost to Penrith. But he failed to win a premiership in a decade at the helm and with the Eels languishing in 14th on the ladder with three wins from 10 games in 2024 he was dismissed.

Pictured Craig Bellamy left and Jason Ryles right
Craig Bellamy says he won't stop Jason Ryles from leaving if he wants the Eels job. Image: Getty

Top of Parramatta's wish list to replace Arthur was Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett. But the veteran super-coach has since agreed to join South Sydney for the 2025 season.

The former powerhouse club say they are in no rush to name a new coach, with Trent Barrett taking over this season in an interim role. But chief executive Jim Sarantinos revealed they have started to put together a list of potential candidates for the job, with the highly-credentialed Ryles likely to be one of the top names on that list. Ryles was part of Melbourne's premiership success in 2017 and also helped the Storm reach two other grand finals.

Looking for a job in 2024 after leaving Melbourne to pursue other opportunities at home and abroad, Ryles was reportedly the preferred candidate for St George Illawarra's vacant head coaching role. However, Ryles snubbed the Dragons in favour of returning to his former role under Bellamy.

Ryles is now being viewed as Arthur's potential replacement. And while the Storm coach says he doesn't want to lose Ryles to the Eels, he accepts that NRL head coaching roles are hard to come by. "It's not in my control, Bellamy told AAP on Wednesday. "We're not going to concern ourselves with things that we don't know are going to happen. We don't want him to go but it's not very often that you get those sort of opportunities so if he wanted to go I wouldn't imagine we would stand in his way."

Speaking after his brutal axing Arthur says he has no bitterness towards the Eels and is thankful for his time there. "I've really enjoyed my time and I'm really grateful for my time, I don't hold any resentment, I'm not bitter about what's happened," he told FoxSports' NRL360.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Eels coach, Brad Arthur looks on at full-time during the round one NRL match between Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs at CommBank Stadium, on March 09, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Brad Arthur was sacked by the Eels on Monday.

"Parramatta's a massive club so I've gotten used to it (the pressure), so I know whatever's next for me I'm going to be better again. I'm proud of where I started to where I am now. In 11 years, we've played in finals, hopefully I've contributed to changing people's lives."

And Bellamy believes before long Arthur will be at a new club. "I'm sure he will find another club - he's a good coach and really good person so he will find another job," Bellamy said.

with AAP