Overlooked by Eels, Barrett retains thirst for NRL job

Trent Barrett says the fire still burns to be an NRL head coach again after being overlooked for the Parramatta job.

Barrett lost out to Melbourne assistant Jason Ryles, who will take the reins at the Eels next season after being named as Brad Arthur’s replacement on a four-year deal.

Former Manly and Canterbury coach Barrett has been the Eels’ caretaker coach since Arthur’s sacking with captain Clint Gutherson and influential halfback Mitch Moses publicly backing him for the job.

Results - the Eels are 1-5 since Arthur’s axing - haven’t helped Barrett’s cause and unlike Ryles, and fellow candidates Josh Hannay and Dean Young,  the interim Eels coach has had to answer questions about his job prospects on a weekly basis.

Barrett said despite the disappointment of losing out to Ryles, he retained a strong desire to be a head coach once more. 

“It (coaching) is all I’ve ever done, football is what we know,” said Barrett, whose side face the Gold Coast on Saturday. 

“We've got another example this week of giving a young kid in Lorenzo (Mulitalo) his debut and that makes coaching really worthwhile …They’re the things that bring you back to coaching and why you fall in love with it. 

“It does (whet the appetite to coach again), it's obviously trying circumstances when I have taken over.

“The results really haven't gone the way we wanted but it is a terrific job and I certainly never take this position that I've been in for granted. Football has been great to me, it’s been my whole life.” 

Barrett said he had spoken to Ryles since his appointment was announced by the club.

But he has yet to receive assurances he will remain on the staff as the well-credentialed Storm assistant looks to make his mark. 

“Those are conversations that I'll need to have with the powers that be over the next few weeks,” Barrett said. 

“I just need to focus on preparing the players, I've been in the game a long time now and know how it all works.”

Barrett was also insistent Ryles would not need to make mass changes to the Eels’ roster.

The incoming Parramatta coach faces a number of crunch contract calls over the next 12 months, not least over the futures of captain Clint Gutherson and prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard. 

“We've got a really good roster here,” Barrett said. 

“Most of the players are here again next year … I’m sure moving forward he’ll do a really good job and the club’s in good hands.” 

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