20 Jul 2012

Kearney leaves Eels

1:27 pm on 20 July 2012

The New Zealand coach of the Parramatta Eels, Stephen Kearney, has parted ways with the National Rugby League club.

Kearney confirmed to media in Sydney that he is stepping down and it appears likely his last game in charge of the Eels will be Saturday night's home clash with ladder leaders the Melbourne Storm at Parramatta Stadium.

He denies being pushed and says the resignation is his own decision. Kearney still holds his position as the New Zealand national team coach.

Appointed to replace the sacked Daniel Anderson ahead of the 2011 season, Kearney has failed to get results, winning just nine of 41 games.

Parramatta only avoided the wooden spoon in the last round of 2011 and currently sit in last place this season with seven rounds remaining.

Kearney says announcing his departure is a huge relief and he will now concentrate his efforts on coaching the Kiwis, who are preparing for a World Cup defence next year.

The 40-year-old declined to point fingers over his resignation and says he's proud of improvements he's made in junior development.

The Parramatta great Steve Edge is calling for the Eels to appoint Ricky Stuart as his replacement.

Kearney's departure makes him the fifth coach to exit the Parramatta hot seat in six years, with Brian Smith, Jason Taylor, Michael Hagan and Daniel Anderson all leaving since 2006.

Edge, who captained the Eels to three successive grand final successes between 1981 and 1983, denies the position had become a poisoned chalice and says New South Wales coach Stuart can revive the club's fortunes.