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Ricky Stuart. Ricky Stuart. Featured
06 December 2012 Posted by 

Game on for Eels transformation

By Mike Walls

EELS coach, Ricky Stuart and new Eels CEO, Ken Edwards are on a mission to transform the culture of the club both on and off the field.

The pair’s vision for the Eels in 2013 includes:

•    An attitude transformation at every level of the club.
•    Staff that care about and share the vision for success.
•    A membership base that exceeds 20,000 members.
•    Junior players having a clear path to the NRL.
•    Development of a five-year strategic plan to govern outcomes.

Stuart says expectations for success on the football field are massive but he is confident he can turn the club around with the support of Eels CEO, Ken Edwards.

“Results on the footy field will come. They might come quicker than we expect but there is still a lot of blood and pain. A new attitude has to be delivered here that has to start from the front office,” Stuart said.

“Attitude and behaviour are vital. Not behaviour in the sense of having a cup of coffee or a beer; behaviour in the sense of respect for the club; you have to want to be here.

“You have to want to buy in to what we are trying to set up here because Ken and I want to be successful, we need everyone to buy into the big picture.”

Edwards is equally passionate about making the club and its management accountable to members and fans for delivering a much anticipated transformation.He says the club will be aligning its strategy to the NRL’s strategic plan.

“It hasn’t dawned on a lot of people yet but the NRL strategic plan is one of the best big picture things that has happened to this game,” Edwards said.

“Finally there’s an overarching plan for boys and girls who play in the under 6s through to the NRL competition. Rugby league has never had that before.

“The AFL had a strategic plan with defined KPIs on their website 10 to 12 years ago. This is the first time that rugby league has ever had that.

“We are accountable. We are after 20,000 members this year. The fans know we are accountable for that. The ARL has gone out with some very ambitious targets and we will be doing the same.

“We are developing a strategic plan in consultation with interested parties which will fit in under the ARL strategic plan with very clearly defined goals and growth targets.

“We are aiming to create a renewed sense of vigour to capture more young players to the club. Ricky has some really exciting plans around pathways for kids who want to chase a dream.

“We have some great people here. Ricky and I want to win on and off the field. We are fair dinkum to get it done and it can be done.”

Stewart has said he wanted to turn Parramatta Stadium into a caldron to create a similar atmosphere to what The Blues feel when playing against Queensland in Queensland.

“Making Parramatta Stadium a place where opponents fear to tread is something we have to work towards, and while success on the field and support in the stands builds that atmosphere - plans are in place to hopefully expand the capacity at Parramatta Stadium so we can make the ground an even more imposing place to play,” Stuart said.

“Parramatta Stadium is and always will be our spiritual home, our sacred turf and that’s not negotiable. This is the fundamental cornerstone of the club’s stadium strategy and how it recaptures its cauldron like atmosphere will depend largely on the growth of our Eels membership.”

Edwards is confident that he and Stuart can grow the membership of the club to the biggest in NSW.

“We need to grow this club into the biggest rugby league club with the biggest membership base in NSW," says Edwards.

“We have commenced the development of a five year strategic plan, which we hope to have that first draft available after a lot of consultation over the next few months.

“We are going to focus on growing membership. Parramatta is the gateway to greater western Sydney and has a population catchment in this area of over two million people.

“As far as we are concerned we want everyone from the district, not just those from Parramatta, to be part of what we are doing here at the Eels.”

What role does Stuart play in developing the Eels brand throughout the region to support Edward’s broad culture transformation?

“Ricky Stuart is the face of our membership campaign but he is also heavily involved in creating pathways for our junior players to eventually represent the Eels at the NRL level,” said Edwards.

“We come back to the effort that we want to see in our culture, with the amount of effort Ricky is putting into our top squad and planning for future Eels - then the club will unite throughout all levels, especially through to our Eels members.

“At the moment we want to see effort in the players and after three weeks that is what we have seen and they are working well together. Being unified as a group is the cornerstone of our culture here at Parramatta, and that's before a game has even been played.”


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.