Eels coach Ricky Stuart has had a tough year. Photo: Matt Roberts
Raiders great Laurie Daley says Ricky Stuart is a no-brainer to be the next Canberra coach and possesses the ruthless edge needed to restore the club to its former glory.
Daley said his premiership-winning halves partner was the right man to turn around the Raiders despite having a 24 per cent winning record in his past three seasons in the NRL.
Stuart had been linked to the Raiders while David Furner was in charge last year, but took the job at wooden spooners Parramatta.
''It's a no-brainer the Raiders, go with Ricky,'' Daley declared.
''I know he didn't want to do it in the past because he didn't want to have blood on his hands with Dave. Everyone thought he was trying to push out Dave but he certainly wasn't doing that. Now the decision has been made with Dave being moved on, Ricky would be the obvious choice.''
The Raiders board met on Sunday night before their match with the Sharks to discuss the options with the four-man sub-committee installed to find a new coach.
Up to 16 names have been linked to the position, including Stuart, veteran Tim Sheens and interim coach Andrew Dunemann.
The Raiders have lost their three games under Dunemann, but he has had to deal with an injury-ravaged squad and the most dramatic season in the club's history.
Stuart is remaining coy on speculation he will activate a get-out clause in his contract with the Eels to take over at the Raiders. The former Kangaroos and NSW coach has had mixed success at club level.
He guided the Sydney Roosters to three consecutive grand finals from 2002 to 2004, winning the premiership in his first season.
Stuart had an impressive 59.56 per cent winning record during his five-year tenure at the Roosters and his first season at Cronulla in 2007.
Wins have dropped away since - he had win/loss records of 5-19 and 7-17 at the Sharks in 2009 and 2010 respectively, and has gone 5-19 again at the Eels this season, his first after a two-year absence.
''Look at the cattle he's been using,'' Daley said. ''The Raiders need someone who will make the tough decisions and give the guys focus. He's got that ruthless edge they need.''
Parramatta great Brett Kenny believes Stuart must make a definitive call on his future. After telling up to a dozen Eels players mid-season they weren't required next year, Kenny said Stuart should announce his intentions immediately.
''If he says after round 26 I'm going, he hasn't given the club a lot of time to find another coach,'' Kenny said. ''You've got to consider he has signed players up for next year, and they've agreed to play at Parramatta on the view he'd be coaching them.
''It's a tough one and in today's environment contracts don't really mean much.''
Former Eels captain and stalwart Nathan Hindmarsh said the loss of Stuart would be another blow to a club on its knees. ''If he decides to go that's up to him,'' Hindmarsh said.
''It's unfortunate he's already put plans in place in regards to who's he's bought and let go, but that's part and parcel of rugby league these days. We haven't had much stability the last five or six years, we've gone through a lot of different coaches and a lot of different boards.
''If he decides to go to Canberra good luck to him, but if he stays and finishes what he's started that's great for Parramatta.''