State of Origin stars James Tamou and Greg Bird will headline the Parramatta Eels’ 2014 shopping list, with the club banking on Ricky Stuart’s NSW connections to cure their recruitment woes.
Stuart’s bond with the state’s elite players is also the reason why Eels officials have left the door open for him to combine NSW and club duty – at least for next year.
Tamou and Bird are two of the competition’s most aggressive customers, making them natural targets.
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And Stuart’s link with the pair is a huge bonus.
He personally convinced Tamou to change Kiwi allegiance and carries a long-term friendship with Bird that extends back to their time together at Cronulla in 2008.
The appointment of Stuart as Parramatta coach for the next three years had barely been confirmed before attention turned to his continued involvement with the Blues.
Club power-brokers feel the trade-off might be worthwhile because of the recruitment bounty on offer in 2014.