Peni Terepo (left) of the Eels pushes through a tackle by Jackson Hastings of the Roosters.
Peni Terepo (left) of the Eels pushes through a tackle by Jackson Hastings of the Roosters. DEAN LEWINS

Sterling: 'When are these blokes going to learn?'

EELS great Peter Sterling has slammed the Parramatta players still dragging the club through the mud with a series of off-field incidents over the summer.

After enduring the toughest season in its history and a salary cap scandal that crippled the club, Semi Radradra, Kenny Edwards and Peni Terepo have each made headlines for the wrong reasons in recent months.

Last week Tepero was stood down after being convicted of careless driving in New Zealand in an incident that resulted in him being thrown through his car windscreen. He also refused to provide a blood-alcohol test to police.

Eels officials only learned of the news via media reports and Terepo's future at the club is on the line, while Radradra could find himself in a similar position when he answers serious domestic violence charges in court later this month.

Edwards' own domestic violence offences are also still before the courts, and Sterling has had a gutful of misbehaving players threatening the club's turnaround on and off the park.

"Disappointment doesn't sum it up - it's devastating," Sterling said.

"You start to think, 'when are these blokes going to learn?'. The hardest thing is trying to work out why they can't understand what they're jeopardising.

"They lead a charmed life, the alternative for a lot of these blokes is very different to being a highly paid professional sportsman.

"That's got to get through. But it is a problem at all clubs, not just Parramatta. But they have had more than their fair share and it's carried on.

"You do hope that eventually the message gets through.

"I'd like to think that the introduction of a Bernie Gurr will see that happen now ... but at the very least it's very disappointing to see the club dragged through the mud again through poor decisions by its players."

It was Sterling who first publicly endorsed Gurr to take on the Eels CEO role - just about the toughest job in the game given the endless scandal and factionalism the club finds itself embroiled in.

Gurr's first few months in the job have been, as expected, eventful to say the least.

As well as player scandals and Radradra's protracted move to French rugby next season, Parramatta's new top dog has set to work on rectifying a record $11 million operating loss and finding a new major sponsor after the club launched legal action against previous backer Dyldam.

This time last year Sterling was hailing marquee recruit Keiran Foran as the best signing in Eels history, only for the star No.7 to walk away from the club and rugby league amid a raft of personal issues.

With the Auckland Nines launching the 2017 season this weekend, Parramatta's greatest half has heaped similar praise on Gurr.

"I'm sure that the last six months for Bernie have been a real eye-opener and a learning curve for him coming back into that chief executive position," Sterling said.

"But I'm sure that from here on in that things are going to be much more settled at the club.

"The decision making will be much better and I think he'll bring a stability that's been missing for way, way too long from the club.

"I'm really excited about Bernie. I think he's going to be the best signing that we've made in a long, long time."

News Corp Australia


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