Matt Elliott has paid the price for Penrith’s poor start to the NRL season, with the coach told his
five-year reign at the club will end after this season.
With the Panthers sitting 14th on the ladder after just two wins from seven matches, Elliott was informed of the decision by Panthers chairman Don Feltis and chief executive Michael Leary.
Former St George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown, currently in charge of Super League leaders Huddersfield in England, has previously been linked with the job, while the likes of Origin coaches Ricky Stuart and Mal Meninga have also stated their desire to return to NRL coaching.
Penrith assistant coach Steve Georgallis has also been touted as a possible successor, but it’s believed the club will go for someone with previous NRL head coaching experience.
Brown said last week he had not been approached by the Panthers but was keen to return to the NRL, after being replaced by Wayne Bennett at St George Illawarra at the end of the 2008 season.
“Home’s home, so if an opportunity arises (in the NRL) it’s something we definitely want to look at,” Brown told the Sunday Telegraph.
“I’ve taken the theory that so long as I’m doing well at Huddersfield, then eventually something might come along.”
The Panthers’ efforts this season have falled well below expectations after the finished the 2010 regular season just below minor premiers St George Illawarra.
They bowed out of last year’s finals series with back-to-back losses as injuries to key players cruelled their premiership hopes, but they have struggled mightily this year, giving up in excess of 40 points in their first two home games.
Their only wins of 2011 have been against Canberra and Parramatta, who themselves are struggling in the bottom half of the ladder.
Under Elliott, the Panthers have made the finals only once (in 2010), having finished with the wooden spoon in his first year at the club in 2007, before slowly climbing the ladder to finish 12th and 11th in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Prior to arriving at Penrith, Elliott had mixed success at Canberra – finishing in the top eight in four of his five seasons with the Raiders but failing to win any finals games with the club.