Michael Maguire 'wants the job' as Billy Slater emerges as candidate for Parramatta coach

Maguire is reportedly keen to get a head coaching role at club level.

Parramatta are on the hunt for a new coach after Brad Arthur was sacked with immediate effect on Monday and they have identified rival State of Origin coaches as his potential replacement. The Eels were far from discrete in naming Wayne Bennett as the man they wanted to take over from Arthur.

But with the veteran coach penning a three-year deal to join South Sydney for the 2025 season, the Eels have cast the net wide in search of their next coach. While numerous names have been thrown around in recent days, Billy Slater and Michael Maguire are said to be at the top of the Eels wish list.

Michael Maguire pictured left and Billy Slater right
Parramatta are on the hunt for a new coach and rival Origin coaches Michael Maguire and Billy Slater are reportedly of interest. Image: Getty

Slater has been in high demand since taking over as Queensland State of Origin coach and Maguire has experience at NRL level and is reportedly keen to return to a full-time head coaching role. While it is expected that the Eels will try to speak to the Marrons coach, it is widely known that he is happy juggling his Origin coaching role with media obligations. And James Hooper believes the only coaching job that could change that, is his beloved Storm.

"Tell them they’re dreaming. Billy Slater, no chance … they’re shooting for the impossible," Hooper said on NRL 360 of the prospect of Slater becoming Eels coach. "They should have gone after Wayne in January when they had the opportunity, they didn’t.

"The only club I could ever see Billy coaching is Melbourne Storm, and that’s if he has a desire whatsoever to coach in the NRL – which at this point with all his media commitments, all his other commitments in life, I don’t think he does."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16: QLD Maroons head coach Billy Slater and NSW Blues head coach Michael Maguire pose for a photograph during the 2024 State of Origin Series Launch at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 16, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Billy Slater and Michael Maguire are currently gearing up for the 2024 State of Origin series.

But it is a different story entirely with Maguire, who last coached at NRL level with the Wests Tigers in 2022. Before taking the Blues job at the end of last year, he was the head coach of New Zealand and also served as an assistant coach to Ricky Stuart at the Raiders.

Since leaving the Tigers, he has helped mentor a young Canberra team and helped guide the Kiwis to a record-breaking 30-0 thumping of the Kangaroos in the final of the Pacific Championships. And he is understood to be eager to get back into the NRL hot seat.

The timing is awkward for Maguire, who would need to be holding talks with Parramatta officials in the middle of his first Origin campaign. But Braith Anasta told NRL360 that he has been informed that Maguire will be keen to juggle his commitments as he 'wants the job' at the Eels. "I’m hearing he does (want the Eels job)," Anasta said.


A strong Origin campaign from Maguire would likely assist him in his chances of landing the job with the Eels. And Michael Carayannis believes he is the most credentialed candidate on the Eels wish list.

"He wants that job," Carayannis said. "I think he’s the best-experienced coach on the market. If that’s the way they’re going to go – to go for an experienced coach who has NRL experience, Michael Maguire is the best option."

The former powerhouse club say they are in no rush to name a new coach, with Trent Barrett taking over this season in an interim role. But chief executive Jim Sarantinos revealed they have started to put together a list of potential candidates for the job, with the highly-credentialed Jason Ryles one of the other names on that list.

Ryles was part of Melbourne's premiership glory in 2017 and also helped the Storm reach two other grand finals. He also was reportedly the preferred candidate for St George Illawarra's vacant head coaching role last year.

However, Ryles snubbed the Dragons in favour of working under Bellamy. Other names reportedly in consideration for the Eels job are Blake Green - who is currently an assistant to Adam O’Brien at Newcastle - and former Titans coach Justin Holbrook.