Some big names line up for Smiths
job at the Eels

Parramatta Premier grade coach Jason Taylor has emerged as early favourite to replace Brian Smith directing the Eels after next season.

Only a month ago, chief executive Denis Fitzgerald declared the former halfback a first-grade coach in the making.

The Eels are in the market for a new coach after yesterday revealing they would not be offering Smith a contract when his existing deal runs out at the end of next year - even if the club wins the premiership.

Taylor heads the list of contenders thanks to his success in guiding Parramatta to last season's league title.

The wild-card in the mix could be Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens, who is talking to the premiers about extending his existing contract.

Sheens, off contract at the end of 2006, looms as a logical target following his reincarnation at the Tigers, where he led the club to its maiden title last season.

The Tigers, who handed Sheens a lifeline in 2003, have already opened talks with him and plan to resume when he returns from an off-season break.

"Tim and I have had a number of discussions," Tigers chief executive Steve Noyce said. "I have said a number of times he's the best signing the club has made."

Several other coaches are likely to throw their hat in the ring.Peter Sharp has head coaching experience with Manly and the Northern Eagles and would be keen to take over the top job.

In an exemplary piece of timing, Britain coach Brian Noble, who led Bradford to the Super League title this season, also revealed he was keen to test himself in the NRL.

Wigan coach Ian Millward is likely to receive an airing while former Test coach Chris Anderson is arguably the most successful coach on the open market.