Smith adds Sharp edge 09mar05 EELS head coach Brian Smith believes the return of Peter Sharp as his assistant will play a big part in the club's revival as an NRL force this season. Sharp was Parramatta's reserve-grade coach under Smith, winning a premiership in 1997 and leaving a year later to spend five eventful seasons as head coach of Manly (including the Northern Eagles joint venture). Last year he joined the Melbourne Storm as assistant coach. He has now become part of Smith's revamped coaching staff at the Eels in the wake of Alan Wilson's departure and Rod Reddy concentrating on recruiting. "Sharpy and I have remained in pretty close contact, even when he was at both Manly and Melbourne," Smith said. "We've had a good relationship on a personal level and we certainly had a good professional relationship when he worked here. "We've both had some different experiences in between time. We sat down and worked out what we needed to do to make it work together again and we were pretty confident we could get that to happen." Smith said Sharp's personality "really fits for us". "He's a vital part of how we're progressing, hoping to make big progression this season, and I'm sure Sharpy's going to play a big role in that," he said. Smith's only remaining assistant from last year, Jason Taylor, is in charge of the Premier League team. That ties in with a new approach in having several younger players train with the full-time squad, bringing the number to almost 40. Taylor has been involved in the Eels' coaching set-up since retiring after his successful single season in the blue and gold in 2001. "I felt, and he also felt, that it was time for him to have his own team to coach," Smith explained. "Having someone on the full-time staff coaching the Premier League team makes it a lot easier for us to stay on the same page. When you've got someone part-time as coach, it's not as smooth an operation when you've got a transfer of information about who's injured and what you're looking for and all that sort of stuff." Last season's Premier League coach, Matt Cameron, has taken over the Jersey Flegg under-20s. "Matt Cameron is highly rated in our club," Smith said. "We know we've got a lot of really talented boys in that age group this year and I felt it was appropriate for them to have a real quality coach there as well." Reddy, one of Smith's assistants for the past four years, is now primarily involved in recruitment work, along with Grant Jones, though Smith points out both also do junior development coaching and some positional training with the NRL squad.