Parramatta Eels Supporters Website
BRAD Arthur has revealed a detail about star halfback Corey Norman’s hamstring injury that makes his man of the match performance against the Dragons plain frightening.
After starting the season on fire, Norman will miss Parramatta’s Friday night clash with the Titans due to a hamstring strain that went undetected until the Eels’ team was announced on Tuesday.
For the second straight week, the star No.7 was exceptional as he pulled the strings for the Eels on the way to a 34-16 victory over round one’s most impressive outfit.
Speaking to the Fox Sports’ NRL Market Watch podcast this morning, Arthur put that performance in perspective, revealing Norman played in second gear for the last 55 minutes after feeling his hamstring go.
“It’s just a strain that he did 15 minutes before half-time on the weekend,” Arthur said.
“In that first 25 or 30 minutes he was playing really fast into the line and just a little twinge there and he removed himself a little bit from the game and just directed us around the park.
“With the five day turnaround we just thought it was too tight and too much of a stretch to put him at risk in round three.”
Sitting atop the ladder after two impressive wins, the Eels have the luxury of leaving out their best player, with Arthur putting his trust in the halves combination that closed out 2016 as veteran Jeff Robson comes into the side to partner five-eighth Clint Gutherson.
“Robbo and Gutho played the last eight games together at the back end of last season so we’re more than comfortable that we’ll get the job done with those two,” Arthur said.
Norman was absent during that stretch due to an NRL imposed suspension for a string of off-field incidents that included a conviction for drug possession at the Star casino and a sex tape scandal.
The Eels kept the faith in Norman as the man to build their future around, re-signing him until 2019, and his early form this season backs that call.
“We’ve done a lot of tough work with him and I think he’d probably say the same I reckon with me,” Arthur said.
“We’ve persisted and persisted with him because we know the talent that he can be and the thing is, he’s still got a lot of upside in him, he’s only going to get better for us.
“He’s really enjoying that he’s got ownership of the team, he wants to take it in the right direction and he’s really matured with his game management and his game control and his patience.”
Norman is the senior member of a spine that was full of unknowns coming into 2017, with Kaysa Pritchard installed as an 80 minute hooker for the first time, Gutherson making the switch from a utility to a permanent half and precocious talent Bevan French transitioned from a winger with freakish finishing ability to the more demanding fullback role.
Arthur admitted putting that quartet together had been a gamble but said it was a calculated risk based on the expectation that Norman could go to another level.
“It’s a little bit of a gamble on our behalf but we’re going to back ourselves on the guys we’ve got there because they’re going to give us every opportunity to develop them,” Arthur said.
“You have a look at Cherry-Evans and Foran (when they were together at Manly), the relationship they developed, they had to start somewhere.
“They started young and down on experience but we’re of the belief we’ve put a team around these four blokes that can help with the leadership and take some control and give them something to play off if things don’t pan out as they need to on the field.”
Resting him for the big game the following week against the premiers
People need to remember this statement from BA when looking at the performances this year ahead.
"Norman is the senior member of a spine that was full of unknowns coming into 2017, with Kaysa Pritchard installed as an 80 minute hooker for the first time, Gutherson making the switch from a utility to a permanent half and precocious talent Bevan French transitioned from a winger with freakish finishing ability to the more demanding fullback role."
There is going to be games where things just don't go as planned and we need to suck it up and look at what we will potentially have in the future if all goes as we hope it does.
Geez really even Norman is still learning and has not reached he's potential yet.
I fear he has going to have this strain for the season and will regularly miss matches. Hope I am wrong.
Brads made a big mistake in his judgement of Robson and our halves situation/depth.
Watch out Snake you'll be tagged negative by the rainbow chasers.
Here this one an all. I totally agree with you and you know that does not happen often. Without Corey we have zip. He gets injured and we are rooted. Rest him for the game against the sharks but we roll over against the injury riddled cellar dwellers? Corruption or stupidity?