Parramatta Eels Supporters Website
JH and a GOOD front rower is what we need. Not some has been or some "soft" runner of the ball like Alvaro or Mannah.
Hayne not the answer I don't care what people say
We need that Pommy I cant think of he name he wont to play NRL we must get him and one front rower and a winger I think Brett Morris be a good buy Greg Eastwood be a cheap buy
So let's recap this for the briefest of moments. Everyone recalls that Brad Arthur inherited a NRL roster that ran 14th, 16th and 16th from 2011-2013 but it is rarely mentioned that he also had the huge luxury of taking on a NYC roster that finished 12th, 15th and 14th in the same period.
Since Arthur took over the Eels have missed the Holden Cup finals just the once (2015) and finished Top 4 twice. They made the Grand Final in 2017 despite missing in excess of 8 first choice starters (Tui Afualo, Blaise Barnes, Steve Dresler, Haze Dunster, Michael Tupou, Filia Utoikamanu, Beni Valu all suffering season ending injuries while Dane Aukafolau, Troy Dargan and Ray Stone played a significant amount of football in the ISP) and fielding teams that featured as many as seven, SEVEN (!!!), SG ball eligible players (Tui Afualo, Noel Aukafolau, Dylan Brown, Haze Dunster, John Fonua, Joe Taipari, Filia Utoikamanu).
That isn't even mentioning our success in the District Representatives over the same period:
So pray excuse me when I scoff at the notion that Brad Arthur has no idea when it comes to juniors. It is in fact the complete opposite and the vast majority of fans are simply ignorant (and some wilfully so) of the scope of the overhaul he instituted in Parramatta's junior systems.
Now for recruitment.
Arthur definitely had a chequered start to recruitment at Parra, if for varying reasons. Watmough was clearly signed with the intent to purge the rancid playing culture that permeated the club after consecutive spoons and a parade of shitty coaches. BA gambled on Watmough holding together physically for a couple more seasons and lost bad. Fair play for criticism there.
Foran was a swing for the fences. Clean cut player on and off the field. Champion player at club and international level. A proven winner with the bulk of his career still in front of him. We paid a premium for him but much like Newcastle with Kalyn Ponga, when you are that bereft of talent you have to take risks. Turns out Foran had more demons than Dante's Inferno. Demons that no one knew about prior to his self-destructive spiral at Parra and if anyone says otherwise I'm calling them a liar. Foran was a complete cleanskin by reputation at Manly and his downfall was as much a surprise to Manly fans as it was to Parra.
Under pinning this whole cycle of recruitment and retention is farcical nature of our board(s) and CEO(s) and the rapidly unraveling salary cap. Arthur inherited a cap and roster shot to pieces by Ricky Stuart and Roy Spagnolo and then had to work within the confines of the 2016 sanctions brought on by Seward and Sharp. No other coach has done more with less when it comes to recruitment.
Kirisome Auva'a, Nathan Brown, David Gower, Clinton Gutherson, Cameron King, Suaia Matagi and Will Smith have all played significantly above their pay grades for the Eels. Brown and Gutherson are borderline stars by the by, pretty ordinary recruitment, right? Beau Scott was outstanding in 2016 but I will concede he struggled with injury this season and his play slowed down as a result.
Arthur has shown both patience and decisiveness to land the likes of Michael Jennings and Mitchell Moses (who both have played superb football under this guidance) while avoiding the pitfalls in cap management of past head coaches. Our roster and cap have never been healthier.
‘But he never bloods any juniors’ is another popular criticism for Arthur and it is true that when you look at the numbers in a vacuum. The Eels have not had a huge influx of youth in the top roster recently. That comes back to the pitiful NYC rosters he was blessed with (remember those 12th, 15th and 14th finishes from 2011-2013?) and the complete lack of talent at the club. Bevan French and Daniel Alvaro were successfully developed in the window he has had at Parramatta while Pauli Pauli was given every chance to excel before departing the club.
To remedy this, on top of developing an array of internal talent (see 2017 SG Ball and NYC squads) we have also aggressively targeted young talent from other clubs. Reed Mahoney, Salesi Faingaa, Greg Leleisiuao, Ray Stone and the recently announced Jaemen Salmon are all external talent that either have excellent pedigree at the old clubs or have excelled at Parramatta.
This will obviously come across as overly unicorny and what not but I really do not care at this point. You can level legitimate criticism at Brad Arthur for a variety of things. His bench management and use of interchanges frustrated me through the opening half of 2017. The Eels have struggled coming out of bye weeks in recent seasons and we invariably have a trap game or two where we play down to our opposition. There is clearly room for improvement for him as a coach but he is still relatively young in the role and has thrived in taking on the hardest job in the business BAR NONE.
I am almost certain at the point that a significant portion of our fanbase enjoys wallowing in misery. Avoiding complacency by criticising legitimate weakness and flaws is an important part of forging ahead but all I see are petty, silly or outright false complaints after a season in which we finished Top 4 despite a raft of injuries to key personnel while playing out of a neutral home venue.
So by all means stay on the case of Arthur whenever he does something blatantly wrong or coaches a bad game but don’t spread the fallacy that he has no idea about juniors or recruitment. From top to bottom this club has not been healthier in a long, long time.
Forty for heavens sake why spoil our pity party with the facts
Nice. But we still need a big bopper. Give me that, and I am happy we can go further.