Having taken his club from wooden spoon battlers to competition leaders, Brad Arthur is poised to become the longest-serving coach in Parramatta’s 73-year history.

Arthur could soon become the first Parramatta coach since the club’s premiership entry in 1947 to be in charge for a full 10 seasons – pipping Brian Smith, who was axed after nine-and-a-half seasons.

An early favourite for Dally M coach of the year, Arthur remains under contract until the end of next year with Parramatta officials seeking to renegotiate an extension.

Arthur will have completed eight years at Parramatta after next season with an anticipated new two-year deal – it could even be three – making him a decade Eel.

Smith fell just short of the 10-year milestone when he was sacked midway through 2006 for Jason Taylor.

Arthur (163 games) should also overtake Smith (243) with a new deal.

While formal talks are yet to start, Parramatta officials are “relaxed” about Arthur re-signing. His coaching stocks have risen to another level this year with Parramatta losing just one of the opening nine matches.

And with his Eels sitting on top of the NRL competition table, rival clubs may be tempted to have look at Arthur’s contract situation.

Arthur’s success is vindication for a Parramatta board who stuck solid when under pressure to dump their coach during the wooden spoon days of 2018.

There was even an online petition calling for Arthur to be removed and Wayne Bennett signed.

Parramatta has been coached by some of the biggest names in rugby league history, including Smith, Jack Gibson, John Monie, Vic Hey, Terry Fearnley, Mick Cronin, Ron Hilditch, Ken Kearney, Jack Rayner, Michael Hagan, Ian Walsh, Dave Bolton, Daniel Anderson, Ken Thornett, Norm Provan, Brian Hambly, Ron Lynch, John Peard and Ricky Stuart.

WE’RE CONFIDENT HE’LL STAY

 “We are keen for Brad to stay and we are confident he will stay,” Eels chief executive Jim Sarantinos said.

“I think Brad wants to be at the club and, to be perfectly honest, we’re comfortable he’s not going anywhere.

“It will get sorted when the time is right for everyone.

“He’s happy, we’re happy and he sees that the club is going in the right direction and I am pretty sure he is happy to stay and we’re happy for him to stay. I think everyone is pretty relaxed about it, to be honest.

“I’m sure we will go about our business quietly and work things out. That (contract talks) will come in due course, I would imagine. There’s no agitation or anxiety from anyone.

“It’s nice to be able to go about your business quietly without worrying too much about that kind of stuff. I think Brad is a Parramatta guy. He loves the club, he wants to be successful at this club and that means a lot. We want Brad to be successful at this club.”

Arthur started as Parramatta head coach in 2014 but was interim Eels coach for six games in 2012 when Steve Kearney was dumped.

After several modest seasons, Arthur has built a potential premiership-winning side through shrewd recruitment and retention. Victory over Manly at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night will finally give Arthur a 50 per cent win rate – 82 wins, 82 losses.

“Brad has done a terrific job in turning around the performances of the team,” Sarantinos said. “He has played a big role in really creating a close-knit unit among the players. I don’t think you can undersell the impact and influence he has had there.

“A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work over the last few years – including Brad - to get to a position where we have that opportunity for success.”

This season’s success has arrived after Parramatta reached week two of last year’s finals after a historic 58-0 week win over Brisbane in week one at Bankwest Stadium.

TOP 10 PARRAMATTA GAMES COACHED

1. Brian Smith – 243 (1997-2006)

2. Brad Arthur – 154 (2012, 2014-current)

3. John Monie – 149 (1984-1989)

4. Vic Hey – 108 (1948-1953)

5. Terry Fearnley –101 (1976-1979)

6. Mick Cronin – 88 (1990-1993)

7. Jack Gibson – 84 (1981-1983)

8. Ron Hilditch – 65 (1994-1996)

9. Ken Kearney – 59 (1962-1964)

10. Jack Rayner – 54 (1958-1960)

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Replies

  • Wow who would of thought, great scoop. If parra win the comp this year I'll celebrate for a month

    • Shawn I'm surprised you are able to post, given you have one hand on lurkers shaft and the other cupping his sack.

    • The world delusional comes to mind.!

  • We are now in a premiership window as they say. We have our major players signed up for a couple of years, a coach that has them on target. Life is good.

    • Joker

    • I agree, but don't jump the gun, anything can happen in footy.

  • SIGNING NEWS: Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur is expected to re-sign with the Eels on a 2 or 3 year deal in the coming weeks! #Eels4Life #PARRAdise 💙💛

  • Hopefully the good times remain - this will be the 3rd out of 4th year we are in the semis . Not since the Brian Smith era have we been regulars . Now that we have a great core and in premiership window may the good times last 

  • As far as I am concerned this man held this Club together in the toughest times ever experienced.  He has had to ride out years of ridiculous spending on the wrong players. He has had to overcome with time, previous piss poor recruitment, rention and talent development.  Then we have the salary cap matter whiich as a Club was arguably the most destructive issue this Club has ever faced.  Through all of this, he has stayed true.  He has remianed loyal and determined. Most would have done a runner.  Instead, he stood his ground and took the position of overhauling and fixing this Club and Team. As far as I am concerned he has done a massive and significant turn around.  Our Club is in a good and competitive position for the future. Well done BA.

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