Brad Arthur had become used to watching his team play NRL premiership football and make it to the finals, but a dismal 2023 campaign has prompted the seasoned coach to make a change.

Due to injuries, bans, and squad changes during the season, Parramatta finished outside the top eight after playing in September for four years in a row and making one grand final appearance.

In a disastrous season, second-rower Shaun Lane was limited to just 10 appearances for the Eels, while Dylan Brown and Ryan Matterson also saw time on the sidelines.

“I think he has understood more so than ever the importance of being unified as a team and all working together towards the same goal,” Lane stated to Wide World of Sports.

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“I am aware that he has been working hard on himself as well. Our leadership is the foundation of everything, and he has done a fantastic job of refining himself throughout the off-season and determining what he needs to do better for us.

Our pre-season training regimen seems to be bringing it out; it feels like the best program I’ve ever participated in. For the most part, it’s been fun, even if you get flogged every day.

Although the 49-year-old has been leading the blue and gold team for the previous ten years—he reached the 250-game mark last year—Arthur has not yet helped the Eels end their winning streak.

Though the team’s trophy cabinet hasn’t expanded much, the coach has developed close bonds with some players, including as dependable captain Clint Gutherson, mysterious halfback Mitchell Moses, and standout front-row player Junior Paulo.

And with Arthur and the entire squad forced to watch the finals series from their living rooms last year, Gutherson knows that will only make the coach hungrier.

“He’s just become more driven, like all of us,” he stated.

“You should always try to participate in the big events and give yourself a chance to win, rather than just watching them on TV.

“Brad is no different—every year he leads from the front with even greater zeal and enthusiasm. When things go wrong, he’s the first to raise his hand.

“The boys have bought into what he is trying to push this year … it’s a great feeling at the club right now.”

On Saturday, March 9, Parramatta will play their first game of the season against the Bulldogs.

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