After redefining the meaning of annus horribilis in 2016, Parramatta coach Brad Arthur just hopes the club is judged for their on-field resolve, not their off-field controversies.
In the wake of the NRL salary cap scandal, there isn’t too much to admire about the Eels set up this year – except for the manner in which his side has conducted themselves on the field.
The NSW government is on Monday expected to use their powers under liquor and gaming laws to sack the board.
With the writing on the wall, chairman Steve Sharp has fallen on his sword and NSW deputy premier Troy Grant will install a temporary administrator.
Throughout all the controversies – including Semi Radradra being charged with domestic violence offences, Kieran Foran asking for a release to address personal problems and Corey Norman being charged with drug possession – Arthur has kept his side focused.
After being deducted 12 points, their finals chances took a fatal blow when they were overrun 22-18 by Penrith on Sunday afternoon.
They have had every excuse to turn belly-up during the year but have been exemplary in their effort.
“You’ve seen what happened today, the boys didn’t give up even when they got a run of tries early in the piece,” Arthur said.
“We just didn’t give up and fought right til the end. We might have got lucky there with two minutes to go, we tap that ball back and we could have scored under the posts and it could have been great for us.
“We’re proud of this playing group and they just need to keep fronting up for themselves. At the moment we’ve got a lot of fans and we just want to keep fronting up for our fans.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle put in a valiant effort but were overcome 20-16 by title contenders Melbourne at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
A try to Jake Mamo three minutes from fulltime set up a grandstand finish but a double to Marika Koroibete proved the difference.
Brisbane showed they weren’t a spent force when they thumped South Sydney 30-10 on Saturday night.
Corey Oates crossed for a double while fullback Darius Boyd was outstanding as the Rabbitohs slumped to their sixth straight loss.
Manly kept their slim finals hopes alive when Daly Cherry-Evans booted a golden point field goal to fire his side to a 15-14 win over the Warriors in Perth.
On Friday night the Gold Coast jumped into the top eight over the top of St George Illawarra with a 32-12 win which heaped pressure on Dragons coach Paul McGregor.