A ray of sunshine has finally shone on Parramatta’s dark year with coach Brad Arthur handed a contract extension until the end of the 2019 NRL season.
In what has easily been the worst campaign in the club’s history, Arthur remarkably is the first to sign, or re-sign, this year with the Eels.
Chairman Max Donnelly trumpeted the signing of Arthur on Friday as pivotal to the club’s future, despite the side failing to make the finals since Arthur took over three seasons ago.
Under his guidance, Parramatta finished 10th in 2014, 12th in 2015 and are set to the miss the finals again in 2016 due to the club’s well-documented salary-cap scandal including the loss of 12 competition points.
They have not made the finals since their fairytale run to the 2009 grand final.
Arthur, who has been widely praised for defiantly keeping the Eels competitive through their turbulent campaign, penned the deal before Friday night’s home match against Manly.
“When you have someone of Brad’s quality in your club, it makes perfect sense to secure that person for the long term,” Donnelly said.
“A key factor in our decision is Brad’s drive and commitment to the improvement of our club on and off the field.
“He is always looking at taking our team to the next level and it was essential that he be part of our club’s plans going forward.”
In the same week prodigal son Jarryd Hayne controversially joined rivals Gold Coast, the former Sea Eagles’ assistant remained confident the club was on the up.
“I have been proud of the way our team has managed to front up week in, week out and that comes down the accountability we have shown to each other, the club and our fans,” Arthur said.
“It has been a challenging year but it’s time to focus on the great opportunity we now have to take our club in a positive direction.”