After claiming the Ken Thornett Medal and the Coaches’ Award, Eels skipper Tim Mannah and winger Semi Radradra can thank some hard home truths from Eels' Head Coach Brad Arthur earlier in the season.
Dyldam Parramatta Eels captain Tim Mannah was awarded the 2015 Ken Thornett Medal as the NRL Players’ Player earlier in the week and Blue and Gold Head Coach had nothing but praise for the skipper.
Arthur reviewed Mannah’s season as his best to date, putting it down to the hard work off the field that lead to the strong performances on the field in 2015.
“Timmy had a really strong season, and in my opinion, it’s probably the best he has played over his career to date,” Arthur said.
“It wasn’t a fluke, he worked really hard throughout the year, he worked on his diet and gave himself every opportunity through his preparation to be ready to play consistent footy week in week out.”
“He got some big minutes out for us and he managed to do that every single week, and there wasn’t a game where he walked off disappointed with his effort levels.” Arthur added.
However Mannah admitted to NRL.com that he had been given a rev up from Arthur before the season about not being complacent.
"[Arthur] just challenged me to getting back to doing the extra training that I usually do and not dropping off or not getting complacent as a footy player. It was really good for me to get that. I kind of went back to what I was doing as a youngster and it definitely helped my game," he said.
Mannah knows the coach had his reasons for the talking-to and it came at the right time.
"He had a go at me about not being complacent and just taking my game to another level. I stewed on that for a few days during the break and I thought that was for me a turning point in my season," he said.
"The timing was really good and he really helped me click into gear heading into the season."
During the night of the 2015 Ken Thornett Medal, Arthur presented winger Semi Radradra with the Jack Gibson NRL Coaches’ Award and the head coach said it was hard to overlook the semi-trailer.
“It was hard to pick because I think Corey Norman had a good season but it was very hard to overlook Semi with the records that he set with the tries, the back to back doubles,” Arthur said.
“In limited opportunities, in terms of missing six games, it is a pretty big effort especially in the NRL to finish top try scorer in a team that doesn’t make the Semi Finals.”
Whilst Arthur the decision between Norman and Radradra was a tough one, the head coach pinpointed a certain game from the season that became a turning point in the winger’s season.
“I think a turning point in the year was the Warriors game where he really cost the team some tries and went close to costing us the victory.” Arthur said.
“He got told a few home truths and really knuckled down from there.”
“Playing footy became more than just a game to him it became something that was really important to him.” Arthur added.
That game was lost by the Eels in golden point after outscoring their opponents three tries to two but failed to kick a single goal before going down in golden point. Aside from missing opportunities (and scoring one try) Radradra made three errors and was penalised three times that game.
“He really owned his performance that day and took it on board and from there," Arthur said at the Eels Ken Thornett Medal.
"All of a sudden he just stepped up and started becoming a bit of a leader. He started to talk more at training and it wasn't just a game of football any more to him, it actually meant something. The development of Semi over that back end of the year as a leader and as a player but more so as a person and what the game meant to him was the reason why we gave him the award."