Arthur: I couldn’t be any prouder

Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has commended his team on their efforts during this difficult season after their strong 30-18 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons.

“I couldn’t be any prouder.” Arthur said.

“I know I keep saying it but there hasn’t been a lot to want to play for but they still manage to keep hanging in there and playing for each other.”

“We played some really good footy tonight our defence was great for majority of the game”.

“We built pressure on the back of our defence and it’s just unfortunate that it has to end like this.”

“I think we’re a good enough team, I think we should be paying semi-final football.”

“I’m not happy about the last little bit probably not fair on the boys because they’ve worked really hard. We probably just took the foot off the pedal a little bit there the last 5-7 minutes."

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The future looks promising for the blue and gold as young fullback Bevan French scored a hat trick in his side’s win.

“He’s getting better isn’t he?” Arthur said of French.

“Had a bit of a chat with him this week that scoring tries is great but trying to pride himself on stopping them is better.” “

“Him and Clint Gutherson, every time you tell them something they make sure they go out of their way to try and improve it.”

“While they keep doing that they’ll have a long time in the game and a long time at this club.”

Arthur was also impressed with Clint Gutherson in his game as five eighth.

“He (Gutherson) gives himself every chance to get better ,” Arthur said.

“He’s first in to do video, he’s last off the training paddock all the time.

“I think the forwards gave him plenty of opportunities tonight as well. Our forwards, I thought were really good and totally dominated.”

After a difficult season through injury and off field incidences, Arthur said he is looking forward to the 2017 pre-season and working strongly with new combinations.

“We haven’t had much luck with combinations this year we didn’t really get to do a whole lot in the pre-season with combinations,” he said.

“With a more settled team going into this pre-season and knowing who is going to play where and who is going to do what it’ll give us an opportunity to get three solid months and hopefully our attack will be better for it.”

“It’s continually reported that we’re a basket case but we’re not.”

“We are a strong club and we are going to make sure we move forward and this playing group is committed to each other and the club and I’m committed to them.”

“Hopefully there is only positives ahead for us, the fact that they all want to stay.”

“The players sell a team and a club.”

“They’re the ones that talk, they’re the one that help you recruit other players. Our boys have worked hard and they enjoy it here.”

“I am grateful it be able to coach this group of players.”

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Although the prospect on 2017 is exciting, Arthur wants his side to be focused on finishing off the season strong.

“To be honest we are just looking at next week,” he said.

“We deserve to finish the year off strong and then we deserve to probably have a couple of weeks where we don’t even think about footy for a while.”

“It’s been a long year, we’re looking forward to 2017 but it’s a long way away at the moment.”

“I just want the boys to aim up next week and not even worry about footy for their six weeks off.”

As it was the last home game at Pirtek Stadium as we know it, Arthur said it was good to finish off the season with some wins in front of a home crowd.

“It was nice for us to get a win.”

“I think in 2014 our home record was great, the last couple of years, we put in some strong performances but we probably haven’t won enough games here in the last couple of years.”

“It was fitting to finish that way.”

Co-captain Tim Mannah agreed that it was good to leave Pirtek Stadium on a high after all the great memories the club had had there.

“It was nice feeling to go out there with a win,” he said.

“Yesterday it kind of sunk in, our last training session here and a lot of good memories.”

“Moving forward the clubs got some success in front of us, and we’ve got to just get used to playing anyway. It was good while it lasted here but it’s time to move on.”

Mannah credited his team’s performance this season to Head Coach Brad Arthur and his ability to keep his side focused and determined to perform well this season.

“It’s pretty well documented, we’ve had a lot go on this year,” Mannah said.

“But to Brad’s credit he has done a good job to help the playing group not feel too much of the load, I think he has had to carry a lot of that load.”

“There were times there was a bit of a lack of leadership in terms of a few roles up in senior management that weren’t filled and I think Brad was carrying a lot of that burden.”

“But he did a really go job o to help us to focus on footy and just do what we have to do and our job.”

“I guess the players didn’t find it as hard as Brad would of but we’re pretty grateful for that.”

The Eels will now focus on preparing for their final game of the season against the New Zealand Warriors next Sunday.