Brown answers Arthur's challenge with marathon effort against Bulldogs
Nathan Brown made a personal request to Brad Arthur, then answered the return of serve with a mammoth 80-minute effort to spearhead Parramatta's face-saving win against arch rivals Canterbury.
Brown played every minute of the Eels' gritty 14-8 triumph over the Bulldogs to finish with a gut-busting 26 runs for 249 metres with 40 tackles to boot.
After proving himself the bargain buy of 2017 with his impact and work rate in the middle, this was just Brown's second 80-minute performance of a 2018 campaign hindered by an ankle injury.
Arthur revealed after the win, which drew last-placed Parramatta level with Canterbury and North Queensland on the ladder, that he let Brown loose for the entire match only after the 25-year-old answered a personal challenge of his.
"He spoke to me about going back and making sure that he was getting 80 minutes and I challenged him that he had to earn it," Arthur said.
"There was a couple of things in his game that he needed to work on and get right. I saw him do that during the week and then I saw that happen tonight.
"He's a leader. Not so much with what he says but just with his actions on the field. He's one of those blokes that competes and competes right to the death.
"If there's a tackle to be made in the corner he's getting across there to make it. He's a real winner and he showed that tonight."
For Brown, quickening up his play-the-ball speeds was one area Arthur wanted to see improved before giving him an extended crack at Canterbury.
He and his Parramatta teammates now get nine days rest before taking on his former club South Sydney, the premiership favourites and benchmark forward pack boasting one of the game's elite endurance men in Sam Burgess.
"They're the team to beat, they've won nine in a row," Brown said.
"They're playing some really good footy and looking really good. We've got to enjoy this win and come back again next week for a massive game.
"I was there for two years and I enjoyed my time there… I still talk to the Burgess boys. Big Sammy, he's a mate of mine and I'm looking forward to playing against my mates there.
"He's one of the toughest players currently and one of the toughest in the last decade or so.
"Everyone knows the type of player Sammy is. I'm lucky enough to have played alongside him."