Parramatta coach Brad Arthur insists he never lost faith in his players, despite having the axe hover over his head as a result of last year’s wooden spoon.
The Eels announced on Tuesday that Arthur had secured a two-year contract extension, a reward for Parramatta’s strong start to the season.
The club originally wanted to wait until June to decide the future of the coach, however the performances over the opening two months of the season convinced the Eels he was the right man for the job.
Arthur told NRL.com he never felt in danger of being sacked.
“I’m a realist, and I know this is a results-driven business. I get that part of it,” Arthur said.
“I know it wasn’t a great year last year and it wasn’t acceptable. But I never lost faith in the team. I feel like we’ve done a lot of hard work over many years. Things don’t just happen overnight. The club has supported us and no one has whinged and complained. We’ve got on with it.
“I knew there was always the possibility of losing the job. I knew that. I knew I was under pressure. But the club has been fantastic and always reassured me that they knew I was the right person for the job.
"The review of the overall club and my position last year, I think that helped that as well. The club has always been committed to helping support me. I never felt like I lost the right to coach this club.”
Arthur’s signing is the first major contract renewal at a club with a plethora of talent looking for new deals.
However Arthur wouldn’t be drawn into speculation around skipper Clint Gutherson and the other off-contract players.
“All we can worry about it is exactly what we can do right now,” Arthur said.
“That’s our next training session. That’s our next performance. We can only worry about what’s next, not three or four weeks away. As a team, we don’t talk about stuff we have no control over. We talk about attitude. The will and the want and the heart to wear the jersey.”
Arthur is into his sixth season in charge at the Eels but has only managed to take the club to one finals series.
One of the discussion points around his contract renewal was a desire to see more consistency from the football team.
“I’ve got somethings in there that are important to club – being consistent both on and off the field. We want to be in a better position next year. Then the year after that we want to be in a better position than that.
“It’s great to continue with this club. I really feel like the club is heading in the right direction. Being out in the Hills area, seeing all the good young kids coming through.
"I feel like the club has real stability. The other part of it is this playing group. I’m close to them and want to work with them. I’m the lucky person. It’s a privilege to coach this team.”