While Parramatta’s 2021 season ended on Saturday night in a semi-final loss, the Eels have been praised for their effort in the tight 8-6 defeat to a favoured Penrith side.
Although it’s the third consecutive year that the side has bowed out in week two of the finals series, many view the Eels’ performance against a high-quality outfit as a sign of improvement and that the side has progressed from both 2019 and 2020.
With coach Brad Arthur’s future in the spotlight following the loss, The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio was asked if he believed Arthur had escaped the “crosshairs” due to his side’s strong performance.
“Yeah, I believe they have,” Riccio said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“If this game had been a blowout, serious questions would have been asked about the coach’s future.
“Again, I’m hinging it off how many players are off-contract at Parramatta and free to negotiate from November 1.
“Those players want to know who the coach will be beyond next season, it’s not just about 2022 for Brad Arthur.
“It’s about beyond that for him and the 14 players, I think it now turns back on Parramatta’s management to come out publicly and declare their position on where they stand with Brad Arthur beyond next season.
“We will start to see a Tigers scenario unfold where players won’t sign if they don’t know who the coach is.”
Riccio believes the performance on Saturday indicates that the players are playing for and responding to their head coach.
“I thought the performance on the weekend certainly indicated that that’s a side playing for its coach,” Riccio said.
“The only question around Brad is if he has the capabilities to take that club to the promised land of what they want, which is a premiership.
“I would argue whether that roster is a premiership winning roster anyway, and that the build is continuing.”
Arthur is currently contracted with the club until the end of the 2022 season.