Post the huge win over the Brisbane Broncos, the Triple M team took the time to chat to Brad Arthur, musing over his response to the NSW coaching debate (great response BA), Jennings centre shift, the rise of Nathan Brown, Will Smith’s form and the buzz out west as Parramatta head to their first finals appearance since 2009.
if you’d prefer to listen to the interview rather than read the transcript, then please click on the link
But if reading is your thing, I’ve taken the time out and , much to the chagrin of the better half (who had to endure me sitting with earphones on as I listened to the interview), written a transcript of the interview for you.
Yours in Blue and Gold,
MMM – brad Arthur Welcome to Saturday NRL
BA – afternoon boys
MMM – before we get to the Parramatta thing where do you weigh in on this …. You must have some opinion on this NSW coaching debate, slash, debacle … what would you say about it …
BA – I haven’t really given it much thought to tell the truth. I’m sure they’ll come up with the right person for the job.
MMM – Do you think that … what are your thoughts Brad on a current NRL coach taking the reigns as an Origin coach
BA – To me, and it’s only my opinion, you just get the best coach whether they’re going to be a full time NRL coach from one of the sixteen clubs or someone from outside that area
MMM – ok.
MMM – Hey Brad it’s Wendell Sailor mate, we were up there doing the game and I could believe what I seen up there, not many times the Broncos get smashed like that. Everyone’s talking about what Semi did and that but I’ve gotta say for your team the way they played together, Nathan Brown, he’s just an unsung hero of that team this year. He’s just really improved in his fitness and his work rate
BA – Yeah, Brownie’s going well. We set out at the start of the year, one of his goals was that he wants to make the starting team and then the second part of that he wanted to be an 80 minute player and he’s worked really hard. There’s still some areas of his game that we’d like to see him get better at, but yeah, he’s an inspiration to the rest of the playing group and everything he does is a part of the team first mentality. He’s a big part of the reason why we’re in contention for a finals position.
MMM – Hey Brad it’s Fletch here, moving Michael Jennings over to the opposite side, was that something, how did he take that? Cause he’s always obviously been a left centre.
BA – Yeah, Jenko was fine. We sort of talked about it a bit with him last year at stages, you know and he’s the ultimate professional, it was more so that Takas wanted to prefer to play down that right side of the field, but once we told the boys the reasoning behind the move Jenko was all for it. And he’s quite comfortable playing on that right side and defensively I don’t know if there’s many better defending centres in the game and it was an area that we needed to tidy up . Most of our points were being leaked down that right edge and since then we’ve put a bit of a stop to that.
MMM – what have you made of Will Smith? Obviously you know, you’ve had a hole to fill , you’ve had some fullbacks gown down for you this year but his form of the last couple of weeks going into the finals …. That must make you happy.
BA – Yeah, Will’s been good. He’s a player we can throw anywhere and he’ll get the job done. He’s still at times, probably not turning up in a few areas he should, but that’s just going to come with a bit of time with the rest of the team and training in that position, you know he hasn’t done a lot of training there with us this year because he’s been playing in the halves, a bit at dummy half, so he’s picked up the spot really comfortably. He’s just a natural footballer Will and the boys like having him there.
MMM – BA, I know we interviewed a couple of the boys after the game and there was vision when the Broncos scored their last try there and you whacked about three bottles away. You weren’t real happy about it. It sets a standard doesn’t it.
BA – Yeah look, it’s only the standards and expectations that we’ve set amongst ourselves, and while we were really happy with our attack, the majority of the game I thought our defence was very aggressive, positive and we forced a lot of errors, but then there was two soft tries at the end of the game and there was a period of ten minutes in the second half where we invited them into the contest. You can’t afford to do that against the good teams. We got lucky putting 50 points . Your not gonna score 50 points in semi finals. If your leaking 34 your certainly not going to be coming off the field winning the game.
MMM – What about Semi mate? Are you trying to convince him to hang around for a couple of more years?
BA – Yeah look, “Bula” , we know he’s going for 12 months and you know there’s every chance that he might come back in June, but there’s every chance that he might not either. You know he loves the club, he loves the NRL, he wants to go and play and you know do this part of what he wants to get out of his career and he’s told us, you know just to make sure that we do have a bit of room for him in the cap in case he wants to come back, so he’s the sort of player that we’ll have a bit of space for.
MMM – BA, I don’t see any weaknesses with Semi. Like when you’re doing contact and all that, all his tries showed so much of everything, all the skills you know, David Mead had no chance there when he went up for the kick he just got up there and took it and then, when he made that break he was like a race horse going down the straight at Melbourne Cup or something. You’re not going to stop him, he just looks so good, he was just cruising mate. IT must be good to see as a coach when you’ve got a player like that. He’s just blue chip.
BA – It’s very comfortable knowing that when he gets into space, very, very, very rarely does he not come up with the right play or get the result for you. The part to Semi’s game, there’s just still a couple of times that he lacks a little bit of concentration with some defensive, he’s got a lot better in that area but you know like the try at the end and there was a try off the scrum, where it’s just not good enough at the level, you know NRL standard.
MMM – You must be enjoying the hype out west at the moment mate, obviously it’s been a tough couple of years for the Eels, and it’s been a while since they went into a finals campaign with the ability to really put themselves in contention to win the title. What’s it feel like out there at the moment?
BA – I suppose it feels normal for us, you know we’re down at training . The support from our fans has been great regardless of where we’ve been sitting for the last couple of years. It’s probably more of a reward for our strong supporter base that we actually get the opportunity to play finals, but now for us as a playing group, you know you don’t get put in these positions very often, it’s a lot of hard work to get there and we’re going to make the most of it. We certainly don’t want to go into preseason of next year having any regrets. We wanna do the best we can and if that’s good enough , great, and if it’s not, well, you know, we’ll aim up and go again next year.