Arthur’s emotional plea: Don’t leave, Gutho
Newly re-signed Parramatta coach Brad Arthur's first order of business after inking a new two-year deal will be to convince off-contract fullback Clint Gutherson to join him long-term at the Eels.
Arthur's retention has Parramatta management convinced Gutherson will commit to the club and keep the pair united until at least the end of 2021.
Parramatta placed a Friday deadline on Gutherson to accept their three-year $1.95 million offer but there were suggestions the club may now pull back on their threat.
Negotiations between Parramatta and Arthur were prolonged but the playing roster know now who will coach the club for the next two-and-a-half seasons.
Gutherson and Arthur share a strong bond. The fullback regularly stated he would not commit to the club until he knew his coach's future.
Arthur told The Daily Telegraph that he wanted Gutherson alongside him as the two attempt to return Parramatta to a rugby league powerhouse.
"I've told him I have committed to the club and that I'd like him to stay and be part of trying to help us build the club," Arthur said.
"Me and Gutho talk all the time about different things and he knows my intentions are that I want him to stay. We have a really good relationship. He is a really good leader for us.
"It's up to Gutho from here but I'm hoping it (the coach re-signing) certainly helps with his decision moving forward.
"He is obviously still developing as a leader. He is our leader moving forward and hopefully he feels the same. I know the club is keen and motivated to keep him.
"I am passionate about the club. It's more than just a footy club to me. It's part of my life. Every decision I have made - and I don't always get things right - is what I think - and it might not be what everyone else thinks - is best for the club.
"It's always been about the club and the team. I've got good respect with the playing group and I believe in them. I also believe the club is heading in the right direction. I hope all our boys want to stay and I think they do."
Arthur's decision may also influence off-contract halfback Mitchell Moses to re-sign. Despite continuing to be linked with Brisbane, Parramatta officials are confident the playmaker will stay an Eel.
"I'd like Mitchell to stay," Moses said. "We have a young spine but we've seen some really good patches of play, although we haven't been consistent."
Moses will need to find that consistency with his third halves partner of the season, after Arthur dropped Jaemon Salmon in favour of utility Will Smith.
George Jennings will replace the suspended Maika Sivo on the wing, while Josh Hoffman comes into the centres for the injured Michael Jennings.
Arthur, his manager Chris Orr and Eels CEO Bernie Gurr undertook three weeks of intense negotiations before reaching Tuesday's outcome.
Parramatta have won five games from nine this season and sit in eighth spot.
"I understand we need to get results. I get it. We have a lot of young blokes here we have put a lot of time and effort into," Arthur said.
"With our administration we have some stability, our new (high performance) facility, the new stadium - there are a lot of positives about the club moving forward. Now we just need to see some consistency on the field."
Arthur admitted the spectre of having not won a premiership since 1986 hung over the club.
"That's the pressure. They (titles) don't happen overnight and you need to play a lot of good footy and get a lot of luck along the way," Arthur said.
Gurr explained why contract talks with Arthur spanned such a lengthy period.
"When we undertook our football review last year it was clear that a long-term strategy for our football department was needed to ensure our players and coaches have the best possible opportunity for success," Gurr said.
"It is the view of the board and CEO that Brad is the best choice to lead our club's football program into the future. We are focused on continuing to be a development club and we strongly believe in what Brad is building and his ability to lead our NRL team in the right direction."