Eels extend coach Arthur's NRL contract
Parramatta have handed Brad Arthur a two-year NRL contract extension despite initially holding off on making a head coaching decision until June.
After weeks of scrutiny over their long-term plans, the Eels announced a new deal for Arthur that will tie him to the club until the end of the 2021 season.
The development comes just days after Parramatta lost to Melbourne by 54 points - their heaviest defeat in the Arthur era and biggest in six years.
The Eels had initially given Arthur, who was off-contract at the end of the year, until June to push his case to retain his position.
However, it appears the club has seen enough improvement from last year's wooden-spooners, who are in eighth spot, to tie up Arthur for the long term.
"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," Eels chief executive Bernie Gurr said.
"It is the view of the board and the CEO that Brad is the best choice to lead our club's football program into the future."
The decision also comes a day after unveiling plans for a new $40 million headquarters based in Sydney's north-west in Kellyville - just around the corner from Arthur.
The 44-year-old's new deal means he is on track to surpass John Monie, the man who last led the Eels to a title in 1986, as Parramatta's second longest-serving coach
Arthur is eight games shy of the 137 coached by Monie - with Brian Smith's 243 matches in charge well in the distance.
"I feel very fortunate to be able to continue coaching at this great club," Arthur said.
"We have a proud and passionate supporter base and I want to give them the results they deserve.
"Everyone involved in our football program realises the responsibility we have in bringing sustained success to our members and fans and that remains our priority."
With Arthur locked in, the focus now turns to the club's plethora of off-contract players, including skipper Clint Gutherson and halfback Mitchell Moses.
First-choice players Daniel Alvaro, Michael Jennings, Manu Ma'u, Tim Mannah, Tepai Moeroa, Brad Takairangi and Peni Terepo are also without deals for next year.
Gutherson has reportedly been given a deadline of Friday to accept an offer to remain, amid speculation that the Eels are is interested in Penrith back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
© AAP 2019