Tim Mannah and Jarryd Hayne will co-captain the team in 2014. Copyright: NRL Photos/Colin Whelan. Credit: NRL Photos/Colin Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos/Colin Whelan.
Brad Arthur's first order as Parramatta coach was banishing any talk of losing. There would be no jokes about wooden spoons and everything that came with the disaster of the previous two years. If there was anything he learned from his time in Manly and Melbourne, it was that positivity breeds success.
And that negativity undermines it.
"Brad's been big on making sure we leave the past in the past and move forward, not dwelling on it too much," co-captain Tim Mannah told NRL.com at Parramatta's season launch on Thursday night.
"We've definitely left it all in the past and we're focusing, not only the future, but the present."
Unlike in previous years, the present doesn't include the kind of expensive, high-profile recruit (or coach) designed to immediately lift the spirits of a frustrated fan base. But it does consist of a raft of signings that come with more to prove than the coach who previously held the clipboard.
And they might've also expected to arrive to a gloomier place.
"To be honest, I came down here and all the boys were happy to be at training and I thought that was real good of them. I mean, you couldn't tell that they've got two wooden spoons in a row, you know?" Corey Norman said.
"Brad just wanted everyone to be positive and not worry about what happened the last two years. It's a new coaching staff and new players. It's just a whole new vibe he's trying to bring to Parramatta and all the boys have bought into it."
Being upbeat was never going to be a problem for Mannah, who insists his belief in both his role in the club and the team had never wavered despite the mounting losses that came under his watch.
"You learn a lot about yourself in tough times, and you learn about different characteristics," he said.
"Obviously there were times when it's been very challenging, but I've got a lot of good people around me who've been great mentors and have helped me grow and develop and not let the tough times get the better of me.
"That's been the best thing throughout the last couple of years – what I've learnt, and the person coming through it."
This year he shares the burden with Jarryd Hayne who, despite numerous lures to leave the club, has remained loyal in the face of broken promises and false dawns.
Another fresh start begins next weekend, but Mannah revealed a long-standing promise between his new co-captain drives the prop forward to believe in a squad not many are willing to.
"I think between Jarryd and I, we've got the right balance to be able to lead these boys and lead this great group of guys that we have to greener pastures and better times. I definitely see myself leading this team back to the promised land," he said.