Mannah: Eels tougher under Arthur
It wasn't too long ago when an Eels loss meant another three were on their way but prop Tim Mannah believes Parramatta have rediscovered their resilience under coach Brad Arthur.
After two consecutive wooden spoons following which both Stephen Kearney and Ricky Stuart moved on, Mannah says that Arthur has emerged as the Eels saviour as they set their sights on a top-eight finish for the first time since losing the 2009 NRL Grand Final.
Crediting Arthur for Parramatta's newfound resilient culture where the Eels won more games in 2014 than in the previous two seasons combined, Mannah said that the days where one bump in the road would take weeks to recover from are now well in the past.
"The one huge thing I noticed was our bounce-back last season. Whether it has been a bad training session or a bad game, the way we have been able to respond from everything bad has been so much better," Mannah told NRL.com.
"Brad has instilled this culture in us where we don't want to back up a bad effort with a bad effort. He's been amazing for us. He's exceeded everybody's expectations.
"No one knew what to expect from him coming into his first role as head coach but he's been great. He's getting the best out of everyone and we're hoping everyone lifts that little bit extra for him."
Such is the impact that Arthur's influence has had on the club, the Eels have seemingly moved past losing one of the game's great players in Jarryd Hayne.
Taking a 'no Hayne, no worries' approach, the Eels have been buoyed by the signings of Origin and Test star Anthony Watmough, Reece Robinson, Brad Takairangi and Beau Champion among a host of others.
Mannah went on to add that the Eels are moving forward and aren't worried about "what they don't have".
"Jarryd was great for the years he was here at the club but now it's a completely different team with a different feeling because of the new faces around here. For us it's about what we have and what we have is some good quality here," Mannah said.
"Sure Jarryd was good for a big play here and there but as a team we're fine moving on. It's not about looking backwards for us – it's about how we can be better as a team moving forward.
"Now he's not there it has forced everyone to go up another gear and it's shown in training."
With a positive culture ensuring the team is more settled than it has been in recent seasons, Parramatta's pre-season has been brilliantly balanced according to Mannah.
Admitting their preparation for the 2014 season under Arthur was rushed with the former Sea Eagles assistant coach not signing on to lead the team until just before pre-season commenced, Mannah said the club is definitely in better shape for the competition ahead.
"Last year was kind of thrown together so this year Brad has had time to tackle pre-season and approach it all the way he wanted to which means he has done great preparing us the best he can," said the veteran of 143 top grade games for the Eels.
"Now it's up to us to take what we've learned and use all the hard work we have done over the pre-season to get results on the field.
"I think because of that now we have a team which is really balanced. We have heaps of depth here which is always going to lead to good results."