Terepo defends "role model" Arthur
While the aura around Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has come under the spotlight of late following the Eels' poor 3-7 start to the year, young prop Peni Terepo has defended his embattled mentor by labelling him one of his role models.
Terepo, the Tongan international who has played 45 games for the Eels since his debut two years ago, sees Arthur as an inspiration for not only him as a coach but away from the field when it comes to fatherhood.
A father of one, with another on the way, Terepo believes Arthur's presence only meant good news for both he and the club in more ways than one moving forward.
"I see the way he is as a father as well as a coach – outside of footy because of the way he looks after his family I look up to the person he is," Terepo told NRL.com.
"I'm a father myself and those are the sort of things I like to see from my coach. In terms of footy too, he's basic with me and likes the strength I bring to the team and he wants me to improve on that."
As the Eels prepare to face South Sydney on Friday night, a team they beat 29-16 back in Round 4, the off-contract 23-year-old is looking to continue building as a player which he hopes will secure his future.
"I see my role as one where I like to lift the game a bit and bring more to the table, making it easier for the backs to play off by maintaining and staying strong within my job in the middle," Terepo said.
"I just worry about what I do every week and what I do on the training paddock as well as on the field and if I continue knuckling down and work hard on that, I'm sure the contract stuff will take care of itself.
"I'd like to maintain my position as a one-club player, I've been at this club ever since the junior grades and it's been a long road so I'd love to stay here and show my loyalty."
Much like Terepo, fellow off-contract Eels firebrand prop Pauli Pauli is looking to extend his stay at the club beyond this season.
Rumoured to be on the Wests Tigers' shopping list for 2016, Pauli said he wasn't fussed with those rumours "randomly popping up".
"The rumours about me leaving started when the boys were telling me I was going elsewhere but I've never heard of anything like that. My priority is to stay here at Parramatta," Pauli told NRL.com.
"Whatever happens, happens. I'll just leave it with my manager and the coaching staff to do what they do. Nothing like this plays on mind; I'm all chilled and I kick back usually."
Still only 20, Pauli casts an intimidating shadow, though he has only featured in the NRL twice this year.
Not frustrated waiting in the wings for his chance, Pauli said he realised there is still plenty of things to improve in his game before he figures in Arthur's NRL plans consistently and was happy to have a run in the Eels' golden point loss to the Warriors last weekend.
"It was good to be back with the squad. I've been trying hard to work on a few things just to return to the NRL so it was a good opportunity for me to start picking up on stuff I needed to work on," Pauli said.
"It hasn't been frustrating but it's been difficult to get into the team because there are a lot of good players in our squad and there's better players than me too, so it's up to me to be a better player.
"My fitness in the game and my effort on effort in defence are the areas [I'm looking to improve on] but I'm all about impact too. I just want to do as much as I can on the field before I'm hooked so I'm just looking to rip in and maybe try and hurt someone."