Coaching sprays helped Radradra and Mannah
Two of Parramatta's best-performed players in 2015, try-scoring ace Semi Radradra and captain Tim Mannah, were each sparked by good old-fashioned coaching sprays from Brad Arthur early in the season.
Each received honours at the club's end of season Ken Thornett Medal awards night; the skipper taking home three gongs including top award for the players' player of the year while Radradra was presented with Arthur's personal coach's award.
Mannah revealed he had been raked over the coals about not being complacent in the pre-season, while Arthur read Radradra the riot act after an awful all-round game against the Warriors in Round 10 and was delighted with how the Fijian flyer responded.
Mannah told NRL.com the rev-up just prior to the Australia Day weekend back in January was a wake-up call that he needed.
"[Arthur] just challenged me to getting back to doing the extra training that I usually do and not dropping off or not getting complacent as a footy player. It was really good for me to get that. I kind of went back to what I was doing as a youngster and it definitely helped my game," he said.
Mannah knows the coach had his reasons for the talking-to and it came at the right time.
"He had a go at me about not being complacent and just taking my game to another level. I stewed on that for a few days during the break and I thought that was for me a turning point in my season," he said.
"The timing was really good and he really helped me click into gear heading into the season."
In presenting Radradra with his award on Tuesday night, Arthur said the Warriors game had proved the turning point in Radradra's season.
"He won't mind me saying this – he bombed a couple of tries and he was off his game a little bit and he was read the riot act a little bit in the review," Arthur said.
That game was lost by the Eels in golden point after outscoring their opponents three tries to two in normal time but failing to kick a single goal. Aside from missing opportunities (and scoring one try) Radradra made three errors and was penalised three times that game.
"He really owned his performance that day and took it on board and from there," Arthur said.
"All of a sudden he just stepped up and started becoming a bit of a leader. He started to talk more at training and it wasn't just a game of football any more to him, it actually meant something. The development of Semi over that back end of the year as a leader and as a player but more so as a person and what the game meant to him was the reason why we gave him the award."
Radradra's last-round double took him to 24 season tries, the all-time record for the blue and golds, beating Steve Ella's 1982 mark by one try.
Mannah meanwhile enjoyed a career year, with a series of tireless performances. His relentless charges and fast play the balls set the tone for virtually everything the Eels did well in 2015.