Arthur to keep tinkering with playmakers despite big win
Brad Arthur has lauded Parramatta's most impressive performance of the year as "something to build on for next year" and may continue to tinker with the playmaking spine that engineered a 40-4 thrashing of finals-bound St George Illawarra.
The Eels were in an imperious mood throughout a seven tries-to-one thumping of the Dragons, with Mitchell Moses contributing four try-assists and Jarryd Hayne a first half hat-trick as Corey Norman shifted out of the halves to fullback.
He and Hayne looked as threatening as they have all season alternating between the right wing and custodian roles, while rookie half Jaeman Salmon was solid in his second NRL outing and Clint Gutherson likewise in the centres.
While Parramatta remain determined to avoid the first wooden spoon of Arthur's tenure, there's no doubt the coach is already looking ahead to 2019, when the likes of Junior Paulo, Blake Ferguson and Shaun Lane will join a roster touted for a grand final run before a ball was kicked this season.
It is looking more and more likely that Corey Norman will see out the final year of his deal given he has permission to leave Parramatta but little interest from NRL rivals.
Arthur was non-committal about a permanent shift to No.1 for Norman, but conceded less game management duties appeared to suit the 27-year-old against the Dragons.
"Who knows? We've got plenty of options," Arthur said in regards to the Eels fullback role.
"Jarryd is floating around there, Guth's going there, it gives us a bit of flexibility and a bit of unpredictability with our backline.
"Normy was blowing a touch there at the end but he just likes to get his hands on the footy and [fullback] takes him away from having to worry about too much organisational stuff and just play a bit of footy. He did well.
"I thought young Jaeman warmed into the game well. He was good physically, which was always going to be the test for him. I thought they did Okay."
Arthur applauded his side's resilience at the back end of a horror season, with improved performances coming at the same time as a wide-ranging review of the club's football department.
"We've had our fair share of distractions," he said.
"We're going through a review process so to the boys credit they've continued to bounce into training.
"There's been no shortcuts taken with their preparation to their performance and we need to continue to do that because that's the team we want to be. I also think the boys doing that will give us something to build on for next year.
"We stuck to our guns. We know what works for us, we didn't go away from it. We just persisted and persisted with it. But we've still got three games that we've got to finish the season out now."