Parramatta are on the verge of a major off-season coup as they look to add the eighth Immortal, Andrew Johns, to their coaching staff to help out with the club’s young spine.
NRL.com can reveal the Eels have been in discussions with Johns in the hope of having the former NSW and Australian No.7 working with young gun Dylan Brown, as well as Mitchell Moses, Reed Mahoney and Clint Gutherson.
While the deal isn’t done, Johns has met club officials and it is hoped he will take on the specialist spine consultancy role in the new year to assist coach Brad Arthur in 2020.
Johns has worked with a number of clubs in recent years, including Manly and the Sydney Roosters during their respective dominant reigns, and is regarded as one of the smartest football minds in the business.
The Eels have placed a high priority on the continual development of their young halves, and believe Johns will be particularly beneficial for Brown.
The Kiwi teenager, who the club is in the process of trying to retain long term, showed glimpses of brilliance in an injury-plagued rookie season.
Moses was rewarded for his stellar season by picking up the Dally M halfback of the year award, but would no doubt benefit from having Johns in his corner.
The Eels have Gutherson and Moses under contract until the end of 2022, and are now hoping to secure their spine with the retention of Brown and Mahoney on lengthy deals in the off-season.
After enjoying a successful season in 2017 when they finished in the top four, they collected the wooden spoon 12 months later.
The club has learnt some valuable lessons from that period and, despite a successful 2019, realise they need to continue to change to ensure their improvement.