Home / World News / Departing enforcer has Eels’ again: Arthur

Departing enforcer has Eels’ again: Arthur

Brad Arthur describes departing forward Manu Ma’u as one of the most reliable players he’s coached at Parramatta.

Which is a good thing for the Eels, given Ma’u has been presented with arguably the toughest task in the NRL right now: Stopping David Fifita.

The Brisbane star left several Parramatta defenders in his wake a fortnight ago when he produced the destructive run that set up the golden point field goal.

And now Fifita again looms as a potential match-winner when the Eels and Broncos lock horns in their elimination final at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday.

“We just gotta make sure that we get numbers around him, stick to our systems,” Arthur said ahead of the sold-out clash, the first finals game at the new venue.

“We can’t over-focus on him because they’ve got too many good players. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re accountable for our tackles on him.”

And that accountability is certain to include Ma’u, whose NRL career could end should Fifita and the Broncos trample the Eels again.

After six seasons in Australia, the 31-year-old will leave for the Super League once Parramatta’s campaign comes to an end.

Ironically, the Eels have been linked with Fifita, who can field offers from rival clubs when he enters the final year of his deal with the Broncos in November.

And with Ma’u’s departure, as well as that of rugby union-bound Tepai Moeroa, Parramatta are light on second-rowers beyond this season.

Shaun Lane has cemented himself on the left edge, while rookie Marata Niukore is the only other backrower on their books in 2020.

Arthur hopes to delay Ma’u’s exit at least another week, with a semi-final against either Melbourne or Canberra on offer should they topple the Broncos.

“Muns has been someone that I’ve been able to rely on, right through my whole time here. He’s a player that you know he’s got your back all the time,” Arthur said.

“And he plays with the same energy, intensity, and puts his body on the line for the team and the club every single week.

“It’s a shame Muns won’t be here next year, but he’s got other things in his career that he wants to do. We’re just appreciative of what contribution he’s made.”

Arthur confirmed Moeroa has been drafted onto his bench following the suspension of Kane Evans, with Daniel Alvaro in the run-on side.

For the Broncos, Joe Ofahengaue returns after missing two games with a calf injury, with Patrick Carrigan going back to the bench.

Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold conceded he was also concerned about the impact the Eels forwards could have with their offloads.

“You have got to have good first contact,” he said.

“No doubt that they ask some questions, their offloads and their kicking game have been outstanding during the year.”

STATS THAT MATTER

* Under the current finals system (since 2012), the fifth-placed side has won six of the seven games against eighth.

* The Broncos have lost five of their six games in NSW this year, with all five losses by at least 14 points.

* Brisbane led the league this year in post-contact metres (497 per game) and tackle busts (30.9 per game).

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Climate Protests, Whistle-Blower, Area 51: Your Friday Evening Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.) Good evening. Here’s the latest. …

%d bloggers like this: