Parramatta five-eighth Dylan Brown’s hot NRL form could take the Eels to the next level, according to coach Brad Arthur.
The 21-year-old Kiwi’s explosive combination in the halves with NSW Origin halfback Mitch Moses lifted their side to a famous extra-time win against Melbourne last weekend.
And Arthur has called on Brown to continue his kicking role to give the side another dynamic.
“Rounds two and three have been good for him … we need him to do that for 25 weeks,” he said.
“His strength is his running game … he has stepped up and had a few kicks on the weekend, he owned the shape.
“We don’t want to be going through games where Mitch is the only one who can kick the football and get the shape on.
“They don’t get experience form training, you get it from playing and having time with good players around them.
“He has Mitch there to help him through, he has Gutho (Clint Gutherson) in behind him helping him all the time.”
Brown’s next test will be at CommBank Stadium in the form of St George Illawarra, who were uncompetitive in a 36-12 drubbing against Cronulla last round.
Coach Anthony Griffin said bringing the heat in the middle would be essential against the Eels.
“They put 28 points on Melbourne and that is hard to do,” he said.
“Their forward pack, they have a State of Origin middle there … they use a lot of the field with their attack as well.
“We need to control their middle obviously, and then our edge defence has to move pretty swiftly on them.”
Griffin said George Burgess would play around 50 minutes of NSW Cup after missing last week, while Aaron Woods returns in place of the suspended Jaydn Su’A.
For the Eels, Ryan Matterson is named in place of Ray Stone, who ruptured his ACL last week in the process of scoring the match-winning try.
“We shouldn’t need any extra to play for, but blokes like Ray Stone give everything to this club and this team the whole time he has been here … anything we can do to make his life easier, we need to do,” Arthur said.