Parramatta Eels cuts Bryce Cartwright for Nathan Brown, says coach Brad Arthur
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has explained why he eliminated Bryce Cartwright and recalled Nathan Brown for the NRL Grand Final on Sunday.
Brown had been out in the cold and rumors were swirling of a rift with Arthur, given the former State of Origin lock hadn’t been seen in the top league since the 17th inning.
And so it came as a shock to everyone when Arthur dropped a big bombshell last week and named Brown in the No. 14 jumper on Tuesday afternoon.
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While Brown, 29, has played 108 NRL games for the Eels, his future at the club has been under a cloud and has been for several months.
The coach is adamant there is no rift between him and his player, and explained Brown’s shock selection was simply a case of horses for the courts as a battle with Penrith looms.
“I felt like last week we needed some extra cover in the back row, and it turned out we got two hits to the head in the back row, so Carty (Cartwright) was convenient for us there,” Arthur told Wide World of Sports radio 4BC. .
“Carty has been an integral part of the team for us all year, and I think the team we’re playing against this week needs an additional mid-range striker.
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“Browny has trained really well, he’s prepared. He’s just broken his thumb but he had a game behind before a Cup final (NSW).
“He’s ready to go. He’ll bring that extra grunt through that middle third of the pitch, which I think will be very important against a good, strong group of forwards.”
Cartwright isn’t the only bad luck story in Parramatta this week.
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Utility full-back Tom Opacic would have lined up at center had it not been for a hamstring injury that will rob him of a big final appearance.
Opacic was pulled from last week’s preliminary final and then collapsed in a fitness test on Monday. Bailey Simonsson will play center Sunday instead.
It’s a cruel way for Opacic d’Eels’ career to end, as he heads to the Super League in England next month.
“He’s a great guy. I remember his first speech to the team, he told us he was going to be reliable, and at his word he was reliable for us,” Arthur told 4BC.
“He’s one of the favorites in the team. It’s devastating that he’s going overseas, but he’s gotten us to this position and we have to make sure we make the most of it, and he’s got it. will be part on Sunday.
“Even though he won’t be on the pitch, we will always remember what he did for us.”
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