Arthur in race against time for Eels deal

Matt Encarnacion
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NRL EELS TRAINING

Parramatta Eels are yet to tie down coach Brad Arthur to a new deal

Parramatta players admit coach Brad Arthur isn't the only person in a race against time to secure his long-term future at the NRL club.

Less than a day after claiming a season-opening win over Penrith, the Eels pencilled in June as the month to make a call on Arthur's future.

However the six-year mentor isn't alone in being without a deal beyond 2019.

At least half of their 30-man squad are off-contract at the end of the year, including skipper Clint Gutherson and key playmaker Mitchell Moses.

"If you're winning, most people will get a better contract. If we keep winning games, I think everyone will be happy," Gutherson said on Wednesday.

Arthur has endured a tumultuous time since taking over in 2014, but was a bedrock for the players during their salary cap cheating scandal in 2016.

A bounce-back season, which will include a move into their brand new stadium in April, is expected following last year's wooden-spoon finish.

"He's been through everything," Gutherson said of Arthur.

"He's been top four, bottom four, we've lost points, we've done everything. He's been through it, but we've just got to keep winning."

Tim Mannah, who is the longest-serving player in the squad, believes that after some lean years, Arthur deserves a chance to achieve success.

The Eels have only made the finals once under his guidance, but haven't won a finals match since their fairytale run to the NRL decider in 2009.

"Everyone in this place is in the same boat. They all want that success. We're all hungry for it, especially after last year," Mannah said.

"Everyone knows Brad is a hard worker and how much effort he puts in, the sleepless nights and big hours.

"It'd be awesome for his sake as well if we can get some wins under our belt."

The 31-year-old Mannah wanted to wait and see how his body feels before weighing up his options for next year, but said he was feeling good.

"My goal is to continue playing, but we're all in the similar kind of boat. We're all playing for our futures and playing for contracts," Mannah said.

"I'm doing everything I can to put my best foot forward and show everyone the footy I'm capable of playing."

Meanwhile, the Eels on Wednesday confirmed the signing of hooker Matt McIlwrick on a one-year NRL deal beginning this week.

The Eels were in need of depth at dummy-half after granting Kaysa Pritchard indefinite leave to deal with long-term injury issues.