Eels coach Brad Arthur has fired up addressing his alleged rift with lock Nathan Brown, who has been recalled into the side for the grand final.
Brown hasn’t played first grade since Round 17 following a thumb injury, but will face the Panthers in the decider on Sunday.
The 29-year-old was picked on the bench at the expense of Bryce Cartwright, despite reports Brown and Arthur had fallen out.
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“The talk about me and Nathan is total bullshit,” Arthur told The Daily Telegraph.
“Browny didn’t play for six weeks because of a broken thumb. It had nothing to with this crap about us not getting on.
“Nathan didn’t come back until the first week of finals and he played in the NSW Cup.
“I felt he was a bit short of running in his legs, but he has had some work now and for this game, Nathan is what I need.”
Mid way through the year the Eels coach confirmed that the 29-year-old’s tenure with the club would cease at the end of the 2023 season.
Arthur revealed why he went with former New South Wales representative Brown, who will leave the Eels at the end of next season, over Cartwright.
“I’m going with ‘Browny’, I think for this game, this is the game that suits him,” Arthur said.
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“I’m not one to play games with team selections. It’s the right thing to do for the fans and the players and I’ve spoken to the boys.
“You want to pick them all for a grand final because they have all played a role along the way, but it’s my job as coach.
“I have to do what I think is right and my gut instinct says Dylan Brown is the best thing for the team this week.
“I have a very good forward pack that plays lots of minutes for me.
“Reg (Campbell-Gillard), Junior (Paulo) and ‘Matto’ (Ryan Matterson) all play 60 minutes … that leaves me 60 minutes of the game to find time for four bench players, why do I always need four middles?
“Last week, I felt I needed backrow coverage, this week I feel it will be tough through the middle and Nathan gives us that grunt.”
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