Why Jake Arthur ready is ready to fill the Mitchell Moses void

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There have been times this year when Dylan Brown, having performed below the standards he holds himself to, has felt like a “passenger”.

But coming off arguably his best NRL performance, the Parramatta five-eighth has backed himself and likely new co-pilot Jake Arthur to take control in a game that could define the Eels’ season. They will be without Mitchell Moses (concussion) for Saturday’s clash with a Canberra side shooting for five consecutive victories.

Having slumped to 13th spot after a loss to the Gold Coast on the weekend, last year’s grand finalists are in danger of missing out on the playoffs if they suffer another defeat in the nation’s capital.

Paul Gallen has already written off the Eels for 2023 during his most recent appearance on 100% Footy, prompting Brown to respond: “I don’t know what he’s talking about.

“It’s pretty damn early, I reckon, to be saying that. Honestly, we’re pretty good at blocking out stuff and that stuff just makes me laugh.”

However the task, particularly given the absence of halfback Moses, will be a difficult one. Arthur, who hasn’t played first grade since coming off the bench late in the grand final loss to Penrith, is expected to fill the breach.

Dylan Brown’s performance was a bright spot in Parramatta’s loss to the Titans on Sunday.Credit: Getty

Brown has made a concerted effort to impose himself more in recent weeks, culminating in a performance against the Titans that yielded 19 runs for 238 metres, two try assists, two line breaks, one line-break assist and 21 tackles for only one miss.

It was the result of a pep talk from coach Brad Arthur.

“Yeah, I was just going with the flow, not dominating the game,” Brown said. “I don’t know why I wasn’t, it obviously took me a few weeks to realise that. I’m happy with how I’m playing.

“Footy is a simple game and [Arthur] basically just told me, ‘You’re an important player in the team. If you’re not playing well, your edges won’t play well.’

Jake Arthur has been in NSW Cup this season and will play his first NRL game of the year this weekend.Credit: NRL Photos

“He put the onus on me to own my edge and owning my running game, which is what I’m trying to do.”

Brown will now need to reproduce a similar effort without Moses. The New Zealand international has backed Jake Arthur to slot seamlessly into the side for his first game of the season.

“We’ve seen him play before. I know he can own moments,” Brown said. “He’s very similar to Mitch. He runs the game, dominates it. He’s very vocal – me not so much, as everyone knows.

“He’s a very smart player and his intelligence shows on the field. He’ll come in and he won’t be shy. He comes in and out of training with first grade, he’s had a few good games in reserve grade and dominates there.”

“He’s very similar to Mitch. He runs the game, dominates it. He’s very vocal.”

The last time Parramatta played Canberra, during last year’s finals series, the club was rocked by the game-day leaking of a report about perceived nepotism. There was no suggestion in the report that Jake Arthur had received favourable treatment because his father was coach, although the pair have had to deal with the insinuation whenever the playmaker has been called up to NRL.

“I don’t deal with nepotism, but coming through the ranks it’s obviously hard when you first come into first grade,” Brown said.

“Whether you’re playing good, bad or whatever, there’s going to be people with their opinions. Jake has learnt to deal with that, his dad has helped him a lot and I’m sure they have each other’s backs and the team does too.

“I don’t know how he does it, but he’s obviously a very strong kid.”

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