Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur has confirmed Nathan Brown will make his return in this Sunday's grand final against the Penrith Panthers, while also rubbishing a fallout with the lock forward.

Brown's last game for Parramatta was in Round 17 when he suffered a thumb injury, however, the lock forward fell out of favour heavily at the club this season.

Starting the season at lock, Brown's minutes slowly dwindled before he was demoted to the bench in Round 11, and then dropped after a Round 14 loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Marata Niukore and Ryan Matterson have shared the number 13 jersey at the blue and gold ever since, with Matterson fast becoming one of the competition's best players in big minutes off the bench.

It was heavily reported that Arthur had fallen out with Brown at the time, and while the 29-year-old has a year left on his deal with the club, reports of a move to the Wests Tigers have refused to go away.

Arthur even confirmed in July that Brown would have no future at the club beyond the end of 2023.

Speaking to News Corp on Monday afternoon, Arthur revealed that Brown would replace Bryce Cartwright on the bench for the game. It means Jakob Arthur will remain on the bench for the game.

“I’m going with ‘Browny’, I think for this game, this is the game that suits him,” Arthur said.

“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 back-row coverage, this week I feel it will be tough through the middle and Nathan gives us that grunt.”

Arthur also said the rumours of any fallout between he and Brown were "total bulls**t."

“The talk about me and Nathan is total bullshit,” he said.

“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.”

Teams for the grand final against the Penrith Panthers will be named at 4pm (AEST) on Tuesday.


  1. He doesn’t need four middles but he needs sufficient middles that he isn’t relying on RCG and JP, when they are exhausted. Whether Oregon Kaufusi and Nathan Brown can provide that cover – and whether or not Brad Arthur is smart enough to use them is something that I guess we will not know until the weekend.

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