BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 30: Coach Ricky Stuart of the Raiders looks dejected during the round 16 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Canberra Raiders at Suncorp Stadium on June 30, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

We all know the infamous story of Ricky Stuart and the whiteboard during his singular season at Parramatta.

In front of the entire playing squad, Ricky scrawled a dozen names on the board, and told them to hit the road. There were newcomers, underperformers, and long-term Eels, all suddenly just a name written in marker, told to pack their bags.

Little did they know, Ricky was packing his own suitcase at the same time.

Canberra snuck under Parramatta's radar and snared Stuart effective immediately, leaving Parramatta holding the wooden spoon whilst losing twelve players, and their head coach in a wind.

Within ten days of sitting in Manly's box as an assistant coach in their last Grand Final appearance, Brad Arthur was announced as the new Parramatta coach, quickly putting the 'Sticky season' behind them.

They've both held onto their head coaching position since that day.

Ricky Stuart's 20.8% win record as then-Eels coach sits only narrowly higher than Arthur's 20% win percentage in the finals, however, it's the week two stats that really differ between the two.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Eels coach Brad Arthur looks on during a Parramatta Eels NRL training session at Old Saleyards Reserve on March 11, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Stuart is three-from-three in the second week of the finals, he's never lost a semi. Compare that to Arthur, who has never won a final outside of the first week of finals, and has also gone out in straight sets both time he's finished in the top four.

In fact, when Ricky took the reins at the backend of 2012, he was the one that sacked Arthur from the club, having spent time as interim coach after Stephen Kearney's sacking.

While Stuart's desertion is the heart that pumps the bad blood between the two clubs, his 8-5 record over Arthur should have the incumbent Eels' coach sweating a little, especially with question makes over Mitchell Moses heading into the clash.

Polar opposites between Stuart's outspoken and emotional approach to the game and Arthur's calm and measured perspective, one will end the other's season at CommBank Stadium on Friday night, and it could bare down on their coaching career.

Stuart has reached the preliminary final in every finals series he's made while Arthur is yet to reach the third week despite being in his fifth post-season.

While the odds read one away, it appears history reads another.

1 COMMENT

  1. “While Stuart’s desertion is the heart that pumps the bad blood between the two clubs…”

    Really! What tosh!

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