2022 was a busy year for the NRL's coaching carousel, with three first-grade mentors out of a job before the end of June.

Trent Barrett, Michael Maguire and Nathan Brown all felt the wrath of undelivered expectations and have paved the way for the next generation, while the Tigers have gone back to a tried-and-trusted method by re-hiring Tim Sheens.

But while brand new coaches and revered figures are likely to be given some time to implement their grand plans, there are a number of coaches at the other end – feeling the pressure after a disappointing or at least heavily scrutinised 2022 campaign.


5. Brad Arthur (Parramatta)

You might find it strange to see a coach who took his team all the way to the most-recent grand final on a list of under-pressure candidates for 2023. But despite his success this year, Arthur found himself the subject of unwanted scrutiny multiple times throughout 2022.

First, there were the ridiculous accusations of nepotism in the early rounds as his son Jake was scapegoated for some poor performances. Then a report was leaked on the eve of the finals suggesting there was unrest both in the playing group and in the boardroom. There were even reports that the coach was shopping himself around to other NRL clubs.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Eels coach Brad Arthur speaks at the post match media conference at the end of the round 10 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Parramatta Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium on May 18, 2019 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Arthur responded with accusations of a personal agenda against him, and he enjoyed the vocal support of his playing group as the issues refused to abate before the preliminary final and the euphoric celebration of a grand final appearance silenced the agenda-driven critics – but for how long?

With both of his halves off-contract at the same time (an erroneous move that will continue to cause headaches until the matter is resolved – and possibly after it as well) and a wealth of talent and experience walking out the door in the off-season, the screws are still being applied to the Parramatta mentor.

Should the wrong half leave (although who that is, we have no idea) or the team struggle to fill the void of departing stars like Reed Mahoney and Isaiah Papali'i early, it's almost certain Arthur will start to feel the pressure.

In his favour is a number of good signings, including Josh Hodgson at dummy-half, but with Eels' fans hungry for more success, the clock will be ticking on the coach to get the best out of his new players as soon as possible.

With three of the top four sides, plus a rejuvenated Manly and the Sydney Roosters in their first five games, he'll certainly face a challenging start to the year.