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Posted 26/11/2018



YOU know a coach has left his mark when the north Queenslanders he left behind are happy to cheer for him to beat their beloved Cowboys.

It will happen on Saturday night in a tiny pocket of rugby league heartland where many members of the Brothers Rugby League Club in Cairns will cheer for their life member Brad Arthur when he coaches Parramatta in the semi-final against the Cowboys at ANZ Stadium.

Arthur was 24 when he took on a captain-coaching position at Cairns Brothers in 1999, a couple of years after failing to crack first grade at Parramatta and Penrith.

The four premierships and six grand finals he made before his eight-season stint ended in 2007 established the club as a competition powerhouse and were priceless building blocks in his journey toward Saturday night’s clash.

Former teammate, now Brothers president Paul Fowler, remembered his friend Arthur as a coach ahead of his time.

“He would do the video on Monday and break down your game — he would do colourful graphs on a piece of paper,’’ Fowler said.

“The best one he did was a green graph if you completed a set of six.

‘‘He would show you how if you put a bunch of greens together you would get a red dot and that was a try.’’

Fowler said Arthur was such a favoured son many Brothers members would cheer for the Eels against the Cowboys.

“Most people are Parra now ... there are a lot of Parra fans in Cairns,’’ Fowler said.

‘‘Everyone had their club which was the Cowboys but now everyone at Brothers supports Parramatta now because of BA.’’

Fowler said that despite being a young captain-coach Arthur had the ability to switch from mate to mentor mode when it counted.

“He could be your mate but he would lay down the law and say the home truths,” he said.

“He gave everyone a serve in the heat of battle but he would not ask you to do anything he would not do.

“He copped plenty because he was the star player.

‘‘He was a tough man.

‘‘In his last grand final he tore his calf in the semi-final and could hardly walk but he still played the first half of the grand final.

“He was the best player up here by a country mile.

‘‘Royce Simmons was his coach at Penrith and he told him he had all the talent but was not quick enough and said, ‘You are probably not going to play first grade so you should look at a coaching career’. That started him.

“As a player he got two gold medals up here for player of the competition.

“He was our goalkicker and back-rower. He set tries up. Put kicks in. And tough.

“Everyone’s pleased for him. It’s a great story.’’

Originally published as Eels coach’s band of NQ brothers