Brad Arthur will stick to his guns and leave Ryan Matterson out of Parramatta's NRL elimination final against Newcastle, with the star second-rower's late-season ban costing him his spot in the Eels' 17.
Arthur confirmed on Saturday that Matterson would remain as 18th man for Sunday's clash, after naming him on an extended bench earlier in the week following completion of his three-game suspension.
Matterson has been one of the best second-rowers in the competition in the past two years, including a call-up to NSW's State of Origin squad last season.
But Arthur has opted to go with the same blueprint that saw the Eels shock Melbourne a fortnight ago, banking on it to help fix their horror finals record.
"It is (a big call), but there was a pack of forwards that went out there against Melbourne and mixed it with the best and did the job," Arthur said.
"And I feel like I need to give them the opportunity to get the job done again."
It means Marata Niukore will start again in the second row, while Bryce Cartwright is on the bench keeping Matterson out.
Arthur admitted the decision also came after reflecting on last year's finals disappointment, where several new faces came into the side for their week-two finals exit to South Sydney.
"We had three or four players that hadn't played for two months and that was unfair on them and something that I had to fix this year," Arthur said.
Matterson was sent off for a high shot in the Eels' 56-10 drubbing from Manly last month, which marked their fourth straight loss.
At that point it appeared Parramatta's season was spiralling out of control, before they rebounded to beat Melbourne two weeks later.
Arthur claims that has given him confidence they can perform under pressure, pointing to the performance of big names when questions were being asked.
Parramatta's two straight-sets finals exits and another week-two departure in the past four years have long lingered as the biggest question mark over the Eels' title hopes.
But Arthur insisted this Eels team looks less overawed than those that dropped five of six finals matches in that time.
"There is a level of confidence but not arrogance on the back of their last performance (against Melbourne)," Arthur said.
"They seem to be upbeat for the occasion but also not overawed by it.
"Whereas maybe in the past we might have over-thought things or been a bit nervous going into finals or worried about pressure."
Meanwhile the Eels coach confirmed makeshift hooker Ray Stone will start at dummy-half, with Will Smith to relieve him off the bench when required.
Australian Associated Press