NICK WALSHAW • The Daily Telegraph • January 05, 2014 12:00AM DAVID Gower admits, with his name, there are better times to join a new club than during an Ashes series. "The boys have been having a laugh, yeah,'' the Parramatta Eels recruit grins. "Although it's not just because of England's losses . . . they're all saying I look like Dougie Bollinger." Plodding away with the Dapto Canaries just two years ago, Gower is the workaholic back-rower who, after being continually denied a regular spot with St George Illawarra, switched to the Manly Sea Eagles in 2013 and made an NRL Grand Final. Called onto the Sea Eagles bench just three days before the Big Dance - as a late replacement for injured Richie Fa'aoso - the 28-year-old would not win himself a premiership ring, but still played strongly enough for English Super League clubs London and Wakefield to both offer substantial contracts. Instead, Gower chose the NRL wooden spooners. Call it the latest, surprising chapter in the life of a footballer whose name actually derives from a bet his old man, a proud Englishman, had with mum during the Ashes series of 1985. Now for those who haven't heard it before, back in the 1980s and with his wife heavily pregnant, old man Gower wanted his son named after England's current Test captain. But mum, a proud Australian, preferred the name Neil. And so, the parents agreed to let the series decide it. Waiting through some 30 days of red ball action until, deep in the sixth and final Test, Gower scored 157 to not only hand England the series but, a fortnight later, David Neil Gower his name. Indeed, it is another young bub, this time the footballer's own daughter Amelia - who at four months is the first child of he and wife Erika - who convinced the new Eels forward to take a significant pay cut and stay in Sydney. "For a while it looked like I was as good as gone to England,'' the back-rower concedes. "Financially, it made sense and we were actually right at the end of negotiations when Erika and I, we just decided it wasn't the right time for us. "She has a good support network here in western Sydney, a lot of family and friends, which would've been lost had we moved. And then there was Brad . . ." Brad, of course, is new Eels coach Brad Arthur. The same man who, as an assistant at Manly last year, helped transform Gower from fringe player to NRL premiership winner. "At the start of the year I sat down with Brad, who looked after the forwards, and told him I was tired of being a fringe player,'' Gower recalls. "And Brad, he's all about honesty - brutal honesty. "So he told me some home truths, explained some things that can creep into your style after years of being in the reserves. Effort on effort things. So that's what I've changed. "I mean, I'm 28 and still haven't played 100 NRL games . . . that's what I want to achieve here at Parramatta."