BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur fronted the media on Saturday night minutes after his Eels had conceded 42 points to the Sharks at PointsBet Stadium. What came next only further infuriated a pissed off fan base who are wondering what world Arthur lives in – the real one or the one he’s created.
Forget last weekend’s victory over a depleted South Sydney who were missing several players to State of Origin. If you take that game out of the equation, their form has been diabolical.
A week earlier they lost their first game at Bankwest Stadium to lowly Penrith in one of the worst games of the season. Before that they went down to North Queensland and nobody has forgotten the 64 points Melbourne put on them at Magic Round. It was men against boys that night and included Arthur starting his fullback Clint Gutherson at hooker.
“I’m sick of talking about it. There needs to be a real change to our approach week in and week out,” Arthur said after the Cronulla loss.
“Defensively we just weren’t good enough. We have got to make our tackles.
“We can’t start well one week and then dip the toe in the next week. I don’t want to have to keep making changes every week because that doesn’t give you any continuity or combinations.”
Well we’re looking at you for answers, coach.
“We need to better”.
Parramatta fans have heard that one before.
Let’s start with an honesty session.
Gather in boys.
It starts with the club banging their drums about the announcement prior to kick-off that they had re-signed Mitchell Moses to a three-year contract extension worth $2.5 million.
Where’s Ricky Gervais when you need a “say what?”
As fireworks lit up the night sky around Parramatta and grown men wept with joy in the streets, the rest of the competition giggled.
As in 2.5 million real dollars?
Just what has young Mitchell done to deserve so much money?
Funnily enough, Parramatta don’t look too bad statistically against the rest of the premiership.
They’re fourth in total points scored, fourth in tries, eighth in support plays, sit third for linebreaks and post contact metres and have amassed 20,633 all run metres which is only shaded by Souths.
So what’s wrong?
Alarmingly, they have made more tackles than any other side in the NRL with 4,383.
What’s that tell us?
There’s a chance it means they’re not taking their opportunities and are being forced to work harder defensively.
If Nathan Cleary can get shit-canned by fans for his lack of polish in Origin I on Wednesday night then Parramatta’s halfback has to cop the same brush.
But sure, lock him up until 2022 and pillage your salary cap.
Back to Mr. Bradley ‘We Need to be Better’ Arthur.
Here’s another stat for you.
The Eels have made more errors than any other side and by a fair way too.
You can look at a player dropping a footy on its merits. It happens in rugby league. Slap him on the arse, tap him on the head and get on with the game. But when your team has made 162 total errors and the next worst side is on 145, something is wrong.
Some teams can make mistakes and be better for it because they’re accountable.
It appears Parramatta make errors and smother it with excuses and empty promises.
Players will tell the media all next week that they’re trying.
They’ll talk about the quality of their squad and a turn of the corner is imminent.
Is your squad really that good?
Eels fans have had a gutful.
They deserve better.