If the Parramatta Eels lose Brad Arthur, they lose me

Victoria Garry Roar Rookie

By Victoria Garry, Victoria Garry is a Roar Rookie

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60 Have your say

    The Parramatta Eels are down on confidence, nothing is working in attack, the forwards aren’t powerful enough, and now there’s a rumour that Brad Arthur has ‘lost the dressing room’.

    Ray Hadley said of Arthur on Macquarie Sports Radio Breakfast on Monday morning, “He’s lost the room. That’s an often used expression. For the uninitiated it means he doesn’t control the team anymore. The team runs itself. Therefore when you lose the team as a coach, you lose the job.”

    I cannot ignore this statement, as it’s not the first it’s been whispered during the team’s poor start to 2018.

    Hadley has had his fair share of criticism over the years for his opinions, however he still has a platform, and some NRL fans take everything said in the media as gospel.

    However, as a Parramatta fan, I refuse to blindly accept this. Arthur’s position will need to be considered at the end of the year if he does not turn things around, but there is no need to crucify the man six games in.

    Before I delve deeper into the nightmare season that is 2018, I would like to take you all back two years, to 2016, when the salary cap scandal reared its ugly head.

    Anything that could have gone wrong that season went wrong. The Eels were given no chance of playing finals football after losing 12 points as punishment for the actions of board members, but they still fought proudly to finish in 14th place.

    However, they finished with a positive win record, which is something fans had not been used to seeing.

    When that season came to an end, fans celebrated, because the off-field scandals were now over. They went into 2017 positive and excited, but most importantly, with full faith in coach Arthur.

    Having failed to play finals football since losing to the Melbourne Storm in the 2009 grand final, last year the drought was broken. Once again, fans found themselves excited for September. At the Dally M awards, many beleived Arthur should have won the prestigious Coach of the Year gong.

    Really, there were only two contenders: Arthur and Craig Bellamy. No, the Eels did not win the premiership, after losing both of their finals games, however finding a Parra fan who considered the season a failure was searching for a needle in a haystack.

    Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League 2017

    Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    As disappointing as the past six weeks have been, you cannot take away what Arthur has done as head coach. You cannot take away the “In BA we trust” chants that have echoed out.

    There was faith in him when times were darkest, so why turn on Arthur now? It hurts not winning – I know, I feel the pain too – however, it hurts more watching fans turn on the man who held everything together when it would’ve been understandable for him to run away.

    There are still 19 regular-season rounds to go. Be angry and frustrated, be disappointed, throw your remote at the television but please hold on to a sense of realism. We’ll talk again at season’s end. I will write a different story if matters get worse, but the season does not end after six rounds.

    As evidence, look to North Queensland, where Paul Green has just signed a three-year contract extension which will make him the longest-serving coach in Cowboys history.

    This news comes just two days after his team went down 27-10 to the Bulldogs, keeping them at 15th place on the ladder, with only one win for the season.

    This tells me the Cowboys faithful have just that: faith.

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    The Crowd Says (60)

    • April 17th 2018 @ 6:46am
      Forty Twenty said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:46am | ! Report

      I was feeling sorry for the Tigers before the season started and poor Luke Brooks being stranded with a pretty average roster around him. Meanwhile over at the Eels, Moses was with a possible title winning team and looked destined to challenge for a spot in the SOO team.

      All of the coaches who were meant to be under pressure are sailing along in a dandy fashion in the strangest start to a season I can recall. Ultimately it is the coach who has to be accountable when a team is playing like the Eels are at the moment and he has been at the club long enough to have no excuses with his roster and the way they are playing. Plenty of coaches go from hero to zero in quick time and it is a test of their ability on how they deal with the grim reaper lurking in the shadows. I have been a big fan of Moses ability but I’m beginning to question his value to a team when the planets don’t align for him.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 11:23am
        Albo said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

        I think you might be onto something there Forty Twenty !
        Is it pure coincidence that Luke Brooks’ form has gone from awful to fantastic since Moses left the Tigers, whilst Corey Norman’s form has disappeared since Moses joined the Eels ? Is it pure coincidence that the Tigers coaching speculation and player turmoil existed with Moses in the ranks when things were going tough for the Tigers, and now we have the same coaching speculation coming out of the Eels ? Whatever the issues involved, something or someone has effected the form of a lot of players in that Eels team. Confidence is shot. Players are swearing at each other on the park. Their pack is being walked over each week. Tepai Moeroa has lost all power since his haircut and now spends most matches in the HIA. Manu Ma’u scares no one this year. Daniel Alvaro’s form has gone backwards. Even Kenny Edwards is failing to excite his team mates with his antics. Beau Scott as joint captain comes off the “transit lounge” bench for a 20 minute stint seemingly just to fulfil his contract conditions. Tim Mannah & Nathan Brown are still trying hard but physical attributes limit any effectiveness. And newly returned Gutho will try to spark something good, as he has not been infected like the others at this stage. For Eels fans we hope a solution spark is found quick smart.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 17th 2018 @ 11:48am
          BA Sports said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          So we are forgetting the last 16 games of last season when Brooks continued to be average and Norman was outstanding? That never happened?

          Most of what you say about the forward pack bare some closeness to the truth. That appears to be where the issue is.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 1:07pm
            Albo said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            Its all about the performance of the pack. If the pack is dominating ( or at least holding their own) the halves have room to play their game. I can’t agree that Norman was outstanding once Moses joined the Eels. He or coach Arthur after a couple of games allowed Moses to run the show and Moses fared well behind an Eels pack that was generally playing strongly. Norman, whether by design or personality, took a back seat and has never recovered to the form he showed pre-Moses. With the Eels pack now being swamped each week the halves are under all sorts of pressure. As for Brooks at the Tigers, he was still playing behind a regularly beaten pack last year but at least had some good games once he came back from injury and remembered how to be a game manager again. Now this year with a better pack, and a less intrusive partner ( in Benji) he is on fire running them around the park at present.

            • Roar Rookie

              April 17th 2018 @ 1:40pm
              BA Sports said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

              I agree, it is largely the pack that is the problem. Norman remained consistent all year in 2017. A glancing look at is stats before and after Moses joined shows they are almost identical, he just scored fewer tries – but then so did Gutherson – but they certainly all complimented each other very well.

              But both Moses and Norman like to run at a retreating line and toy with a defence and they are not getting that opportunity this year because of their forwards being owned and not having had Gutherson scooting from dummy half or Radradara getting them off to good starts.

              As for Brooks – there has been some improvement, no doubt – he leads the league in forced drop outs which is a sign of growing maturity. But he is still 24th in Line break assists and 21st in try assists and only 12th in kicking metres. So it isn’t like he is setting the world on fire, but he is playing well.

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2018 @ 12:29pm
        The Barry said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

        FT – I like your planets align description of Moses. He’s undoubtedly talented. He showed it last year with the Eels and at the World Cup and occasionally with the Tigers.

        He really seems like whenever there’s the slightest adversity he goes into his shell. Last year when the Eels were playing well he was controlling the team, bobbing up on both sides of the ruck, putting on trick plays. I get its not easy playing behind a pack that’s being largely dominated but he doesn’t look like putting anything on when they do have opportunities.

        Eels are averaging less than eight points a game. He needs to take a fair chunk of the responsibility for that.

    • Roar Guru

      April 17th 2018 @ 7:13am
      The Barry said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Unfortunately it’s really easy to make these “he’s lost the playing group” accusations and really difficult to objectively assess them from outside the club.

      I think Arthur has been ridiculously hyped as a coach off the back of not much since he stepped in as coach but I’ve got to say he doesn’t seem like the sort of coach who would lose the group. He seems like a good man manager and a lot of players have backed that up. He also seems a bit old school and wouldn’t cop that sort of rubbish.

      It would be absolute madness (although in some ways typical Parra) to have a knee jerk reaction to this rumour.

      There are some occasions where the playing group can hold the coach to ransom. I don’t think even if these rumours are true this is one of those times. Surely it’s not difficult for Parra to respond to a player saying “it’s him or me” with how they’re travelling at the moment.

      I couldn’t believe the bandwagon of support late last year for Moses to play Origin.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 8:05am
        Forty Twenty said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        Moses impressed Fittler at the world cup and was going to be considered I believe.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 17th 2018 @ 8:16am
          BA Sports said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          It isn’t working for Moses at the moment. But not for lack of trying. Eels fans can’t complain about his effort, the kid wants to win bad. With his skill set, if he matures quickly (he is only 23), he will become a fantastic player. Whether that is Origin level, time will tell

          As for the Arthur and the player group. We can all speculate like Hadley, he just has a bigger soap box than any of us.

          People said Griffin had lost the room before a ball was kicked in 2018… Perhaps that was a load of BS made up by people who had no idea. This could easily be the same. That Eels squad doesn’t strike me as having a group of guys who would march into the CEO’s office to throw the coach under the bus. the problem is when you look at the Wenty line up there is nothing there worth bringing up. If the season doesn’t improve, Arthur will rightly come under scrutiny, but I could let it lie for now.

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2018 @ 4:00pm
        Con Scortis said | April 17th 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

        Given how many staff have acrimoniously left the Ray Hadley morning show and Continuance Call Team over the years, due mainly to Hadley’s giant ego, it’s a bit hypocritical of Hadley to refer to “losing the playing group”.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 8:06pm
        no one in particular said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

        Moses is playing behind a beaten pack

        • Roar Guru

          April 18th 2018 @ 8:26am
          The Barry said | April 18th 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

          He is, and that gives him some excuses but even when the Eels have opportunities he doesn’t look like doing anything.

          The Eels are averaging less than eight points a game and it doesn’t matter how bad your pack is being beaten the halves have to assume a fair degree of accountability for that.

    • Roar Guru

      April 17th 2018 @ 8:08am
      steve b said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Hadley is way of the mark as usual. But the tea lady inside the dressing room is spot on Moses and Norman need to be separated how this happens buggers me .Maybe Will Smith and piss Norman of to reggies but it aint Brad.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 17th 2018 @ 10:03am
        BA Sports said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        Everyone knows Ray holds a grudge, but things non-Eels fans may or may not be aware of;

        Ray was a fan and friend of Pat Richards and his family – when he got punted by the Eels – he took it personally (for some reason) and spent the next 4 years trying to drive Brian Smith out of the club.

        He is good mates with Denis Fitzgerald and railed the Spagnola Board until they were outed in 2013. (Denis was very pro Steve Sharp and Daniel Anderson… whoops)

        Fitzgerald put his hand up to come back to the club after the 2016 Salary Cap scandal – he was politely told his assistance was not required.

        Hadley will continue to hold his grudge until his friend is put back in charge and he can say “see I told you”..

      • April 17th 2018 @ 11:48am
        Albo said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        Sorry Steve b, but if Will Smith is the solution, things are much worse than I first thought !

        • April 17th 2018 @ 12:28pm
          kk said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          Bellyache gave him a one way ticket out of Melbourne.

        • Roar Guru

          April 17th 2018 @ 5:17pm
          steve b said | April 17th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

          Nothing could be worse than Norman at the moment he just wont have go.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 8:11am
      Ray J said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      I dont understand why you are comparing Paul Green to Brad Arthur, Green has won a GF and taken them to another plus umpteen finals appearances.
      Brad has done none of the sort at Parra, and hasn’t even come close to matching Pauls Greens record and NQ. Therefore Brad has in no way, shape or form earnt the same rights as Green.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 17th 2018 @ 9:58am
        Victoria Garry said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Hi Ray J,

        I am definitely taking these notes on board. I didn’t mean to compare the two as if BA deserves an extension on his contract or anything, I more so just meant to comment on the faith they have in him despite the start of the season. Perhaps I worded it badly or could have explained further. I’m still developing as a writer, my apologies.

        • Roar Guru

          April 17th 2018 @ 11:15am
          Matt H said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          Nothing to apologise for Victoria, you’ve done pretty well here, and your point about the Cowboys vs Eels is well taken. The Cowboys board knows their stuff and they know that Paul Green is a quality coach. He hasn’t lost his skills overnight. They would also know the Broncos are sniffing around for a Bennett succession plan.

          If the Eels board also knows their stuff, they will recognise that the coach who produced two good seasons has not suddenly lost his ability, he’s just lost his Semi.

          Good article, bad title, but I suspect you may not have written it. If you leave because the Eels sack Arthur I refuse to believe you are an Eels fan at all. Let’s face it, anyone who is still a fan of the Eels has been through a lot worse over the past 30 years.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 17th 2018 @ 12:38pm
            Victoria Garry said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            Thank you for the support Matt, I appreciate it!

            I’ll just say that it would definitely take a hell of a lot to lose me as a fan, if it ever could happen. I’ve seen many coaches already in my near 10 years as a fan, I ain’t going anywhere any time soon haha

    • April 17th 2018 @ 8:16am
      Zedman said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      Moses and Moylan are similar players, a lot of arm waving and yelling after running in circles and heading cross field. The teams they both left haven’t missed them and i think Moses could do with a dose of the reggie’s to give him a reality check. If the rumours are true concerning a fallout between Norman and Moses i would be moving Moses on, for mine Norman has more to offer.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 17th 2018 @ 8:19am
        BA Sports said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Couldn’t disagree more with that comment.

        When you compare effort, Moses is trying. He is involved in the game in attack and defence. He is badly out of form no question, but effort level is there.

        Moylan on the other hand is barely working up a sweat, is out of position and not defending. He is showing signs of either being injured, or not putting in his best effort.

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2018 @ 8:53am
        Nat said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        You’d be more concerned if your halves weren’t “arm waving and yelling” That’s their job. Moses appears to more of the controller while Moylan has always had silky skills but on the back of something happening, not setting up that something. Norman, I believe, could benefit more from a stint in the ISC to get get his confidence back as he is a trick-shot player and against a lesser quality may get him going again.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 12:31pm
          Albo said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

          The problem is that Moses & Norman can’t both run the show out there. One has to be the dominant half and the other the submissive one ( if you like ). When Moses joined the Eels last year, he immediately became the dominant half whether by coach’s design your just by his own personality. Norman rolled over into the submissive position and has done very little since. But the Eels pack last year were holding their own generally and Moses had some room to shine. We have seen similar problems at the Cowboys with Thurston & Morgan. When the forwards are dominant the problem is well hidden, but if not, the halves are the ones under pressure and their form is questioned and the harmony is thrown into chaos. Often a team’s performance improves when one of the halves pairing is missing as long as the pack is giving the remaining controller the room to do his thing (eg Maloney without Cleary at the Panthers where their pack is as good as it has ever been, or Morgan at the Cowboys at the back end of last year where their pack was still generally dominant). The key to the Eels revival has to start with their pack.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 8:45am
      Zedman said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      Not questioning his effort BA but he dosen’t set anything in motion, a basic back line passing movement is about it. If he and Norman aren’t seeing eye to eye it’s never going to work as the halves are where most things start.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 17th 2018 @ 9:19am
        BA Sports said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        But who says there is a problem between Norman and Moses? Both are known for speaking their mind, yet Norman has said it is all BS.
        I read yesterday how everyone thinks Rothfield and his ilk are all gooses yet we believe them on this one do we?

        Moses is 23 Moylan is a good three years plus older than Moses and Moses has been a 5/8 since entering first grade and for much of his junior rep footy. He is still learning the position.

        The problem with the Eels is that before the start of the season, people were trying to work out how they would fit all that talent into the backline – and after a few weeks they have Auva’a in the centres regularly and George Jennings is on the wing while the talented winger – French – ran the ball once in 80 minutes on Saturday night?!

        Then in the forwards, Tim Mannah – bless him he has been a role model player for a long time, but probably wouldn’t start for most clubs, is basically their leading forward this season. There are two or three other forwards who would struggle to make the starting 17 at most other clubs and there is next to no depth to replace them at the moment.

        The problem is much deeper than a young half who is trying but out of form.

        – Anyway, that is just my position.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 3:07pm
          Big Daddy said | April 17th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

          Your right about mannah, he’s ready for the retirement village and Scott is not far behind.
          You can’t expect them to perform well when they have no impact whatsoever.
          First half of first round was their best and it stopped there.
          Hayne will have no impact just a passenger.

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