‘I’ve never walked away from a fight’: Eels boss Arthur

Jasper Bruce |

Brad Arthur is under pressure amid the Eels’ form slump, but says he’s up for the fight.
Brad Arthur is under pressure amid the Eels’ form slump, but says he’s up for the fight.

Brad Arthur doesn’t expect fair treatment amid Parramatta’s form slump but insists he is still the right man to coach the struggling side.

Sunday’s 48-16 loss to Melbourne marked the Eels’ sixth loss from seven games since star halfback Mitch Moses fractured his foot, and their third time conceding 40 points in that span.

In the two games since captain Clint Gutherson joined Moses on the sidelines with a knee issue, Parramatta have bled a total of 78 points.

As has been the case in previous losses, Parramatta competed for parts of the game at Suncorp Stadium, but completely fell off the pace for others, with the Storm’s three tries in five minutes just after half-time all but sealing victory at Magic Round.

“It’s happened too often over the last month or so,” said Arthur, who called the second-half performance “embarrassing”.

“Obviously when we get under a little bit of fatigue, we’re lacking that resilience to defend a set.”

Eels players looking despondent against Melbourne.
The suddenly hapless Eels have leaked 78 points in their past two games. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

Arthur’s position as coach has routinely come under fire in his 11 seasons at the helm, with Eels hierarchy publicly declaring their support for the 49-year-old amid scrutiny last month.

But with a 3-7 record, Parramatta can all but kiss the finals goodbye if they cannot turn things around in the next month.

Four more losses will leave the Eels with 11 defeats for the season – the same number posted by the side that finished eighth last year.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash against fellow strugglers South Sydney, Arthur expects more pressure, but said he still believed he was the man to coach the Eels.

“I do,” he said.

“(The pressure) is going to be the same.

“But I’ve never walked away from a fight and we’re going to keep fighting hard. I still believe in this team but they’ve got to start to believe in themselves, especially when they’re under a bit of pressure.”

Pressure on Arthur comes barely 18 months after he led the Eels to the 2022 grand final, which they lost to reigning premiers Penrith.

Arthur was not interested in considering whether the pressure was fair given the Eels’ 52 per cent winning record across his tenure.

“Nothing’s fair in our game,” he said.

“We can’t be sooks about it. We’ve just got to get on with it and we can only go on the facts and the facts are that we’re not playing well enough.

“I’m the head coach for the team and we’ve got to do something about it.”

Arthur said he had yet to receive any indication from the Eels that they were losing faith in him.

“All they want to do is get around us and support myself and the coaches and the rest of the staff and the team,” Arthur said.

“But at the end of the day, what matters is what we’re doing on that field for 80 minutes and it’s not good enough at the minute.”

AAP