Eels players fire up over Brad Arthur NRL drama as Scott Sattler makes huge sacking claim

The Eels have endured a brutal start to the 2024 season.

Panthers great Scott Sattler has claimed Eels coach Brad Arthur's time as head coach of Parramatta could be coming to an end after another poor start to the season, despite the players backing the coach. The Eels missed out on NRL finals footy last year and there season has already started in disaster.

Last week, the Eels were humiliated as a injury-hit Dolphins team smashed them 44-16 with Parramatta's second-half showing called out for being 'pathetic'. Despite a win over the Cowboys a week earlier, the Eels were hammered 41-8 against the Raiders in round five.

Panthers great Scott Sattler has claimed Eels coach Brad Arthur's (pictured left) time as head coach of Parramatta could be coming to an end. (Getty Images)
Panthers great Scott Sattler has claimed Eels coach Brad Arthur's (pictured left) time as head coach of Parramatta could be coming to an end. (Getty Images)

The defence has been a huge issue for the Eels with the third worst for and against in the NRL. Despite three wins in four matches, it has been the way the Eels have been defeated that has caused backlash.

Arthur has been at the helm for 11 years and took the Eels to the 2022 grand final in his best season with the club. But he's so far been unable to end the longest premiership drought of any club, with the Eels' last grand final triumph coming way back in 1986. Parramatta missed the finals last year and pressure has been mounting on him to turn things around in 2024.

To make matters worse for Arthur, halfback Mitchell Moses will miss six to eight weeks after he fractured his foot against the Manly Sea Eagles. Since his injury, Dylan Brown has struggled to stand up without the regular No.7 marching his team around the park.

And Panthers great Sattler has claimed Arthur is certainly fighting for his job after a season his team was expected to bounce back. “I think Brad Arthur’s time at Parra is probably done,” Sattler said on SEN Radio. “But in saying that, he still would be good for another club, I think he’d still be really good for another club that needs a coach that’s experienced… as a head coach. His days are just expired at the moment at Parra, unfortunately. It’s too difficult for him to get his point across."


Arthur slammed his team's efforts and labelled them as a 'part-time footy team' after the embarrassing loss. And Sattler didn't hold back on the Eels players after another brutal loss. “For a couple of years I’ve said it, I think a few people have said it also, they seem to be a mentally fragile side,” Sattler added. “The only people that can change that are the players.”

Brad Arthur speaks.
Eels head coach Brad Arthur (pictured) is under pressure to keep his job.

Clint Gutherson backs Brad Arthur amid turmoil

Earlier in the week, reporter Phil Rothfield claimed the Eels players were not fighting for under-siege coach Arthur. But Captain Clint Gutherson came out swinging on Tuesday and backed Arthur as the man to help lead them out of the drama.

“Everyone respects what he says and what he does. We’re letting him, the coaching staff, the club and the fans down at the moment. It’s on us,” Gutherson said after the team criticism. “You never want to hear that from your coach, but the truth hurts sometimes and you’ve got to hear it.

“If you’re not willing to hear what the bad things are and you just want to hear the good things, then you don’t really last too long in the game. He’s really challenged us this week to get back to doing all the little things right.

“You can’t get all the highs all the time. It’s like any other job – if you’re not doing something right, then someone has to pick you up on it. It shouldn’t take this long for Brad to have to say it after a game for it to get a reaction, but that’s what it is.”

Clint Gutherson runs the ball.
Clint Gutherson (pictured) has backed coach Brad Arthur amid the Eels turmoil.

Leader Reagan Campbell-Gillard also defended Arthur and said the players had let him down after last weekend. "Brad has copped it for 12 or 13 years. It’s not his fault. The onus is on us,” Campbell-Gillard said.

“Being one of the senior players here, I’m more than happy to cop the brunt of it. I’m sure our other senior boys are willing to put their hand up as well. It’s not nice to see what’s happened to Brad given what he’s done for this club. He’ll always put his hand up and face the media and take the brunt of it, but for the performances we’ve been dishing out, we have to (take responsibility).

“There’s a lot of honesty at this club and no beating around the bush. It’s very straight down the line. If you can’t take any criticism and judgment, then I think you’re in the wrong sport. It’s about holding everyone accountable and making sure everyone is accountable for their actions and how they played.”

Parramatta slammed for 'pathetic' display

Sattler isn't the only one calling out the Eels. The Eels conceded eight second-half tries against the Dolphins on the weekend. And veteran league reporter Phil Rothfield suggested the Parramatta coach could be on borrowed time at the club after labelling the performance "pathetic". He suggested the under-fire coach had lost his playing group after an epic second half capitulation.

“There were eight tries in 25 minutes... that was pathetic up in Darwin. Pathetic,” Rothfield said on Monday’s Big Sports Breakfast radio show. “Brad said they gave up. It’s the coach’s job to have his team ready on game day and they’re not. They aren’t playing for him. It’s so obvious."