'Not OK': Erin Molan lashes out over 'unacceptable' NRL controversy

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Erin Molan has praised the Eels for taking a stand against online trolls who've targeted teenage playmaker Jake Arthur. Pic: Getty
Erin Molan has praised the Eels for taking a stand against online trolls who've targeted teenage playmaker Jake Arthur. Pic: Getty

Former NRL presenter Erin Molan has commended the Parramatta Eels for their response to the "unacceptable" online abuse of teenage star, Jake Arthur.

The 19-year-old five-eighth and son of Eels coach Brad Arthur - has come under fire from a section of disgruntled fans, who've accused Parramatta of nepotism for picking the playmaker at No.6 over established star Dylan Brown.

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The Eels coach has been forced into the move due to an injury crisis at the club, with the vitriol against the young Arthur ramping up over the weekend, following Parramatta's 35-4 humbling by the red-hot Cowboys.

Following the match, Parramatta’s official Twitter account felt the need to hit back at trolls for suggesting that Jake's inclusion amounted to "nepotism" on the coach's behalf.

The Eels tweeted: “The Arthur joke is enough” and “it’s not funny”, before the posts were later deleted.

Pictured left to right is Parramatta coach Brad Arthur and his teenage son Jake.
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has copped criticism from some fans for picking his teenage son Jake at five-eighth amid an injury crisis at the club. Pic: Getty

The Daily Telegraph reported that Parramatta’s executive producer Kate Cardwell also responded to trolls by writing: “Sick of the s**t comments. It is football.

“Sick of the bullying and negativity. I don’t think you know how much your words hurt.”

Former Channel Nine presenter Molan - herself an outspoken critic of online bullying - took aim at the trolls and said the Eels "should be proud" of the way Cardwell stood up the teen playmaker.

“Proud of you @Katecardwell - call it out when it’s unacceptable,” Molan wrote.

“Stand up for your players — paying members and fans have every right to be angry/frustrated and express that publicly — but relentless abuse of a young bloke is NOT OK.

“Love your passion Kate — your club should be proud.

The league world rallied around Arthur in the wake of the ugly saga, with league legend and former NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley among the many good judges to defend Parramatta's decision to shift Brown into centre and play the coach's son at five-eighth.

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“I don’t know about this nepotism stuff. That’s completely out of line,” Daley told the Big Sports Breakfast.

“Look at the players injured, outside backs, Brown is a better option in the centres with Arthur at five-eighth with what they’ve got.

“It’s not nepotism, it’s who he (Brad Arthur) thinks is going to do the best job.

“If you’ve got a player that’s been shifted for necessity, that’s what you do until you get troops back, every day of the week.

“Brown understands the position they’re in and he needs to help Jakob Arthur and other players in that team. They were just off, the Eels.”

The Daily Telegraph's veteran rugby league reporter Phil Rothfield also said criticism of Arthur and the Eels was unfair.

“Brad Arthur didn’t pick his son for the game against Newcastle without taking it up with the leadership group, Clint Gutherson, Mitchell Moses, Junior Paulo. This move had the support of the players,” Rothfield said on the Big Sports Breakfast.

“I spoke to Andrew Johns and he thinks Jakob is a terrific player. To blame a 19-year-old boy for a massacre in Darwin, when 17 players contributed to the loss, it’s unfair.

“If his name was Joe Blow we wouldn’t even be talking about him. Brad Arthur is struggling to pick 17, he’s got an injury crisis.”

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