Eels players slam rumours of rift with Arthur

“Everyone was furious about it because its a lie. He has got so much respect from all of the team and staff and the club. Someones just writing that just to get some hits or something.

“Its absolutely stupid.

“We spoke about it the other day. We feel for Brad and the staff, they put so much effort into us, helping us get the win and the upper hand. They have sleepless nights trying to find ways for us to win and we keep going out there and losing.

“I feel bad for him and the staff more than ourselves. Were letting them down and theyre going into bat for us, why were not winning. Were just not playing well.”

The Eels opened their season with six straight losses, sparking a flurry of rumours ranging from the coach losing the team to the players turning on each other. Arthur has made a raft of changes in a bid to exact revenge on a Manly side that flogged them 54-0 just a month ago.

“We cant have people talking about our coach like that when its not right,” utility Will Smith said.

“That got under a lot of the boys skin, that we read that sort of stuff.

“Thats far from the truth. Everyone loves Brad and the rest of the coaching staff here.

“I havent been at a club where the coach works as hard as he does for the team.”

Kane Evans, who joined the Eels from the Roosters in the off-season, said the side is desperate to start winning to put the rumours to bed.

“[Arthur] puts his heart and soul into everything and we havent been performing as players and it looks bad for him,” Evans said.

“But hes the man.

“Hes invested so much time into us and we have to pay it back to him and the club and the fans.”

Paramatta forward Peni Terepo said there was “a lot of tension in the room” when they gathered privately to support their coach.

“Thats pretty touchy, the stuff about the coaches there, especially for Brad,” Terepo said.

“If anything else, we want to play for him and the rest of the coaching staff too, they play really hard.

“Weve had a great couple of seasons and to see whats come out, a lot of negative stuff like that, it does piss you off a little bit.”

Arthur dropped co-captain Beau Scott and winger Bevan French from the side that lost to the Sharks in a reshuffle that includes the return of Jarryd Hayne on the wing. Gutherson, who made a successful return from his second ACL setback last weekend, remains at fullback.

“Hes let me build my career here,” Gutherson said of Arthur.

“I didnt really come from anything, Id only played a handful of games, and hes had trust in me that I would get better and what he saw would come out. It has eventually and I owe pretty much my whole career to him at this stage and am forever grateful.”

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Adrian Proszenko

Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.

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