Nathan Brown of the Eels.
Nathan Brown of the Eels.

‘Silly’ Eels slammed for boozy night

THREE Parramatta Eels players have added to their club's horror start to the NRL season by being called out for a midweek drinking session.

News Corp journalist Phil Rothfield revealed on Monday a complaint was sent to the club about the behaviour of Corey Norman, Michael Jennings and Nathan Brown.

"I can reveal last Monday night three Parramatta players - Corey Norman, Michael Jennings, Nathan Brown - were out on the town, had too many drinks in the The Rocks," Rothfield said.

"The next morning they had an email from a patron at the hotel saying they behaved poorly, they were obnoxious, they swore.

"I think that is a very silly thing for those players to be doing when they've lost the first three games of the season, to be out on the town.

Eels coach Brad Arthur. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Eels coach Brad Arthur. Picture. Phil Hillyard

"The club's answer when I went to them, and I've given them the benefit of the doubt, they spoke to all those players and they admitted they had been out, they had been to dinner then they kicked on. They said the players hadn't behaved as poorly as that email suggested."

After a 0-4 start to the season, Rothfield said it was a bad look.

"It comes back to a perception thing, when your team's playing well no one cares what you do," he said.

"I think it was a dumb move to go out. Go out and have dinner but don't kick on, go home."

Coach Brad Arthur has threatened to swing the axe players lacking discipline on the field after the Eels sunk to their worst start to a season since 2012.

The Eels were barely in the contest in their 30-20 loss to the Wests Tigers on Monday, with three late tries only improving the scoreboard but doing little to please Arthur.

Corey Norman. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Corey Norman. Picture. Phil Hillyard

The Eels afforded themselves just 36% of the ball before the break, as they completed just four of five sets at the end of the first half while the Tigers had 12 to set up what would become a 30-6 lead.

"If blokes can't be disciplined they won't be in the team moving forward," Arthur said. "Individuals have got to be accountable for it.

"We're giving away penalties and leg-ups out of back field and giving away offsides. It doesn't matter if the referees want to stand 20 metres back, you can't be in front of them. Until we fix that and address that we're going to have the same problems."

Considered a serious premiership contender before round one, the Eels must now become just the sixth team to recover from a 0-4 start to make the finals. None have won the premiership.

Tony Williams was a rare highlight on Monday in his return game, putting on a fend and offload in the lead-up to a late try. Otherwise the rest were disappointing with injured pair Jarryd Hayne and Clinton Gutherson still weeks away.

Michael Jennings (right).
Michael Jennings (right).

Arthur is clinging to some hope though in that his Eels won just two of their first six in 2017 before recovering to make the top four.

"We'll dig ourselves out but it needs to be right now," he said. "It needs to be right now. We can't get too far ahead of ourselves but we just need to knuckle down and get that first win and we'll go from there."

He isn't the only coach with plenty to think about after round four.

Ricky Stuart used the word "soft" 10 times in a four-and-a-half minute post- match spray after Canberra's 32-16 loss to Manly on Saturday made for their first winless opening month since 1997.

Cowboys coach Paul Green hit out at his team in the media a fortnight ago, but they've now lost their last three to be 13th after Thursday's 33-14 loss to Penrith.

Canterbury are the other cellar dwellers after the opening month, their controversial 20-16 loss to South Sydney on Good Friday coming after they led 12-0 early.

Not one member of last year's top four recorded victories over the weekend, with Melbourne also going down to Cronulla while Brisbane were upset 26-14 by the Gold Coast on Sunday.

The Sydney Roosters were also shocked by a Warriors side that was without Shaun Johnson as the Kiwi side joined St George Illawarra as one of two undefeated clubs on Saturday.

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