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Eels leaders back coach following 'part-time fooy team' dig

George Clarke -

Parramatta's senior players have conceded Brad Arthur was right to label the Eels "a part-time footy team", arguing it is their squad - not the club's coach - who should be under fire. 

The Eels leadership group of captain Clint Gutherson and props Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard fronted up to the media on Tuesday following Friday's insipid 44-16 loss in Darwin.

As well as describing his side as a "part-time footy team", Arthur claimed Parramatta's players "gave up" and took the "soft choice" after throwing away an 8-4 halftime lead against the Dolphins. 

Rather than hiding from their hammering, which has prompted fresh questions over Arthur's long-term future, Gutherson, Campbell-Gillard and Paulo said their coach was right to put them on notice. 

"Watching the game on the weekend he is absolutely correct," Paulo said.

"We can't just pick and choose when we want to be the tough Parramatta team that we are."

Arthur has rung the changes in the aftermath of the Darwin disaster, picking rookie Ethan Sanders at five-eighth, recalling Maika Sivo and shaking up his bench. 

Campbell-Gillard agreed with Paulo and said the stinging criticism from Arthur, who usually stands up for his players, was a "massive wake-up call". 

"If you watched the second half, it looked like we didn't know each other and we hadn't trained together," Campbell-Gillard said.

"It was a little embarrassing to see the 40 minutes in that second half. We've addressed it and we're looking forward to this week."

Gutherson sat next to Arthur as he gave his side a very public rebuke at his post-match press conference on Friday and said it was what the Eels players needed.

"You never want to hear that from your coach, but the truth hurts sometimes and you've got to hear it," Gutherson said. 

After missing last year's finals series, Parramatta's erratic 3-4 start has again brought Arthur's position under the microscope.

But Campbell-Gillard says the coach is not culpable for the Eels' shaky form. 

"Brad has copped it for 12 or 13 years, it's not his fault, the onus is on us," he 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)."

George Clarke - AAP

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