‘It was unfair’: Dylan Brown “disappointed” to see Brad Arthur sacked, says players are to blame for Parramatta’s horror start

Parramatta star Dylan Brown says it was “unfair” for Brad Arthur to be sacked as the club’s coach at this stage of the season and concedes the players are to blame for his demise with the Eels languishing in the bottom four.

Brown is the first Eels player to speak publicly about the veteran coach’s axing, with Arthur sacked following a heavy loss to the Storm at Magic Round where they leaked 48 points to a team missing some of its biggest stars.

Arthur and Brown had a special bond from the moment the Kiwis playmaker made his NRL debut in 2019, and it explains why he was gutted to see his mentor shown the door after he guided the Eels to the grand final in 2022.

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Brad Arthur was sacked on Monday evening. NRL Photos Credit: Supplied

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“We’re all adults and things happen that we don’t want to happen. It was unexpected what happened and it’s disappointing to see him go because a lot of us are really close with Brad,” he said.

“For him to be gone just like that, especially at this time of the season, is disappointing.

“We are disappointed but we’ve got to move on and get results because there are fans waiting for us to perform. Brad wasn’t going to perform on the field, it’s us players that have to.

“It’s disappointing that results were the reason that he did get sacked, and that’s up to us.

“A lot of us dwelled on that and we think it was our fault, but the only thing that’s going to get us out of this is each other. There’s nothing we can do about it except to perform, and we’re not doing that at the moment.”

The timing of Arthur’s sacking coincided with Parramatta’s secret mission to try to sign Wayne Bennett who confirmed the following day that he was off to the Rabbitohs in 2025.

The season is far from over for the Eels who will likely get key men Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson back from injury on Thursday night, which is why some people were surprised that Arthur was axed rather than given more time with his stars back.

“The decision has come from above and we don’t know the exact reasons as to why it was this timing, but we always knew there was pressure on him, and he knew that,” Brown said after the 42-26 loss to Souths.

“I felt like it was unfair, but there are reasons behind it that they’ve decided to do so.

“We’re the ones that go out there every week. If you talk to anyone – not just the leadership group but players 1-30 – it’s our responsibility. It’s embarrassing.”

Co-captain Junior Paulo sat next to interim coach Trent Barrett in the post-match press conference and said he was “shocked” when he heard the news about Arthur, and it’s up to the players now to turn things around with just three wins in 2024.

That starts with their defence which has been awful at times this season, with the Eels conceding 30 points per game and winless away from home despite boasting one of the best attacking rosters in the league.

“I think that’s been the story of our season. It’s not the points that we’re not scoring, it’s the points that we’re receiving,” Brown said.

“It’s pretty embarrassing again, but we just need to find some momentum and stick with it. We’re having the same conversations behind the posts every time they score (where we say) ‘win the set and get the ball back’, but we’re not doing that.”

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