Monday Buzz: Contract madness is crippling Eels
The contract nonsense at the Parramatta Eels has gone on too long.
Saturday's night pathetic effort against Melbourne was the proof in a scoreline of 64-10 that was an embarrassment.
The Parramatta management has to take a stance this week.
The Eels either want coach Brad Arthur or they don't. He's not going to become a better or worse coach in the next fortnight. Just make a decision now.
If they don't want him, sign Anthony Griffin, whose value has increased because of the way Penrith have flopped since his departure.
The same with the players.
Make the final offers to Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses. Just make it $650,000 and $750,000. Take it or leave it. Give them 48 hours to decide. And then move on.
If they are not interested, look for another fullback and halfback.
No team plays as poorly as Parramatta did against the Storm unless there are outside distractions.
This madness and uncertainty have the potential to derail their entire premiership campaign.
The fans deserve better.
Not one party alone is at fault here, although the club management should accept the bulk of the blame. Bernie Gurr and Mark O'Neill have handled it poorly.
There is a coach, a recruitment manager, a committee, a CEO, a general manager and a board. It takes days to sign off on anything.
No other club has allowed contract negotiations to be played out so publicly.
The biggest problem is the delay over Arthur as head coach.
No club can expect players to commit long term when there is doubt over the coach being there.
It's little wonder the Eels didn't turn up on Saturday night and performed like they had other things on their mind.
Mind you, it was always going to be a dangerous week to be facing Melbourne Storm after the previous week's spray from Craig Bellamy.
That, however, is no excuse.
When winger Maika Sivo was sin-binned for 10 minutes for the high shot on Jahrome Hughes, the Storm ran riot. They scored four tries. Suliasi Vunivalu, Cameron Munster, Brodie Croft and Ryan Papenhuyzen. It was an extraordinary passage of football.
But the Eels were woeful. Teams reduced to 12 men often lift and still get the job done.
Not Parra. Gutherson lost the plot over the sin-binning of Sivo.
The manner in which he addressed (or screamed at) referee Henry Perenara was the sign of a young man not handling pressure. On the night, he missed seven tackles.
All up, Parramatta missed 54 tackles. It is not good enough.
The board, the senior executives, the coach, the agents and the players need to share responsibility and all agree it's time to sort out the mess before it's too late and their season goes to waste.