The Parramatta Eels have been rocked on the eve of the biggest game of their season by an explosive internal review claiming there is “nepotism” at the club.
As the Eels prepare for the Friday night elimination semi-final against the Canberra Raiders, Fox League has learned some of the key points out of the review conducted by ex-NRL coach Nathan Brown include:
— There was a perception of nepotism in the appointment of staff and players
— Better connection needed from NRL to Flegg and to Junior Reps
— Acknowledgment of all staff across all programs could be better
— Skill development of players could be better with the ‘Eels philosophy’
— Role clarity needs to be better communicated and the communication across all roles needs to be clearer.
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The findings from the elite pathways report were presented to the Parramatta Eels NRL board a fortnight ago on August 31. There is no suggestion in the briefing document obtained by Fox Sports that the claim of nepotism relates to coach Brad Arthur or his son Jakob, who has been selected to play off the bench against the Raiders on Friday.
The leaked findings of the review comes at the worst possible time for the Eels, as they prepare to play the red-hot Canberra Raiders at CommBank Stadium on Friday night. Fans were left devastated after Parramatta were demolished by the Panthers last Friday night after finishing in the top four.
The elite pathways review was intended to give the board an overall view of the club’s performance across Harold Matthews, SG Ball, Jersey Flegg and how the lower grades feed into the NRL squad.
Coach Arthur’s finals record of having only won two finals games out of nine appearances for a 22% strike rate dating back to 2017 has been repeatedly raised this week.
Broadcaster Ray Hadley has referred to deep-seated issues at the Eels surrounding Arthur on his morning radio show this week, which has been the talk of rugby league circles on the eve of a finals clash seen as the most important for the club in at least a decade. Long-suffering Parramatta fans have not been able to celebrate a premiership since 1986, the longest drought of any current club.
The development comes amid questions around why ex-NSW forward Nathan Brown – who is on $550,000-a-season and is still signed for next year – remains on the outer and has been unable to force his way into the Eels best 17.
Fox League has also been told the Eels leadership group have questioned why Brown has been continually omitted from the NRL side.
The Eels have been approached for comment.