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Parramatta fans turned on coach Brad Arthur after the Eels were thrashed 35-4 by North Queensland in Darwin.
One of the in-form teams in the NRL over the first six weeks of the season, Parramatta have now lost back-to-back games and their dismal display against the Cowboys was arguably their worst showing of the campaign yet.
Eels fans pinned the loss of Arthur and accused the coach of nepotism for picking his son Jake at halfback and shifting Dylan Brown to centre.
Brad Arthur came in for strong criticism from Parramatta fans for his team selection
‘Thanks for nothing to the Arthur family,’ a disgruntled fan wrote on Facebook in response to the match report shared by the Eels’ official page.
‘Moving Jake [Arthur] into a vital position in place of the form five-eight then making your son responsible for attacking kicks at the tryline was a master stroke.
‘The whole team look disjointed with Arthur Jnr in the team.’
Arthur’s mistake in the eyes of Parra fans is picking his son Jake at five-eight
The feelings were echoed across the comments section.
‘Your son [Jake Arthur] needs more game time in the reserve grade,’ a user wrote. ‘At the moment we got one of the best inform five-eight in the game [Dylan Brown]. He needs to get back to five-eight for us to win.’
Another Parra fan joked Arthur had moved the in-form halfback out of position to accommodate his son on work experience.
Another added: ‘Brad Arthur needs to drop his son back down, brown needs to go back in the halves with [Mitchell] Moses not play centre he is one of our key players. Brad has moved the whole team around just so he can put his son in there to play.’
The decision to switch Brown to centre left a sour taste in the mouth of Parra fans.
‘Just In: Jake Arthur flagged as five-eight for Origin and Dylan Brown will be playing reserve grade next week for being an out of form centre,’ a supporter joked.
With the win in Darwin, North Queensland climbed above the Eels in the NRL ladder and moved up to third while Parramatta slipped to fifth.
After having the worst defensive record in the competition last year, it was the Cowboys’ defence that had the Eels in all sorts as they held them scoreless in the first half for the first time this season.
Three tries in the final five minutes put the icing on North Queensland’s six-try night, with the returning Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow instrumental in his 15-minute return from injury.
Kyle Feldt (left) scored a hat-trick as the Cowboys thrashed the Eels 35-4 in Darwin
The Cowboys climbed up to third on the NRL ladder following their win over the Eels
The ‘Hammer’ registered 138 run metres in his cameo as Tom Dearden grabbed a try after a barnstorming run from Jason Taumalolo in the 77th minute.
Tabuai-Fidow then linked up with the man in his fullback jumper as some interplay with Scott Drinkwater bagged him a try in his fist game since round four.
The favour was returned in the final minute as the Cowboys shifted right from the kick-off and Tabuai-Fidow streaked down the sideline.
Drinkwater then kicked for himself with no one at home to dive on the loose ball and cap off the best 80 minutes of North Queensland’s season.
Dylan Brown was shifted to the centre to accommodate Arthur at five-eight
Kyle Feldt bagged his hat-trick early in the second half after crossing twice in the opening stanza as the Cowboys ran riot, in a game in which they had just 36 per cent of the territory.
In the opening half it was all their defence, with a brick wall shutting out any shape the Eels threw their way.
The Eels enjoyed 67 per cent possession in the first 10 minutes with seven play the balls inside the Cowboys 20m.
The Eels have lost back-to-back games after starting the season with five wins in six games
Valentine Holmes kicked his side in front with a penalty in the 15th minute before they were then back in their half defending another 15 minutes of Eels attack.
However, when Clint Gutherson put down a swirling kick from Chad Townsend the Cowboys scored their first try courtesy of a beautiful looping cut-out pass that soared over two defenders for Feldt.
A heads-up play just shy of halftime by Drinkwater then gave his side a seven-tackle set which ultimately led to a perfect Townsend kick for another Feldt four-pointer.
Holmes then slotted a 35-metre field goal on the siren to give the Cowboys a 15-0 lead at the break.