Billy Slater calls out Nathan Cleary detail as NRL world rips 'unacceptable' Eels farce

Pressure is mounting on Parramatta and coach Brad Arthur.

Billy Slater has added his voice to criticism of the Parramatta Eels, saying they can't keep using Mitchell Moses' injury as an excuse because the Panthers have been playing without Nathan Cleary for a month. Pressure is mounting on Eels coach Brad Arthur after his side suffered an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins in Darwin last week.

The Eels led 8-4 at the break but produced a woeful display in the second-half to lose 44-16. Questions are being asked about whether the players are showing up for Arthur and if it's time for a change of direction in the coaching department.

Many have also been quick to highlight they've been without their best player in Moses for four weeks, with Dylan Brown struggling to step into his shoes as chief playmaker. But according to Slater, the Eels can't keep using Moses as an excuse because the Panthers have still been winning games without their own superstar halfback Cleary.

Billy Slater, Nathan Cleary and Clint Gutherson.
Billy Slater has called out Nathan Cleary to make a point about the Parramatta Eels. Image: Getty

Moses and Cleary both went down injured in round three, with the Parramatta half fracturing his foot and the Panthers star suffering a hamstring injury. Cleary is expected to be back this weekend against the Cowboys, but Moses is expected to miss another month.

"Absolutely there are some issues (at the Eels) because Nathan Cleary who is arguably the best player in the competition, he hasn't been at the Penrith Panthers for the best part of a month and they seem to be doing okay," Slater said on the 'Billy Slater Podcast' on Monday. There are certainly some issues at Parramatta and alarming issues...

"When the heat really came on, pardon the pun because it was hot up there... But when you're in those conditions and you play football it just puts you under pressure quicker and they couldn't handle the pressure."

Parramatta Eels players.
Parramatta Eels players look on during their loss.


Mark Geyer's startling claim about Parramatta Eels loss

Panthers great Mark Geyer said he'd "never seen a bigger capitulation" from an NRL team. " At half-time they were winning eight points to four. At 44 minutes they were winning 10 points to four, then all of a sudden eight tries in 25 minutes were scored against them," Geyer said on Triple M radio.

" I have never seen a bigger capitulation from a rugby league team in my life. I could cut them some slack... It was 32 degrees when they kicked off and the humidity was around 90 per cent...but they were leading at half-time.

"Maybe if they started the game fatigued then I would've said that the humidity played a part but something happened. I don't know what's happened but in that second half they put the white flag up and I've never seen a team put the flag up like they did."

NRL world piles on Parramatta Eels over 'pathetic' scenes

Leading journalist Phil Rothfield suggested Arthur has lost the playing group, and pointed out how bad the club is going in the lower grades too. “There were eight tries in 25 minutes... that was pathetic up in Darwin. Pathetic,” Rothfield said on Sky Sports radio. “Brad said they gave up. It’s the coach’s job to have his team ready on game day and they’re not. They aren’t playing for him. It’s so obvious.

“Parramatta are running last in the NSW Cup. Their Jersey Flegg side haven’t won a game. For a club with a feeder system and that massive junior league, that is unacceptable.

"They conceded 41 points against Canberra and 44 points against the Dolphins. Mitch Moses wouldn’t have changed that defence. You look at Melbourne without (Cameron) Munster, Panthers without Cleary, Broncos without (Adam) Reynolds. They all battled on and kept winning.

“It says a lot about the entire structure and pathways of the club that they don’t have another option to bring into the side when Moses is out. They are in all sorts. Brad Arthur has been there a long period of time. They’ve lost nine of their last 15 games and he said they gave up. That’s the heaviest quote you can get."