BEHIND THE DESK: Upstream battle ahead for Parramatta Eels
IN Behind The Desk this week DEX sports reporter Matthew Elkerton and digital producer Bill North take a look at the fallout from the salary cap scandal that rocked the Parramatta Eels and NRL this week.
MATTHEW ELKERTON: Eels fans need to stick it out with the club
IT IS a tough week to be a Parramatta Eels supporter.
Trust me, I know, I am a Melbourne Storm supporter and stayed true through our own salary cap saga.
It is just a shame that it has had to come in what has been the Eels most prosperous start to a season since the glory days of the late '80s.
But the question that a lot of fans are asking is how have the Eels been cheating the system for so long but still not seen any results from it?
A wooden spoon while paying well above the salary cap does seem absurd but it is just a bitter pill that fans will have to swallow.
For a lot of diehard Blue and Golds this is the final straw that broke the camel's back. And that is unsurprising.
The general Eels fan is a person of honesty and morals, they may not have much but they do have faith in the laws of the game and a want to win a fair fight. And their club has denied them that.
But as a suffering fan who had to put up with the disappointment of finding out your club is a cheat - I will the Parramatta fans to stay strong.
The only way for the club to bounce back from what Brad Arthur described as "the biggest kick in the guts" is through the loyalty of their fan base and supporters.
Without fans the Eels fail.
While the heartbreak is raw at this point there is still hope for the club.
Which is hope for the Parramatta fans.
BILL NORTH: Tough job ahead for pride-inspiring coach Brad Arthur
YOU'VE got to feel for Brad Arthur.
The one man who's done something right at the Parramatta Eels in recent times is their coach.
He (with the help of a pricey roster) turned this team from cellar-dwelling underachievers to high-flying believers.
One need look no further than last Friday night, when the Kieran Foran adversity galvanised the team to one of the most-spirited performances of the NRL this season. Not since the Auckland Nines title did murmurs of 'premiership contender' roar so loud.
But as quickly as hope ignited it was extinguished by the verdict we all knew was coming. The club is in disarray, players' immediate futures unknown and right in the middle is Arthur.
Somehow, he has to get his team to turn up. Somehow, for now at least, he has to cling onto belief that his team can now produce an even bigger fairytale run than in 2009, when seven wins in the last eight rounds was achieving the impossible, and the Hayne Train-inspired momentum took them all the way to the grand final.
A footy coach's work is honest. He puts his squad - high bankrollers and working class battlers alike - through the paces day in, day out, convincing them to turn up, to put in, play for each other, and now, more than ever, to play for pride.