THERE are three things Parramatta Eels coach Stephen Kearney wanted to make clear to the 1000-strong group of members that stormed Parramatta Leagues Club looking for answers at the annual general meeting on Tuesday night.
Number one, there were no excuses for the Eels' worst start to a season in more than 50 years.
Two, he takes full responsibility for their performance on the field.
And three — and most importantly for Eels fans — he takes full responsibility for leading the team off the bottom of the ladder.
"I take responsibility for where we are as a team; I also take the responsibility for leading us out of this difficult situation we find ourselves in," Kearney said.
"I make no excuses on our part. The facts are we have simply not been good enough.
"I have had to make some tough decisions over the last little period and no doubt will have to make some more in the near future, but rest assured every decision I make, I make for the benefit of the team and ultimately the club."
Some of Kearney's decisions haven't been popular with the fans - in particular, the dropping of club legend Luke Burt and the reduced game time of skipper Nathan Hindmarsh.
His latest tough decision was dropping Ben Roberts to the NSW Cup for this week's clash against Canberra.
One change that won't be made is to the coaching staff with Eels CEO Bob Bentley dismissing speculation a coaching director would be hired to assist Kearney,
"The board's aim through discussions we've had with Steve was to ascertain whether he felt he had the adequate resources at his disposal and if any extra support was needed," Bentley said.
"As a result of these discussions Steve and the board are confident we have the right people in place, and there will be no change to our coaching structure.
"What is clear is that we as a club are united behind Steve and our players to pull us through this difficult period."
Eels skipper Hindmarsh said the players needed to take responsibility for the poor start to the season.
"Steve gives us the best game plan every week, along with his coaching staff," he said.
"We do all the video we need to . . . but at the end of the day it's up to us players to get the job done."
¦ Eels veteran Luke Burt will play his 250th game in the blue and gold against the Canberra Raiders on Sunday. Burt will partner the returning Cheyse Blair on the left-hand side of the field. In other team news, Chris Sandow returns to the No.7 jumper and Taulima Tautai will make his first NRL appearance of the year off the bench to cover for the suspended Reni Maitua.