Sat August 4, 2012 11:21am
MATTHEW Johns has lit the fuse for Parramatta's end-of-season flourish, with Eels veterans furious over his criticism of their form reversal since Steve Kearney's sacking.
Lock Reni Maitua yesterday slammed Johns - who has called upon Parramatta's senior players to take responsibility for Kearney's demise - for "talking crap".
"It's not fun when you're being constantly scrutinised in the media and you've got Matty Johns talking crap about the team every week.
"If he's got that big an opinion of us then he should come down to training and give us a hand.
"We've tried everything and it's a shame we are only just beginning to win without Steve (Kearney).
"I can understand some criticism because we were losing, but enough is enough.
"He's talking out of school and he's talking out of line.
"He seems to be having a dig at the senior players.
"If he wants to have a go then be a man and name names. Don't let a guy like Nathan Hindmarsh fall into that category.
"He's an inspiration for our team and it's starting to get under my skin and the rest of the boys when he constantly scrutinises the senior players."
It's the second time this season that Johns has raised the public ire of a senior player, with Tigers skipper Robbie Farah engaging in a memorable on-air debate with the NRL on Fox over criticism of Wests' forwards.
But Johns refused to back down from his opinion of Parramatta when contacted last night. But he did clarify that none of his criticisms were directed at Hindmarsh.
"Reni has got the right to defend his senior players and I fully appreciate that," Johns said. "I don't know the week-to-week politics of Parramatta or whether the players lost trust in Steve.
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