TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23: Eels coach Brad Arthur looks on at the post match media conference at the end of during the round eight NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Parramatta Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium on April 23, 2016 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur has responded to comments surrounding the decision to select his son, Jakob Arthur, to the sides starting 17 this weekend.

Selected to the bench for the Eels' clash against the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday, Jakob will wear the number 17 jersey while other more experienced utility-style players, such as Nathan Brown and Mitch Rein, have been placed on the extended bench.

Arthur appeared in seven games for the Eels in 2021, making his NRL debut against the New Zealand Warriors in Round 10. The 19-year-old halfback also managed to cross the line twice for two tries in his seven appearances last season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 18: Jakob Arthur of Parramatta runs the ball during the NRL trial match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on February 18, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

After the announced selection of his son and subsequent comments of nepotism, coach Brad Arthur has come out in defence of his decision.

“It’s not easy, to tell you the truth,” Arthur told

“Sometimes his surname, people might think is a positive for him but it’s actually probably a negative for him.

“But anyway he’s like the rest of our kids, he’s working hard and when their opportunity comes I think they’ll be ready.”

Jakob has also shot down any claims of favouritism.

“It’s all right, all the boys are good about it, it’s just like a coach and player,” Jakob said.

“I’m still living at home. He tries to keep all the footy talk at training but we always end up talking about footy at home."

Most importantly, Brad's decision seems to be unquestioned within the locker room, with veteran halfback Mitchell Moses giving the youngster his stamp of approval.

“Jakey is really good, he’s had a great pre-season, he’s been one of the standouts for us,” Moses said.

“He’s still young, he’s only 19 years old. He’s got a long way to go but is definitely headed in the right direction.”

Similar votes of confidence have also been heard from captain Clint Gutherson.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 08: Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson speak as they warm-up ahead of a Parramatta Eels NRL training session at the Old Saleyards Reserve on May 8, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“He’s been good, this is his second pre-season now and he’s put on a bit of size and is crafting his game after a big year last year debuting and playing cup,” Eels captain Clint Gutherson said.

Jakob started at halfback in the team's pre-season match against the Dragons and came off the bench against the Panthers. In two winning efforts, the youngster finished with a line break and two try assists.