TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Eels coach Brad Arthur speaks at the post match media conference at the end of the round 10 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Parramatta Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium on May 18, 2019 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur has been left worried over the effort of his side in the middle third as they rolled over to the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday evening.

A 26-0 loss where Parramatta never troubled the scorers has continued yet another topsy-turvy run of form through the back end of the season for the blue and gold.

A seemingly recurring theme to Parramatta on the approach to the finals every season has seen Arthur come under plenty of pressure for his job in recent times, and those drums will only beat louder if the Eels can't go further than Week 2 of the finals this time around.

The last fortnight seemed to have Parramatta on the right path with wins over the Penrith Panthers and Manly Sea Eagles, but it'll be back to the drawing board after Friday's horror show.

Despite that, Arthur said it wasn't consistency - or a lack thereof - he was worried by.

“Yeah it’s not great, but we are not worried about consistency right now,” Arthur said.

“I’m worried about the fact there was no physicality through the middle of the field and we just got steamrolled. We just gave them too much time.

“I don’t know why we didn’t start that way. I will have to look into it, but there has to be a real want and desire to start that way and put your body on the line.

“It was obvious that we didn’t have it and we paid the price for it.”

The loss drops the Eels to sixth on the table, with the Rabbitohs jumping them, but they could be seventh by the end of the round if the Brisbane Broncos manage to beat the Newcastle Knights on Saturday evening.

Any chance of cracking the top four has almost evaporated for Parramatta, who will be four points behind the Melbourne Storm, and potentially the Cronulla Sharks, with three rounds to play.

Arthur said the problems began from the opening set of six in the loss to South Sydney.

“Right from the start I thought physically we were well off the pace through the middle,” Arthur said.

“The first kick-off they rolled 60 metres. We didn’t go to the contest through the middle of the field physically.

“They just rolled us too easily. They bounced out of tackles and sets of six turned into sets of 10 or 11 each time."

While chances of a top-four finish are all but gone, a tough run home against the Bulldogs, Broncos and Storm will now determine whether Arthur's side need to travel or have the right to host a Week 1 elimination final.