Parramatta should play for credibility, not contracts, for the next month after being embarrassed 64-10 by Melbourne, says Eels great Peter Sterling.
NSW mentor Brad Fittler believes weeks of speculation swirling around the NRL club because coach Brad Arthur and a dozen players are coming off contract this season has been a "massive distraction".
But Sterling says the Eels' priority should be regaining respect following their 11 tries to two shellacking at Suncorp Stadium.
"After last night it puts contracts in perspective," Sterling told Nine Network on Sunday.
"Over the next month it is about Parramatta players trying to earn credibility not contracts. Once you cross that white line whatever has been happening during the week you forget about it and go to work."
Some of the Eels' biggest names including captain Clint Gutherson and halfback Mitchell Moses are among those coming off-contract.
Fullback Gutherson recently expressed frustration over his long-running negotiations with the Eels.
Fittler believed that was a mistake
"They are huge distractions. Gutho said he was disappointed in Parramatta (contract talk progress) but that's why you pay a manager," Fittler said.
"Players should never comment about their club or their contract. It is absolutely ridiculous. Let the manager earn his money and let a player get on with the game."
But Arthur was quick to dismiss off-field issues as an excuse for their "soft" display against a rampant Storm.
"They're professional sportspeople, we all are. It doesn't matter once you take the field what's gone on during the week. We have to go out there and play with pride and be happy and put our best effort out there," he said.
Arthur offered no excuses but also had no explanation for the capitulation barely a week after an impressive 32-18 win over St George Illawarra.
"We just had a conversation (in the dressing room) and the question is 'why'?" Arthur said.
"All the players are talking about 'soft, not good enough, embarrassing' but why?"