Gold Coast hooker Nathan Peats has publicly thrown his support behind embattled coach Neil Henry, saying it would be unfair if Henry was moved on despite being under contract and insisting the players are happy playing under him.
Asked to comment on reports halves Kane Elgey and Ash Taylor were holding off on re-signing with the club while Henry remained, Peats was emphatic.
"Ash is a good young kid and Elgey's probably one of the quietest kids I've ever met and for [media] to come out and say that he's not going to sign unless the coach leaves is rubbish," Peats fired.
"I'm sick of hearing about it, I feel for the coach."
While skipper Ryan James indicated the young halves were "rattled" after seeing their faces on the back page of The Courier Mail in the story, Peats said the young playmakers were handling the situation professionally.
"They're all right, they're professionals and they're doing all right. We're all disappointed in how we're playing at the moment, it's just not working how we'd like it," Peats said.
"We tried hard (in Thursday's 30-8 loss to the Eels), it's just disappointing. On to next week, our last home game, hopefully we can do something for the fans up there."
Peats said he wouldn’t comment on rumours Henry and star fullback Jarryd Hayne were on poor terms.
"The boys get along really well up there," he said.
"Most of us are pretty good at dealing with it all (the media scrutiny), we're professionals and have to turn up and play every week, that's just outside noise sometimes.
"We know what we're capable of, we beat the Sharks twice and beat the Storm and beat Parra before.
"Four or five weeks ago we were battling to make the eight and we were a deadset chance and to dish up what we have the last few weeks is disappointing."
None of that was down to the coach, he added.
"He's not on the field having hit-ups and missing tackles and giving away fifth tackle penalties. He's up in the box giving us our game plan and we're just not executing it. We're making it too hard for ourselves," Peats said.
"He's not the one to blame.
"I think it would be [unfair if he was sacked], definitely. We all respect him as a coach, the leadership group love him and the squad love him.
"There might be two or three blokes that aren't happy with their contract situations or where they're going next year but that happens in every squad. Guarantee if you sit down with all 16 sides and asked the whole playing group if you like the coach there's going to be one or two that doesn't. That's footy sometimes.
"Everyone's reinforced their support for Neil. Like I said it's not his fault we're playing the way we have."