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Arthur: It’s an opportunity for us to perform

The Parramatta Eels take on the St. George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Sunday 18 June in Round 15 of the NRL Telstra Premiership and Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur says the clash will be a tough contest, with both sides desperate to bounce back after losses.

“Our effort was good last week but our effort was working against each other and we didn’t work together as a team so we are looking to bounce back against a team that are coming off a loss as well,” Arthur said.

“I am sure it will be a real tough tussle through the middle of the field.”

“No game is easy, and we didn’t go into last time we played them thinking it was going to be easy either.” Arthur added when asked of the last clash against the Dragons.

“We completed really well and everything seemed to click on that day, and you have days like that, but they are a tough team and very physical through the middle third of the field.”

“Completions will be really important for us and making sure that we finish with a nice kick at the end of it.”

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Off the back of last week’s loss to the Cowboys, Arthur said the side would need to work on their areas of execution, noting that the newly formed combination of Corey Norman and Mitch Moses would only continue to improve over time.

“It’s more of an opportunity for us to try and perform well off the back of last week. Like I said, our effort was good but effort is not enough to win a game of footy and we showed that last week. We were off with a few of our executions in attack and that really hurt us,” Arthur said.

“Our last tackle options have been really good the games prior, and we won both of those games. I just think that Corey and Mitch together, they tried really hard, and we only had two training sessions together, so that is hard on any combination on any calibre of player. A couple of extra sessions this week and they will be a lot better for the run.” Arthur added.

“I just want them to bring their energy, defend well and kick well. It is just going to take time and they will get better on a week to week basis, I just don’t want them to overplay their hand.”

And with media speculating on Moses’ defence, Arthur was quick to defend the half, saying the reports were inconsistent.

“Mitch has trained really well and fit in really well with the boys. He is taking control of the team which is what we need him to,” Arthur said.

“There was article during the week about him letting in five tries over the last two weeks and that is inconsistent with the information we have.”

“Yes he came up with a bad read against the Warriors but overall, he is getting his body in front, he is working hard with his defence and a lot of the tries around him haven’t been his fault.” Arthur added.

And with news during the week of winger Semi Radradra expressing his interest to return to the Eels, Arthur said the news was pleasing.

“It is pleasing. We want Semi to stay and obviously he needs to do what is best for him but we would like him to be in the Blue & Gold again at some stage next year or the following year.”

The Eels kick off against the St. George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Sunday 18 June in Round 15 of the NRL Telstra Premiership. Kick off is at 4pm.