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We invited Pirtek Parramatta Eels assistant coach Matt Parish to the Blue and Gold Army Bar at ANZ Stadium before our game against the Rabbitohs so members could ask him questions about his experience as one of our coaches.

Q: Playing consistently is the big goal for the Eels this year - what's the benchmark for that?

Well, we showed some great signs last week for the first half, but unfortunately, in this competition that's not good enough. We need to do that for 80 minutes and when things get tough we can't put our heads down, we have to get up and keep going. At the moment our team's not good enough but we can definitely improve that.

Q: The club's undergoing a period of change on and off the field with Ricky, what are your thoughts on that?

It's never easy for anyone to be told they need to move on from their job, but for Ricky- he had to make those decisions and they were tough decisions. Also - Ricky told the players before the meeting and he's also told them that he will do everything he can to help them get a start at another club. He gets paid to make decisions, and obviously some should have been made two or three years ago.

And I know Ricky was quite upset with the way it panned out in the media as well.

Q: We've got a few exciting prospects coming to the club next year, what's your take on that?

Yeah we've got a few exciting prospects - and we've had lots of young players do well this year too. Vai Toutai, Kelepi Tanginoa,, they've all done really well this season. And people like Will Hopoate and Corey Norman will be great or the club, and the two English boys too are going to be outstanding, for intimidation factor and their size. But in saying that there are a lot of young players at this club who will no doubt lift even more next year.

Q: That's it - we've had half a dozen or so players make their debuts this season, does that show signs of improvement to come?

Absolutely - Brayden Wiliame and Api Pewhairangi have played really well, and Kaysa Pritchard too. The thing about them is they're young and now have some experience, so with a full off-season this year they'll be even better next year. With what Ricky's trying to do with this place I have no doubt he'll turn it around. It's not just short-term success, but long term success for a number of years. There will be some pain along the way but there's no doubt we'll get better.

Q: You're not just assistant coach of the Eels, but also the assistant coach of the NSW Blues. Tough start to the series but you came away with the win, how's preparation looking for Game 2?

Yeah we had a good preparation or game one and then I think we were pretty solid all through the game - we had a good session last Thursday and Friday and another one over the weekend and next week. We're all committed and we're trying to break the hold that Queensland has over us up there for the last few years.

Q: Jarryd Hayne unfortunately is sidelined with his hamstring injury, but Josh Dugan steps into his shoes this Origin. What impact will that have?

Jarryd's form, I think has been fantastic this season and I thought he was one of our best players at Origin. Josh Dugan hasn't played a lot this year but he's in great form and will do a great job as well, hopefully Jarryd can play for Manly on Monday night in the next few weeks and be back on the park before we know it.

Q: Queensland has changed their side after Origin 1, the first time they've done that in awhile. What does that mean looking into Game 2?

I think for the first time, based on our performance, the Queenslanders are rattled. They've changed their team up but they've still got some great players across their park - their halves combination, their forwards, but if we stick solid there's no doubt we are in with a chance to win the game and the series.
Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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