Ricky Stuart: Tonight Was About Pride

The Pirtek Parramatta Eels have defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons 26-22 in their final match on Parramatta soil for the 2013 Telstra Premiership season, and coach and players were united on the fact that they were playing for one thing: pride.


Coach Ricky Stuart was pleased with the teams results.


I was really happy with the way they performed individually, Stuart said.


We were pretty embarrassed walking in here tonight. Individually we all knew, from the coach right through to the players that we wanted to correct last weeks performance.


We got our pride dented last week, and it was important to show that there is some pride in the team. Its been a very tough year.


Despite the Eels weak start to the match, club captain Tim Mannah admits that it was tough walking on to the field tonight.


I think sometimes weve been guilty of throwing in the white towel when we get off to a bad start. The boys dug their heels in and worked hard for each other, Mannah said.


Ricky spoke a lot about the game about pride. The boys spoke about being selfless and working for the guy next to you. I think all those little things added up and we came away with the result.


The topic then changed to upcoming star Luke Kelly, who impressed Stuart with his 80 minutes at halfback.


Hes very new to first grade," Stuart said.


"Hes been in and out throughout the season with a leg problem. Everyday hes been doing some work on his problems; hes professional with his preparation."


The team have shown they can function without the pressure of missing team mate Jarryd Hayne, who was ruled out this morning with a knee injury. Mannah admits the strain it placed on the team with the news, but he was happy with how the boys adapted.


It probably wasnt ideal preparation to have Jarryd pull out the morning of," Mannah said.


"It showed a lot of courage the boys had to be able to re-group and not let one player affect the team. They really showed a tough performance without a key player."


Ricky played off speculation about his future with the club, wanting to direct the focus towards his players and how they should be feeling about their last victory on home soil for the season.


The players more so, every day, there is something in the paper. I dont want any more speculation about me, I want to be here talking about a win. Thats something we havent been able to talk about much lately.


Stuart finished up by saying;


I want the players to be able to read tomorrow about a good win. The team spirit they showed, the camaraderie that is still in the group. Thats more important than anything else at the moment.