Dyldam Parramatta Eels second-rower David Gower says the Eels can't afford to consider finals as they look to atone for a tough loss and round out the season with a strong performance against the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday.
The Blue and Gold’s Round 25 loss to the Newcastle Knights has left the team with a slim chance of a berth in the 2014 finals series, and frustrated with what Gower labelled a bitterly disappointing performance.
“That [second half] definitely wan’t our finest 40 minutes, but our first half wasn’t much better,” Gower said.
“We just went away from everything we’ve built as a team this year: we didn’t play our tough disciplined footy, we didn’t use our shape, we didn’t play the way we knew we needed to play.”
“We’ve prided ourselves this year on building something as a team and we’re bitterly disappointed that we played like that with so much on the line.”
With the finals equation for the Eels dependent on wins and losses from at least two other upcoming matches, Gower said the Blue and Gold need to focus instead on the "carefree" Raiders ahead of Saturday night’s match in Canberra.
“When you start talking ‘mathematical’ you’re starting to struggle a little bit,” Gower said.
“We just want to go out and rectify a poor performance from us on the weekend. We need to train hard this week and go down to Canberra and put in a good performance against a team that’s won two in a row and has nothing to lose.”
“If we can turn up to Canberra with the right attitude, mentality and desire we’re going to get our chance, but that’s out of our hands. They’re a great side, they’re a young side, and the last few weeks they’re just playing carefree footy. When a team’s playing carefree and with enjoyment they’re a hard team to beat.”
“We’ve got to get over that tough loss and, mentally, we’ve got to make sure we get up for it cause they’re going to come to play.”