Dyldam Parramatta Eels NYC Coach Justin Holbrook says he sees the potential for his Under 20s side to improve on their performance against the Broncos in the first week of finals and notch up a win this weekend against the in-form New Zealand Warriors.
Holbrook says while the players are keener than ever now that they’ve had a taste of finals footy, he draws confidence from his side’s narrow wins over Brisbane in the Finals series, and teams like the Warriors earlier in the season.
“We’ve [won the narrow contests] a number of times and that’s what gives me as a coach, and the players, confidence,” Holbrook said.
“[It’s about] knowing that when it does get tough the boys can dig deep and come away with the win. They’re a good bunch: everyone’s pretty level headed, and while we’re excited we know we’re in for a really tough game.”
In Round 18, the young Eels came home with a just-before-the-buzzer, 22-19 win over the Warriors in Auckland, after running away with their Round 1 match 50-24.
“It’s great to have beaten them before, but they’re playing really well at the right end of the season,” Holbrook said.
“We really have to improve on last week’s game against Brisbane, and control the ball a lot better, that’s for sure.”
“If we can defend well - we did that against Brisbane, especially late in the first half, which at the back end of the game won us the game - then I’m sure we’ve got the team to win.”
The Eels' NYC preliminary final against the New Zealand Warriors kicks off at 5.15pm on Saturday, September 27, at ANZ Stadium, followed by the NRL preliminary final between the Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Click through for ticketing information, or tune into FoxSports 1 on Saturday to catch the game live!