Hales: We won't settle for mediocrity

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels NYC had a dominating victory over the Wests Tigers NYC on Friday (6 February 2015) at Kirkham Oval, Camden with the Blue and Gold coming away 52-12 victors.

And whilst the Eels were dominant in their performance, Head Coach Steven Hales was not getting ahead of himself, taking away areas of improvement along with plenty of positives from the game.

“You don’t win a comp this stage in the year but it is definitely exciting. We talked about not seeing it as a trial but more as an opportunity for us,” said Hales.

“We have talked about team identity and what we want to stand for as a team and I think that was a pleasing aspect to see a sign of the little things we stand for on being competitive, resilient and a focus on winning.”

The Eels opened the scoring in the opening minutes of the clash as prop Alex Twal burst through the Wests Tigers defence before putting fullback Bevan French under the posts to score.

Winger Abbas Miski crossed minutes later as the ball found its way through some quick hands down the Eels right edge, and his four pointer put the Eels 8-0 ahead after 11 minutes. The Tigers struck back with their own four pointer, however Miski continued to be a handful, crossing for his second try of the quarter as the Eels entered the first break with a 12-4 leader.

Miski had his hand in all the action, and he put second row Tyrell Fuimaono over down the right edge with a short inside ball as the Eels continued to extend their lead.

The tries were flowing for the Blue and Gold as Eels centre Nathan Davis scored under the posts off a perfectly weighted grubber, before interchange Craig Field scored out wide to have the Eels in a dominant position, 24-4 in the opening 30 mins.

Fuimaono showed his skills with the ball, setting up Jason Vidal down the left edge and the Eels entered half time with a comfortable 28-4 lead.

Hales was pleased with the performances of Davis and Fuimaono, who were featured in the NYC side this year, but had really stepped up their performances so far in the 2015 season.

“They are going really well and that’s a pleasing factor. Coming of last year where we were successful, it gives us a platform for us to work off and they have taken on a real leadership mentality with the boys and they really drive our training sessions and the standards we set at training.”

The second half continued where they had left off and two tries to Eels winger Atini Gafa and a second four-pointer to French saw the Eels extend their lead to 40-4 after 50 minutes, and despite the lead, the Blue and Gold maintained their pressure and didn’t look like slowing down.

Centre Tui Olopau crossed for his first try off the day, before Miski crossed for his third try of the afternoon, showcasing his speed, getting on the outside of the Wests Tigers defence to cross the white line.

Hales praised Eels centre Miski and was pleased to see the talented football having success on the field.

“Abbas Miski had a great game. There is a bit of talk around similarities with Josh Mansour. He is a very strong and talented boy, and it is definitely no fluke the way he performed,” Hales said.

“He is one of those boys that is first to training, last to leave, and he definitely deserves everything he gets out of the game.”

The Wests Tigers scored two late consolation tries before the Eels finished with a try on the stroke of full-time resulting in a dominant 52-12 victory.

“When you win by that sort of score line there are a lot of standout performers, and that was probably the most pleasing aspect of the trial,” Hales said.

“We made it a focus on team this year, and making the person next to us a better player and that was the case on the weekend.”

“It was a really fine team performance, but we defiantly have a lot to work on and that’s an exciting thing as well” he added.

The trial game also gave Hales the opportunity to see several Eels squad members who had made the step up from SG Ball, and the coach was pleased with their performance.

“We aren’t just looking to bring people up, we are looking to bring them up and be successful,” Hales said of the mentality at the Eels that NRL Head Coach Brad Arthur had brought to the Blue and Gold.

“We aren’t going to settle for mediocrity, we want success and we are going to do what we can to have that at the club” he added.