Dyldam Parramatta Eels forward David Gower says a bruising encounter with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Friday night won’t be enough to change the Blue and Gold’s physical approach as they prepare to take on the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland.
The 32-12 Round 2 loss saw five players require medical attention, with two - Beau Champion and Semi Radradra - unavailable for Round 3 as a result. But Gower says the impact of the clash won’t deter the Eels pack from muscling up.
“That always hurts when you lose a few of your starting players,” Gower said.
“But that’s not an excuse to us. We pride ourselves on our defence in the middle and it wasn’t good enough on our part [in Round 2].”
“We completed at 60% I think, and that’s not good enough to win an NRL game. We’re not going to win games if we keep turning the ball over like that.”
One of the Eels players sidelined at ANZ Stadium on Friday night - but expected to play in Round 3 - is lock Anthony Watmough, who was attended to in the sheds for a laceration to his knee, and admitted to hospital on Tuesday for precautionary antibiotic treatment.
“He’s licking his lips to get stuck into them (the Warriors),” Gower said.
“It’s going to take a lot more than a leg cut to keep Choc out."
“He’s a competitor and he personally wasn’t too happy with his game on the weekend, so he’s going to want to come out and play well for us again.”
As the Blue and Gold prepare to fly out to New Zealand, they’re fully expecting another heavy battle in the forwards on Saturday night.
“It’s a tough trip,” Gower said.
“It’s their first home game of the year so they’re going to be enthusiastic. We want to play physical as a team and as a unit and we’re going to try to be as physical as we can week to week and make sure that we prepare during the week to get our bodies right to go again.”