The Dyldam Parramatta Eels take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Blue and Gold back rower David Gower is ready for the challenge.
The Rabbitohs have proven to be the competition’s benchmark early in the season and Gower and the rest of the Eels forward pack will be looking to test themselves this Friday night when they return to Pirtek Stadium.
Gower, who was playing his 45th NRL First Grade game, crossed over for his first NRL career try in last week’s defeat to the Warriors, however reflecting on the Round 3 clash, the back-rower would have traded it in for the two points.
“It’s about time!” Gower laughed.
“It’s been a long time coming that one but obviously I would of rathered a win for the team but we just have to get our starts right and build on this week.”
Last week’s game is the back of Gower’s mind, with the skilful back-rower focusing on Friday night. The Eels forward pack will be challenged this week against the Rabbitohs and Gower says the Blue and Gold are preparing to tackle the reigning premiers forward pack head on.
“Souths are the reigning premiers and I don’t think they have lost a game since August last year so there are a lot of confident players out there for them and it will be a great challenge for us,” Gower said.
“Their game is played through the middle, and as a forward pack, that’s the way they play to get their team on roll and it’s a big challenge for us.”
“We are pretty keen as a pack to atone for the starts over the last couple of weeks.”
Coming into the clash, the Eels have lost their last two games and are faced with a heavy injury toll, however Gower was quick to rule out any excuses, knowing that the Blue and Gold squad have to remain positive coming into this week.
“Injuries aren’t an excuse for us. Never have and never will be,” Gower said.
“We have great depth at the club and we are very confident in the boys that come in but as far as our game this week, we have really narrowed it down to our starts. We just have to give ourselves a chance.”
“We gave the Warriors 24 points and that was just too much in the end and that early defensive workload took its toll late in the game and it was the same against Canterbury in Round Two,” Gower added.
“In both games we have made over 100 more tackles than the opposing side and that’s hard, it’s going to take it’s toll especially the way the game is now and how fast it is.”
The Eels have had a 60% completion rate during the opening three rounds, and after being on the losing side of the penalty count in the past few weeks, Gower knows where the side needs to improve.
“We just have to make sure we start well, complete our sets well and have a lot more discipline coming out of trouble and when we are trying to keep them in their red zone,” Gower said.
The Eels will need to be ready for a tough encounter against the Rabbitohs and Gower was hopeful of seeing the Blue and Gold Army in force at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night, cheering on the team and giving the players a lift in the crucial stages of the game.
“I am hoping the Blue and Gold Army are back out in force at Pirtek Stadium,” Gower said.
“It is no secret that we play our best footy in front of our parochial fans so if all the Blue and Gold army can come out support us that would be great.”
“It always gives the boys a lift coming into those turning points in games so if the crowd can get out and support us that would be unreal.”