Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has praised his side’s efforts in their “scrappy win” last night against the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium, but Arthur says it’s not good enough if they can’t back it up each week.
“I just think our mentality helped that,” Arthur said of the Eels gutsy win.
“We were prepared to fight for 80 minutes for a win and I don’t think it was pretty and it wasn’t our best but we weren’t in a hurry just to get the job done or try and get a quick result,” he said.
“But I’m a little bit cranky and I just said to the boys, we can’t do that one week and not the next. We’ve shown that if we turn up with the right mindset, and like I said it was a scrappy win, but I’d rather that win today off the back of two losses that we had to fight for it and we had to play tough to win it, but I’m cranky about it.”
With the Eels faced with running repairs to Danny Wicks and David Gower along with a reduced bench after Richie Fa’aoso was unable to return, the Eels were able to tough it out against the home side and hang on for their first away victory of the season.
And the Head Coach was happy with the Blue and Gold’s 80 minute performance.
“Danny got a bump to the head and Gowie I think he broke his finger,” Arthur said.
“But like I said, it was good that we could tough it out. Even right at the death there when we missed the goal and we had to hang on.”
With Chris Sandow missing the conversion to put the Eels more than a converted try ahead with 5 minutes remaining, the Blue and Gold had to hold onto their 6 point lead, which Arthur felt confident about.
“I was feeling very confident and I could see in their body language that they just wanted to keep turning up for each other,” he said on the Eels performance at the death.
“But Newcastle are a dangerous side and I’ve seen them pull off some remarkable wins, but I felt that we deserved the win but it doesn’t always work out that way but I felt that we deserved it today.”
Arthur was impressed with his halves pairing and his reshuffled back line.
The coach commented on Will Hopoate’s return to the centres, which saw Reece Robinson move to fullback saying that the reshuffle was a strategic one to help strengthen the team in defence and he confirmed that it will be a permanent one.
“I think Hop needed to do what was best for the team which was help us stiffen up our right side defence and I thought he did that,” Arthur said.
“We have good talkers around Chrissy with Gowey and Hop and he’s been carrying the ball very strong for us.”
“We were a little bit rusty with the ball at times, but it’s a new combination we have to work on.”
It was also an important game for Danny Wicks as he came up against his former club for the first time in six years and made his mark after making a vital play with seconds left on the clock.
“It was fitting for me that he made that last tackle at the end of the game to force the error. That’s how important and that’s how much it meant to him,” Arthur said of Wick’s efforts.
Although the game was played in difficult conditions, Arthur said that building confidence in defence helped seal the victory for the Eels, and his thoughts were echoed by Eels captain Tim Mannah.
“Our attitude was good and I just think we were a little bit nervous… we were a bit tentative, not so much with our effort just with being positive in defence.” Arthur said.
“We were just a little bit tentative at times and once we got into it and we found our rhythm we were ok defensively,” he added.
“You guys touched on our completions, but I thought it was more our attitude in defence, you can just feel the difference out there, when the attitude with defence is there I think, with the ball we’re a lot better,” Mannah said to the media.
“It wasn’t our sharpest game with the ball, but you can just tell the boys were on today. We just got to make sure we’re doing that every week.”
The Eels will now focus on their preparation for their next away trip as they head north to take on the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.