A pragmatic Head Coach Brad Arthur has pointed to a handful of key errors as the deciding factor in the Dyldam Parramatta Eels 14-12 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Shrugging off suggestions of external distractions, Arthur admitted that while the Blue and Gold’s performance had lifted from the previous week’s, key mistakes had torpedoed the win.
“I’m really happy with our effort, giving ourselves a chance,” Arthur said.
“But we’re also killing ourselves at times as well. We completed at 82% in the first half, and I think our completion ended up as 75 or 77 [percent] so it’s an improvement on last week but it’s the errors at crucial times.”
For Arthur, those errors on the fifth tackle, or - more damagingly - down on the Eels’ own tryline, sapped the side’s energy as they were forced to try and absorb attacking pressure from the Rabbitohs.
“I thought Souths did a good job of controlling field position; we had to attempt 100 more tackles. That energy that we use, we’ve got to try and put it to something more positive instead of defending all the time.”
With halfback Chris Sandow returning to the Eels line up for the game in the unfamiliar fullback position, Arthur said Sandow’s performance had been solid.
“With Will Hopoate gone we needed something different [so Sandow was added],” Arthur said.
“I know he came up with an error at the end there but I think he did alright. You can’t single any one player out.”
“The boys are professional, they’ve trained hard, and I can’t be happier with what they’re doing off the field. We’re taking that effort and we’re actually sticking to game plans. We stuck to a kick plan. We’re heading in the right direction but we need to get some wins.”
That pressure to notch up a win and move past 6 Premiership points may also be affecting the Eels’ goal-kicking, with Luke Kelly, Chris Sandow and Reece Robinson unable to slot a conversion between them from their last seven combined attempts.
“[Conversions] might have been the difference, it might have been two [wins] in a row,” Arthur admitted.
“They can kick, it’s just the moment, isn’t it? It’s the pressure surrounding it. Everyone knows we’re desperate for wins, and those kicks become just a little bit harder than they need to be.”