Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur says the Blue and Gold’s shattering 35-28 loss to the Cronulla Sharks was a crucial lesson for his young side.
With nine first-graders ruled out of the clash through injury, the Sharks demonstrated the skill under pressure that comes with experience and is key to success.
The Sharks were ahead 20-10 in the break but the Eels came out firing in the second half and were able to take the lead 28-22 with 10 minutes left of the game. And with less than ten minutes on the clock, two late tries and a Valentine Holmes field goal closed out the match for the Sharks.
“Look, no one’s having a shot at them (the Eels) about our effort,” Arthur said.
“But we got taught another tough lesson. We cant keep saying that we’re trying hard and the efforts there, because it is .… we’ve got to learn how to win a game, control a game.”
“We’re in front by six with I don’t know 10 minutes to go and we go into a negative mindset. We’ve got to learn and we’ve got to learn fast.”
With finals football out of reach, Arthur sees the season as one of missed chances.
“There were a lot of lost opportunities,” Arthur said.
“Yeah, we’ve been competitive and been working hard but a lot of lost opportunities and that’s something we need to work on in the pre season.”
“The thing we have done well is we’ve fronted up every well and it’s really important we find something to play for again this week; that’s playing for each other and playing for our fans to finish the season off.”
The game saw two Eels forwards added to the casualty ward, with Manu Ma’u leaving the field in first half and Tepai Moeroa was removed from the field in the second half for a concussion test.
“Losing two back-rowers makes it tough,” Arthur said.
“But still that’s not a reason why we cant close a game out.”
Ma’u will undergo scans in the coming week.