The Dyldam Parramatta Eels suffered a 4-17 loss to the Brisbane Broncos last week, and are preparing to take on the reigning Premiers, the North Queensland Cowboys, this Saturday night at Pirtek Stadium.
Whilst there is never any easy opposition in the NRL, coming up against last year’s grand finalists in the opening two rounds is exactly how Eels centre Brad Takairangi wants to start the season.
“It was a pretty tough one but good to see where we are at,” Takairangi said reflecting on the loss against the Broncos.
“Brisbane showed why they are the best and were up there in the Grand Final last year, but it was good to see where we are at.”
“It is a tough start, coming up against last year’s Grand Finalists in the opening two weeks, but I don’t think we would want it any other way. It is really good to test ourselves and see where we are at.”
The Blue and Gold entered the clash without new recruit Kieran Foran, and after losing Corey Norman at half time, whilst not the ideal start to a game, Takairangi said the Eels had to be better in the areas they could control.
“Obviously losing Normz at half time didn’t help us. We were pretty happy with the effort, but we just have to be better with our ball control,” Takairangi said.
“We are very confident in what we have done in the pre-season and we are now looking forward to the game against the Cowboys.”
“We let a couple of soft tries in there, but that was off the back of our own errors and penalties so as long as we can control the ball and get a fair possession I think we can do a good job against the Cowboys,” Takairangi added.
And for Takairangi, who moved from left to right centre over the off-season, he believes the continual improvement alongside his new edge partners and the team’s disciple will go a long way in securing a win over the Cowboys.
“I did the whole pre-season there on the right edge, working with Kieran Foran and Beau Scott so it is a pretty new edge there,” Takairangi said.
“’Gutho’ only came late once ‘Jenko’ arrived so it is definitely still a work in progress but hopefully each week we can get better and better.”
“They have been good [the Cowboys], with their World Club Challenge win and backing it up last week, but I think if we get a fair amount of possession and control the ball, we can beat any team we play.” Takairangi added.
The Eels take on the North Queensland Cowboys at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday 12 March. Kick off is at 7:30pm. Click here to purchase your tickets to the Round Two clash.