Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach says his job is clear as the Blue and Gold prepare to take on the reigning premiers, the North Queensland Cowboys, on Saturday night at Pirtek Stadium.
Eels officials met with the NRL during the week to discuss potential salary cap allegations, but Arthur says the issue won’t be a distraction from his obligation to Eels Members and fans.
“I’m not concerned about it,” Arthur said.
“I’m concerned about preparing this footy team for a really important game this week. I think if we come here on Saturday, and we put our best foot forward and we improve from last week, I think our fans would be happy.”
“I think they’re looking forward to seeing our team up against the premiers; I know we are.”
Arthur welcomes back five-eighth Corey Norman to the side for the match up, after he left the field early in Round One with a neck injury, and halfback Kieran Foran is set to make his Eels debut alongside Norman in the halves.
“He’s got to get through today (Kieran), but I can’t see why not,” Arthur said.
“[And Corey] hasn’t missed a session, and he’s done an extra contact session on Wednesday so he’s fine.”
Arthur described his side’s disrupted performance in Round One as an unclear indicator of how the team will perform in the new season, looking to his new recruits to help maintain focus and discipline on the field against the in-form Cowboys.
“There are a few things from last week that we did really well; I thought our resolve in the second half was very good,” Arthur said.
“But by the end of the second half we turned over way too much footy and that’s what we’ve spoken about.”
“We’ve done a lot of work in the pre-season with our game management and I think last week the second half is evidence of that. We still haven’t got a real, true indication of where we’re at with our footy team. Hopefully if we can keep everyone on field we’ll get a better indication of where we’re at.”
The Eels Head Coach said he won’t be looking for his charges to target the Cowboys’ big names, but stick to crucial basics.
“If you want to do that to Johnathan Thurston (target the playmaker) he’ll make you pay,” Arthur said.
“[We need to] complete our sets, keep it very simple and stick to what we’re good at which is carrying the ball. We went away from that last week and played a bit sideways.”
“It’s just important that we get two competition points this week.”
The Eels kick off against the North Queensland Cowboys at 7.30pm on Saturday, March 12, at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium. Click through to pre-purchase your tickets and save!