Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has warned that his side has plenty of work of ahead in 2016 to build a cohesive attack.
The Blue and Gold despatched the defending premiers, the North Queensland Cowboys, 20-16 in front of their home crowd on Saturday night, and Arthur said the Eels’ defence was crucial in the win.
“It was nice to win a game on the back of defence and playing tough,” Arthur said.
“I know they made a few errors but I think we were pretty positive in defence and got off our line pretty hard, and maybe we contributed a little bit to forcing a few errors [from the Cowboys].”
“We’ve worked pretty hard all pre-season [on our defence] but I think our middle’s done a good job this week, which allows us to be positive on the edges.”
The Round 2 victory was the Eels’ first of the 2016 season, giving Arthur a clearer indication of how his charges will shape up in the season ahead.
“Last week I thought the gauge that we got off the boys was that we were pretty brave,” Arthur said.
“We defended pretty well; we came up with some poor reads, but our commitment and efficiency was good in defence and we showed that again tonight.”
“But the other gauge that we’ve got is we’ve still got a lot of work to do in attack. If we can continue to defend with that energy and effort, and kick long and try and build a bit of pressure that way, we’ve got enough potential there though individuals to get the ball over the try line.”
“We’ve just got to tidy up a bit of the execution of our plays.”
The 20-16 win was also halfback Kieran Foran’s first appearance in Blue and Gold, and Arthur was quick to acknowledge the efforts of his halfback and his five-eighth, Corey Norman.
“I thought Normy’s kicking game was outstanding and our kick finishes were good,” Arthur said.
“[Kieran] played nice and tough for us, helped control the game and steer us around. He has just been managing his load with training, so we haven’t done a lot with our attack and I reckon that was pretty evident tonight.”
“But he had a good chat to the boys just before we went out for the second half and obviously it worked.”