Arthur: Defence will be crucial
Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur is urging his side to lift in defence as they take on the Wests Tigers on Easter Monday at ANZ Stadium.
The Blue and Gold are 2 wins from 3 games so far in the 2016 season, but Arthur says their defence will be challenged by a potent Tigers attacking side.
“We’ve been doing okay in our defence, but we’re going to be tested tomorrow,” Arthur said.
“They’re second for all the attacking stats, so they’ve been playing some really good footy. Their two halves are playing nice and fast, and nice and direct.”
“With [Robbie] Farah back in there he’ll give them a bit of spark around the ruck, so we’re going to have to be really good in our defence.”
After seeing off the Bulldogs 20-6 in Round Three, the Eels faced a generoud wait between matches, giving the Blue and Gold an opportunity to rest and regroup.
“It’s been a good 10 days to get over a couple of tough games and rest up their bodies a little bit, so we should be nice and fresh going into tomorrow’s clash.”
Halfback Kieran Foran has upped his training load after a hamstring complaint saw him train only once in Round 3, while second-rower Manu Ma’u prepares to return from a one-week suspension against the Tigers.
“Mans (Manu Ma’u) is a big plus,” Arthur said.
“He’s nice and tough nice and aggressive and he doesn’t compromise in what he wants to do.”
“[Kieran] trained really well for us on Friday and he’ll train again this morning, and that’ll be the first time since the Penrith trial that he’s been able to knock out two sessions in a week, so hopefully we can see the benefits of that with our attack.”
“It’s a long season and we definitely need him on the field, so we’ll just gradually increase his load.”
And with the spotlight turning briefly during the week to Semi Radradra’s potential State of Origin eligibility, Arthur says the winger is happy keeping his focus a little closer to home.
“He came in on Friday and said he wanted to make a statement [in response to media reports] and everything that happened from there on was his doing,” Arthur said.
“But once he’s in his own little environment with the boys he’s quite relaxed. He really likes the joint and we like having him around.”
“His main priority is to play well from Parramatta; he played well last week but he had a pretty slow start for us in the first two games.”
“We were happy with our back five [last week], but on that side of the field [David] Nofoaluma and [Kevin] Naqaima they’ve made a lot of tackle breaks, and when you throw Tedesco in there, too …”
“We’ve focussed heavily on our discipline all pre-season, and so far we’ve been okay with our discipline but we probably have to take that to another level tomorrow.”
The Eels kick off against the Wests Tigers at 4pm on Easter Monday, March 28, at ANZ Stadium. Click through for all the game day info, including reciprocal entry for full-season Eels Members.