Arthur: Attack will come
Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur says despite three straight wins, the Blue and Gold have hard work ahead when it comes to attack.
The Blue and Gold have conceded the fewest overall points in the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership season, and while the Parramatta coach praised his side’s tenacity, he admitted that the volume of defensive work needed on Easter Monday was a key area for the team to focus on.
“I thought we played tough, and the effort was great again,” Arthur said.
“But we’re way off where we need to be with the footy. We’ve got to try and be a bit smarter with the ball, because we’re having to use a lot of effort to cover our arse a bit.”
“When you’re putting so much effort into your defence, it takes gas out of you. Sometimes you can’t get in position to attack, or you take a bit of a shortcut, you don’t get deep enough to run the right hole, the right line.
“That’s just where we’re at the moment: they’re channeling all their energy into defence. When we can make sure we’re completing and not turning over cheap possession, our attack will come.”
The Blue and Gold also held their opponents to zero for the first time in 2016, keeping the usually high-scoring Wests Tigers scoreless at ANZ Stadium. And with three players spending time off the field for concussion testing (Kenny Edwards, Junior Paulo and Danny Wicks), and club Captain Tim Mannah forced from the field with a shoulder injury, the Eels’ interchanges proved more challenging than usual.
“It was pleasing that we managed to keep them to nil,” Arthur said.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve let in a couple of soft tries at the back end of the game, which has been disappointing.”
“It was probably most pleasing today that from the 25 minute mark I was looking at our bench, and we had one bloke on our bench for most of the game.”
“We were in and out of the sheds, and to lose two front rowers probably makes the effort even better.”