Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has praised his team's efforts in his side’s gritty 34-24 loss to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
20-year-old winger Bevan French scored a hat trick in the Round 17 match up, but a committed performance from Parramatta wasn’t enough to stop the top-of-the-table Sharks from posting a 12th straight win, a record in the club’s history.
“He’s got plenty of pace (Bevan) and you can’t coach speed,” Arthur said.
“He’s still got a fair bit to learn, especially in defence, but that’s the only way he’s going to learn is being under pressure and in those situations. He needs to continue to work on some defensive principles and working with his inside defender, but he’s getting better.”
With the Eels up 18-0 early in the piece, the Sharks lifted to come back for the 10-point win, and Arthur pointed to ball control and lack of field position as the undoing for the visitors.
“It was probably a lost opportunity, really,” Arthur said.
“But we shot ourselves in the foot in the second half: way too much dropped ball, and we just spent too much time defending our tryline. I think we ended up making close to 100 more tackles.”
“It was a tough effort and all the boys tried really hard, they have done all year.”
And despite ongoing controversy and uncertainty over the club’s salary cap breach notices from the NRL, Arthur said the chequered season hadn’t dented the Eels’ resolve.
“It hasn’t affected our football in my eyes,” Arthur said.
“Their effort is there. They’re training well, they’re coming to games well-prepared and wanting to win.”
“We haven’t given up on the finals,” he added.
“We’ve got a game next week that we have to win and then we’ll just keep ticking them off.”