Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has heaped praise on his side for their gutsy 22-18 victory over the Sydney Roosters at Pirtek Stadium.
In tough conditions and with injuries forcing players out of position, Arthur says the players turned up for each other when they needed it most.
“I don’t even know what really happened in the second half, who was playing where; Daniel Alvaro had to play 40 minutes in the second half as a front rower and we had our big fellas out there filling in somewhere in the line,” Arthur said.
“It was a tough effort, especially at 18-6 to come back. It could have been very easy to say we’ve got enough excuses, we’ve got blokes all over the place, how are we going to score a try - but that’s how we’ve played all year: tough and resilient.”
Man-of-the-match Corey Norman starred with four try assists, and Arthur said he did an excellent job controlling the game, particularly when halves partner Jeff Robson moved to hooker to replace concussed Isaac De Gois.
“Normy was great - he played some really good footy in terms of controlling the game and managing the game,” Arthur said.
“But I thought our forwards really turned up, they were out on their feet at times and just kept finding another gear for us, which allows Corey to play his role.”
“He’s a real footballer, and he’s been working hard for three years. It’s been really tough on him the last half a dozen games without another half, and he’s had no choice but to grow and mature and he’s done a real good job of that.”
Addressing the numerous off-field distractions which have dogged the Eels in 2016, Arthur says the way the playing group has risen to the occasion on the field has been impressive.
“To say that I can’t believe they’re continuing to do it [is wrong], they’re managed to do it week in and week out, and we’ve had quite a few distractions,” he said.
“So they’ve just hardened themselves to playing well and playing for each other. The fact that they keep turning up for each other on the tryline - back-rowers and front-rowers defending in the centres - and they just kept turning up.”
“The attitude is great, we’ve just got to keep working hard."