Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur says his side will be competing with everything they have for the rest of the season, despite chances of making the finals dashed in tonight’s 34-14 loss to the Gold Coast.
“As far as I’m concerned, they kept fighting to the end, and it was a tough ask,” Arthur said.
“They’re disappointed that the season is over, but we’ve still set some standards and expectations of what sort of footy team we want to play like, and I think we tried tremendously hard tonight.”
With a heavy injury toll forcing players to take the field in different positions, Arthur said the consistency effort and willingness to step up has impressed him.
“We’ve got our fair share of injuries - probably three-quarters of the salary cap sitting on the sideline - but what that does is it gives someone else an opportunity,” he said.
“If we didn’t get a few injuries, maybe Bevan wouldn’t have got his opportunity this year.”
“As long as the boys that get given an opportunity try to get something out of it and make sure they’re accountable to their teammates.”
Specifically focussing on five-eighth Clint Gutherson in his second game in that position, Arthur said he was proud of his efforts.
“It’s a tough position to play when he’s spent a bit of time on the wing, in the centres and at fullback, and he hasn’t done a lot of work there,” he said.
“It’s tough even when you come in at the start of the year, but he’s had to come in and we’ve got two halves who have only spent a couple of days together.”
“He’s done really well and he’s a footballer. Whether that’s his best position moving forward - I think he’s a fullback - but he seems to get better and better.”
“He took a couple of bad options there tonight but we’ve got to be careful not to be too critical of him after two games at five-eighth.”
With off-field issues resulting in the stripping of 12 competition points earlier int he season, Arthur said the playing group’s resolve is as strong as ever.
“They’ve done a good job to get themselves to where they are right now, and we need to have a mentality that we continue to work hard and meet the standards and expectations for our footy team and we continue that for the remainder of the season,” he said.
“I think it will help us be that team for next year and will give us the motivation and drive through the pre-season.”