The Dyldam Parramatta Eels are preparing to take on the Brisbane Broncos this Friday night (12 August) at Suncorp Stadium for Round 23 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, and speaking ahead of the clash, Head Coach Brad Arthur says there is much more to play for than just the two points this week.
Expecting a tough physical clash against a Broncos side looking to kick start their run home, Arthur expects a tough grinding game.
“It’s always a tough physical game against the Broncos. They started really well and showed a few signs of fatigue through the Origin period, but I think they are looking to get themselves back on track leading into a finals series,” Arthur said.
“Last week they had to play a real tough grinding game and we are expecting the same on Friday night.”
“We have to play pretty smart with our completions. Every team that has won this year has had more possession than their opposition so possession is a big thing,” Arthur added.
“We need to make sure we stay strong defensively, they have a lot of threats with their halves probably their two biggest dangers for us.”
With the Blue and Gold faced with plenty of off-field distractions in 2016, Arthur was proud of the way his side had handled themselves.
However the Head Coach said the side needed to continue with the same effort that they had shown this year in their final remaining four games of the season.
“We have had the confidence all year. Even our losses over the last month have been close and we have been fighting and been in the game at some point but it’s just making sure in the crucial parts of the game we come up with the right play or make sure we are focused defensively,” Arthur said.
“I am extremely proud of them and I think we are playing for a bit more than pride,” Arthur added.
“We have developed the team that we want to be and it would be really diabolical and stupid of us to go away from being that team.”
“We have to take some momentum through our pre-season going into the 2017 season. We owe it to our fans, we owe it to ourselves.”
“We have worked so hard and it would be ludicrous to give up now.”
The Eels will be without Beau Scott who has been ruled out through injury, with Arthur confirming it provides a great opportunity for forward David Gower.
“Fortunately last week it was the first time all year we have had our full complement of forwards to choose from,” Arthur said.
“We lose Beau this week, and Gowie missed out last week, but he gets another opportunity. In the week before that it was his best game when we played the Tigers so it might have been a tough call on my behalf, but everyone will step up.” Arthur added.
“We have proven this year that regardless of who is in or out, they have a role to play and if they do their job we give ourselves a good chance. “
And with fullback Michael Gordon set to play his 200th game, Arthur says the side will be looking to put in a real tough performance in his milestone.
“He has been great for us Flash, he plays tough, a different role for us as a fullback to a lot of other clubs. He is more of a runner, his support is great and he puts his body on the line and I am sure the boys will want to repay him with a real hard, tough performance and they need to play the way he does which is nice and tough,” Arthur said.
“Mick has made a decision, and we were happy to keep him next year but he has a better opportunity,” Arthur added.
“We didn’t want to be blocking the pathways of Bevan French, Clint Gutherson and the likes of our young blokes.”
The Eels kick off against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday 12 August. Kick off at 7:50pm.