The Parramatta Eels take on the Canberra Raiders in Round Five of the NRL Telstra Premiership this weekend, making the trip to the nation’s capital for their clash on Saturday 1 April.
Blue & Gold forward Tepai Moeroa returns to the Eels line up, after spending a week on the sidelines last week, being ruled out by the Match Review Committee from a shoulder charge.
The forward spent extra time this week in the cardio room, and he was looking forward to getting back out on the field, with a focus on his tackling technique.
“It was tough sitting on the sidelines, watching the boys play. I guess I brought it upon myself with that silly incident,” Meoroa said.
“It was a brain lapse, I’ll make sure I don’t do it again.”
“BA said the next time I want to apply pressure with my defence, just have to use my arms,” he added.
“It was a tough week in the cardio room, but I definitely will be trying my best to stay out of there!”
Watching from the sidelines, Moeroa said the Eels completion rates cost themselves against the Premiers last week, and he was hoping to turn it around this week with a testing challenge against a big forward pack.
“It was a tough game but we just shot ourselves in the foot. Our completion rate was something like 65% and playing against the reigning Premiers, they are bound to make you pay. And they did,” Moeroa said.
“It will be a good challenge this week, they have a big and dominant pack. If we can stop their go forward, hopefully it will go towards winning the game,” he added.
“It’s not just a challenge personally, as an individual, but as a team. As a forward pack, we want to try and win that battle in the middle and make a statement.”
The Raiders boast several big men up front, with Junior Paulo, Shannon Boyd starting in the front row and David Taylor coming off the bench.
Moeroa knows the Eels forwards are in for a test.
“It doesn’t stop! One big fella goes off and another one comes on to replace him,” Moeroa said.
“Dave Taylor is big and strong. We saw a clip of him just getting off the ground and he just threw someone off him.”
“He is abnormally strong. I think he is nicknamed the Hulk so hopefully we can contain the Hulk.
When asked about the Eels performances over the past two weeks, Moeroa said it was the Blue & Gold game management that needed improvement.
He is looking for an overall improved performance from the entire team this week.
“The first two games where we have won and been on top, our game management has been the best it has been. In the recent two weeks, our game management has been out the window,” Moeroa said.
“We have worked on our defence, in wanting to hit hard and run hard, but our game management wasn’t as good as it can be.”
“It comes down to everyone owning their own job. The middles have to lay a good position to attack from. It does come down to our halves leading the attack, but we have to help our halves as well.,” he added.
The Eels kick off against the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Saturday 1 April as part of a triple header. The NRL kicks off at 5:30pm, with the Eels NYC in action at 1:15 and the Wentworthville Magpies in action at 3:15pm.