The Parramatta Eels kick off against the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Saturday 1 April for Round Five of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
After suffering defeats over the last two weeks, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur is looking for a much improved performance from his side this week.
With the Eels completing at 60% over the last two weeks, Arthur knows the side needs to improve it’s attention to detail and execution.
“I have been very happy with our effort, or physicality and how we have played the game and our defence. For four weeks, we have been very good in those areas but the last two weeks, our attention to detail, attack and execution hasn’t been there. We haven’t given ourselves a chance to mount any pressure,” Arthur said.
“Turning the footy over on the back of penalties, early in the tackle count, we need to make sure our opposition are making their tackles.”
“That’s what happens in the NRL, if you give teams time at your try line, points will come.” Arthur added.
Arthur knows that if the Eels are able to improve their completion rates, the side will be able to build much needed pressure.
“We lacked a little bit of composure last week and were probably trying a little bit too hard to make it happen,” Arthur said.
“In the first week against Manly, our execution probably wasn’t there and we were a bit rusty, but we were very patient and kept building pressure and knew it would come.”
“If you looked at our performance last week, when we did get the football, we were tired and didn’t have the same energy as attack and couldn’t get into position because you are making too many tackles,” Arthur added.
The Raiders have plenty of strike across the park, and Arthur expects a big battle in the middle of the field to provide plenty of opportunities for the dangerous outside backs in both sides.
“The Raiders have a big forward pack and they like to cart the ball hard. If you aren’t making them make their tackles, and have plenty of energy in attack, you will be working hard all day.” Arthur said.
“I think every week, you can see that if your forwards don’t do their job it doesn’t allow the backs to get room to move and it will be no different this week.”
”I am sure both forward packs will go at it to try and give their backline every opportunity.”
“Every team is desperate to win week in week out, because a week in football is a long time and you are only as good as your last game. They are playing at home, they need to win, we need to win, so both teams will be going at it.” Arthur added.
The Raiders boast plenty of dangers in their backline, and Arthur expects the clash of Semi Radradra and Michael Jennings up against Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana as a real exciting prospect.
“You need to try and dictate where you give them the ball so your kick chase needs to be good. If you give them too much footy, you will pay the price,” Arthur said.
“We are very happy with our left edge. Michael Jennings is a very good defensive centre, that is his biggest asset for us and our organization, so he will have a big job on his hands.”
“It is exciting that clash, and I hope that both teams can hold the footy and go at it through the middle to give those blokes the opportunity to play some decent football,” he added.
The Eels kick off against the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Saturday 1 April for Round Five of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
The Eels clash is the third game of the afternoon, with the Eels NYC (1:15pm) and Wentworthville Magpies (3:15pm) also in action at the nation’s capital.