The Parramatta Eels are coming off a 18-12 victory over the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium in Round Seven of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Speaking with Big Sports Breakfast after the clash, Eels skipper Tim Mannah says that whilst the 4-4 start to the season and the victory over the Penrith Panthers in Round Eight was pleasing, the Blue & Gold must continue to improve.
“It was pleasing to get a good result, and I thought there were a lot of things to be happy with but still some things we can work on but definitely happy with the result,” Mannah said.
“I thought the Tigers game was good for us, we didn’t play pretty in that game but the result was what the boys needed to have that bit of confidence to go and play like themselves. Yesterday, the first 40 minutes in particular, was a lot more of the style of footy we want to play.” Mannah added.
“We can build off that, and we have to keep the momentum going and keep getting better every week.”
After heading to the half time sheds with a 12-0 lead, the Panthers went on to score two late tries to bring the score within a converted try near the death, and Head Coach Brad Arthur & Mannah said the side needed to be better in closing off the game.
“We just didn't play smart. We played dumb, real dumb,” Head Coach Brad Arthur said after the game.
“I thought the effort was outstanding. I thought the collision was really good. I don't think our intent dropped we just didn't play smart at all.”
“It's a real tough effort off the back of a five day turn around.”
Mannah echoed Arthur’s thoughts.
“Like Brad said, it was making poor decisions and not finishing them off the way we wanted to,” Mannah said.
“We want to get better, if we are in a position to finish a team off, we want to be better and a bit more relentless and ruthless in getting the job done. We were pleased with the result but we could have been a lot smarter in the second half.”
A positive to take away from the clash was the Eels impressive forward display, with the Blue & Gold pack making a mammoth 300m more running metres in the first half (879m – 575m).
Mannah (92 first half metres) made more inroads than Penrith’s three starting forwards combined, with James Tamou, Reagan Cambell-Gillard and Trent Merring making just 77m in the opening 40 mintes.
By the end of the match five Eels forwards had crossed the 100-metre mark compared with just two for Penrith.
Mannah said he was simply doing the role that Arthur had asked of him.
“Brad is pretty happy with communication and for people to talk to him,” Mannah said.
“He is always happy to explain any questions we have around game time and happy to explain certain game times for certain games.”
“I am happy to do whatever it takes to be a part of this team and wherever that fits and whatever it takes, I am happy to do it.”
The focus for the Eels now turns to the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville on Friday night (28 April), with the home side coming off a 24-12 victory over the Newcastle Knights.
The Cowboys hold a strong record over the Blue and Gold at 1300 SMILES Stadium and Mannah says the side is focused to put in a good performance in order to come away with the two points.
“You know Brad well because he would of preparing after the game last night for this week,” Mannah said.
“He even mentioned after the game that our record hasn’t been great in Townsville for the last few years, so we have to go up there and make sure we fix that up and put in a really good performance.”
The Eels kick off against the Cowboys on Friday 28 April for Round Nine of the NRL Telstra Premiership. Kick off is at 7:50pm.