The Parramatta Eels are preparing to take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Thursday 29 June for Round 17 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, and speaking ahead of the clash, experienced Blue & Gold centre Michael Jennings has stressed the importance of coming away with victories over the next two weeks.
Coming off a bye in Round 16, Jennings said the next weeks would go a long way in their season.
“We understand where we are at, we are sitting just in the eight. I think our next two games, going into the bye are really important,” Jennings said.
“We need those points and that security leading into the finals. I think if we can win our next two, going into the bye, we can cement a good spot into the Top Eight.”
“I understand it has been up and down (our form). We haven’t played our best yet. These next two games are really important for us, if we can win these two going into a bye, it will give us a lot of confidence towards the Finals and the next seven or so rounds.” Jennings added.
“We haven’t been there (the Finals) for a while and we understand the position we are in. I think everyone is excited about these next two games. If we can get these next two games, it will help us in the long run.”
Coming up against a Bulldogs outfit that will be desperate for victory, Jennings expects a tough clash.
“There is no doubt they are going to come out on Thursday night playing for their season, I guess that is where it is at.” Jennings said.
“We understand they haven’t had the best season so far but it’s on the line for them and they are going to come guns blazing. We just have to do what we have to do and prepare for a big game.”
The Eels would of gained plenty of confidence from their victory over the Dragons in Round 15, with half Corey Norman and Mitch Moses beginning to click in their newly formed combination.
“It’s good, they have had three games under their belt working on that combination. Each week they are getting better and better, so it’s good to have Corey back. If we can keep him on the field and keep working on those combinations, it is going to be awesome for us.” Jennings said.
“For Normy, it’s all about getting back and playing his best. He has only just come back so it’s about him getting back and making sure he is doing his part for Parramatta.”
Jennings also had praise for forward Nathan Brown, who has impressed many this season, despite the perception he had before joining the Club.
“He (Brown) is going well. The coaches love him and the boys love him and he is doing well.” Jennings said.
“He has been awesome for us, I am happy he has come here. He fits well into the team and I guess he just needed a few things to work on and Brad has done that in the pre-season, he worked his backside off so he is getting the rewards now and doing a wonderful job for us.” He added.
“He understands we are still only half way through the season so he still has a lot of work to do but so far he has been good.”
However the Eels will be forced to play the remainder of their season without Beau Scott and Kaysa Pritchard, who had season ending injuries in Round 15. Jennings said he was confident in hooker Cameron King, if selected in this week’s side.
“Cameron King has been on Brad’s radar for a while now. He has been playing really well for Wenty and it’s great that he gets this opportunity, not good for Kaysa’s injury, but for Kingy its good that he gets this opportunity,” Jennings said.
“All the boys are confident he will get the job done, he has been training with the boys throughout the preseason and during the year.”
“He is a real confident kid, he is calm and I am confident he will get the job done.”