The Parramatta Eels take on the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on Friday 28 July in Round Twenty One of the NRL Telstra Premiership and Blue & Gold back rower Kenny Edwards is expecting the Eels to put in a complete 80 minute performance against a tough and physical opposition this week.
The Eels currently sit 7th on the ladder, heading into the clash against the third placed Broncos, and Edwards says the time is now for the Blue & Gold to start putting in 80 minutes of football, rather than focusing on their opponent.
“They are a physical pack and they’ll be looking to cement their spot in the top four,” Edwards said ahead of the clash.
“We’ve got to put an 80 minute performance together and hopefully this week’s our week and we can start stringing some 80 minute performances together.”
“It’s always tough playing the Broncos, they have a lot of depth in their squad so it’s always going to be a tough game, it’s always going to be physical. It’s good for them that they are back at full strength so we’ll be looking forward to the contest.” Edwards added.
“We have to focus on ourselves this week. We haven’t put our 80 minute performance together this year so I think for us it’s more on focusing what you have to do.”
The Eels came off a long turn around after their bye into their Wests Tigers clash, coming away one point victors, and Edwards said that whilst scrappy, the victory is one that may not have occurred in the last couple of years.
“We were dusty on the weekend. We didn’t play nowhere near what we wanted to. Like Brad said after the game, in past years we would find ways to lose. On the weekend I think we didn’t win pretty, but at the end of the day, we still got the two points and that’s the main thing.” Edwards said.
“We say it every year, we have a close bond here at Parra, the group that we’ve got here. I think on the weekend, we normally find ways to lose that game in past years, but to come away with the two points, although it was ugly, it’s still two points at the end of the day and that’s what we needed.” Edwards added.
Edwards says the side gets plenty of confidence from Head Coach Brad Arthur, who encourages the side to play football and their natural game.
“We like to play football. Brad is the sort of coach where he gives us the license to play what’s in front of us. He gives us the game plan, but at the end of the day if we see something, then we’ll play that.” Edwards said.
“With Mitch there, he plays what’s in front of him, same as Normy. It enables us to play footy at times where other teams they won’t.”
“There’s been a few times it hasn’t worked out. We’ll take a fifty-fifty call and it hasn’t worked out. Brad always says we have got to play what’s in front of us. If its there, take it, if it’s not ,hold it up.” Edwards added.
“It’s good to get the confidence from the coach that he has the confidence in us to play what’s in front of us and try to score tries from wherever.”
The Eels have a big final six weeks of the regular season, hoping to secure their spot in the Finals for the first time since 2009.
Edwards said that the victory last week, whilst it may not seem important to many, was confidence boosting for the side as they make their charge towards September.
“The run into the finals, I don’t want to talk about the finals, but it’s a tough run for us. It’d be good for us to try and string some good performances together early,” Edwards said.
“I think it’s been 2009 or 2010 the last time we won four in a row. To some teams it’s not a massive feat, for us it’s big, you know 2009 is a long time ago. And for us gaining momentum coming into this time of the year is massive, winning that one on the weekend was big for us.”
“2009 I think I was playing under 20s. I remember watching it in awe at what Hayne did that year and the type of footy they were playing.” Edwards added.
“We are playing some good footy this year and hopefully we are heading in the right direction.”
The Eels kick off against the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on Friday 28 July in Round 21 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, kick off at 7:50pm. Click through to purchase your tickets to the clash.