The Parramatta Eels are preparing to take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium this Thursday night 3 August in Round 22 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur says the Eels have plenty of confidence coming off last week’s performance over the Broncos, but sticking to our plan against a desperate Bulldogs side will be key in the upcoming Round 22 clash.
Arthur credited the side’s resolve and patience after trailing by 12 points early.
“On the back of five in a row, it’s probably a bit of confidence.” Arthur said when asked of the players morale.
“More so after being down 12-0 last week, having the resolve and the patience and probably persistence.”
“Where as in the past we might have dropped our bundle and tried to win the game back within the next couple of sets, we just persisted and stuck with what our plan was going into the game.”
“We knew that another try against us was going to be crucial. The couple of sets we had with the ball we made easy meters and I knew we’d get some confidence on the back of that and it wasn’t long after that we scored and that was probably what we needed just to settle the nerves a bit,” Arthur added.
Arthur was pleased with the side’s performance, saying the entire 17 players on the field did their job on the night.
“I think the game just gone, we had 17 players do their job. We haven’t had that all year, so I think that helped.” Arthur said.
“There’s been different people at different times, but I think we’ve got more people standing up and owning their roles which makes everyone else’s job easier.”
“I don’t think it is one person in particular, I think the halves have done a good job with their kicking game. But if we don’t complete and don’t get to the parts of the field that we need to, their kicks aren’t going to be any good anyway.” Arthur added.
However with just five games remaining in the regular season, Arthur wants to see the side focused on backing up that performance, starting with this week’s clash against the Bulldogs.
“Finals is the furthest thing from our mind at the moment, we’re not guaranteed a finals spot.” Arthur said.
“What’s really important for us is making sure that we don’t let ourselves down after what we did last weekend.”
“What’s important is that regardless of where were situated with the table, every week we should be playing to win.” Arthur added.
“That’s the culture that we’re trying to build. That’s the standards and expectations we’re trying to set is that every time we take the field we should be doing everything we can to win a game of football.
“It’s hard to win games of football, so you can’t have any lost opportunities.”
“Our focus all year has been on trying to get 17 blokes to do their job in the one particular game and we finally got it last week against the Broncos. The challenge is can we do it two weeks in a row.” Arthur continued.
The Eels came away with the two points over the Bulldogs earlier in the year, claiming a 13-12 victory, and Arthur knows the clash against a committed Bulldogs team will still be tough.
“We’re coming up against a really committed Bulldogs team, they’re very good defensively and they’ll be tough. They’re playing for their coach, so they’ve got plenty of reasons to keep playing.” Arthur said.
“They’re a tough footy team, they can never be challenged on not having a go, so they’re going to come out and they’re going to throw everything at us.” He added.
“They still think mathematically they’re a chance for the finals and they’re playing for pride as well. You have a look at their team, they’re a good team.”
The Eels currently sit 6th on the ladder with 28 points, equal to the Cowboys and Broncos, and Arthur is not looking too far down the track.
“I think we need a couple of more wins. Depends on other results doesn’t it? Our for and against isn’t great,” Arthur said.
“I know it bores you blokes, but for us it’s about this week. When we’ve had enough wins to make sure we’re in the finals I’m happy to talk about it. But at the moment we haven’t.”
The Eels forward pack laid a strong platform in their win against the Broncos last week, and Arthur is hoping for another strong performance against a big Bulldogs pack this week.
The Head Coach had plenty of praise for his men in the middle.
“Our forward pack are just tradesman, they work hard for each other and they try and play their game as physically as we can.” Arthur said.
“It’s important that we roll our sleeves up and we play a tough style of football.”
“There’s not many teams that play finals football or win premierships that aren’t physically good.”
The Eels kick off against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Thursday 3 August in Round 22 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, kick off at 7:50pm.