The Parramatta Eels have come away 20-4 victors over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium tonight, in Round 22 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Speaking after the clash, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur was pleased with his side’s performance, particularly in the wet and tough conditions.
“I don’t know if it was a real spectacle of a game but it we knew what the conditions were going to be and all we worked on all week was kicking, chasing the ball and making our tackles,” Arthur said.
“I thought the boys did a really good job on that and our completions, their handling and the basic fundamentals was probably better than I thought so it was a good effort.”
“I know we didn’t throw a great deal, but we had to play to the conditions.”
The Eels halves were instrumental in building plenty of pressure throughout the game, forcing 9 drop goals to two, and whilst Arthur had praise for his halves, he put it down to a strong platform from his aggressive forwards.
“We had a bit of a target on some of our kicks, what we needed to try and achieve and where they started their sets and the boys did a really good job,” Arthur said.
“But I thought our forwards carried with plenty of aggression and got us on the front foot and got some good field position and play the balls from the kick off. The halves then did their job.”
“We practice our kicks every week in a bit of a plan, but I think having Normy there takes a bit of pressure off him [Moses] because we have a couple of kick options.” Arthur added.
With the Eels now sitting third on the ladder after tonight’s result, and on 30 points, Arthur was questioned on the Eels potentially returning to the finals for the first time since 2009.
However Arthur was quick to turn his attention to focusing on next week.
“We probably need to have a look at what happens over the weekend, but if we keep winning and keep performing well, we should be good enough to make the Finals. That is what we need to focus on.” Arthur said.
“It is Tim’s 200th next week so if we cant find a good reason to play next week we are in trouble.”
“We have had our own conversations about what we want to get out of this season, but what is important for us, is that we have put two back to back performances, which we haven’t done all year in terms of 17 players all own their jobs and play their role.” Arthur added.
“That is two in a row and it will be nice to get three in a row next week.”
“We still have a bit to work on. I think if we can continue to improve every week and stick to our plan like we did tonight with our discipline and not get carried away, I think we can make some real noise.”
Eels skipper Tim Mannah echoed Arhtur’s statements.
“The excitement we have isn’t how far we can go, the excitement we have is playing our footy.”
“This is the most excited we have been to turn up to training every day, to take the field, to get into the sheds before every game, that is what excites me.”
“At the moment, that is where we are getting all our excitement from and what happens in the near future, we will deal with it when we get there, but at the moment we are just enjoying every moment.” Mannah added.
Fullback Bevan French did not return for the second half of football, but Arthur said it was only precautionary, expecting the young number one to be available next week.
“I think Bevan is okay. His hamstring tightened up and with a bit of precaution we took him off. In those conditions, it probably wouldn’t of been ideal to leave him out there in the heavy conditions.” Arthur said.
At this stage, I haven’t been told any different.” Brad added when asked if he would be available next week.