The Parramatta Eels take on the Newcastle Knights at ANZ Stadium tonight in Round 23 of the NRL Telstra Premiership and Blue & Gold Assistant Coach Steve Murphy says the Eels must be prepared to take on a dangerous Knights side that will be throwing plenty of attack from all over the field.
Previewing the game thanks to betting.club, Murphy says the Knights, despite their position on the table, will be a tough assignment.
The Eels are coming off a controlling 20-4 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs last week and Murphy was impressed with the side’s game management.
“We were impressed with how they managed the game. It was a very professional kicking display and we rolled our sleeves up and ran the ball hard on the back of it.” Murphy said of last week’s victory.
“We are pretty happy defensively with our game and how we carried the ball and we will need much more of that this week.”
“We have spoken before how every game they [Corey Norman and Mitch Moses] play together is going to be a bonus for us, and their best football is ahead of them.” Murphy added.
“That is what we are excited about as a group we know we are building and confident, but we are playing another team that is in good form as well.”
Coming into Round 23, the Knights enter off the back of victories over the St. George Illawarra Dragons and New Zealand Warriors, and Murphy says the opposition have been very competitive in a lot of their clashes this year.
“They are playing a very expansive style of football, sideline to sideline. You don’t even have to be off your game defensively, they can hurt you from anywhere on the field.” Murphy said.
“In terms of shape played, it will be much different than last week, the Bulldogs obviously didn’t play much football but this team will and it will be a very tough assignment.”
“Our start is very important to us, and in terms of their preparation, they have been in front for long periods in games and they only lost a few games late in the last six weeks.” He added.
“We are under no illusion, it will be a tough game this week, but one we are really looking forward to.”
When asked of dangers, Murphy says the Knights have plenty of strike across the park.
“Gagai has been outstanding and Barnett through the middle has been doing some outstanding work and young Fitzgibbon on the edge, I have been very impressed with him,” Murphy said.
“Plus the Mata’utia boys, they have threats, because they are big, strong and carry the ball hard and they can all offload the football and play sideline to sideline so we are well aware we will need to be on our game this week.”
The Eels will be hoping for more vocal Blue & Gold support this week, with Murphy noting the support over the last few weeks has been vital.
“The boys said again last week they could hear the crowd in the conditions,” Murphy said.
“The crowd make a big difference to us and we want the Blue & Gold Army there in force this week.”