Fresh from his side’s six-point win over South Sydney, Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur said he was happy where his side had finished but that the performance wasn’t where it needed to be.
“I’m happy with where we've finished. As I've said to the boys, you don’t win 16 games by flukes. We've worked hard, got ourselves in a good position.”
"Our performance was patchy tonight. But Souths came out and had a red-hot crack and they played for the coach and was probably exactly what we needed going into next week. 3 minutes to go probably 2 years ago we'd have found a way to throw that away,” said Arthur.
With the Eels set to head down to Melbourne for week one of the finals, Arthur said his side would need show more control with the ball in hand in order to give themselves a chance against the minor premiers.
“We just need a bit more patience and control. We're a team that likes to play footy but we've got to know when footy's on and when it's not," Arthur said.
“We're looking forward to the challenge because no one's going to give us a chance. It's a free throw at the stumps really. If we're allowed to play a little bit of football we might be a chance."
Arthur was a former assistant coach at Melbourne and he said his side will need to take whatever opportunities present themselves against the Storm.
“They're not going to beat themselves, so we're going to need to be at our best. You need to complete but you need to be positive with your ball movement and you need to be very good defensively," Arthur said of the Storm.
"You need to limit the amount of back-to-back opportunities you give them because if you give them opportunities they make you pay.”
Blue & Gold Captain Tim Mannah said he was looking forward to traveling south and playing against the competition’s benchmark.
“It's going to be a good test for us, we put ourselves in the position we're in now and we want to make the most of it so it's a new competition starting now. The last 26 rounds are done and it's a new ball game," Mannah said.
"They've been the best team all year and the benchmark for a number of years so they've earnt the right to obviously be the favourites and everyone expect the win."
"But we've got a lot of belief in our team and a lot of belief in our group and we'll just go about our business and see how we go,” he added.
Asked about the availability of fullback Bevan French and prop Peni Terepo, Arthur said the two aren’t far away from a return to the field.
“Bevan and Peni are touch and go so we won't probably know until the back end of the week but we're hopeful of Bevan and Peni Terepo being ok.”
The Eels this week welcomed back the experienced Beau Scott, with the experienced campaigner recovering from a bicep injury that was originally thought to have ruled him out for the season.
“We only wanted to give him (Scott) 10 minutes either side of half time. Just to get some miles into his legs, a couple of tackles and a couple of runs," Arthur said.
“But I thought he did a really good job for us defensively either side of half time and it would've been nice if we could've left him there a bit longer but that wasn't the plan and we had to stick to it."
Tim Mannah said it was an exciting time for the squad and that they’re not in the finals to make up the numbers – they’re ready to go deep into September.
“Obviously as a team we're pretty excited to be playing this time of the year. It's been a while since we've done it but we don't want to get too caught up in the emotion of it.” Mannah said.
“There's a job to do and like I said, we set out at the start of the year goals that we wanted to achieve as a team and we're not just happy to be there, we want to make sure we have a real hot crack.”