The Parramatta Eels suffered a heartbreaking 24-16 defeat to the North Queensland Cowboys in the elimination Semi Final at ANZ Stadium, with the defeat ending their 2017 campaign.
Speaking to the media after the clash, Blue & Gold Head Coach said that whilst the result was disappointing, the side was simply outplayed in the second half.
“It is disappointing. The last forty minutes we probably played our worst forty minutes for the season,” Arthur said.
“Very disappointed we don’t go out on our terms, it would have been nice to have a strong performance in that last forty, and if we weren’t good enough then we weren’t good enough but they taught us a lesson on Semi Finals football.”
“They dominated field position, possession and made us pay for our lack of composure at times in the second half.”
“Maybe it’s inexperience but maybe it’s a case that they have been there, done it before and their experience really showed.” Arthur added.
With the Eels entering the sheds with a half time lead, Arthur said the side’s second half let them down, as the Cowboys taught the Eels a lesson on Semi Finals football.
“We came into the break at half time, we did what we needed to do and set out to do, but in the second half we made 60-70 more tackles for the game, and that’s a lot of work in Semi Finals football.” Arthur said.
“To their credit, they played a better second half of football. All the attention to detail, they got it right and we didn’t.”
“Errors really hurt us. Get a good ball set and we don’t get to a kick, we just didn’t build any pressure.” He added.
However despite not progressing further through the Finals, the Head Coach was proud of the side’s efforts during the 2017 season.
“I am extremely proud of this playing group, we have done a great job to get here,” Arthur said.
“It is going to be a long pre-season, that is going to hurt them for a long time. It is a lost opportunity and we need to make sure we build on it and make sure we are better next year. Hopefully this is the start of the Club being strong every single year.”
Blue & Gold co-captain echoed Arthur’s statement.
“This hurt a lot, it’s definitely not how we wanted to end our season, but this year has definitely been something we have been building on year on year and we will be stronger for it next year as well.“ Mannah said.
With a massive 41,287 strong crowd at ANZ Stadium tonight, Arthur said the side felt like they let the loyal Members and fans down.
“Our support was outstanding. I got a bit emotional just before kick off when the boys ran out and the crowd from the noise was excellent,” Arthur said.
“There was plenty of reasons for us there to play well and we probably feel like we disappointed and let our fans down too because they have been fantastic for them this year.”
“We promise them we are going to work hard throughout the pre-season and make sure we learn from it.”
And with the Eels bowing out of the 2017 season, it marks the farewell of winger Semi Radradra who will depart the Blue & Gold as he heads to France.
“It is disappointing for Semi that we are going out on those terms,” Arthur said.
“He has been great for our Club and has worked extremely hard to get himself to the footballer that he is right now and at some stage, we would like to have him back.”
“Semi is a special player and one of those guys you love having around as well.” Mannah added.
“He will be missed but like Brad said, hopefully we get to see him in Blue & Gold colours again.”