The Parramatta Eels take on the North-Queensland Cowboys in an elimination Semi Final at ANZ Stadium tonight in Week Two of the NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series.
Previewing the game thanks to betting.club, Blue & Gold Assistant Coach Pete Gentle says the side have responded on the training paddock this week, after coming away disappointed with their performance on the field against the Melbourne Storm last week.
The Eels suffered a 18-16 defeat to the Minor Premiers at AAMI Park last week and Gentle.
“We were extremely disappointed with the result last week. Not so much the result but how we played,” Gentle said.
“We had a good review, talked about things we should of done different and could have done different, so we put that to bed pretty early in the week and the boys have been buzzing at training. It’s Semi Finals it’s time to get excited.”
“You don’t approach this week any different, that would reek of panic by trying to do something different. “ Gentle added.
“We got to this position by doing what we do, having a routine and sticking to it and that will continue to happen.”
Whilst the Eels will take confidence and belief out of the two-point defeat, Gentle said it was a good learning curve for the side.
“That’s probably the key to it, ill-discipline and missed opportunities. Ill-discipline was a big one, because you won’t win Semi Finals with a 6-1 penalty count. We have to earn the right to get a penalty,” Gentle said.
“Plus poor back to back errors which was uncharacteristic by the players who made them.”
“It gives a bit of belief and confidence, but it was also another good learning curve for us,” Gentle added.
“A lot of those blokes, it was the first time they played Finals footy so it was a good learning curve and we will take out a couple of good lessons.”
Gentle does not underestimate the opposition outfit this week.
The Cowboys are coming off a 15-14 victory over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and Gentle expects a tough challenge.
“They will be a tough ask, on a bit of a high coming off last week’s win and nobody giving them a chance so we are expecting the best Cowboys outfit and the best version of them,” Gentle said.
“They score a lot of tries from kicks, 25% of them come from kicks, and a lot of them come from set starts. We have to be very careful about where we give them the ball.”
“Morgan, Taumalalo, there are no secrets there, plus Coote and Martin. There is enough threat and enough experience there to definitely have on notice.” He added.
Gentle expects a big forward clash in the middle of the field to have a big impact on the result.
“Your first up contact has to be good and you have to get numbers in,” Gentle said of shutting down the Cowboys forwards, in particular Jason Taumalolo.
“He is probably the best forward in the game at the moment, so it is a huge task, but I am sure our middles can do it.”
“I think our forward pack has been good all year. They have come up against some pretty big opposition in the forward pack and they have held their own more often than not,” Gentle added.
“This is another challenge, but we have to be good right across the park. The forwards allow the edges to do their job. It starts in the middle and ends in the middle.”
The Eels kick off against the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 16 September in Week Two of the NRL Finals Series. Kick-off is at 7:40pm.