Arthur: It was tough and resilient
Following Parramatta's grinding 24-22 win over the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur said his side put in a performance that was close to their 2017 standards.
"I thought our effort areas were really good tonight. We made a habit of winning those sort of games last year, you know the ones where we're not perfect and a touch scrappy but it was tough and resilient," he said.
The Eels though weren't without blemish, conceding a very soft try at the start of the second half which saw Tigers prop Matt Eisenhuth stroll through the middle of Parramatta's defence untouched.
"(We conceded) a couple of soft tries, which we're not real happy about. Untouched through the middle of the field is not good enough, so we're getting better but we're still a way off."
Eels hooker Kaysa Pritchard was awarded Man of the Match for his Herculean 80 minute performance which saw him deal out plenty of brutal defence and Arthur said it was a good performance from the rake.
"He was good and I thought he gained some confidence off the back of last week which was probably his best performance for us last week. Couple of things there, a bit erratic at times but that's what you get with Kaysa," said Arthur.
"He's just got to channel [his aggression] it the right way. But he has got a lot better with it."
"We can't afford to have him taking himself out and we also need him to get through some consistent footy with us."
Co-captain Tim Mannah said it was a pleasure defending next to Pritchard, with the dummy-half constantly leading the Blue and Gold defensive line.
"He's a tough kid, he's a pleasure to defend next to because having him next to you kind of inspires you because if he's coming out of the line he makes everyone around him do the same," said Mannah.
After a tough start to the season that saw the Eels slump to six consecutive losses they have now won two in a row and Mannah says these two wins has helped to ease some of the pressure and allow them to play some good footy.
"The start of the year wasn't what we planned. With every loss just came that feeling of pressure and it wasn't nice, but to get the monkey off the back last week and let everyone have a bit of room to breathe and get back to enjoying our footy again." Mannah said.
"You can tell the difference in the environment this week and I thought today was a really good result for us, even better than last week in terms of the kind of win it was and we'll get a lot out of that and moving forward we'll be better for it."
After a strong first half of the match, the Eels saw themselves defending their line for the early part of the second half with coach Brad Arthur saying his side's defence went a long way to winning the match.
"We gave away a couple of penalties early and our response to the penalties this week were really good, really positive. We turned some penalties into forced errors." Arthur said.
"Our response there was good, our effort areas like I spoke about was good and we did challenge them for a good start and we started okay, in terms of we defended 4 or 5 sets on our try-line but we just leaked a try."
"It would've been nice if we could've turned them away and got back down the other end of the field. So the first six or seven minutes, we didn't have any footy. So it wasn't the best start. But in hindsight now it probably worked out good for us that we had to come from behind and fight our way out."
The Eels travel to the Sutherland Shire next week where they take on the Cronulla Sharks, which will be a tough match according to Arthur.
"We've got to go to a tough place next week against a tough team and it's going to take a really gutsy peformance from us. It's a good challenge for us, where we are right now and we'll probably learn a bit next weekend about what sort of team we want to be moving forward."
The only dampener on the victory for the Eels comes in the form of a knee injury to back-rower Tony Williams who is suspected to have suffered an ACL injury late in the match and will be going for scans tomorrow.