Arthur: Defensive efforts cost Eels

Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has said that poor defensive reads contributed to his side’s 42-24 loss against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Thursday night.

The Eels conceded four tries to Souths winger Robert Jennings down their right-side defence with Arthur saying a lack of communication was to blame.

“That period [four tries in 12 minutes to start the second half] wasn’t great but some of the defensive reads and some of the errors that we made tonight are reserve grade standard,” Arthur said straight after the game.

“Some errors in big decision making and errors on play one out of red zone really cost us.”

“I don’t want to be rude to Souths, the executed their play really well, but we've seen that play a thousand times and we've defended that play a thousand times at training,” Arthur continued.

“We weren't aggressive or we weren't passive and working out together. We were trying to do both.”

“We just weren't connected together. Our two inside defenders were up, our two outside defenders were back,” Arthur added.

The Blue and Gold jumped to an early 14-6 lead after a strong opening 20 minute before conceding 34 unanswered points.

Arthur said basic errors at their own end of the field led to the avalanche of points.

“The talk wasn’t there and we weren’t backing ourselves. Coming outside our systems and not working together.”

 “I think we only had 20 per cent of the ball in the first 15 - 20 minutes of the second half. Just some fundamental errors on play one really hurt us.

After his side’s strong start and Souths leading by only two points at half-time, Arthur said his side appeared to be up for the fight.

“There was a game there to be won if we wanted it. I thought our plan was going okay. We were going through the middle well, we were carrying the ball well.

“Physically we were okay. But we talking about three tries really out of nothing that we should defend and that was the same result in the second half,” he said.

Co-captain Tim Mannah said his side were buoyed by their last-start win against the North Queensland Cowboys but when the pressure was applied they dropped back into bad habits.

“I thought we came to the game with good confidence after last week and I thought we started the game like that,” Mannah said.

“As soon as things didn't go our way we slipped back into that lack of belief we've had the last few weeks and I just think we couldn't dig ourselves out of it.”

“It was strange because at times we felt we were in control of the game but lapses of concentration in defence and going out of our systems really let us down.”

When asked of whether Arthur would look at developing other players in the Eels roster for the remainder of the season, Arthur said "Reed has been given an opportunity, Marata is getting better and we have a couple of blokes there that might get a chance."

The Eels have a week off before taking on the St George-Illawarra Dragons on Thursday 28 June in Round 16 at ANZ Stadium.