Arthur: We are finding ways to lose

The Parramatta Eels suffered an 18-16 defeat to the Newcastle Knights in Round 18 of the NRL Telstra Premiership last night (Friday 13 July).

After jumping out to an early 10-0 lead over the home side, the Blue & Gold side squandered the lead with ill discipline and a lack of completions allowing the Knights back into the game.

Speaking after the clash, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur said that the side’s attention to detail and fundamental errors continued to cost the side.

“Our attention to detail and some real fundamental errors let us down,” Arthur said.

“We started with plenty of energy, and were excited to play in attack, but it wasn’t overplaying our hand that was a problem, it was focus and concentration.”

“That has been our season. We showed some really good signs and I thought there was probably more positives than negatives tonight but we lost. We are finding ways to lose instead of finding ways to win.” Arthur added.

“We put ourselves under enormous pressure after a really good start. 8 of our last 9 sets of the first half we didn’t get to a kick and that’s not good enough.”

When asked of the Eels defence that kept them in the game, Arthur said it was the 25 minutes leading into half time that cost the side.

“Our defence, effort, energy, enthusiasm was all there and great. The will to win was there but completion rate at 50% at half time gave them plenty of energy to come back out and start the second half.” Arthur said.

“That 20-25 minutes in the end of the first half hurt us.”

Eels co-captain Clinton Gutherson echoed Arthur’s sentiments, saying that fundamental errors cost the side, however the fullback put up his hand for his own personal performance.

“Brad nailed it, fundamental errors. I was guilty of a few of them which put the boys under a bit of stress there in the first half. I will take that, and put my hand up.” Gutherson said.

“It was very frustrating. Fundamental errors that are costing us at the moment and we just have to pull our fingers out and stop it.”

Arthur had plenty of praise for centre Jarryd Hayne, who finished the game with 197m from 19 runs, two line breaks, one try assist and 15 tackle breaks.

In arguably Hayne’s strongest game in the Blue & Gold in 2018, Arthur said the plan was to shift the ball to the Eels left edge.

“Jarryd was really good. The plan was that we thought we could get some opportunity down our left,” Arthur said.

“I would of liked to have seen us go there a touch more at the back end of the game when we had some opportunities down there, we needed to probably get the ball to him a touch more.”

“He has played well the couple of games since he has been back and he just needs to keep going back to back with performances and efforts like that and we will see where it gets to at the end of the year, but he is more than comfortable to wait and see what happens at the end of the year.” Arthur added when asked of Hayne’s future.

With just seven games remaining in the season, Arthur said the Blue & Gold must not lose the drive and the will in their performances for the remainder of 2018.

“I still want to see the drive and the will in their performance. That has to be their priority because if we don’t have that, we could complete at 100% but it wont matter.” Arthur said.

“I think since the Cowboys a couple of weeks ago, we have had that drive and the will and that’s the priority.”

The Eels will take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium in Round 19 of the NRL Telstra Premiership on Thursday 19 July.