Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur is disappointed with his side’s trouble to close matches after a 26-20 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
After holding an 18-6 lead after the opening 40 minutes, the Blue & Gold were forced into a high defensive workload before the Rabbitohs crossed for four unanswered tries in the second half.
“It’s hard to defend with 12 players but we need to find a way to hold them out. We need to find a way to stop the momentum,” Arthur said.
“We made 190 tackles I think in the second half compared to 80 or something. It’s hard work.”
“The results aren’t there, we have been beat by two, beat by two [recently]. The Dragons and Rabbitohs are up there in the top four, and we showed we can be really competitive, but we need to find a way to close those games.”
“It was pretty good (the first 40 minutes),” Arthur added.
“We showed good composure and patience even though we didn’t score early. We got the rewards at the back end of the half.”
Gutherson echoed Arthur’s sentiments.
“It was hard. We made 190 tackles there in the second half, it doesn’t take it out of you, especially losing Norms for ten, but that is no excuse. We should of closed that out.” Gutherson said.
“We didn’t get back in the grind,” Gutherson added.
“When you don’t have the momentum you have to fight for it back and we looked for the easy option there tonight.”
Having lost by two points to both the Knights and Dragons in recent times, Arthur said the Eels haven’t had a problem competing in games however they were struggling with putting teams away.
“I’m disappointed for our players and our fans. Everyone involved in the club worked really hard tonight on the field.” Arthur said.
“No one is taking any shortcuts or not preparing to win but we’re just struggling to find a way to win.”
Kaysa Pritchard left the field with a dislocated shoulder in the 7th minute and did not return to the action. Young hooker Reed Mahoney impressed Arthur with his performance on the field, and the head coach hinted at longer stints on the field in the future.
“I doubt he’ll play the rest of this year,” Arthur said of Pritchard’s injury.
“He’s had an unfortunate run. Kaysa puts his body on the line and he just can’t take a trick.”
“The boys like having him [Mahoney] on the field. He’s getting better. He was only on a train and trial situation and he’s done more than enough to impress us. He’s earned his opportunity.” Arthur continued.
“I’m hoping Will (Smith) might be available next week. (But) I’d like to see if Reedy can play 80 minutes. I think he can so I’m going to give him a chance.”