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Brad Arthur has praised his team’s effort, following their gritty 32-18 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons at Bankwest Stadium.
Read on to see what he had to say in his post-match press conference.
On the Eels’ comeback
“We focused on our start. I know 14-nil doesn’t look like a great start but I thought we did start with plenty of intent and purpose about what we wanted to do. We had a turning point there where we kicked them into the corner and managed to contain them to about 20 metres there and Tepai tackling there on Normi (Corey Norman) and we then got the ball back on the halfway and from there, they just kind of picked up their urgency. I think we came in at half time and we only had 38 per-cent possession, so I was pretty happy coming in at halftime getting a try on the board,” Arthur said.
On Clint Gutherson’s performance and try
“Yeah he was great. That is his strength playing through the middle third of the field. All the effort areas and I’ve said a thousand times about what he does at training. He just keeps being able to put himself in those positions because of his preparation from right back on November 1. It’s the desire as well, he’s fit and he can do it, it’s pretty hard to do that (big runs) over and over and keep turning up in the right positions in defence and catching the ball on the full. The team is obviously aware they have to get numbers around him (three men tackling Gutherson) and you know he’s playing off the back of a fair bit of momentum too,” Arthur said.
On Clint Gutherson’s contract negotiations
“That’s between Clint and the club and look, there’s a desire from both parties to get it done,” Arthur said.
On Blake Ferguson’s try
“I don’t know about the backflip (after the try), but he said he’s back. You know, he missed out with an injury and he played last week and you know, he was okay, but he prides himself in making a difference for us out of the back field. I sent a message down to him with 25 minutes to go, this is what he gets paid for, so win us this game. (There was) plenty of desire there too,” Arthur said.
On Mitch Moses’ performance
“He was calm and composed. He’s getting some really good support around him. I thought he kicked better in the second half, got some nice goals for himself as well. We’ve got young Salmon out there and he’s still learning his trade, young Reedy (Reed Mahoney) is still learning his trade so we need our 17 to stand up, they have the experience and they need to stand up. I keep saying (keep) calm and composed and I think he has really worked on that in the pre-season which allows him to think clearly and stick to what the plan is and what he needs to do,” Arthur said.
On key players
“Yeah Mitch was good. I thought Manu was really good actually, in the trial out at at Penrith I thought he was our best player and he’s come back really well. His point of difference through the middle with his feet,” Arthur said.
On the Eels home ground advantage
“We can’t turn up and just think it’s going to happen, you know we can’t rely on the crowd. We have to excite them about coming back to watch us play, we have to excite them while we’re playing and we need to do that through some of the attitude seen in our defence; you know it’s not always the flashy tries that are going to bring them in, the team needs to roll their sleeves up and play tough and gritty,” Arthur said.