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Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur has spoken of his pride in the club, after turning around from wooden spooners in 2018, to finish fifth on the NRL ladder.
Here’s what he had to say following the Eels 32-16 win over the Manly Sea Eagles at Bankwest Stadium.
On the Eels’ win
“There’s plenty to like, but plenty to be disappointed about too. But, I’m proud of the boys, I’m proud of the staff, the club; we’re happy that we finished fifth. I think it’s a pretty good achievement rom where we have come from, but now it’s a whole new ball game. If we play the way we played tonight, that’s not going to be good enough,” Arthur said.
On why the Eels’ dropped intensity in the game
“I just would like us to back ourselves. At the stage where they had twelve men, we just needed to be positive and believe in our ability. Maybe because we know we have a home semi, we’re in a healthy position of having a full compliment of players; Nathan Brown comes back next week, you know it’s pretty exciting and they all want to play finals football. Anyway, we got through the game. The main focus for me was getting through the game with everyone healthy so they all get an opportunity to play a final at home, ” Arthur said.
On Maika Sivo’s hat-trick
“Yeah he was really good. I thought he was really good last week. He had a couple of games where he was really quiet and he bounced back really well last week. He carried strong. He carries hard out of the back field early and it sort of sets him up and then he will find a way or we will find a way to get hi the ball and he’s pretty hard to handle,” Arthur said.
On Maika’s comparison to Semi Radradra
“The difference is, he has only really had twelve months at NRL level. He only had a three or four week pre-season. He was coming off a shoulder re-construction so we didn’t really get to do a lot with him in the pre-season. So we are hoping he knuckles down in the next pre-season and gets himself fitter for the week-to-week competition. Pre-seasons are really important and if he wants to take his game to the next level, that’s where it will be,” Arthur said.
On Maika playing his first NRL finals
“If you asked him last year or the start of this year, or if you told him, he would be playing a final at Bankwest (Stadium), he probably would have thought we were telling him fibs,” Arthur said.
On whether the Eels were aiming for 5th spot on the ladder
“Not so much fifth or sixth. I still think sixth is a good spot, but just on the back of two losses, it was probably more important for our supporters and fans who continued to show up for us here. I think we had a pretty good crowd for a Friday night game. I think the important thing was to reward them and hopefully build the intensity around next week for a decent crowd,” Arthur said.
On whether the Eels can go deep into the finals
“Whether you finish first or eighth, on our day, we can play some really good football on our day. We need to show that whoever we play next week we can put in an 80 minute performance that we’re proud of, I think that can be good enough. No matter what has happened up until this point, all the teams in the top eight can beat each other,” Arthur said.