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Arthur, Bennett refocus players after lopsided Round 16 clash

Brad Arthur know his side's edges will be heavily tested by South Sydney but Wayne Bennett insists the Rabbitohs won't target particular players.

Just a couple of hours after Arthur defended the Eels' edge defence ahead of the sudden-death semi-final at Bankwest Stadium, Bennett was fending off ideas that the Rabbitohs would look to exploit specific opponents. 

The Rabbitohs pummelled Parramatta 38-0 in round 16 but Bennett said the side could ill-afford to rely on their previous performance to knock the Eels out of the finals in straight sets. 

"That's never been the conversation this week [because] Parramatta won't be the same side we played weeks ago," Bennett said on Friday.

"We're not big on targeting players or positions, we're just playing footy.

Eels v Rabbitohs - Semi Final

"We scored tries through the middle of our ruck last week, we scored them down our right side and left.

"We just play football and that's what I want from them, not to target a particular side. It's irrelevant, a new game tomorrow night and that's how we're approaching it."

While not looking for excuses after last week's qualifying final defeat to Melbourne, Arthur said the focus around the Eels' edge defence woes was excessive.

"I know our right edge has come under a bit of fire recently but if you have a look I think we're third or fourth for defence and tries conceded this year," Arthur said.

"On the weekend, and they're not excuses, but we had positional changes. We lost a winger, had back-rowers playing in the centres and then lost a back-rower to a head knock and then another winger.

The edge-defence issue that Brad Arthur must solve

"We move on but it's hard against a really good team like Melbourne when you're making changes like that.

"We've had a good opportunity this week to get those combinations right and I'm sure we'll see some nice defensive reads."

Eels winger Blake Ferguson appears unlikely to play after failing to train with the side all week due to a knee injury.

Arthur used Waqa Blake on the wing when Ferguson hobbled from the field late in the contest with Brad Takairangi the likely option to come into the backline.

"We've trained a certain way this week and we're comfortable with how it's been," Arthur said.

"We can't go into the game unclear with what we need to do and that's really important."

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Arthur added the team had taken lessons from the 38-0 loss into this week's clash but said it came down to attitude.

"We went away from playing for each other and had other things on our mind," Arthur said of the corresponding defeat last month.

"I don't think we had the right attitude to roll our sleeves up and play tough footy.

"But I think over the last month we've got back to playing for each other and our attack has looked a bit better."

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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