Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has urged his pack to make a statement early against the Rabbitohs and give returning playmaker Mitchell Moses a chance to fix their attacking woes.
The Eels were unable to score last week in their 28-point loss to the Roosters and were dealt a further blow for their run home with representative prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard unlikely to return before the finals due to a groin injury.
Parramatta's engine room has produced solid go-forward statistically in Moses's month-long absence but Arthur wanted to see his forwards generate more momentum for the halves after labelling the side's overall performance as "dumb" last week.
"What works for us, we're very good when we front-load," Arthur said.
"I thought our effort last week was there but it was all reactionary and that type of effort is way harder.
"Our effort hasn't been good enough in terms of I don't think we've carried the ball with the same purpose or played the ball with the same purpose. It makes it hard to create opportunities.
"With that comes under extra fatigue - you put yourself at a bit of a disadvantage trying to execute your game plan when a bit of pressure is applied to you that way.
"We can't go and test the waters to see what the opposition are like. We have to go out and make a statement early."
Arthur: RCG unlikely to play until finals
Moses's return is a timely boost for the Eels, who face a battle-hardened run to the finals with clashes against the Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Storm and Panthers to finish the regular season.
The Eels looked all but a lock for a top-four finish two months ago but now face an uphill climb to ensure two bites at the finals cherry.
Their premiership credentials have been questioned given they have won just one of six finals appearances under Arthur since 2019.
"We've put in enough work this year to get ourselves in a healthy spot," Arthur said.
"The dumb football came last week because we were trying too hard.
"We had 28 points put on us last week so Mitch can't help that but can help with some of our attack.
"He doesn't need to fix it, his strengths are his kicking game so he needs to kick well.
"The pressure is more on the whole group in terms of providing opportunity and providing something for Mitch to play with."