After a disappointing fortnight the Parramatta Eels will be looking to cement their position in the top four with a win over the in-form Rabbitohs.
With a narrow loss to the Raiders and a heavy loss to the Roosters, the Eels now only cling to fourth spot by point differential, despite an impressive start to the season.
Eels coach Brad Arthur said his team had put themselves in a really good position at the halfway point of the season but haven’t matched the same intensity over recent weeks.
“We’re not going to make an apology for starting the season well because if we didn’t start the season well, we would be in trouble for that,” he said at his press conference on Thursday.
“We’ve worked extremely hard, there were games that we thought early in the year that we needed to put ourselves in a good position for and we have put ourselves in a good position, but now it is up to us, everything is in our control.”
Arthur believes his teams impressive start may have left them somewhat complacent over recent weeks and the focus this week has been about ensuring they play the way that works for them.
“Maybe we are guilty of looking too far ahead and we need to focus on what is important for us now,” he said.
“We’re very good when we front load and I thought our effort last week was there but it was all reactionary, and that type of effort is way harder. When you put yourself under that extra fatigue you put yourself at a disadvantage at trying to execute your game plan.
“We’ve done enough work to put ourselves in a reasonable position, but we can’t look too far ahead past a good team tomorrow night but also around making some improvements in our own game.”
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Star halfback Mitch Moses will return against the Rabbitohs, but Arthur is aware that he won’t fix all of the teams’ issues.
“The pressure is more on the whole group around providing opportunity and providing something to play off,” he said.
“It’s alright to have Mitchell there but if we don’t give him anything to play off, and that hasn’t been happening because we haven’t been working hard enough for each other.
“So, if we get back to working hard for each other and front loading our effort Mitchell will have a bit more time and space with the ball, and we can hopefully see some more opportunities.”
In a welcomed boost for the players their families have joined them in their Gold Coast hub, something that Arthur believes makes his job much easier.
“It makes my job a lot easier if the boys are comfortable and settled off the field, it certainly makes life easier and makes for a better player when they’re fully focused,” he said.
“So having the families here and having that support around them is definitely going to help that and I think it is just better for our game.”
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