NRL: Eels coach Brad Arthur's stark admission on stuttering side

The Parramatta Eels have perhaps the most daunting fixtures remaining in the NRL season.

They take on the Rabbitohs on Friday night, with games against the Sea Eagles, the Cowboys, the Storm and the Panthers all to follow.

But Eels coach Brad Arthur insists the side knows exactly what’s needed as it looks to consolidate a top-four finish going into the finals.

“We’re a bit guilty of looking too far ahead, and we need to focus on what’s really important for us now,” Arthur said.

“We’re very good when we front load, I thought our effort last week was there but it was all reactionary.

NRL: Eels coach Brad Arthur’s stark admission on stuttering side

Camera IconEels coach Brad Arthur has a tough task ahead of him on Friday night against the Rabbitohs. Jonathan Ng Credit: News Corp Australia

“We’ve got to focus on what’s really important for us now.

“We can’t look at what’s ahead, we have got to worry about the team tomorrow night but more so around making some improvements in our own game.”

The Eels will undoubtedly be buoyed by the return of star halfback Mitchell Moses.

Moses suffered a minor back fracture early on in game three of Origin, and his absence coincided with Parramatta losing two of three games without him.

Arthur stressed that while Moses’ return was a major boost for his side, there was still an underlying issue hindering their form.

“Well, we had 28 points put on us last week, so I don’t know if Mitch can help that,” Arthur said.

“He can help with some of our attack but over the last couple of weeks our effort hasn’t been good enough.

“I don’t think we’ve carried the ball with the same purpose, I don’t think we’ve played the ball with the same purpose, which then makes it hard to create opportunities.

“I feel like we just need to work a bit harder.”

Renewed effort may not be enough, however.

Aside from a wooden spoon finish in 2018, the Eels have made the semi finals in every season since 2017.

It remains to be seen how Arthur can get his side over that penultimate hurdle for their first grand final berth since 2009, but he believes it starts with getting back to what the team knows best.

“You learn things just with time and experience as well,” Arthur said.

“We certainly learned last week that we can’t go to a game and dip our toes in.

“We’ve got to go to a game and start hard and fast because that’s what works for us.

“We can’t go and test the waters and see what the opposition are like, we’ve got to go out and make a statement early.”

There wouldn’t be a bigger statement to the critics than beating Wayne Bennett’s high-flying South Sydney on Friday night.

The Bunnies sit third on 34 competition points — equal with second-placed Penrith — as the Eels find themselves in fourth but six points behind.

If the blue and gold outfit loses on Friday night, they could land in sixth spot should the Roosters and Sea Eagles, placed fifth and sixth respectively, earn the two points in their fixtures.

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