Eels backrower Ben Smith says despite a disappointing loss, the side's efforts against Manly represent a step in the right direction. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos. Credit: Robb Cox/NRL Photos. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos.
Despite being disappointed at the final result, Eels backrower Ben Smith said his side has proved to themselves they are a better defensive outfit than they showed in Round 2's 56-4 loss to the Roosters.
Following Parramatta's last minute 22-18 loss to Manly
at Brookvale on Sunday, Smith told NRL.com that the Roosters result was "a bit of a hiccup" and the Round 3 effort was a step in the right direction.
"We were sort of all over the shop [against the Roosters]. This week we knew we had to improve and just set a standard for ourselves. I think we did that – we're disappointed with the loss but it's a positive step forward," he said.
"I think there's a lot more confidence in our defence. The first week against the Warriors we showed that and then today. More than anything we've just shown to ourselves if we work together those are the results we can get."
Smith also said the new combinations were starting to gel in what is very much a new-look team.
"There are a lot of new boys and it is a new team, it's not always going to gel quickly but week by week – that left edge [of Manu Ma'u, Willie Tonga and Semi Radradra] is looking good. And Peatsy [hooker Nathan Peats], the boys in the middle, Haynesy [fullback Jarryd Hayne] and [five-eighth] Corey Norman and Lukey [halfback Luke Kelly] there in the halves. We're heading in the right direction," he said.
With his captain Jarryd Hayne and coach Brad Arthur having already expressed their displeasure at the lopsided penalty count, Smith said it was reassuring to hang in against a side as good as Manly when things aren't going your way.
"They're a quality team and they were in the Grand Final last year. For us to come back from last week and what happened, it's a step in the right direction and proves to ourselves what we can do when we work together," he said.