Robson, Mortimer winning half the battle

“I’ve played a lot of Premier League, in fact I think I probably hold the record for most games played,” muses Jeff Robson, the last in a long line of Eels halfbacks and by anyone’s standards, probably the least famous.<br><br>The journey to a regular first grade start has taken Robson sometime. But now he is there, he's grabbed the chance with both hands, displaying a solid work ethic coupled with a selective kicking game... and he puts his good play down to continuity in first grade.<br><br>“It’s really good to get games back to back and get some confidence.<br><br>“At Manly it was basically stop start, coming in for Matt Orford and only getting a game here and there, whereas now I’ve had the chance to play plenty of first grade and I feel like I am used to it.”<br><br>Despite his lack of fame, and just six first grade games in five seasons at Parramatta’s traditional rivals, Manly; Robson is starting to turn a few heads with his workmanlike performances, (so much so that his manager is now negotiating with the Eels for a new deal) in an Eels side which is playing its best footy of the season.<br><br>Yep, that’s right the Eels are firing again and looking almost as potent as the side which charged to the finals in 2006. Wins over the Bulldogs, Storm and Sharks in recent weeks have instilled confidence within the camp and their 27-year-old halfback is leading the way along with partner in crime, 20-year-old Daniel Mortimer.<br><br>Robson had nothing but praise for the boom youngster and reckons they might be one of those pairings who ‘just click’.<br><br>“Daniel’s a great player and he’s only going to get better once he fills out a bit more, he has great instincts and I think he’ll be around at the top level for a very long time.<br><br>“Dan and I have combined pretty well, our styles of play compliment each other very well, some people you just get that with and we have that. I think that’s part of the reason the combination is working.”<br><br>The duo boast just 26 first grade games between them but their combination is helping to push the Eels towards the top eight and September action.<br><br>But will that combination be enough?<br><br>Robson, though, isn’t even thinking about the possibility of finals football.<br><br>“Mate to tell you the truth we just need to focus on winning every game and then we will think about finals.”<br><br>Despite the wraps the backline is getting at the moment, like any good halfback, Robson was quick to point out his forwards as the major reason for the club’s success.<br><br>“Jarryd Hayne, Morts (Mortimer) and myself don’t get to do our thing unless the forwards are making ground for us and Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Cayless and Nathan Hindmarsh have been really good in that department.”<br><br>Moimoi in particular has impressed this year making a whopping 1863 metres, which isn’t bad for a player with limited game time.<br><br>The other back mentioned, Jarryd Hayne has been on fire of late and Robson is happy for Hayne to be getting all the accolades he is receiving.<br><br>“Haynesy deserves all the wraps he is getting, he has been working hard at training all year and doing everything right and now he is playing some great footy.<br><br>While Hayne is getting the wraps, the Eels have tightened up their game and cut out the silly errors, which has played a large part in their sudden success.<br><br>“We’ve been working hard, we probably were making too many mistakes and a big part of our turnaround is not making those mistakes which have helped us in tough games of late whereas earlier in the year we were a little unlucky at times and those mistakes hurt us.”<br><br>Robson also hinted a new and popular training schedule from coach Daniel Anderson was playing its part.<br><br>“Daniel has been giving us a few days off here and there over the last few weeks to rest any niggles, but when we do train, we do so really hard, with the goal being to be ready for any tight matches we may have.”<br><br>It seems to be working and I don’t think anyone is complaining about the extra days off!”<br><br>With the Eels firing on all cylinders, things are looking bright and with the news that Feleti Mateo and Kris Keating are due back any moment, Robson reckons Eels fans should be salivating.<br><br>“Feleti is a great player. He’s a big man with skills and will definitely add something for us. Kris Keating is also due back soon and the way he was playing before he got injured he would have to fit into the side somewhere.”<br><br>But before those two return, the Eels have to take on the Knights in a game with huge implications.<br><br>If the Eels win they edge closer to the top eight and one point behind Newcastle. If Parramatta lose, and other results don’t help them, it presents them a huge setback and puts a top eight spot out of sight over the next fortnight.<br><br>While the Eels are riding high, the Knights will still be smarting from an embarrassing loss to the cellar dwelling Roosters last week and despite the rumours of internal strife at Newcastle, Robson is wary of the team the Eels beat by 20-18 in round 13.<br><br>“We got a good win up at Newcastle in round 13 but they will be tough to beat again this weekend coming off last weeks’ loss to the Roosters.&nbsp; Brian Smith will have them switched on.”<br><br>With the Eels desperate to keep their finals hopes alive, Parramatta fans should head to Parramatta Stadium on Sunday and cheer their team in what looms as an epic battle in the NRL Glory Bound Rounds.<br>