Eels lacked spirit in Cowboys thumping

After the Eels 42-14 thumping at the hands of North Queensland, it was pretty clear that Eels coach Brad Arthur just wanted to get out of there.

Forget the honourable loss. Saturday’s performance quite simply lacked spirit, says Parramatta’s headman.

“We just played with a lack of spirit at times," Arthur said.

“At the times we played with a little bit (of spirit), we got ourselves back into the game. Some things didn’t go our way in the second half and if they would have, we would’ve found energy, but instead we dropped our heads. We need to find energy there.”

An early season surprise packet, Parramatta now find themselves bundled out of the top eight for the first time in 2014 and will limp into the much-needed representative break with a 4-4 record.

When looking for reasons why things fell apart so spectacularly on Saturday, Arthur said that the stat quite simply stares his side in the face.

“We only completed at 47 per cent in the second half, 55 per cent for the game. We’d have to make too many tackles and we get tired," he said.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, you can’t give them that amount of ball and expect to keep yourself in the game.”

While the excuse of a short turnaround will fly with some coaches – the Cowboys themselves have used it already this year – Arthur was having none of it.

“I haven’t thought of (the short turnaround) and I hope the players haven’t thought of it. Because we’re not about making excuses, what we dished up tonight wasn’t good enough and we need to fix it straight away,” he said.

Despite all the talk of Jarryd Hayne’s exploits during the week, the fullback never seemed to find a groove and it didn’t help that he left his catching mitts at home.

In a play that typified not just his night but the whole team's, Hayne tried three times to collect a Matt Scott charge-down attempt, but ended up knocking it on without a player within a five-metre radius - an error which led directly to a Cowboys try.

“They did a good job on Jarryd. They defended well on him and we didn’t give him enough ball,” Arthur said.

Parramatta now looks to get their season back on track in two weeks’ time when they head back home to face the Cronulla Sharks.