Early penalties hurt Eels in Warriors thumping
Following his side's 48-0 embarrassment at the hands of the Warriors on Saturday night, Eels coach Brad Arthur was fuming at a lopsided penalty count which he believed contributed to Parramatta's eighth loss of the season.
After battling through the game with only 43 per cent of possession, Arthur said his side was effectively out of the contest from the moment they were hit with a glut of penalties against them in the opening quarter of the match at Mount Smart Stadium.
Favouring the Warriors by nine to six at full-time, the penalty count was hardly one way traffic, but Arthur said the damage was all in the timing.
"I have been saying that for weeks now. I had a meeting with Tony Archer the other day about penalty counts at the start of the games, and it was five-nil against us again today to start the first 20 minutes," Arthur said in the post-match press conference.
"That is not an excuse, but we can't be getting three penalties at the back end of the game to level it up.
"They had 18 sets to our six in the first 25 minutes.
"We have a lot of things we need to better at, especially with our defence, but then when you do get the ball you are gassed, you are tired.
"In the first 10 or 15 minutes we had made nearly three times the number of tackles [as the Warriors did]."
The Eels conceded five tries in the opening half hour, as the Warriors dominated them with physicality on both sides of the ball.
Despite trailing in metres gained by 428 to 126 after 23 minutes, Arthur said if his side had matched the hosts in those opening exchanges the game could have been a different story.
"I'd like to think so, I think in the second half they still had more ball than us but we did OK," he said
"I know they still couldn't get across the try line, but that was just frustration and by the end of the game we had to do that much defence that we were just brain dead in attack.
"We tried hard in the second half but the first half we didn't give ourselves any opportunities.
"The weight of possession and their play the balls were too quick. It snowballs and it all goes around in circles. They probably played a perfect game of footy in the first half; I think they [completed] 21 from 23 [sets].
"We have to give credit to them, they controlled the game well."
While Arthur refused to blame the loss on the absence of star fullback Jarryd Hayne, who was rested after playing in Wednesday night's State of Origin loss to Queensland.
"Na, not at all," he said when asked whether Hayne's presence would have made a difference.
"He only would have been at the back trying to save tries.
"We are our own worst enemy, I don't care who you play against its v hard to keep yourself in the competition."