Warriors v Eels: Five key points
Five key points from the Warriors' 29-16 victory over the Eels on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors probably wish games only went for 40 minutes
For the second time in three weeks the Warriors produced a wobbly second-half effort, almost letting the Eels back into a contest they should never have been in.
After a first period where they enjoyed 70 per cent of possession and had a 96 per cent competition rate, the New Zealanders were outscored three tries to one in the second half.
Captain Simon Mannering said the downfall began for the hosts when they made a few errors and gave the opposition use of the pill in good positions.
"It's a lot easier when you have the flow of possession, I guess we had a fair bit in the first half. We were probably carrying the ball a bit stronger and winning that ruck and some points were coming," Mannering said.
"You don't expect to maintain that level all the way through, you can expect to dip here and there, but we probably dropped off for too long and let them right back into the game at once stage there.
"I don't know if I was worried, you knew they were going to come back strong and I guess for us having the changes positionally [after Sam Tomkins went off injured] we probably didn't adjust to that well."
Early discipline to blame for Eels' slow start
Parramatta set the tone for the game when they conceded back-to-back penalties after just three minutes, which piggy-backed the Warriors 80 metres downfield and allowed them to score through Ryan Hoffman.
Several more infringements followed as the hosts ran out to an insurmountable 22-0 lead at the break, something Eels coach Brad Arthur wasn't too happy about.
"We removed ourselves from being a chance 20 minutes in – 22-0 after 20 minutes and out of the first 13 sets they had 11, we had two," Arthur said.
"We didn't learn our lesson from last week."
The total penalty count actually finished up fairly even – 8-6 in the New Zealand side's favour – but by then it was too late for the Eels.
Sam Tomkins' presence makes a big difference
When Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins signalled to the trainers and headed straight up the Mt Smart Stadium tunnel on 49 minutes it sent his team into a spiral of poor play.
Up until that point they hadn't conceded a point, but in the 12 minutes directly after the English custodian's departure they leaked 16.
Similarly in the loss to the Newcastle Knights – where Tomkins missed the entire match through injury – the Warriors looked less threatening with the ball in hand and weren't as organised defensively without their star fullback.
Coach Andrew McFadden will be hoping for a quick recovery from the knee knock, which Tomkins said was "a little bit sore" post-match.
Tests over the next 48 hours will reveal the extent of the damage.
The Eels aren't short on self-belief
Despite being completely dominated in the first half Parramatta left oranges with a positive attitude and almost orchestrated a miraculous comeback.
In particular left winger Reece Robinson's enthusiasm helped wrestle back the tide, while standoff Corey Norman stayed composed and accurate despite not seeing much of the ball.
"I definitely have a lot of belief in our ability to score points," Eels captain Tim Mannah said.
"I thought the halves did a good job in that passage of play there and we found their weakness, but we left our charge a bit late today."
Interchange forward David Gower said it would have been a different game had they respected the ball more.
"The fightback was promising, we can take a lot of heart and pride from that," he said.
"We are confident if we get 50 per cent possession we are going to be in the game."
The injury bug has well and truly arrived at Parra
Last week against the Bulldogs injuries to key personnel impacted heavily on the Eels' ability to compete, while this week they travelled to Auckland without their best strike weapon in Semi Radradra and his centre partner Beau Champion.
The injury toll might get worse before it gets better for the men in blue and gold, with several players ending up in the wars against the physical Warriors.
Hookers Nathan Peats and Issac De Gois both took head knocks which will need to be monitored through the week, while Will Hopoate and Joseph Paulo both required stoppages in the game to receive treatment.
The Eels can ill-afford any more of their stars to go down, with the reigning premiers South Sydney awaiting them on Friday night.