Paulo: Titans wanted it more
Parramatta utility Joseph Paulo's blunt assessment of his side's dire loss at home to the Titans is that the side was simply out-enthused by an opponent who wanted it more.
Like his coach and teammates, Paulo was bitterly disappointed in the 38-16 loss, not least because it came in their own backyard where the side had won 11 of its previous 13 matches.
"It's not acceptable the way we played," Paulo told NRL.com after the error-strewn match.
"That effort's not what we'd class as a performance we'd like to play here, especially at our home ground... I feel like a lot of boys had their heads down so we're just going to have to turn it around and really pick it up.
"The energy wasn't there tonight at the fortress. It's something we try to create [a home fortress] and obviously you have to create that every week, [but] this week our focus just wasn't there.
"We were good in patches but that's not enough to win a game like this. Like the Titans showed us whoever wants it more will get that victory."
Paulo was critical of his own performance despite setting up the side's first try with a deft offload to Danny Wicks and helping create the second with an offload that put Corey Norman into space, and Eels coach Brad Arthur's post-match assessment that the side needed to play with more patience rather than pushing passes and offloads may have been partly directed at the ball-playing back-rower.
"I try to create something and it came off in the first half and sometimes things come off. I tried to do the same in the second half and they just didn't come off. That's footy.
"Sometimes the pass that you do in the first half, everyone's catching those passes and running good lines then the second half maybe I'm pushing my passes or still trying to create but I've just got to knuckle down and play tough."
Paulo refused to blame either the side's five-day turnaround from an Easter Monday loss to Wests Tigers, nor the lengthy injury toll, for the lacklustre performance.
"Nah, no way, it's not the recovery, it's just us – we have to turn up and come ready for a game because they came ready, we were ready for one half and not the second half," he said.
"It's definitely hard [having injuries in the backline] but we train for it, we have guys who play different positions, we've got a lot of utility players that can play in the forwards and the backs.
"You definitely train for it so if it does happen you come prepared and today we just weren't prepared, we didn't want it as much as the Titans wanted it."
He said while the players in the sheds were doing it tough after back to back losses, the side needed to stay committed to get things back on track.
"We stay tight, we work hard and just really knuckle down and focus on those little areas. We've just got to go back and figure out how we complete and put ourselves in a position to win a game," he said.
"It's definitely tough now, two losses in a row, it's not a good way to start the season but I know we've got the team and the coaches [to improve], we're ready to move on this week and fight a hard game up in Newcastle."