Knights v Eels: Five Key Points
Eels' defensive steel, Newcastle's windy woes and Richie Fa'aoso's sad day headline the five key points to come out of Parramatta's 28-22 win over the Knights.
Eels' fighting mentality wins out
Parramatta completed 75 per cent of their sets and made a mere five errors but Eels coach Brad Arthur was still cranky.
"I just told the boys we can't do that one week and not the next," Arthur said post-game.
"We have shown if we turn up with the right mindset we can win games. It was a scrappy win but we played tough to win it. I'm still cranky about it though."
Besides their solid statistics with the ball in hand, it was the Eels' fighting mentality which impressed Arthur the most.
"I just think our mentality helped [our completions]," Arthur said.
"We were prepared to fight for 80 minutes to get the win. I don't think it was pretty and it wasn't our best, but we weren't in a hurry to just get the job done or try and get a quick result."
Newcastle don't do bad weather
Newcastle legend and former halfback Andrew Johns seems to have an opinion on most things, and some things ring truer than others.
Johns said on Triple M that his former team needs everything to go right for them, including the weather.
Considering the Knights' three losses for the year have coincided with either torrential rain or a heavy wind – he isn't too far from the truth.
Despite having the wind on their side for the first half, Newcastle only managed to score two tries which left Rick Stone to point out his team were "conservative in the first half" and despite building plenty of pressure "didn't do enough with the wind".
Their conservativeness with the heavy wind behind them came back to bite them hard.
You better believe Stone has bookmarked every weather website possible to make sure Newcastle puts on a show, both weather and footy-wise, against the Cowboys on ANZAC Day.
Reece Robinson set to be the Eels' fullback
Despite being named on the wing, Parramatta's Reece Robinson will be the club's fullback moving forward.
With Will Hopoate slotting in at right centre against Newcastle, Robinson did enough to seal his spot at the back permanently.
"Hoppa needed to do what's best for the team which was to help us stiffen up our right side defence and I thought he did that," Arthur said.
"We had some good talkers around Chrissy [Sandow] with Gowie [David Gower] and Hoppa. We were a little bit rusty with the ball at times but it's a new combination we have to work on."
Hail the Scottish bagpipes
James McManus's first try in 343 days couldn't have come at a better time.
While it was an ordinary day for most Newcastle Knights, including the winger himself, the incumbent New South Wales Origin representative McManus's first four-pointer in just over 11 months is timely, especially since Country v City is less than two weeks away.
McManus is sure to keep building on his solid performances for Newcastle as the competition progresses.
You have to feel sorry for Richie Fa'aoso
After months spent in limbo waiting to resurrect his career with the Eels, Richie Fa'aoso finally returned to top flight rugby league against his old team the Newcastle Knights, just 17 days after he was given the green light to have his contract registered after abiding by the NRL's insurance requests.
However, a head clash with Knights prop Jack Stockwell cut Fa'aoso's comeback short just minutes into his return after he suffered a heavy concussion, making only 18 metres and four tackles in his very short stint.
Thankfully his coach Arthur confirmed the 30-year-old veteran was doing alright.
"Richie's just disappointed because he feels he let the boys down," Arthur said. "That's the type of person he is. He's all about the team."
Danny Wicks, who played with Fa'aoso at the Knights before they reunited at the Eels this year, confirmed his fellow front-rower was okay and he's "super-stoked" that he's back.
"He's absolutely sweet in the sheds now. He's still cracking jokes in there so he's doing fine," Wicks said.
"He's a gentleman and a great bloke, words can't describe how great he is. To have him back in the side lifted me and lifted the boys. When you have a great bloke that'll do anything for you, who doesn't want to play NRL alongside him?"