Watmough: Eels are learning the hard way
He and his teammates are bemused at how they have found themselves at the bottom of the Telstra Premiership ladder through 10 rounds but Eels back-rower Anthony Watmough insists it is all part of the learning process.
With just a sprinkling of seasoned campaigners, a positive start to 2015 that saw Parramatta knock off defending premiers South Sydney and Manly has been well and truly eroded with five losses from their past six games.
Although they lost in golden point to the Warriors' last weekend, the try by Bodene Thompson saw Parramatta drop behind the Sea Eagles on for and against with a rematch with the Rabbitohs facing them on Friday night.
Writing in the Round 11 issue of Big League, Watmough said the young members of the squad are still learning how to win on a weekly basis but admits such excuses are starting to wear thin.
"With all the hype that was surrounding us at the start of the year I think people have forgotten that the club is still in a rebuilding phase," Watmough says in Big League.
"It’s easy to forget that everyone in this team is in their early 20s except for me, Richie Fa’aoso and Danny Wicks, who have both been out of the game for a few years. There is a lot of pressure on this young side and they’re just starting to get their experience up.
"It takes a long time to learn how to win, how to lose and bounce back from it and also how to keep improving every week. To play at that level each and every week your mind and body both need to get used to it. Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.
"We’re lucky that we’ve got Brad Arthur and other staff with us that have been through tough times in the past and help us realise that this will pass if we put in the work.
"That being said, we can’t keep saying that we’re close because it gets old and people stop listening. It’s just a matter of mentally staying in the game and seizing the moment and not throwing that stupid pass."
Having been overlooked for the New South Wales team for Game One of the Origin Series next Wednesday night Watmough will be available to take his place for the Eels but said that he holds no ill feelings that his Origin time may have now come to an end.
"I have never thought of myself as an Origin player and I have always considered myself lucky to be there just to fill in the gaps," said Watmough, who played 14 Origins for NSW between 2005 and 2014.
"When Laurie Daley called me to tell me that I wasn’t in his team this year I told him that he has my full support with what he is trying to do with the team. This is a part of generation next and who are we to stand in the way of that?
"I know who I am. I’m a hard worker and a knock-about guy who was just lucky enough to win an Origin Series."
The Round 11 issue of Big League is on sale now from newsagents and at the ground. Digital version available at Zinio.