We owe it to Eels fans: Gower
Eels forward David Gower says the club owes it to their fans to put in a big effort at home after three straight losses at one-time fortress, Pirtek Stadium.
After blitzing Manly in Round 1 and upsetting the Rabbitohs in Round 4 the Eels had at that stage won 11 of their past 13 games at the venue, despite struggling for away wins.
But since then a diabolical home loss to the Titans in Round 6 was followed by a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Storm in Round 9 and a heartbreaking golden point loss to the Warriors a week later.
Gower has missed the past three weeks – including last week's impressive upset win at Penrith – but after a full week at training says he can't wait to rip in in front of the home fans against a red-hot Cowboys outfit that has now won nine games straight.
"The Warriors we lost in golden point, against the Titans we were very disappointing, we were pretty embarrassed by that but we're looking forward to giving back to our fans on Monday night," Gower said.
"So if as many of our fans could get out there and support us it'd be great and it'd really give us the lift that we need."
There is some extra motivation for fans to flock to Parramatta on Monday evening given it's a public holiday and the club will be looking to raise awareness and funds for homelessness and mental health issues with the help of Parramatta Mission.
But Gower said he knows it won't be an easy task looking to match it with a powerful Cowboys side with threats all over the park – in spite of the fact the North Queenslanders have won just five of 20 visits to Pirtek, and one of their past seven.
"They've got a great side, they've got the Australian front row [in Matt Scott and James Tamou], one of the greatest halfbacks to ever play the game in Thurston, Michael Morgan's just played Origin, Coote at the back's playing great, Taumalolo, the list goes on," Gower said.
"They're a great side and they've won nine in a row for a reason. We've got a big job in front of us but we're looking forward to the challenge but we're up for it and we're looking forward to playing good footy in front of our fans like I said, and trying to build on the last month that we've put in."
There is some extra motivation for Gower himself to justify his inclusion back into a winning side.
"It's always frustrating to get injured but thankfully the boys won last week and they've put a few good performances in since I've been out so I know I've got to come in and pull my weight and do my job, otherwise the boys that have been there the last three weeks will be trying to get their spots back," Gower said.
"Junior Paulo's been great for us and he's going to be great. We missed him when he was out [with a nine-game suspension]. He's a big boy with good leg speed and he's got a great motor. Our forward pack's been doing a great job, it's just been a few individual errors and missed tackles here and there that have been costing us.
"We've been competitive in 95 per cent of our games this year. It's just little one per cent errors that have cost us, it's cost us wins and that's the reason why we're coming where we are on the table but we're looking forward to building on our last month of football and really trying to slingshot and get our season started again."
He said the team can't afford to think about the 'what ifs': currently sharing the bottom rung of the ladder with the Sea Eagles, wins against the Warriors and Rabbitohs in Rounds 10 and 11 where they were in winning positions late in the game would have the Eels a chance of finishing this round inside the top eight.
"If we'd won the last two we would be [in the eight] and there'd be no dramas but we lost them and we need to work just as hard, if not harder, and we're looking forward to getting our season back on," he said.
"We've got a big tough ask on Monday night against the Cowboys, they've won nine in a row, we're looking forward to ripping in in front of our home fans. We feel like we owe them something. We've lost our last three at home, that's our home ground and we want to represent and ourselves on the field and we're looking forward to really ripping in."