Eels confident in attack: Gower
Eels forward David Gower says if his side can maintain the same 80-minute defensive intensity it brought against the Dragons last week the always-dangerous attack will be enough for the side to win plenty of games.
The Eels are eighth in the NRL for points scored but have scored just 20 fewer points than the high-flying Roosters. It's their defence that is letting them down, having leaked 348 points in 15 games – better than just Gold Coast, Newcastle and Canberra.
The side's leaky defence has cost them several tight games this year when they scored enough points to get the job done, most notably in Round 13 when they threw away a 30-6 lead against the Cowboys in just over 10 minutes.
Last week's determined win 16-12 over the Dragons, when they had to defend several sets on their own line, will be a confidence boost that the defensive half of their game is starting to click into gear.
There is still plenty to work on though, with the final stats from the Dragons game showing the Eels missed twice as many tackles as their opponents (35-18) although a lopsided 10-5 penalty count against them handed their opponents a weight of possession in the first half.
"We [had] a video session [Tuesday] and there's a lot we need to improve on. We're striving to improve every game and every session so if we keep learning and keep putting all those lessons into practice on game day we're pretty confident moving forward," Gower said.
"It's just a couple of things defensively, a few little one percenters we need to maintain for the full 80 minutes. We're getting better, week to week we're definitely getting better but we need to continue to improve."
Of the missed tackle count against the Dragons, Gower noted: "I think they had eight or 10 more sets than us so that's another 50 or 60 tackles, so we're bound to miss one or two more but the way we play, we try to have an aggressive line speed.
"We try to play with aggression and from that you bounce out and miss a few tackles but we're focused on bringing our missed tackle count down, definitely, and tightening our wrestle up and making sure we're there for each other and defending for each other.
"We're very confident in our attack, we just need to make sure we maintain intensity in defence for 80 minutes.
"That's where we've come unstuck this year a little bit and we're focusing each week on making sure we maintain the intensity for 80. We're confident if we defend well we're going to going to attack well."
Gower played well on the Eels' left edge against the Dragons, setting up one of winger Semi Radradra's three tries with a short side run, but is expecting to move back to the middle with left edge specialist Manu Ma'u returning from suspension this week.
"I'm happy to do what's required from [coach] Brad [Arthur] and the team, I just want to do my job for the team and make us successful as a unit.
"Whether that's playing on an edge – I think I've only filled in there because Manu got suspended – so I think this week I might go back to the middle. But I'm happy to do my job wherever the team requires and I've just got to make sure every minute I'm out on the field, whether it's for 60, 80 or 20 that I do my job for the boys and make sure I don't let anyone down."