Gallen: I wasn't concerned at 18-0
In a sign of the belief in this current Cronulla side, captain Paul Gallen admitted after the game he wasn't worried even when the side fell 18 points behind early.
The Eels exploded out of the blocks and with the help of a couple of errors from the home side and some brilliant finishing from young flyer Bevan French they raced in three tries in an opening where Cronulla hardly even touched the ball.
Speaking after the 34-24 win, Gallen said the fact his side hadn't had any ball was what gave him hope that once they did they could turn it around.
"They had all the ball at first, I don't think we touched the ball for seven or eight minutes. I wasn't really concerned to be honest," Gallen said.
"I know 18-0 is a big scoreline but we hardly touched the ball."
He said French's second try – when he fortuitously scooped up a loose ball when Ricky Leutele wasn't able to handle a James Maloney pass – had an element of luck and he knew if the team got even one repeat set they'd get back into it.
"I knew if we stuck to our systems and we got one repeat set of six we'd score a try and we did that and just grew from there and I thought our defence was really good," Gallen said.
"I don't know how many yards they made but they wouldn't have made many in (their) sets, we were really dominant in defence but Parramatta I think are the second best defensive side in the competition so they're very hard to score points against.
"We had good field position and we couldn't crack them for a fair while there but in the end we won by 10 points, it was a good win."
Flanagan also praised the composure his team showed despite the early onslaught to claw it back to a tight half-time margin.
"Obviously they got off to a flyer, 18-nil, it goes to show – they stayed composed and to come in and half time only two points down, I thought that was a really good effort," Flanagan said.
"Sometimes that's happened to us where the shoe's been on the other foot, we've got off to a flyer and sides come back at you. They haven't got us but as I said I thought it was a real sign of composure and of a good footy team to just hang in there and come in at 18-16 at half time. Down by 18 and win by 10 is a fair result."
Gallen compared the current team to the one he played in his first full season, back in 2002 – a team that, incidentally, won 11 straight to then equal the record the current side has now broken.
"I've said it before, it reminds me of 2002," he said. "Me and Greg Bird and Paul Franze and blokes like that were starting out and [David] Peachey and [Brett] Kimmorley and a lot of older blokes, Chris Beattie, guys like that, it reminds me a little bit of that.
"We got to a grand final qualifier and we were beaten by the Warriors. We won 11 in a row that year I think so it reminds me a bit of that."