Eels to draw strength from horror 2016
Club captain Tim Mannah is confident that the Eels will be able to put the horrors of 2016 behind them and emerge an even better team next season after their slim finals hopes were finally extinguished on Saturday night against the Titans.
Again showing incredible resolve to fight back and trail 16-8 with a quarter of the game remaining on the Gold Coast, Parramatta's goal of winning seven straight games became an impossibility when Titans winger Nene Macdonald scored in the 66th minute.
It was the final nail in the coffin of a season that Eels fans would hope can be buried and never discussed again in future but is one in which Mannah says will provide a source of motivation heading into next year.
As the off-field turmoil has raged around them Parramatta's players have continually presented a united front and Mannah has no doubt it will engender a strong resolve when preparations for the 2017 season commence in November.
"I think we're already seeing signs of that over the last few months. I've got no doubt that we'll be better for it once we come through it," Mannah said.
"They've obviously shown a lot of fight since we started in November and we know what kind of group we've got here.
"It's a very resilient, tough group so I've got no doubt that no matter what the situation is the boys are going to turn up every week with the right attitude and with a real hunger to succeed."
Although he recognised that their season is now effectively over, Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said it was important that the commitment the team has displayed thus far continues over the closing six weeks of the season so that they can carry it into next year.
"They're disappointed that the season is over but we've still set some standards and expectations of what sort of footy team we want to play like and I think they tried tremendously hard tonight," Arthur said.
"We need to have a mentality that we continue to work hard.
"We've set standards and expectations of this footy team, we need to continue that for the remainder of the season which will help us be that team next year and start the season strong.
"It will give us the motivation and drive throughout the pre-season.
"I know you're sick of hearing it but we've got standards and expectations and that's all we can judge ourselves on come the end of the year.
"We'll be judging ourselves as a group on whether we maintained and stuck to those standards and expectations or did we take the easier option."
Captain Beau Scott was a late withdrawal with an ankle injury and is in doubt for next Saturday's clash with the Wests Tigers while hooker Isaac De Gois was unable to finish the match due to a leg injury.
With confirmation during the week that five-eighth Corey Norman is suspended for the remainder of the season Arthur was philosophical about the fact that another two of his senior players were unavailable for selection.
"I don't know what that is but we'll just add him to the list," Arthur said of the injury to De Gois.
"That happens at every team, you get injuries, but I'd probably rather they happen this year than next year."