Eels wary of wounded Titans
Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur has challenged his side to build some consistency against the injury-ravaged Gold Coast Titans on Friday night.
It is short turnaround for the blue and gold, who are into their third week of away trips to start the season and have lost in-form halfback Corey Norman with a hamstring strain.
After losing Jarryd Hayne (ankle), Anthony Don and Karl Lawton (shoulders), the Titans have been forced to blood their fourth debutant for 2017 with former Rooster Tyler Cornish set to fill Hayne's fullback vacancy.
Arthur said no matter who replaced the injured trio, the Titans will not roll over in their own backyard and boast a strong record against the Eels winning six of eight games at Cbus Super Stadium.
"They are a team that doesn't go away and they fight right to the death," Arthur said.
"If you have a look at their Round 1 performance the Roosters blew them off the park early but they managed to fight and claw their way back into the game and made it respectable.
"Every team and NRL player likes a 'backs to the wall' sort of attitude and that's what they will have this week.
"We are not really worried about what the Gold Coast put out because we have our own problems at the moment that we need to tidy up, and that's a few areas with our defence."
The Eels' 2-0 record to start the season has done little to impress the coach, who said he would prefer to be earning praise at the backend of the year and admitted the side had a number of areas to work on.
"It's important that we got off to a good start and we are happy with that but it's probably more important now that we show some consistency," Arthur said.
"We have our framework and the style of footy that we like to play, but at the end of the day I don't want to limit their ability on the field and have too many restrictions on how they play.
"There are plenty of things that we did wrong on the weekend. We bombed two tries and when we got to a good comfortable lead we allowed them back into the game, so we need to be better than that.
"We can't get carried away, we are still only two games in. We would like to think that in 10-20 weeks time, our spine is going to be a lot more comfortable with each other and be a lot better."
Despite losing Norman, the Eels have a ready-made replacement with experienced veteran Jeff Robson set to partner Clint Gutherson for their ninth appearance together in the halves after finishing together last season.
"It's not great to have one of your better players on the sideline, but you work hard all pre-season," Arthur said.
"Robbo has been around a long time… He has done a really good job for us."
After joining the likes of club legends Eric Grothe Snr and Dick Thornett in the record books with four tries against the Dragons, the early season form of Eels winger Semi Radradra has been put down to the environment around him, according to the coach.
"Semi is in a really good spot now. He has a bit of clarity around his future and his teammates have been really good for him," Arthur said.
"It's a place of work but also a place that he enjoys coming to. If you have a fun place you will get a lot more out of them.
"We have seen in his first two performances that he is focused and it’s our job to make sure he is in a happy place and concentrates on football moving forward."