Eels admit their heads weren't in the game
Eels captain Tim Mannah believes his side let two premiership points slip through their fingers after an inept display in the second half saw them fall 26-14 at the hands of the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday night.
Looking to become the first Parramatta team to win their first three games of the season in almost 25 years, the Eels shot out of the blocks to lead by 12 points after just 17 minutes yet could only add a solitary penalty goal to their score over the next 63 minutes of the game.
With 19 uses of the football in the second half the Eels only got to the sixth tackle on five occasions and at one point made errors in four consecutive sets to invite the Titans back into the game.
It was a far cry from the team that had completed at 81 per cent over the first two rounds of the Telstra Premiership and Mannah was in no doubt that they had squandered a golden opportunity to win their third game on the trot.
"Taking nothing away from Gold Coast, they kept turning up and we knew they would but I really see that tonight as a lost opportunity," Mannah said.
"I don't know if it was complacency but our attitude should have been a lot better compared to what it was last two weeks. I thought it was a bit low.
"The simple errors showed that our heads probably weren't where they should have been.
"We don't usually do those kind of errors and there were too many tonight and it's not really acceptable from our standards.
"A lot of them were simple fundamental errors that aren't really us. There were a lot of things tonight that we take pride in not doing.
"We're disappointed in some of the things we come up with tonight but we're not going to panic too much.
"We've got a big game against the premiers next week and we've got to make sure we turn up with a better attitude."
With no Corey Norman due to a hamstring injury five-eighth Clint Gutherson took control of his team – and the game – for the opening 20 minutes and looked like he would orchestrate a big Eels win.
But the run of errors gave the home side the momentum which they were good enough to turn into points and left Eels coach Brad Arthur wondering where his team from the opening fortnight had gone.
"The first 15-20 minutes we played like we have been for the first two weeks," Arthur said.
"We were completing and playing high possession and good field position but then some silly attention to detail errors started to creep in and on the back of errors there were penalties.
"For the next 60 minutes we didn't build any pressure which is something that we have been pretty happy with for the first two weeks.
"You don't give your halves any opportunities if you're turning the ball over. We gave them back-to-back sets and especially that last 20 minutes of the first half they had four or five sets in a row and that's what we've been doing to opposition the last two weeks, strangling them.
"And they did it to us so they gave us a lesson in completing and playing a nice disciplined game."
Hooker Kaysa Pritchard was forced from the field 18 minutes from full-time with an ankle injury that Arthur said was "quite swollen" after the game.