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Arthur slams Eels for sloppy second half

His team may have scored the fastest try in premiership history and embarrassed a team many consider a title contender but rather than heap praise Parramatta coach Brad Arthur brought his players back down to earth with an almighty thud.

A 24-point barrage in the opening 20 minutes gave the Eels a lead against Brisbane that was never seriously threatened and with four more tries in the second half their 52-34 win over the Broncos put them in the mix for a top four finish when the finals start in a fortnight's time.

‌Pleased with the way they took advantage of a Brisbane team that looked flustered from Adam Blair's ill-considered offload in the opening tackle of the game, Arthur admonished his players for allowing the Broncos to score four tries of their own in the second half including two in the final three minutes.

"The start was good. That's about all I'm happy with," was Arthur's blunt assessment following Kirisome Auva'a's record 12-second try to start the game.

"Our discipline wasn't anywhere near good enough. You can't have 34 points scored against you and think that you can play good football deep into the finals.

"There were some moments there in the game that we didn't get right and we need to get on top of it.

"We're very excited that we won the game but it's Round 25. If we want to be playing deep into the finals that sort of performance won't get the job done."

A team whose fans celebrated their guaranteed return to the finals for the first time since 2009 only a week ago now have a side that is eyeing off an even greater prize.

Beating the Broncos twice in a season for the first time in a decade and becoming only the second team to ever put 50 points on the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium wasn't even enough to satisfy a playing group eager to make up for the disappointment of last year.

"They're more disappointed than Brad to be honest," captain Tim Mannah said of the players' muted reaction to the victory.

"After they scored that last try on full-time the chat behind the try-line was one of disappointment.

"There are a definitely a lot of lessons to get out of tonight's game."

As much as they tried to play it down, the start by Parramatta on Thursday night delivered some of the most extraordinary football seen all season.

Auva'a's 13-second try from the first tackle of the game sets a record for the fastest premiership try that may never be beaten while Fijian powerhouse Semi Radradra followed it up with four tries of his own including three before the 20th minute.

The opening try owed a large part to the punishing defence that has become the hallmark of this Parramatta team this season but Mannah praised the way halves Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses capitalised on that early momentum.

"It's a great way to start the game," Mannah conceded of the freakish four-pointer.

"It does give the boys a lift and a bit of belief at the start of the game but I thought the way the boys handled the next 15-20 minutes after that was pretty impressive.

"They didn't get too excited. They stuck to the plan that we'd worked on all week and the two halves really drove that discipline and sticking to the plan."

Parramatta lost both Tepai Moeroa and Frank Pritchard to head knocks during the game but are expected to be fit to face the Rabbitohs next Friday night where Beau Scott, Kaysa Pritchard, Manu Ma'u and Peni Terepo will also be pushing to return.


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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