Eels draw faith from last big thrashing
Of all the things for an NRL team to draw confidence from, you wouldn't think getting flogged would be top of the list.
But for an embarrassed Eels squad, last year's 48-10 hammering at the hands of the Roosters is the reason they know last week's Lottoland humiliation doesn't have to define their season.
That round 10 thrashing was one of the catalysts for the blue and golds' eventual surge to a fourth-place finish. While they were narrow losers to Canberra the following week, they went on to lose just two further games for the rest of the regular season.
Asked this week how they can recover from last week's disaster, several players nominated that Roosters game as proof the team can bounce back.
"We had a big loss against Roosters last year by 50 and we still managed to make a real swing of last year," co-captain Tim Mannah said.
"I've been around long enough to know that what happens in round two is not always going to affect how the year ends, but we have to fix it up pretty quickly."
Utility Will Smith was also quick to volunteer the same example.
"[Last week] was a tough game, it shouldn't have happened, it's not us," Smith said.
"But it saying that, that sort of game did happen last year against the Roosters, it was 50-something (48) to 10 they flogged us. From there we learned a lot and turned it around."
Centre Michael Jennings – who scored a late try against his former club in that loss to the Roosters – said last week's loss was his worst as an Eel.
"We're over it now, we had an awesome session today [Wednesday] and looking for a big one this week.
"Getting 54 points put on us isn't the standard we set ourselves to start the season… our defence is our main focus for this week."
Mannah said there had been "a couple of sleepless nights" since Sunday but having now done their video review the players are ready to move on.
"I'd like to say it's completely out of our mind but obviously in the back of our mind is still a bit of embarrassment and you can't get rid of that until you put in a good performance this week," he added.
"On one hand you've got to put it behind you so you can focus on the next week but at the same time you still want that hurt to linger and let it motivate you for this week."
Match: Eels vs Sharks
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Mannah said the most disappointing aspect of last week was the fact the Eels went away from what they know makes them a good team.
"We have a lot of effort areas we pride ourselves on and we went away from it," he said.
"Why we went away from it I don't know but it was a real big slap in the face and we've learned some hard lessons.
"[The mood] is a lot better now, the first few days were pretty sombre, a lot of embarrassment and the guys knew we let each other down, we let our fans down and obviously our sponsors as well, we let everyone down. The only way we can make up for that is with a big performance on Saturday night.
"I don't think anyone saw last week coming, we prepared well all week but it all fell apart pretty quickly during the game. We can't allow that to happen again and I'm sure the fans will see a different team this week."