Slumping Eels back to drawing board
An improved defensive display could not deter the Parramatta Eels from starting the season 0-3, as coach Brad Arthur lamented a lack of possession in the 14-4 loss to the Cronulla Sharks in the ANZ Stadium double-header on Saturday night.
After conceding 54 points in round two, it came as no surprise the Eels improved on their round two efforts but struggled in attack with a key injury to Jarryd Hayne re-shuffling the side's spine throughout the game.
Hayne is expected to have scans on a hip flexor strain on Sunday.
''We've got a lot of disappointment … dejected players,'' Arthur said.
''I thought defensively if we would've turned up like that in round one or two maybe it was a different result for us in those games.
''We got our defence back. We wanted to make a statement with our defence because it wasn't good enough last week. It was soft. I thought defensively they tried hard, the systems were good. A couple of penalties probably hurt us.
''We just have to get even shares of ball and not cook ourselves with a lack of possession and when we get the ball back we're out on our feet.''
Parramatta's next clash with the Wests Tigers on Easter Monday will give the side an eight-day turnaround, and precious time for players to re-group.
The injury to Hayne wasn't the only concern for the Eels with Arthur confirming complaints for Bevan French and Kane Evans. French left ANZ Stadium in a shoulder sling.
''We trained all week with Jarryd at fullback then Will [Smith] had to go back there. It knocked us around a bit,'' Arthur said.
''Kane couldn't come back on, Bevan got a bump. We've got a couple of bumps and bruises.''
Asked how the side could fix the results after so much hype in the pre-season, Arthur responded in a simple fashion.
''Just got to keep fighting hard," he said.
''Make sure we come back next week with the same defensive resolve. We got a long turn around so some opportunity and time to work on our attack."
Arthur admitted halves pairing Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman could've done better on their last play options but were not to blame overall.
''[Our attack] is not great, we're not happy with it,'' he said.
''We had 36 per cent possession so when you do have the ball it's that bit tougher. We're a bit down on our luck but the only way we can get some luck is by working hard.''