Eels coach Arthur praises Alvaro and Pritchard
Kaysa Pritchard and Daniel Alvaro might not be the flashiest footballers around but Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says they are fundamental to his team continuing their run of wins.
As the Eels aim for a third win in a row, when facing Cronulla at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night, their hooker and prop are two of Parramatta's unsung heroes.
Arthur says you can throw co-captain Tim Mannah in there as well.
While halves Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman, alongside fullback Clint 'King' Gutherson orchestrate the Eels' points, it's Alvaro and Pritchard who help stop them from the opposition.
The pair are averaging over 40 tackles a game this Telstra Premiership season.
"Danny Alvaro is the same every week and he has been ever since I've been here. He does the same for you every single time," said Arthur, who re-signed the Mittagong Lions junior in March until the end of 2019.
"Some weeks you notice it more than others but his game doesn't change. I know exactly what he's going to give us.
"In Kaysa, he's full of energy and brings a lot of excitement to our game, through the team.
"It's making sure we harness that in the right way, so he's not throwing himself into every single collision and knocking himself out all the time, or putting himself at risk of injury,
"But we don't want him to change too much because then he's not the same person. We've got to keep him under control a bit, that's all."
As for Mannah, who Arthur has been bringing off the bench in recent weeks, he suffered the same commentary as North Queensland co-captain Johnathan Thurson earlier in the season: that he had played a season too long.
The 30-year-old had a few errors creep into his game and was not churning out the hits and metres up to his usual standard.
"These blokes don't all of a sudden become a bad player overnight," Arthur said of Mannah.
"They might lack confidence or be out of form.
"But I don't think he was playing that bad. He was just in a team that was getting beaten every week so no-one was really happy with their performances.
"Tim's been really good for us the last two weeks, as all our forwards have, but it's only two games.
"We've put ourselves into a position where every game is vital."
With a 2-6 start to 2018, Arthur has to keep the momentum going after wins over Manly and Wests Tigers.
The difference in the past fortnight compared with the opening six weeks was down to one ingredient.
"Discipline," Arthur said. "Discipline has been the key for us. Those first six rounds our possession was terrible. We were averaging 40 per cent.
"It doesn't matter who you play, you give oppositions 60 per cent of the ball it makes it very hard to score points. You give away more penalties because you haven't got the ball as much.
"So possession has been a key for us but it's off the back of our discipline."
With Josh Dugan out and Valentine Holmes in for the Sharks at fullback, Arthur said there'd be no changes to the Eels game plan.
"We've got out defence how we like it. Most teams have got how they defend....we won't be changing much but we do have to stop the soft tries we're allowing in.
"They've bothered us all year so we need more focus and attention to detail in our defence."