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Eels Mitchell Moses and Michael Jennings celebrate.

Brad Arthur's relief at finally snagging a precious NRL win was such that he had the wrong opponent in mind when urging his Eels players to maintain the rage for next week.

Given Parramatta face top of the table South Sydney in nine days time, he didn't mince words when it came to what a loss at ANZ Stadium would have meant.

"If we went with that much effort tonight and we couldn't find a way to win that game, it would've been real tough moving forward," Arthur said after a desperate and dour 14-8 win.

"But that gives us a bit of direction for the next six games."

Parramatta remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder, with a for and against far inferior to North Queensland and Canterbury, who they now join on 10 competition points.

They also have a rubbish run home, with games against the Rabbitohs and fellow title contenders St George Illawarra, Melbourne, and the Roosters all looming over the remaining Telstra Premiership club  rounds. 

Match Highlights: Eels v Bulldogs - Round 19, 2018

Arthur took charge of the Eels in 2014, coming into a club that had claimed consecutive 2012-13 wooden spoons and weathering the salary cap scandal oin 2016 to have them finish in the top four last season.

But 2018 has gone to hell in a hand basket, with Parramatta now in the process of a full review of their football department and a roster overhaul also in the works.

Relief was the overriding emotion in the Eels sheds on Thursday night, such that Arthur had his schedule wrong during his post-game talk.

A breakthrough win in the bag, dodging the unwanted kitchen utensil, and having something else to show for a year that promised so much before a ball was kicked, is now the overwhelming focus.

"There's a lot of relief from the playing group because they've been working really hard and haven't been getting the results," Arthur said. 

"Even with our talk, I talked about trying to back up next week and I got the team wrong that we're playing.

"Let's not avoid it - it is important. No one wants to be given the wooden spoon. No one wants to come last.

"I don't need to remind the players or talk to the players about it because I'm sure they're aware.

"Both teams tonight were aware of it because they brought their best game. It's really important that we try and finish with something, with some hope to build on in the pre-season."


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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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