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'Like a morgue': Eels disappointed after almost blowing huge lead

Brad Arthur questioned if the Eels wanted to sing the team song after almost being overrun by the Bulldogs, describing the mood in the sheds as "like a morgue".

While Parramatta belted out the tune and had a beer to celebrate their 10th win of the season, their coach was visibly disappointed his side went close to squandering an 18-0 lead at ANZ Stadium.

They held on by two points after being held scoreless from the 28th minute, conceding three unanswered tries to last-placed Canterbury.

"It was like a morgue in the dressing sheds. I had to ask them did they really want to sing the team song," Arthur said.

"But that's good because we're setting high expectations and we know we can be better. I don't want to take any credit away from the Dogs, either, because they rolled their sleeves up and threw plenty at us."

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Eels

Regardless of how it came, Arthur said it was important for the side to enjoy their victory. He found a positive in their tough goal-line defence as the Bulldogs dominated possession.

"We put ourselves under way too much pressure. I think at one stage we'd made 150 tackles to 45 at the start of the second half," he said.

The performances of starting props Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard gave Arthur reason to smile, with the mentor saying "I don't know where we'd be without them at the moment".

Eels: Round 12

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Paulo set up the opening try with a lovely offload for Mitch Moses, ran for 226 metres and made 34 tackles in an enormous 60 minutes.

Campbell-Gillard surged past the 200-metre mark - recording 203m from 20 carries - for the sixth straight match in his 74 minutes.

"I don't like putting too much pressure on guys and rapping them up too much, but I think I've been playing it safe and probably not giving them enough credit," Arthur said.

"But they're the reason why we've won nine or 10 games, whatever it is ... I'm not prepared to swap them for anyone else."

Arthur said the team was still yet "to learn to play for 80 minutes" despite being entrenched in the top four. Blake Ferguson agreed.

"We just didn't transition good enough from attack to defence," the winger told NRL.com.

"You always want to sing the song but we were just pretty disappointed just with that second half.

"[Canterbury] are a good team, they hang in there and they rip in. We sort of came out a little bit complacent in the second half. We sort of deserved to feel that at full-time."

Clint Gutherson scores for the Eels against Canterbury.
Clint Gutherson scores for the Eels against Canterbury. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Ferguson, who won the premiership with the Roosters two seasons ago, said the fact Parramatta weren't satisfied with the victory shows they're heading in the right direction.

"I was speaking to [teammate] Ryan Matterson, the same thing happened in 2018 ... It's just the way that you win sometimes. You're searching for more and that's the sign of a good team," he said.

"We'll go and look at some tape and work on a few things this week. We play the Sharkies on Sunday and that'll be a tough game."