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Eels prop Junior Paulo.

Eels players say a renewed focus on spreading the ball could help them get back to their best after a physical two-point loss to Canberra last Thursday.

Both teams belted each other throughout that eventual 12-10 win to the Green Machine, with Eels players admitting they were drawn into Canberra's style of play and relying too much on a power game without the free ball movement they usually produce at their most dangerous.

"We probably didn't play enough footy out of our end of the field," said prop Junior Paulo.

"We didn't play too bad to actually lose the game but I think certain key moments let us down and we didn't capitalise on.

"Last week's performance was more just us getting dragged into the way Canberra were playing.

Every try from Round 19

"We tried to play a power game. Rather than running into four or five guys who are waiting there to bash you I think it's better for us to find a pass and move the ball around.

"Brad (Arthur) gives us a licence to play footy, it's more just us looking up. Fatigue plays a factor when you just need a hit-up. We have the onus on us just to play eyes-up footy.

"For us, (this week) we'll stick to our power game but then we're going to obviously try and find some flaws in their game."

The season so far: Round 13-18

With the toughest remaining draw of any team, the Eels can ill-afford to drop many more games if they want to keep the fifth-placed Roosters and sixth-placed Sea Eagles from overtaking them and gate-crashing the top four.

It makes Thursday's clash against the Roosters virtually a four-point game, with the Eels to come out of Thursday either two wins ahead of the Tricolours or level on points.

"Especially with the run home, there's a few tough games we've got," Paulo said.

"Certainly coming up against the Roosters this weekend who got a good win over Newcastle, we've got to be on our game and we're starting to find that teams are turning up.

"We'd rather be known not just as a team that's hard to beat, we'd rather go into a game thinking that we are going to win. What better to way to start the week than addressing it and staying on top of it.

"Everyone knows the importance of these next couple of weeks in terms of really cementing a spot in that top four. We know they're only two points behind us."

Centre Waqa Blake was supportive of the plan to shift the ball a little more.

"For sure; two weeks ago against the Titans we sort of did that," Blake said.

"We played through the middle first then had a look to the edges. Just on the weekend the Raiders really came after us in the middle."

Get Caught Up: Round 19 must-see moments

Isaiah Papali'i was ready for a tough battle against the Roosters, including opposite man Sitili Tupouniua.

"I saw Tupouniua scored a double on the weekend – I was happy from watching him because he comes from the same school I was at back in New Zealand," Papali'i said.

"I'm obviously going up against him on the same edge so I'm looking forward to the challenge that we have to stop him from getting tries and put on a good performance.

"There's no hiding the fact they're right behind us. This is a big game for both sides. I'm really looking forward to the game this Thursday night and I'm sure both teams will bring their A-game and put it all out there."

Acknowledgement of Country

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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