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Parramatta players have challenged each other to adopt the same mindset against teams at the bottom of the ladder as they do against the top sides after ending Penrith’s unbeaten start to the season and a 21-match winning streak at home.

The Eels bounced back from a shock 35-4 loss to North Queensland to beat the Panthers 22-20 at BlueBet Stadium on Friday night in a performance that reinforced their premiership claims after downing the Storm in Melbourne earlier this season.

In between they have lost to the Tigers and Cowboys, while hanging on for a narrow win against the Titans, and prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard said players had spoken about their fluctuating form and the need to stick to a simple game plan.

Campbell-Gillard says the Eels can beat top teams but need consistency
Campbell-Gillard says the Eels can beat top teams but need consistency ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

“We have been frustrated with the inconsistency of football that we have been playing,” Campbell-Gillard said. “I think that is our biggest downfall, at the moment.

“When we come up against the best teams, we play our best football and I think we have to have that mindset against the Tigers and North Queensland.

“They are good teams, as well, but when we come up against the teams that are struggling we go into a different mindset and that is something we have all addressed.

“We know that when we come up against a good team we have got to put in a good performance, and we have been doing that for the last two or three years.

“We know when we go up against quality teams, we can match it. We have just got to make sure we don’t take our foot off the throat and we are consistent.”

The Eels face the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday and five-eighth Dylan Brown said they would need to go into the Magic Round clash with the same attitude they adopted against the Panthers.

Brown says the Eels need same attitude each week
Brown says the Eels need same attitude each week ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

“We know what we are capable of, we are a good team and we just need to back ourselves,” Brown said. “We can’t go into a game being too cocky or too confident. It is just having a mindset of not being too confident.

“We have got the Roosters next and they are capable of anything. Every team is a contender this year, every team is capable of putting on a performance. We need to come to games with the right attitude or if we don’t, we will lose.”

The key to Parramatta’s triumph against Penrith was an 85 per cent competition rate, strong performances by key forwards Junior Paulo (207m), Isaiah Papali’i (186m), Ryan Matterson (177m) and Campbell-Gillard (150m) and the kicking game of halfback Mitchel Moses.

The Eels forwards spent much of the game carrying the ball out of their own end before a long kick from Moses, whose 19 kicks totalled 754 metres and included just three bombs.

The right boot of Mitchell Moses repeatedly got the Eels out of travel
The right boot of Mitchell Moses repeatedly got the Eels out of travel ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

“We know if we are patient, we can build the pressure,” Campbell-Gillard said.” If we stick to our game plan and go through the middle, make sure we do our fundamentals, complete our sets, kick to the corners and back up with our ‘D’, we can come up trumps.

“Simple football might be boring football, but it works. We have just got to make sure we are doing it each week.”

The win in the Battle of the West was even more impressive, given that Parramatta coach Brad Arthur had only 19 players to choose from and a number of them, including Campbell-Gillard, had a restricted preparation due to illness.

It has been a similar scenario in recent weeks, with Brown forced to play in the centres and Jacob Arthur at five-eighth to cover for injuries in the backline.

“Centre is obviously not my position so it is always harder playing out of position, but I had to do it for two weeks,” Brown said. “People were abusing Brad and his son, but it is nothing to do with them. It was the situation we were in.

“We all back Jakey, he is a very good player, and we all made the decision together, it wasn’t just Brad. I was happy to go to the centres and I told him that and that is where he put me. It was what was best for the team.”

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