Parramatta don’t have to rise another gear for reigning premiers Sydney Roosters – they just have to stay with them.
That’s the belief of the Eels players ahead of the mouth-watering clash between the ladder leaders and the defending champions on Sunday.
After watching their team get off to their best start to a season since 1986, Parramatta fans have begun dreaming of their first premiership since that same year.
And Brad Arthur’s side won’t get a better gauge of their credentials when they meet a team gunning for their straight crown.
“We’ve played quite well and I think we’ve deserved the top spot of the ladder. But it’s only (five) games in,” second-rower Shaun Lane said on Monday.
“And the issue that our team has had is with our consistency.
“What more consistent team to come up against than the Roosters to really test out just how much we’re going to hang in there for the full 80 minutes.
“I’m sure they’ll test us out.”
After starting the season 0-2, the Roosters have emerged out of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown with three straight victories.
However as the only team left undefeated after five rounds, Lane is adamant he and his teammates don’t need to find another gear against the Chooks.
“It’s not necessarily about finding another level for us. It’s about maintaining the level that we know we’re able to play at for as long as we possibly can,” he said.
“It’s about not fluctuating between your performances, going from your best performance down to your worst performance.
“And that happening throughout your game also.
“You just want to play at that consistent level as much as you possibly can.”
Lane said it was an issue they struggled with at this time last year, and he believes they’ve emerged a more resilient outfit.
They’re only loss by more than six points since last June was their 32-0 no-show against Melbourne in their semi-final defeat.
“We’d blow teams out at Bankwest and then when we’d travel away, we’ve had issues where we were getting beat by some handy margins also,” he said.
“We’d kind of addressed that midway through last year, got to work on it and we improved quite a bit towards the back end of last season.
“After really working on it a lot throughout the pre-season, and then also during the COVID break, it’s really stuck in our heads.
“You can really tell throughout our performances that we’re a lot tougher as a team, we’re able to hang in there for a lot longer.”