Eels eye pre-finals attacking turnaround

Brad Arthur insists it’s not panic stations for Parramatta in attack but wants his team to go back to the basics after scoring the least points in the NRL during the past month.

The Eels face a crucial final two rounds of the season against teams they should beat in Brisbane and Canterbury to wrap up a top-four spot.

Hooker Reed Mahoney will return on Friday night, but they’ll still have to do it without five-eighth Dylan Brown – who the Eels now hope can be back from an ankle injury in week two of the finals.

But aside from that, Arthur wants his side back to playing their best football before the finals hit.

Defensively, the Eels have missed the second most tackles in the NRL in the past month, as rival teams controlled the territorial battle.

However it’s the attacking drop off that stands out.

After dominating the NRL for the opening half of the season as the best attacking team, the Eels have averaged less than 10 points per match in the past four weeks.

Also significantly down are their running metres by almost 300 per match, as they’ve made only marginally more than half the linebreaks and tackle busts.

“We’re not exactly where we want to be,” Arthur said.

“Over the past couple of weeks our possession rate has been poor, we haven’t built any pressure and we haven’t played the style of footy we want to play.

“That’s disappointing. And that’s what we need to get back to.”

Arthur though, rejects the notion his team have gone off the boil after dropping three of their past five.

Instead, he claims there have just been two poor showings against Penrith and South Sydney where his side have virtually been strangled of any ball and didn’t score a try.

“I think there were genuine reasons on the weekend for that,” he said.

“The only other game we haven struggled to score points was in the Souths game. We didn’t turn up to play that night.

“Outside of that they have been tight and tough games, you’re not going to go out there and score four or five tries every week.

“We’ve had to fight hard for a lot of our wins. At the end of the day the win column is important, not scoring tries.

“We have to be better at our attack, I’m not dodging that. But it doesn’t matter if you win 14-12 or 40-12.”

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Eels have also conceded the second most metres in the NRL for the past month.

* Parramatta have beaten Brisbane by a combined margin of 92-6 in their past two outings.

* Brisbane have not won outside of Queensland since, July, 2019.





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