Parramatta coach Brad Arthur labelled the side's attack "clunky" in their 16-6 trial loss to the Panthers but was not concerned overall leading into round one after a high-intensity contest.

Tries to Panthers halves Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary upstaged the Eels in the pre-season clash that produced a free-flowing game.

The Eels' only try of the match came from a Dylan Edwards error in the air that landed in the hands of Tom Opacic, while they were denied tries on three occasions due to gritty goal-line Panthers defence.

Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown looked sharp for the blue and gold in the opening stages but fell away as the match progressed before Arthur gave the pair an early spell with 15 minutes to go.

"It [the attack] was clunky but they were just tired getting into position," Arthur said.

"It [the trial] was just about making sure there were no injuries and getting some match fitness – get used to the speed of the game because it was fast.

"The speed of the first half they reckoned it was around 95 metres per minute which is pretty high.

"Gutho [Clint Gutherson] was 120 metres per minute in the first 20 minutes so it was very fast.

"I think both teams were real tired at stages and the quality of the shape was off at times but I think that was because of the speed of the game. It's just going to take a bit of getting used to.

"We had a plan to get the players off a lot earlier than we did but I thought they needed the match fitness."

Arthur said his starting 13 was all but settled with Opacic doing enough to earn the vacant right centre spot ahead of their round one clash against the Broncos on March 12.

The make-up of the bench appears to be the only area which Arthur will need to finalise before the season opener.

Eels forward Marata Niukore took part in the trial but is suspended for the first round, while Arthur will need to decide whether to run with a bench utility or four forwards.


"There's probably one or two spots on offer," he said.

"Everyone was just looking to get their second wind and some took longer than others to get it.

"There were some good patches and there were some patches where we've got to get a bit better especially trying to absorb on the back of an error, penalty or six-again."


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      • This is a good point. It is adapting in a very strategic way. The Storm (as much as I hate to give them any praise) are the masters of knowing when to "push the limits" let's say. This is huge in the way they control the speed and momentum of games. They won't continually play grubby, just when it's called for. They will get back the momentum and clean it up a bit until they need to ramp it up again. Ift seems this is what is required to be sucessful, so we need to be smart enough to know how to do it, or at the very least understand when a team is doing it to us!

        • Klein reffed the game to a degree to the rules in the first probable 10 minutes, following that it was all down hill which usually is the case with him anyway.  The Kayo commentators made points re the amount of offside plays, likewise not clock stop with kicks for goals/conversions, in fact I doubt in the last 60-70 minutes of the game that the Riff were onside at any time, its why they looked faster and therefore superior which they probably were.

          Klein at one point though with the riff running at the eels and the eels defending strongly called out 3 repeat sets for the riff after they had played at least 3/4 sets in the play, finally they scored a try and the repeat sets went out the door. The hit on MM which brought a penalty to the eels should have been a binning, but wasn't just trialling.  There were no stoppages in the play either, was that and the other items mentioned conveyed to both clubs/teams as to the aborting of running rules?

          I said elsewhere that Anerseed had raved about these new rules as it brings the old style plays back, what a load of crap, I saw more than enough of old style bash and barge games that were nothing close to anything I saw last night. Keith Page and Yappy Holman would not have reffed that way as found last night, same as quite a few others I could mention.

          My take is that if this becomes the norm as to how games are going to be played going forward, is that there will less teams playing as parents and young players wont have a bar of it, also I believe a lot of supporters will also likely give it away.

      • I thought the first half we were right in the game.

        Physically we were right there with the Panthers.

        To me they are very organised defensively.

        Fans will say we are predictable which is true we are but again the Panthers defense strangle you the halves have no time.You could see how quickly they get off the line from the inside.

        To beat them you've got to go direct with short passes and quick play the balls that's thee only way our halves will have a chance.

        If we try and attack off of slow play the balls we are easy pickings.

        • Yep, they do everything at speed with enthusiasm. If you don't match them, they'll run right through you

          • Maybe BA thinks that oppositions should slow down to suit his game plan! O wait he doesn't even have a game plan to start with so he blames the opposition for playing too fast for his liking 😂😂

  • I thought the first 25-30 minutes was quality  both teams were even was quite fast for a trial. Once again when we go to our bench momentum  is lost. Paulo, rcg and brown are key as well as gutho in terms of how far we go. Against  the top teams i would put one of our gun forwards on the bench so when th bench comes on momentum  isn't  lost. Nikoure goes in starting side with Lane on bench or out of the squad. Papali and kuafusi both need to be on the bench when fit. Stone or Lane the other forward. Eels need a utility  on the bench. After 30 minutes  mahoney needs to come off and not get put in as another middle forward who just tackles while stone takes up hooking postion. Mahoney needs a spell and back on around the 55 minute mark to ad spark with his fellow gun forwards at the final quarter of the game. Don't  know about Lussick. Hopefully Roache is a gun when fit. For the mean time Will Smith deserve that bench spot. Ads spark around the ruck. Good at sharp darts up the middle which is what we miss when our gun forwards come off. Smith can also cover in the backs if an injury occurs. We do have a good side that will push the top sides and may go deeper provided our wingers and waqa performs well consistantly. Only a trail last night. If our first 7-10 games are hopeless then bye bye Brad!

    • Was saying this on here a few weeks ago. We need another front rower.

      At the risk of being too negative I have found Kaufusi to be another development dissapointment so far. He looked quite promising in 2019... Didnt add much in 2020 and we lost all momentum when the starting front rowers went off last night.

  • Brad, mate just stick to coaching will you ? Pretty dumb comment to soothe the nerves of the masses. 

  • Other than maybe not handling the pace of the 6again rule why was nathan brown coming off with paulo and rcg lastnight and last year. Should of been lane all along. Magine nikoure coming on after 20 min  mark for lane last year. He would of done a Dean Widders and destroy  the side he was put on. Brad's rotation of the bench needs improvement or it is time to say good bye

  • Not much else he can say. But I believe he's just covering up for what he saw. Attack is woeful and one dimensional. Far too lateral as well. Players were positioned fine, it's just the structure is ordinary and the execution at times (particularly on our right) was downright disgraceful. 

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