Eels in tough times: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels in tough times: Smith

By Brent Read 02/05/2003 10:32:50 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta coach Brian Smith conceded his out-of-form side was going through one of the toughest periods in his time at the club after it was handed a footballing lesson by the Sydney Roosters at Parramatta Stadium.

The Eels dominated the opening ten minutes against the premiers, but after that they were dismantled, losing 44-12 to suffer their sixth loss in eight games this season.

Parramatta's premiership quest has now reached crisis point, with injuries accumulating, the top eight slipping away and heads dropping.

"The feeling now is not great obviously," Smith said.

"We're pretty disappointed because I thought we had a great preparation for the game. We played against a very tough team who played some good football in amongst it all so it was a very tough night at the office."

When asked if he could see a light at the end of the tunnel, Smith replied: "There's always light, it's just tough at the moment.

"We just have to fight our way through it and come out the other side at some stage - the sooner the better."

The Eels led 6-0 after a Brett Hodgson try in the 12th minute, but once Roosters halfback Brett Finch shed two would-be tacklers on a 30 metre run to the line in the 23rd minute, the Eels fell apart.

They were caned in the penalty count by referee Paul Simpkins, struggled in attack, dropped off tackles and were torn apart by the Roosters kick return, with fullback Anthony Minichiello and winger Todd Byrne picking holes in the Parramatta defence.

It was the club's heaviest defeat since Smith took over in 1997.

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