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Eels have everything to prove: Hindmarsh

By Liam FitzGibbon 10/04/2008 12:58:35 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta workhorse Nathan Hindmarsh says the Eels have everything to prove in Friday night's clash with the Gold Coast after "playing like crap" in their shock NRL loss to North Queensland.

The Eels were touched up 38-14 in Townsville last Saturday night against the previously winless Cowboys, continuing their inconsistent early-season form.

Touted as serious title contenders in the pre-season, the Eels 2-2 win-loss start to the season has raised questions about their premiership credentials.

But Hindmarsh was adamant the Eels would bounce back against the Titans at Parramatta Stadium.

"Everyone played like crap last week up at North Queensland," Hindmarsh said.

"So everyone's going out there to try and make amends for that and try and play the best game possible this week.

"I guess the good thing is it can only get better from here."

Hindmarsh would be harsh to include himself in his assessment of the Cowboys match, after getting through an astounding 47 tackles in sticky conditions.

But he acknowledges his phenomenal defensive work has taken some spark out of his attacking game, something coach Michael Hagan has encouraged him to address this season.

"I'd like to carry the ball a bit more but I've been saying that for years now and it's not happening," Hindmarsh said.

"I definitely want to try to but it's pretty hard to do.

"In any game, someone comes near you, you tackle them, it's part of the game.

"If anyone comes near me, I'm going to tackle them.

"We changed things around again, I'm defending in the middle and attacking on the edge rather than defending on the edge and attacking on the edge so we'll have to see how it goes."

Hagan has kept faith with the side that lost to the Cowboys, naming an unchanged starting team to face the Titans and pledging to give his under-performing players more time before ringing in the changes.

But he wants more effort out of his side on Friday.

"You can handle getting beat but if you're effort's not good enough in NRL games, you know what the result of that is going to be," Hagan said.

"I'm certainly looking for a much better attitude on Friday night."

The Eels welcome back Chad Robinson onto their bench, in what will be the backrower's first game of the season after fracturing his wrist in pre-season training.

The Titans are without co-captain Luke Bailey, who is sidelined for up to six weeks after breaking his arm in the 32-12 NRL win over Canberra last weekend.

Coach John Cartwright has drafted New Zealand prop James Stosic into the starting line-up to replace Bailey.

"I think that's going to help us a fair bit," Hindmarsh said of Bailey's omission.

"I just think he's probably the best frontrower going around at the moment, so that's a big blow for them and a big bonus for us.

"But we've still got (Anthony) Laffranchi to contend with, Scott Prince, Preston Campbell at the back - they're a pretty good all-round package."

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