Hagan hoping local derby sparks Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hagan hoping local derby sparks Eels

By Steve Jancetic 30/06/2008 04:54:50 PM Comments (0)

Strange as it may sound, Parramatta coach Michael Hagan is relishing this week's clash with a full-strength Penrith more than Sunday's meeting with Melbourne.

The Eels scraped past a Storm side minus nine Origin representatives at Parramatta Stadium, Hagan admitting pre-game media talk of a walkover may have played a part in his side's lethargic performance.

But there's little chance of a similar mentality heading into Sunday's local derby with a spot in the top eight on the line.

"They'll be desperate in a local derby here, I think Sunday afternoon (at Parramatta Stadium) is always a catalyst for a decent game of footy," Hagan said.

"There'll be a fair bit to play for next week for us and them."

Despite the Eels needing a win on Sunday to get back into the top eight, Hagan sensed a lack of desperation from his side.

The Storm weren't just missing any old players, they were all top shelf talent with the likes of Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith and Israel Folau absent.

"As much as you don't try and tell yourself that they haven't got some guys in, mentally we were certainly lower than where we have been and that reflected in the way we played," Hagan said.

"We're still in good shape physically. We just need to make sure we've got enough motivation and energy on Sunday against Penrith.

"The team still has its best football in front of it and we'll try to push our way a bit further up the scale."

The Eels will be boosted by the return of Fuifui Moimoi (suspension) and Jarryd Hayne (Origin) against the Panthers.

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