Finals equation becomes tougher for Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finals equation becomes tougher for Eels

By Liam Fitzgibbon 18/07/2008 11:06:49 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta coach Michael Hagan denied his side's finals chances had nosedived despite suffering a third straight NRL loss against an understrength Manly.

The Eels, in desperate need of a win, failed to capitalise on a clear opportunity for an upset after Manly lost halfback Matt Orford (thigh) before kickoff and five-eighth Jamie Lyon (knee) and Jason King (ankle) early in the first half at Brookvale Oval.

The signs looked good for Parramatta when they led 6-0 but they failed to stop the in-form Sea Eagles, who ran out convincing 28-10 winners.

The loss now leaves the Eels in serious danger of losing touch with the top eight.

If Penrith beat the Gold Coast on Saturday night, it would leave Parramatta three points outside the top eight with only seven rounds remaining.

"I thought tonight was a very important game for our end of season chances, in terms of how we played and also in terms of hopefully coming up with an upset so you can still be in the hunt after this weekend," Hagan said after the loss.

"But we said (we needed to win) 5 from 8 last week (to make the finals) so it's 5 from 7 from now on in, so the maths and the equation hasn't changed to much.

"I don't think we're too far away from sorting it out ... But we know we've got seven pretty tough games to follow and we're going to have to win five of those to be thereabouts.

"Nothing's changed too much from that point of view.

Hagan admitted the Eels let an opportunity slip.

"I think certainly the game was there to be won if our goal line D and our execution was as good as it could have been but you can't be 70-80 per cent against Manly," Hagan said.

"You've got to be at your best and I thought without Orford and when Lyon went off we were a genuine hope."

The Eels will be hoping to get their campaign back on track when they host the last-placed Cowboys at Parramatta Stadium next Friday.

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