Back to basics for Anderson's Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Back to basics for Anderson's Eels

By Steve Jancetic 02/03/2009 04:47:58 PM Comments (0)

Run, catch, pass. New Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson has gone back to basics.

In a return to the formula he used in taking the New Zealand Warriors all the way to the 2002 NRL grand final, Anderson has started from scratch with the Eels.

"Our error rate last year was very poor - just basic things like catching the football," captain Nathan Cayless said.

"We've gone right back to learning how to catch the ball and pass the ball and our general fitness has had to improve.

"The boys are a lot fitter than they have been the last few years - the amount of work the boys have done in terms of volume of training is hopefully going to make a bit of difference for us."

Cayless is one who seems to have benefited from the new training regime, despite a pre-season disrupted by illness and injury.

While still at his same playing weight of 106kg, his body shape appears much leaner than in previous seasons.

After the success of 2007 - when they lost out to eventual premiers Melbourne in an absorbing preliminary final - much was expected of the Eels last year.

Unfortunately for the blue and gold army, issues on and off the field cruelled any chance of making the finals.

Cayless was able to end the year on a high as he led New Zealand to an improbable World Cup win, but the frustrations of Parramatta's NRL fadeout failed to diminish.

"Obviously last year was very disappointing, not because of where we finished but not competing week in week out," he said.

"We'd be good for one or two weeks and then very poor for the next couple of weeks.

"Hopefully, that's all gone now."

Parramatta's pre-season form has been impressive with back-to-back wins over Penrith followed by victory over a strong Sydney Roosters outfit at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.

They open the season proper against the Warriors in Auckland on March 14, Cayless saying he wasn't expecting too warm a reception despite his World Cup heroics.

"That's all gone now," he said.

"Warriors fans don't care if we won the World Cup -I'm playing for Parramatta now."

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