Eels suffering identity crisis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels suffering identity crisis

By Steve Jancetic 27/03/2009 06:23:54 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta are suffering from an identity crisis, with coach Daniel Anderson describing the Eels' opening to the NRL season as a journey of self discovery.

With a new coach and a reshaped attacking formation, Anderson sees the Eels in the midst of determining just what type of team they want to be.

The next stop on that journey is Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night, when the Eels host the winless, yet dangerous, Canberra Raiders.

It was the Parramatta of old as they bumbled to a 26-18 loss to the Warriors before they showcased a grittier edge in downing South Sydney 14-8 last Friday night.

"We have to get our own shop in order - if our house is in order then at least we are hard to play against," Anderson said.

"We've still got some redecorating coming, but there's some good base to it, we're still evolving as a team, trying to work out what style of team we want to be.

"There's some seasoned players with Brett Finch at halfback and Nathan Cayless and Fui (Fuifui Moimoi) and Nathan Hindmarsh in the forwards ... then I've got some exciting young talent in Krisnan Inu, Jarryd Hayne, Kris Keating - they're the pieces that redecorate the house.

"They're still working out what style of players they want to be and the influence they want on the game."

After four years away from the NRL, Anderson is still coming to grips with the changing face of the competition.

Much of his pre-season work centred on fitness and skills work, with the move of Jarryd Hayne to five-eighth another factor in the Eels evolution.

"I have an ambition or goal of how I would like us to play, but obviously the players at my disposal have a massive contribution to that," Anderson said.

"There's a balance between both at the moment, I don't think we've reached either of what they want to be or what I would like them to be - I think we've still got a way to go there."

The Raiders are still searching for the spark that allowed them to emerge as finals bolters last season.

Of most concern to coach David Furner would be the side's poor defensive record over the opening two losses where they conceded an average of 31 points.

Despite Canberra sitting at the foot of the NRL ladder, Anderson said the Raiders were more than capable of causing problems for his side.

"They're a team who all contribute - there's a not a significant one in that you've got to watch this player or that one - they all make a contribution," Anderson said.

The Raiders are sweating on the fitness of skipper Alan Tongue who is battling a shoulder injury picked up in last week's loss to the Roosters.

Toyota Cup player Travis Waddell is on standby.

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