Finch's departure from Eels hurts Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finch's departure from Eels hurts Smith

By Samantha Broun 15/04/2009 06:41:27 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta utility Ben Smith remains downcast over Brett Finch's departure from the NRL club but hopes some of the Eels' young guns will be given opportunities in his absence.

Smith again voiced his disappointment on Wednesday over coach Daniel Anderson's decision to make Finch the scapegoat for the club's lacklustre start to the NRL season.

Finch has since been snapped up by Melbourne and Smith has commended his mate for maintaining his dignity throughout the ordeal.

"Finchy is a good bloke in general and I think just as a club man and as a player, he's hard to replace," Smith said on Wednesday.

"I don't know whether or not he should have been let off that quickly.

"He just sort of said to himself he wasn't going to put the team in disarray and sort of stay around here and be a problem or a menace.

"I think he stepped up and he left so you've got to take your hat off to him for doing that."

With Jeff Robson playing at halfback for the time being, Anderson is still searching for the right player to step into the five-eighth role, firstly giving the nod to Jarryd Hayne then switching to Feleti Mateo.

But Smith suggested Anderson should look further afield and give Toyota Cup youngsters Albert Kelly and Daniel Mortimer a chance to try their hand in the NRL in order to give the Eels' attack a boost.

"I think Feleti will do a good job (at five-eighth), but there's a couple of young boys in Albert Kelly and Mortimer and they're coming through and ready to have a crack at it," Smith said.

"With Feleti there, he'll give us more option and create more stuff for us around the ruck.

"We know we've got the team to do it, we just have got to get our minds set around doing it and just turning the page.

"We had a good offseason and I think it's going to get to the stage where a couple of young boys have got to come through and have an opportunity to play and show what they can do."

The Eels managed just one try in their loss to St George Illawarra on Friday and will face the Bulldogs, who have the NRL's fifth best defensive record, at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

Smith said Parramatta had gone back to basics in the hope of sparking their attack and getting more points on the board.

"This week we have to win, you can't keep on going, `oh we didn't do enough, we didn't get the two points, unlucky'," he said.

"We've got to win this week to keep us up there, and to get everyone off our back, I guess.

"Now that Finchy's gone we've gone back down to basics in terms of attacking, just doing things simple ... with how we go about the ball and what we do with it.

"I think that's our best plan of attack at the moment."

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