No more excuses for Eels: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No more excuses for Eels: Smith

17/04/2009 08:11:29 PM Comments (0)

The time for excuses is over according to Parramatta centre cum backrower Ben Smith, with victory against the Bulldogs on Sunday a must if the Eels are to keep their dwindling finals hopes alive.

While the Eels remain locked on four competition points along with eighth-placed Penrith, heading into the clash with the Bulldogs, Smith knows his side must find form if they are to stay in touch with the frontrunners.

Losses in their last two matches are just the start of Parramatta's troubles, with last week's release of No.1 halfback option Brett Finch leaving the Eels without a recognised playmaker.

The result was a rudderless performance against St George Illawarra last Friday night, but Smith said the side could no longer use the 'Finch-factor' as an excuse.

"This week we have to win, you can't keep on going 'oh well, we played good enough, but we didn't get the two points, we were unlucky'," Smith said.

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

"Now that Finchy's gone we've just got down to basics in terms of attacking and just doing things simple."

The Eels on Friday secured the heir apparent to Finch's No.7 jumper with teenage star Daniel Mortimer one of four players re-signing with the club.

Mortimer, son of Bulldogs great Peter Mortimer, joined NRL regulars Joel Reddy and Matthew Keating as well as Toyota Cup prop Mitchell Allgood in agreeing to new deals.

Mortimer has been earmarked as the long-term replacement for Finch, who this week agreed to play out the remainder of the 2009 season with Melbourne.

Eels coach Daniel Anderson has stuck with journeyman halfback Jeff Robson for Sunday's match-up with the Bulldogs, but Smith said sooner or later the young brigade would have to be given an opportunity.

"I think it's got 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," Smith said.

"I think it's good that people are writing us off because it puts us on the backburner and no-one's really paying attention to us.

"It gives us time to think about what we need to do."

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