In-form Eels too strong for Cronulla - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

In-form Eels too strong for Cronulla

By Ian McCullough 02/08/2009 06:31:11 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson and his players will not admit it, but the NRL finals, for so long this season nothing more than a pipe dream, are now a distinct possibility.

Sunday's 30-0 drubbing of a Cronulla side with more injuries that a whole series of All Saints, made it three wins on the spin for the Eels and saw them climb to within three points of eighth-placed Newcastle, who they host next week.

A brace of tries from the irrepressible Jarryd Hayne and Joel Reddy, with Krisnan Inu also crossing in the whitewash, helped the Eels brush aside a game, but limited a Sharks side whose lack of firepower was once again exposed at Toyota Stadium.

Five goals from Luke Burt added the gloss to a powerful performance that delighted Anderson, who admitted he has been surprised by his side's recent run of form.

"We are accumulating some points, we are going to have to keep producing milestones week after week if we are to really make a charge, but we are being rewarded week by week with consistent performances," Anderson said.

"I am a fraction surprised at our form I have to admit, I didn't think we were playing well enough to generate consistency over 80 minutes week after week.

"I never wrote us off, but I thought we would have to do something that we haven't done all year.

"We have done that now, won three in a row, next week we have to do it again and win four in a row, but it is not beyond us."

Hayne scored a try in either half and had a hand in both of Reddy's with the centre's second coming after a 90-metre burst from the NSW fullback that split the Sharks defence apart.

Anderson said despite Hayne's performance, he needed some encouragement from the coaching box to get more involved.

"He sort of comes into the game, handles the ball 20-odd times, scores a couple of tries and runs for a couple of hundred metres," said Anderson.

"We had to send a message out to him to get more of the ball. We want that from him and his teammates do too.

"Today the game went around him a bit but he can break games open and he did that. We have set a very high expectation benchmark of Jarryd Hayne and he stepped up to it today."

Sharks coach Ricky Stuart made no excuses for his side's defeat and admitted it was one of their poorer performances of a difficult season that sees them remain second-last on the ladder ahead of Sydney Roosters due to a superior for and against.

"We were poor, the players are trying but we just didn't have the ability," Stuart said.

"We were the flattest I have seen us all season and the lemon is just about dry, we have five weeks to salvage our pride, today wasn't acceptable."

"Out of 25 players I have available, the number of players I have injured would be in double figures," he said.

"But we have to get on with it, I have to find a way of changing things."

Stuart said he may also have to rest some of his younger players for the trip to Brisbane next week.

"I am not going to burn players out for results at this stage of the season, I can't be too hard on them because they are just learning to be first grade players."

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