History can help Eels, insists Price - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

History can help Eels, insists Price

By Todd Balym 22/09/2009 06:26:18 PM Comments (0)

Ray Price hopes the return of former greats to the Parramatta inner sanctum can help the Eels avoid another premiership capitulation.

Price, who led the Eels to their last premiership in 1986, has only recently started mingling with players in the dressing rooms after almost two decades of being made to feel unwelcome by former chief executive Denis Fitzgerald.

Asked what message he would give the players ahead of Friday's NRL preliminary final with the Bulldogs, Price said it would be the same if he had been given the opportunity to talk to the players before their last grand final appearance eight years ago.

"It's what I would have said to them in 2001, don't put the cart in front of the horse," he told a gathering of former players at the SCG on Tuesday for the 25-year reunion of the Bulldogs v Eels 1984 grand final clash.

"There's 80 minutes to win a game, you don't have to win it in five minutes.

"It's a long hard game, you cannot win a game in the first five minutes but you can win it in the last five minutes."

Price believes the Eels won't repeat their mistake of eight years ago when as massive favourites under coach Brian Smith they were belted by a first half blitz from an Andrew Johns-inspired Newcastle.

"They panicked. They let far too much excitement drive them past what they were thinking about," he said.

"Parramatta have got a good mixture of old and young players now. I think the old players will definitely keep the young players in hand.

"I think you will find they will come out belting Canterbury with strong defence and I don't think anyone will beat them."

Price's return to the Parramatta inner sanctum is one of the feel-good stories of the season, with he and other 1980s greats happy the club had welcomed them back into the fold.

"Thank christ we've finally got Parramatta back as a family," he said.

Price said new coach Daniel Anderson should take plenty of credit for getting the history back at the club, along with the new management.

"I asked (Anderson) at the beginning of the year whether you're going to use the old players because Parramatta have never used their history and it's a shame because Parramatta has got a bloody good history," said Price.

"Daniel said `yeah I am. I did it in England and it's very successful.'

"I thought `well I like this man, he has won me'.

"Each week it gets better and better and they respond to Daniel and it's great to watch the coach doing his usual things at training and then listening to the players. There is plenty of spirit there at the moment.

"I think the players do respond. It helps them out too. If they want to ask any questions they can, we're not going to bite any heads off."

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