Trials turn to troubles for winless Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Trials turn to troubles for winless Eels

By David Beniuk 28/02/2010 05:39:34 PM Comments (0)

They say trial form doesn't mean much, but you can bet it means more to 2009 wooden-spooners the Sydney Roosters than this season's NRL premiership favourites Parramatta.

The regrouping Roosters have won all three of their major outings, against the Warriors, Wests Tigers and, on Saturday night, 40-14 over the Eels.

Last year's fairytale side Parramatta have lost all three, to St George Illawarra and Penrith as well as Brian Smith's team.

It wasn't all good news for the Roosters, though, with promising backrower Anthony Cherrington booked in for scans on a suspected anterior cruciate ligament tear that could end his season before it starts.

Roosters recruit Todd Carney played 75 minutes at fullback on Saturday, and had another blinder in his new position.

Carney said the trial success from a club down in the dumps last year had given them some confidence for their round one showdown with South Sydney in two weeks, particularly with Anasta (ankle) and former Test prop Jason Ryles (quad strain) on track to return.

"Definitely, Smithy's got us going great," Carney told AAP.

"Last year was a year to forget for the club and I think everyone's forgotten that and obviously Smithy's brought a whole new coaching staff and performance staff, new players and everyone's adapted to the new system.

"It's showing on the field and hopefully it continues to keep happening.

"(Trials) are always good to go by but in two weeks the business end starts and two points are up for grabs so everyone will be firing then."

The Eels, meanwhile, are desperate to avoid a repeat of last year's slow start with a side that, on paper at least, is stronger than the 2009 version.

"They are trial games, sure we would like to have won them and won them well and played some decent football coming in to the start of the season but we know we can improve," backrower Nathan Hindmarsh told AAP on Sunday.

"We'd love to start the season well. Even though we had such a great year last year, the pressure, it was tough.

"We'd like to cement a spot in that top eight when the semis roll around instead of each week ... if you lose you're out, if you win you keep going."

Hindmarsh played the first half of the Eels' loss, his first hit-out since an off-season wrist reconstruction, and said he would be able to play through the ongoing pain.

"The whacks aren't too bad, it's just the bending, the falling on the ground, the putting the hand down type of thing," he said.

"It's going to take a while now (to be pain-free) because every week we're playing a game so it's going to flare up then take a while to settle down, then flare up again but as the season gets on it will get better."

In other injury news, Penrith fullback Lachlan Coote will have scans this week after doctors feared he could have suffered bleeding on the brain following a concussion in the 41-16 win over Newcastle at Port Macquarie.

Coote was taken to hospital and cleared of any neck injury before being allowed to travel home with the Panthers.

Bulldogs winger Bryson Goodwin will have scans on a toe injury, while Canberra forward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs will have a knee injury checked out in the fallout to the 22-12 win in Dubbo.

Parramatta, meanwhile, extended their sponsorship contract with Pirtek for at least another three years, a deal believed to be worth more than $1 million a year.

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