Eels aim to rediscover attacking flair - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels aim to rediscover attacking flair

By David Beniuk 03/07/2010 12:53:31 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta will rely on a depleted outfit to find some attacking zing when they face a tough road test against the Warriors on Sunday.

The Eels will be in the unfamiliar position of being without half a dozen regular first-graders when they take to Mt Smart Stadium looking to improve on an average of less than three tries per game in 2010.

Attacking spearhead Jarryd Hayne and prop Tim Mannah are on NSW State of Origin duty, while Timana Tahu (suspension), Justin Poore (leg), Ben Smith (hamstring) and Eric Grothe (knee) are all unavailable.

"Our support play has been lacking a bit and that's probably part of our identity as a team," Eels co-captain Nathan Cayless said.

"We need to really support each other with the ball and try and get some second phase play going.

"There's probably been a bit too much trying to set up for the next play rather than playing the play that's happening, that's probably where we're letting ourselves down."

That improvement will need to come from the likes of replacement fullback Tom Humble, centre Jonathon Wright, new five-eighth Jeff Robson, promoted back-rower Brendan Oake and new signing Manase Manuokafoa.

Winger Krisnan Inu and lock Feleti Mateo will front up against the club they have already signed with for 2011.

Cayless said 2009 finals hero Robson's move from hooker to partner Daniel Mortimer in the halves was aimed at fixing the Eels' poor last tackle options.

"That's obviously an area that we have identified as well, the coach has spoken to those guys about what we need to do," Cayless said.

"With Jeff Robson playing half this week, he adds a bit more of a calming influence to our team, he's got a bit more experience there so he'll do a good job for us."

Two points separate the Warriors and Eels on the fringes of the eight, but Parramatta have lost four of their past five games.

"The wins at the moment feel like they're almost worth double," Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said. "It's obviously pretty congested there in the middle of the table."

The Warriors' confidence will be boosted by last Sunday's last gasp 20-18 win over the Sydney Roosters after they were 10 points down with six minutes left in appalling conditions.

"It gives you confidence," Cleary said.

"Especially the younger guys, it gives them some belief that as long as you stick with it and everyone keeps doing their job then it gives yourself a chance to win."

Cayless will play his 250th game in the country he captained to the 2008 World Cup title.

"If I can't play my 250th at home (Parramatta) it's probably the next best place to play, over in New Zealand," he said.

"I've got a lot of family over there, I'm trying to round up as many tickets as I can to get them all to the game."

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