Eels are torn between hope and despair - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels are torn between hope and despair

By Ben Horne 23/08/2010 06:48:16 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta players are torn between regret over what might have been and hope that they can still miraculously make the NRL finals and send captain Nathan Cayless out a winner.

After losing 20-18 to Wests Tigers on Sunday, the Eels face a seemingly impossible battle to force their way into the top eight - needing to win their remaining two matches convincingly and rely on a stack of other results to go their way.

Nathan Hindmarsh admitted he was shocked as he came to grips with the reality his best mate Cayless will most likely finish his 14-year career without a finals farewell.

However, star centre Timana Tahu did his best to remain upbeat and refused to concede defeat on the Eels' season.

"I think that's the only way we can think. We're definitely motivated, you have to put pride in your jerseys," Tahu said.

"I believe we can, I think these next two weeks are going to be very enjoyable not only for us but for Nathan and I think if you enjoy your football more you tend to play better.

"I think a lot of us will be preparing as if we're going into the finals."

The state of play for Parramatta is they sit on 24 points and have a worrying for and against of minus 56.

Mathematically, they're a chance if other results dictate that the cut off for the playoffs goes no higher than 28 points.

However, with calculators and crystal balls now needed, Hindmarsh said the Eels must face facts about what went wrong.

It's a sobering end for the blue and golds after their heroics last year, when they got on an 11th-hour run and powered all the way into the grand final.

"Yeah, it was kind of like, all over. I think a bit of it is still sinking in to be honest with you," Hindmarsh told AAP.

"Definitely there's (some regret). Look at the two Sharkies games (two losses to lowly Cronulla) and a loss to Newcastle up at Newcastle, they're the ones that stand out most for me.

"If we won those games, we would be sitting a lot better than what we are now, but you can't win everything.

"It's going to be a long shot but we're going to go out there and try and win the last two remaining.

"We've still got Nathan Cayless' game at the end of the season against the Warriors, the last home game, so we're looking to send him out on a positive note.

"Fourteen seasons in the top grade you'd like to send him out a winner.

"You look back at (Brisbane great) Shane Webcke, what he did when he retired. He won a grand final and that's what everyone wants to do I suppose."

Tahu was also lamenting what might have been after the heartbreaking loss to the Tigers at Parramatta Stadium.

The dual international said some of the team's performances at home this season have been "embarrassing".

"There were games that we should have won during the year. I think probably a lot of our home games that we lost were embarrassing to us, but that's just footy," he said.

"NRL is a strong competition, it's not like Super League ... every team is hard."

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