Eels to persist with safety-first footy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels to persist with safety-first footy

Steve Jancetic 22/03/2011 09:09:09 PM Comments (0)

They were once the kings of ad-lib football, but Parramatta halfback Jeff Robson says the Eels have little choice but to adapt to coach Stephen Kearney's safety-first NRL gameplan.

"If we're not, we're not going to be in the team," Robson said.

"It's not so much boring the style we're playing, it's just getting through the sets with little error."

The Eels completed the task to great effect in beating the Warriors in round one, but struggled to come up with many genuine try-scoring chances when errors crept into the game against Penrith last Friday night.

Robson conceded that abandoning the flamboyant approach of recent years could take some getting used to.

Against the Warriors the Eels came up with no offloads, but as scoreboard pressure mounted against the Panthers, old habits were hard to resist as they came up with 12 offloads.

"It is (difficult), especially when you're behind the eight-ball and you're chasing a few points, it's hard to put behind you," Robson said of the hot-potato approach.

"We know that we need to complete our sets and kick long into the corners."

Backrower Ben Smith, back in the starting line-up for Friday night's match against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium, said the Panthers deserved some credit for taking the Eels out of their comfort zone.

Smith said a regimented style of play - where teams sweat on opposition mistakes - was a proven winner as evidenced by the recent success of Melbourne and St George Illawarra.

"Steve's come from Melbourne and he's got that way of working ... we've adopted it," Smith said.

"The first few trial games and the first NRL game we did that well - just last week we didn't perform well, the Panthers got the jump on us and we got a bit rattled and got away from that gameplan."

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