Maitua display pleases Kearney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maitua display pleases Kearney

Ian McCullough 02/07/2011 12:23:00 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney praised Reni Maitua after the former Canterbury and Cronulla utility made an encouraging return to NRL action on Friday following a two-year ban for doping offences.

Maitua slotted in at five-eighth after Jeff Robson was sidelined with a hamstring injury and his display was the only crumb of comfort for the Eels, as they went down 16-12 to a Brisbane side missing six senior players due to State of Origin commitments.

Kearney's team have not won in five matches and languish in 13th spot on the ladder with any hopes of reaching the finals looking remote following another performance full of effort but littered with errors.

Maitua, whose last NRL game was for the Sharks in May 2009, has spent a month with the Eels and named in the side following some promising performances for Wentworthville in the NSW Cup.

"He showed some good touches out there and it is a real credit to Reni, he has worked hard since Christmas to physically get himself right and the last month he has spent with the group he has been positive," Kearney said.

"He went back and played well for Wentworthville and got the opportunity tonight and showed enough to suggest he still has something to offer a footy team and I felt that was a real plus."

However, Kearney was less enamoured by his side's inability to close out the game, having come back from 12-0 down, only to concede a soft try to Matt Gillett five minutes from time.

"The efforts have been very pleasing, but it hasn't amounted to a great deal, but trust me, I'm not happy, the execution side of our game we need to keep working towards and keep improving," he said.

Skipper Nathan Hindmarsh failed to hide his frustration and admitted he hadn't even bothered to work out whether the Eels' finals hopes had been snuffed out.

"It is a bit tough to take, with all of their Origin stars out it was the perfect opportunity to try and win a game, the positive thing is we stuck to the game plan unlike last week," Hindmarsh said.

"The negative thing is we couldn't come up with the two points.

"I am very pleased that the boys didn't give up, they tried very hard and we need to get ready for next week and stay positive."

The Eels miserable season was handed another blow early in the second half when giant young centre Jacob Loko was stretchered off with a suspected torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"It looks quite serious for Jacob," Kearney said.

"But hopefully Ryan Morgan will be back next week and I thought Justin Horo did well in the centres when we moved him in, but we will find someone to play there next week."

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