Eels stars have shed light on how they are galvanised to embrace bubble life in Queensland and break a 35-year premiership drought as they embrace a mantra that coach Brad Arthur has made their mission statement.
Arthur said that the run to the finals away from home was “make or break” and that his players were galvanised to succeed with an “effort on effort” and no excuses philosophy.
Hooker Reed Mahoney and back-rower Ryan Matterson were both singing from the same song sheet after the Eels dispatched the Titans 26-8 at Robina.
“As soon as we flew up here we all discussed the fact that we are here for one thing and that is to win the comp. That is as simple as it is,” Mahoney said after returning from a shoulder injury.
“Other teams have done it for a while now and we are going to all buy in and figure out solutions.
“And that’s as a squad, not just the boys playing each week. A heap of boys are going to be away from their families so it is about getting around each other. I am all in, and I know everyone else is here, to win the comp. We wanted to start off right. We will reset and start again next week.”
Friday night’s game was Mahoney’s first since round 13. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Matterson said the Eels believed they could win their first title since 1986 if they embraced the challenge ahead of them.
“We believed it last year but fell short. That is something we addressed in the pre-season but this Covid beast is a whole different thing. We have to take it by the scruff of the neck because we don’t know what is going to come,” he said.
“It is just about winning each game and being in the moment.”
That “effort on effort” mantra was on his lips after the Titans win and Matterson lived it on the park with an enormous all-round display which included a try saver on Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
“I have always taken pride in my defence. It was a Roosters mentality that I learned when I was there. Defence is king and here at Parra we are focusing on our defence,” he said.
“We know that is what wins games and in the last few months our focus has been on ‘effort on effort’. If there is a line break, then somebody has to cover it. The words describe it … effort on effort. Once you put the effort in it is the next bit of effort that we need. If that is covering your mates back and solving something, then that is what is required.
“We could have come up with any excuse under the sun considering the circumstances but everyone is in the same boat. We made sure there were going to be no excuses (against the Titans) and that we controlled what we could.”
The win over the Gold Coast was a start but the Eels must be better when they play all the teams in the top six in the remaining rounds.
“I feel like we left a lot of points out there and with our attack there were a lot of incomplete sets,” Matterson said.
“That is something we are not proud of and something we have got to work on.”
Mahoney had his Maroons dream taken away from him after being named to start in Game One of the Origin series but is just happy to be back on the park for Parramatta.
“I hate sitting on the sidelines. I’ve been on the edge of my seat watching the boys, and yelling and screaming. I worked really hard to get back asap and its’s great to be back out on the field,” he said.
“Origin is done now and I guess that is next year’s goal. I got a taste and got [named] in the team. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to play because of my injury but it just makes me more hungry.”
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