Arthur’s boys learn tough lessons about fi­nals footy

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - MATT LOGUE

PAR­RA­MATTA coach Brad Arthur con­cedes his side’s lack of big-game ex­pe­ri­ence in Septem­ber played a role in their straight-sets exit from the fi­nals.

The Eels were the most in­ex­pe­ri­enced side in the top eight and ac­cord­ing to Arthur it showed un­der the bright lights of fi­nals foot­ball against North Queens­land last night.

Mel­bourne skip­per Cameron Smith has played — and won — more NRL fi­nals matches than the en­tire Eels start­ing side.

Apart from hav­ing only two play­ers with more than four fi­nals games — cen­tre Michael Jen­nings and for­ward Beau Scott — their start­ing 13 also had only 22 play­off ap­pear­ances, of which they had won 12.

Five-eighth Corey Nor­man has now lost all three fi­nals games, while the blue and golds blooded nine fi­nals debu­tants against Mel­bourne last week­end.

Asked if the oc­ca­sion of fi­nals foot­ball got to his in­ex­pe­ri­enced side, Arthur replied: “I’d have to go back and watch the video, but maybe it did.

“It is hard to say, but our ac­tions sug­gested it. We were turn­ing over that much ball, so we didn’t han­dle it too well.

“What we have to do is learn from it and make sure it doesn’t hap­pen again.”

Par­ra­matta cap­tain Tim Man­nah was quick to re­fute sug­ges­tions the Eels let the oc­ca­sion get the bet­ter of them.

“I don’t think so,” Man­nah said. “I just think we let our­selves down a bit in that se­cond half. We lacked a bit of com­po­sure and at times we tried to over-com­pli­cate it.”

They have the sum­mer to learn from their fi­nals mis­takes and come back a bet­ter team.

Tim Man­nah.

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