Arthur’s boys learn tough lessons about finals footy
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.