The Parramatta Eels have come away with a convincing 26-6 victory over the Newcastle Knights at Maitland No.1 Sportsground in the Club’s pre-season trial tonight (Saturday 24 February).
Speaking after the clash, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur was pleased with his side’s efforts to come away with a clinical, physical performance.
“I am pleased we got through with no injuries and I am pleased with how we looked physically,” Arthur said.
“We have worked hard in the pre-season but probably not (expecting to be so clinical in a trial). But I was really impressed with when we made changes to positions or when we had a few blokes in the back end of that second half moved all over the place, we didn’t look any different to what we looked in the first ten minutes of the game.”
“That was pleasing for me that we built a squad and had a lot of depth there and everyone knows what works for us and what we need to do.” Arthur continued.
Starting the game at fullback, Bevan French had a busy night with two tries to his name, but it was his effort in defence that Arthur wanted to see improved.
“Bevan was good and sharp. Where we are at now as a footy team I probably expect a bit more on him from that first try,” Arthur said.
“I thought defensively we defended it okay, they came up with a good play, but we expect Bevan to shut that down.”
Returning to the Blue & Gold, Arthur gave his thoughts on Jarryd Hayne’s first performance since returning to the Club.
“Jarryd was good and solid. He got some good touches and that’s all we need him to do. We just need him to do his job and he did his job.”
“I want him to run the ball hard, make his tackles and work hard on his effort areas.”
“We were always going to give him a run at fullback. We are a bit light on on some outside backs so had to move them all around and make sure that nobody played too much footy.” Arthur added when questioned about Hayne returning to the fullback position at the start of second half, moving French to the wing.
Arthur said Hayne would of felt honoured to be back playing with his close mates.
“It’s great to see him back at the Club. I said to him before the game that we feel honoured we have him back and he should feel honoured to be back,” Arthur said.
“I loved seeing him play his first game in a Blue & Gold jersey and I loved seeing Kane Evans play his first game in a Blue & Gold jersey for us. I thought he was really good.”
“He has a lot of close mates here and it meant a lot for him to play with his mates.” Arthur added.
Whilst Arthur was impressed with Evans first hit out in the Blue & Gold, the Head Coach said that all the forwards stood up tonight and would create a handful of selection headaches moving forward.
“I thought all our forwards were good, they did their job. They had limited game time but they have created a few headaches for me,” Arthur said.
“I am going to take a bit of time to think about it, do some video and have a think about it but I am in no rush to make a decision. We have a couple of training days next week and then a full week preparation into Penrith so I need to have a real good look at it.” He added.
“I think the team we ran out with will be close to the starting team.”