Late flurry no joy for struggling Eels

Steve Jancetic, NZ Newswire April 29, 2012, 9:23 pm

When is 30 points in 13 minutes something to be disappointed about? When you have conceded 31 in the preceding 67 minutes.

Parramatta's NRL season of torture continued at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday afternoon - the Eels racking up their seventh loss from eight starts to remain rooted at the bottom of the ladder.

Given the proliferation of camouflage jerseys to celebrate Anzac Day this round, it seems fitting that the Eels didn't don one themselves, for nothing could cover over the abysmal performance the men in blue and gold dished up before the late flurry.

"I think it does," Eels coach Steve Kearney said when asked if the scoreline papered over the true difference between the sides.

"I think it does and the first half performance, if you're going to turn over half the ball you get against a side like the Tigers than you're going to make it really, really hard for yourselves.

"That's what we did.

"We had some opportunities there, but that 20-minute rally, for me it (did camouflage the rest of the game)."

Even Tigers coach Tim Sheens struggled to hide his frustration - even dropping the 'f-bomb' as he searched for an explanation.

"31-0 with 14 minutes to go and you let them score and get within a point ... it's just rubbish," Sheens said.

Diehard fans might point to the late flurry as a sign of hope that things are on the up, but Eels skipper Nathan Hindmarsh wasn't buying it.

He and the man who is likely to take over as Eels captain when he retires at the end of the year - Tim Mannah - gathered the players for a long team talk on the field after the game.

"There was a bit of positive, bit of negative - bit of a mixture which the game deserved," Hindmarsh said when asked what was said.

"It's an exciting style of footy, but it was catch-up footy, just doing what we could to try and score some points, throwing the ball around willy-nilly.

"It worked for us tonight for 20 minutes, but who's to say that it's going to work all the time."

The Eels could do worse than to adopt it however, given what they dished up prior to that didn't do much to threaten the scoreboard.

The possible return of dumped halfback Chris Sandow - who turned in a mixed display for NSW Cup side Wentworthville on Saturday - only complicates matters.

It was perhaps left to Tongan giant Fuifui Moimoi to sum up Parramatta's mental state - not with words but with what could possible be the most obvious double-movement in the history of the game when he slammed down the ball after clearly being tackled short of the line.

"I think it is a sense of where we're at as a club and just in terms of the anxiousness and frustration that we're finding ourselves in at the moment," Kearney said of the incident.

As to whether Sandow would be recalled, Kearney was giving nothing away.

"I haven't made that decision yet," said Kearney, who watched Sandow's effort in the 42-38 loss to Auckland Vulcans.

"The idea of sending him back yesterday to play for Wentworthville was for him to get a bit of confidence back and get him playing like we know he can play.

"I thought he was okay."

Meanwhile, surprise packets Cronulla made it six straight wins for the first time since 2002 as they clobbered Canberra 44-22 to stay in third, while the Tigers are now just two points out of the top eight despite a slow start to the season.

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