Eels coach Brad Arthur was at a loss and frustrated with his side’s lack of physicality and intensity in their 26-0 shutout against Souths as their confounding inconsistency continued.
The Eels have beaten the Panthers twice and the Storm this season, but they keep putting in horror displays that have effectively ended their hopes of a top four finish.
“Right from the start I thought physically we were well off the pace through the middle,” Arthur said.
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“The first kick-off they rolled 60 metres. We didn’t go to the contest through the middle of the field physically.
“They just rolled us too easily. They bounced out of tackles and sets of six turned into sets of 10 or 11 each time.
“We gave them too much ball early and that really hurt us. Tentative is a good way of putting it.
“If you are not going to be physical it doesn’t matter who you are playing you don’t give yourself a chance and we lacked it badly.”
Arthur admitted he was frustrated the team can’t seem to find consistent performances, but was more concerned his side were not willing to roll up their sleeves against Souths.
“Yeah it’s not great, but we are not worried about consistency right now,” Arthur said.
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“I’m worried about the fact there was no physicality through the middle of the field and we just got steamrolled. We just gave them too much time.
“I don’t know why we didn’t start that way. I will have to look into it, but there has to be a real want and desire to start that way and put your body on the line.
“It was obvious that we didn’t have it and we paid the price for it.”
Eels skipper Clint Gutherson was disappointed his side couldn’t go with Souths early and believes the game just got out of reach as it wore on.
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“We didn’t start the way we wanted to and it just snowballed from there,” Gutherson said.
“I thought we fought back and then again it just got out of control. They just rolled us again.
“It is disappointing, but they are a great team and playing good footy and we just didn’t come to play.”
Arthur revealed Mitchell Moses is a chance to return from a broken finger next week, but warned he won’t help the side if they dish up what they did against Souths.
“He’s pushing it and he might, but we can’t turn that performance into anything with Mitchell Moses there tonight,” Arthur said.
“We just weren’t good enough through the middle and we got bashed up.
“We weren’t physical for whatever reason and we need to be physical because they are a very good team and if you give them that much time and space with the ball they will tear you to pieces and their shape is very hard to defend.
“You can’t defend it when you are short in the defensive line because you are laying on the ground because we have been run over the top of. Simple as that.”