Parramatta started last season with five straight wins but after four successive victories to kick-off 2021, coach Brad Arthur can already tell he has an improved team.
A 32-26 win over the Wests Tigers on Monday capped off their undefeated start this season but it was their calm and composure when the pressure was on that impressed Arthur.
The Tigers got within two points with seven minutes to go after a couple of quick tries but the Eels managed to go to another level to finish the job.
"I'm way more confident this year in those (tight) situations in the team that we've got, and what I've seen from them in the pre-season and our halfback (Mitch Moses) is very calm and controlled," he said.
"I always believed it would take a bit of time but we'd get the result that we got."
Last year the Eels started the season fast and ran themselves into the ground at the back end of the year.
The finish burned the Eels, and Moses returned early to training in the off-season to improve his fitness and kicking without Arthur's knowledge.
Arthur is already seeing the improvement in his halfback in how he responds when the pressure is on.
"We're not playing our best footy yet and we don't want to either at the moment but there's still plenty in our game that we need to improve," Arthur said.
"When we're under pressure our response is different.
"When the moment doesn't go against us we respond better and it's about making sure we're worrying about what's coming up next, not what's happened or what's five sets away.
"It's our actions, it's staying right there and making sure that what's right there, we'll be able to handle it and getting back to what works for us."
Meanwhile, second-rower Ryan Matterson missed his second game in a row with ongoing concussions issues.
Arthur said the 26-year-old was simply not 100 per cent fit to play on Monday and will need to go through the same protocols to be cleared to play St George Illawarra on Sunday.
"He wasn't quite 100 per cent. We've got a healthy team at the moment, it gives an opportunity for everyone else," Arthur said.
"Matto's health is important to us but it's also important to everyone else that when he comes back he's right and he can do his job and play week in and week out."
Instead Isaiah Papali'i slotted in on the edge, producing 139 metres, five-tackle-breaks and a try.