Eels get dose of Melbourne finals fever

Melissa Woods
Sydney NRL side Parramatta have received an early dose of finals fever in Melbourne

If Parramatta were trying to avoid finals fever they came to the wrong place.

Ahead of their NRL semi-final showdown with the Storm on Saturday night at AAMI Park, the Eels arrived in Melbourne to a city buzzing with the AFL finals.

Their hotel was just a stone's throw from the MCG, where 95,000 turned out to watch the Richmond-Geelong preliminary final.

The bar in the hotel was spilling over with AFL patrons, while the Eels were forced to shift some staff members to another location because there wasn't room to accommodate all of their travelling party.

While some players and coaching staff attended the AFL grand final qualifier as guests of Richmond, who they've done work with, others bunkered down in their hotel and tried to shut out the bright lights and roar from across the road.

Eels coach Brad Arthur said his inexperienced team had handled their second week in the finals spotlight well.

"For 12 or 13 of our playing group it's probably their biggest game to date but you wouldn't know that the way they've trained this week; they've been really excited with their training but they've been calm and composed," Arthur said.

"It's been pretty much a normal week for us."

Arthur said the fact that they were playing the minor premiers on their home turf in the semi-final meant that last week's 58-0 qualifying finals romp over Brisbane was quickly forgotten.

"They bring us back to the field - it was nice for the boys to enjoy the occasion - we played well and we didn't expect to get to that sort of scoreline but we've moved past that," he said.

The teams have only met once in 2019, with the Storm triumphant in their Magic Round clash 64-10.

Arthur said he didn't need to "state the obvious" about that result, but also didn't think it would count for much.

"That was round nine and I think we're a different football team since then.

'We've won 11 of our last 15 games so we've improved but we know we've got a really big challenge on our hands."