Eels to make right-edge split permanent

·2-min read

Parramatta are set to make the Waqa Blake-Blake Ferguson split permanent after coach Brad Arthur admitted the right-edge pair don't defend well together.

The Eels' right side was again exposed in Saturday night's loss to South Sydney, as Alex Johnston and Dane Gagai both bagged hat-tricks for the Rabbitohs.

It came even after Arthur moved Waqa Blake to the left before the start of the match, swapping Tom Opacic to the right next to Ferguson.

But even after that it's unlikely Blake will return to the right.

The Eels let in 14 tries in the last 10 regular-season rounds down that side last year, before five went in down that edge in the two games they played together this year.

"Sometimes some things don't work," Arthur admitted.

"To be really honest that just hasn't been working between Fergo and Waqa, so we had to make a change.

"We've got some work to do there now haven't we."

The Eels' edge defence isn't their only problem.

Nathan Brown was placed on report twice for crusher tackles, Ryan Matterson sin-binned for a high shot and Reed Mahoney pinged for dangerous contact.

With Isaiah Papali'i also sin-binned for a professional foul, the Eels have now been reduced to 12 men for 20 minutes in two straight games.

"We're certainly not going out there trying to target anyone in the head," Arthur said.

'We know what the responsibilities are and what the accountability is when that happens.

"All the teams just have to keep adapting. It's fast and it's hard and no one's going out there (to hit high).

"Because it's hard enough with 13 players and we're spending 20 minutes with 12 players."

Rival coach Wayne Bennett warned this week the teams that handled the crackdown best would benefit in big games.

Both Melbourne and the Rabbitohs are yet to have a player sin-binned or suspended under the edict, while Penrith account for just two of the 39 sin-bins or send offs.

"That's determining a lot of games," Arthur said.

"We've just got to work out how we best handle it.

"When you've got 12 men you need to make sure you keep possession because if you're just tackling it becomes way too quick.

"And then when you get back to 13 it's hard to recover."