Eels vow to change attacking mindset

NRL Rd 3 -  Eels v Sea Eagles
Dylan Brown will need to take more control of Parramatta’s attack after the Eels struggled to score points without Mitch Moses. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Dylan Brown says he’s enjoying the challenge of filling in at halfback while Mitch Moses is out injured, but the Eels star concedes he needs to work on a few things following Parramatta’s disappointing loss to the Wests Tigers on Easter Monday.

The Eels had plenty of ball on Monday but struggled to break down their opponent’s defence even when they were down to 12 men, which is why fingers have been pointed at the new halves pairing of Brown and rookie Blaize Talagi.

It’s impossible to say whether they would have won with Moses there to take control in the big moments, but coach Brad Arthur didn’t mince his words after the game, saying his troops tried to chase a soft win.

Brown ran the ball well for 99m from seven carries, but his desire to come up with the big play on the left edge led to him being tackled late in the count a few times that forced fullback Clint Gutherson to kick.

It’s something he wouldn’t have to worry about at five-eighth, but his role has changed with the No.7 on his back.

NRL Rd 2 -  Panthers v Eels
Dylan Brown has all the talent to step up as Parramatta’s chief playmaker while Mitch Moses is out. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

“I have a few things that I need to get right and obviously with the video, you see things you don’t see when you’re in the game,” the Kiwis star said.

“I still felt pretty comfortable but I didn’t feel pressured, and those are a few of the questions I’ve been getting.

“Brad has encouraged me to not worry about that and still play the way I play.

“Gutho can kick over 50m but there’s certain parts of the game where you’ve got to understand you have to be available for that kick on the fifth tackle.

“Mitch isn’t there anymore so I’ve got more responsibilities, but I’m enjoying the challenge.”

The combination with Talagi will take time to develop, with Moses set to miss another two months with a fractured foot.

The pair are very similar in that they are strong runners, but Brown will have to take more ownership of the side this week against Canberra to ensure they convert field position into points.

NRL Rd 3 -  Eels v Sea Eagles
Blaize Talagi starred on debut but is still adjusting to his move to five-eighth. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

“It’s going to be game by game. I feel like he (Talagi) played well, that’s all we need him to do – run the ball well and defend well,” Brown said.

“If he can do that and I can link up with Gutho as much as I can, I’m sure we’ll be playing our best footy.”

The Eels have vowed to put in a much tougher performance in Canberra on Sunday, with players determined to eliminate any complacency. The players seem to lift for big games against Penrith but struggle to maintain that intensity against other teams towards the bottom of the table.

“We know we are at our best when we’re playing our best footy,” Brown said.

“Playing against Penrith we turn up out with a different mentality and we should be doing that every single week.

“It’s something that happens sometimes in a game of footy, but you can’t afford to do that.

“It just shows you can lose two points and every game is pretty important.”