Climbing Parramatta say bye to tough season's start

·2-min read
Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is hoping a fortnight between games will give his Eels side a chance to refocus and climb up the NRL ladder following a patchy start to their campaign.

After Friday's 24-16 win over North Queensland, the Eels finally get a bye round and don't return to play until their Monday 12 June meeting with Canterbury.

The Eels have endured a testing opening 13 rounds after reaching last year's grand final with the win over the Cowboys helping them to move up to 10th with a 7-6 record.

Their heavily-changed roster - not a single forward nor bench player from last year's defeat to Penrith played against North Queensland - has been shorn of some key players.

But with consecutive wins under their belt Arthur was relieved to get a week off.

"We just needed the two points, we talked about that during the week and finished 13 games straight," Arthur said.

"There's only three or four teams that have done that and I think the Cowboys are one of them.

"It's been a long period. I challenged the boys around owning the effort and the physicality and I thought we did that really well. There is still plenty of fight in us."

With a hole in the Eels pack, unheralded prop Wiremu Greig came to the fore for Arthur scoring his first NRL try and running for 150 metres against the Cowboys.

"Sometimes, you're forced into giving them the extra time and you learn a bit more about them, and they learn a bit more about themselves," Arthur said.

"They've got to learn themselves that if they push through it and they find another gear and that's what it takes to win and be an NRL player.

The good news for Arthur is that the cavalry is beginning to return ahead of the back half of the Eels' campaign.

Parramatta lost debutant Joe Ofahengaue to a calf injury but it's hoped that he, Ryan Matterson and Reagan Campbell-Gillard could be back to face the Bulldogs.

Arthur said Waqa Blake, Shaun Lane and Andrew Davey wouldn't be far behind them.