Eels combos aren’t there yet: Arthur

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has pleaded for patience as his newly-stacked roster attempts to crank up their combinations for the new NRL season.

An improved Eels outfit wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a second half shutout of Penrith in their 22-8 trial win on Saturday night.

But their attack, led by a string of new weapons in Kieran Foran, Michael Jennings, Michael Gordon and Clinton Gutherson, could do with some more tinkering.

New skipper Foran, in his first outing in Eels colours, mainly deferred to his teammates against the Panthers and rarely took on the line as he eased into Arthur’s structures.

Gordon and Gutherson also had quiet nights.

However Jennings scored a try with one of his first touches at his new club, and showed flashes of the brilliance that has him regarded by some as the best centre in the game.

But Arthur said there was plenty of room for improvement across their entire attack.

“Hopefully it was just ironing out the cobwebs because we were very rusty, our attack wasn’t great so we need to do a bit of work there,” Arthur said.

“We’ve had a strong pre-season but we’ve really been careful with (Foran) with his training load and making sure we’ve got him fit and strong, so he hasn’t done a heap of ball work with the boys.

“And Jenko didn’t get here until three weeks after Christmas, (Nathan Peats) didn’t do much with the boys before Christmas … so a little bit disjointed there in our attack.

“But I liked the mentality of our defence.”

The late recruitment of Jennings means Brad Takairangi has also been forced to switch flanks.

“Michael’s a world class centre on the left side so why tinker with that?” Arthur said.

“Takas has always been a right side but he’s had to play left to fit in with the team and he’s better – he’s got that right carry and right step so he plays the right hand side.

“He’s done a really good job for us defensively on the right side with his talk. Him and Gutho are trying to form and combination too.”

Arthur also confirmed second-rower Anthony Watmough in doubt for their round one clash against Brisbane as he continues to recover from a knee problem.

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