Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has urged Anthony Watmough to stop putting himself under too much pressure, believing the form of the NSW back-rower hasn’t been as bad as he claims.
Watmough said this week he didn’t feel he was living up to his billing as the Eels’ big off-season signing but Arthur insists he doesn’t expect the former Manly star to win games on his own.
Arthur’s side lost 22-6 to Wests Tigers on Easter Monday 10 days after shocking NRL premiers South Sydney at Pirtek Stadium.
They host the struggling Gold Coast Titans on Saturday.
Watmough made just 74 metres against the Tigers and dropped the ball twice mid-set, with Arthur saying he felt the 32-year-old was trying too hard to make an impact.
“He’s not been bad, he just sets high expectations like we all do and if we’re not reaching them the boys are going to be critical of themselves,” Arthur said.
“I just want to see him play more towards our style. He doesn’t have to be there all the time. I just want him to relax a little bit, do his job and not overplay his hand.
“He tries hard, he wants to lead, he wants to dominate and play 80 minutes but we don’t need him to do those things.”
Neil Henry’s Titans side have lost four of their first five games of the season but possess a good record against the Eels, winning seven of the 11 meetings between the two sides.
But as the Rabbitohs can testify, Arthur’s men are a different proposition at Pirtek Stadium where they have won 11 of their last 13 games – seven of those by double-figure margins.
“Their record is up there and they’ve been very good at home,” Henry said.
“They’ll be disappointed in that loss against Wests Tigers and they were right in the game until it became a bit of a Pat Richards show.
“They’re a dangerous side. Chrissy Sandow’s playing some tremendous football and they’re a physical side, a powerful side.”
PARRAMATTA EELS v GOLD COAST TITANS
* Six of the 11 games between these two sides have been decided by eight points or less, the other five by 20 points or more.
* Despite not making the finals for five years, the Titans have the best record for any of the interstate teams in Sydney, winning nine of 16 matches since 2012.
* The Eels have been a second-half team this season, scoring 65 points after the interval, the third most in the league.
* Parramatta back-rower Manu Mau has never lost at Pirtek Stadium, winning all eight of the matches he’s played at the venue.