Canterbury coach Des Hasler has paid tribute to Brad Arthur and his leadership in steering Parramatta through their NRL salary cap crisis.
A decision on the Eels’ penalty for alleged third party infringements is expected next week with Arthur’s side continuing to be one of the competition pacesetters even with the threat of the loss of points hanging over their heads.
Despite the Eels having all the excuses in the world and a litany of off-field distractions, Arthur has managed to keep them on course.
Hasler said his opposite deserved credit for keeping the fire burning within his players in difficult conditions, as the two sides prepare to meet at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
“They can’t control (the potential loss of competition points) and I think that’s the way Brad Arthur has approached it,” Hasler said.
“There’s just nothing they can do about it. Their job is to play football and to win football games and that’s what they’ve been doing.”
The Bulldogs go into the game equal with the Eels on five wins but have yet to string together a block of consistent form this year.
While they have scored good wins over the likes of Penrith, South Sydney and Melbourne, and are viewed as top four contenders, their inconsistency has been a worry.
Hasler acknowledged the gap between their best and worst football was too big but Arthur believed they had remained competitive even when at their worst.
“They’re not as happy with their form as they want to be,” he said.
“But they’re in every game and they play every game for the full 80 minutes. They don’t give you much and you’ve got to be at your best to take your opportunities against them.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* Parramatta have a terrible record as the home team at ANZ Stadium, losing their last 11, while as the away team at the same ground Canterbury have won eight of its last 11
* The Eels make the most tackle busts in the NRL per game, averaging 26. They miss the second fewest tackles at 20.3
* Des Hasler has won nine of his past 11 matches against the Eels, including three of his past four.
Source: Fox Sports Stats