Injuries cruel Eels’ finals push

SYDNEY July 17 AAP – Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur has conceded his team’s season is all but over after their 24-point loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The Eels were well outclassed by 28 points to four in Friday night’s clash at ANZ Stadium, with Eels halves Chris Sandow and stand-in Luke Kelly failing to fire for the Blue and Gold.

The loss leaves the Eels in 11th position on the ladder, needing to win six of their last seven games to ensure a place in the finals.

Arthur said a mounting injury toll makes qualification for the top eight all the more difficult.

“There are still seven games to go, but we’ve got a few injuries there which might hurt,” he said.

“I thought we tried really hard tonight. We were just outclassed.”

A treble of injuries to key men Corey Norman, Danny Wicks and David Gower compounded Arthur’s woes.

Playing fullback in the absence of the injured Reece Robinson, Norman went down in the 60th minute with a knee injury that could sideline him for a month.

A standout for Parramatta at both five-eighth and fullback this year, Arthur said the loss of Norman would be a huge blow for the club.

“We’ll have to have scans, but I’m not sure,” he said.

“They’re saying (it’s a PCL strain), so that’s better than an ACL.”

Arthur said prop forward Wicks might have played his last game of the year after hurting his shoulder early in the second half.

“He’s been carrying that (injury) for a long time now, it’s at the stage where he can’t lift it, so he’s probably an operation now,” he said.

Captain Tim Mannah said his team gave it their best, but it wasn’t enough.

“I thought they played really well to their game plan, they just played a good quality game,” he said.

“We’ll take some lessons out of it, we’ve got to bounce back really quickly.”

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