• Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur admitted that the situation appeared desperate following his side’s fifth consecutive loss to being the Telstra 2018 NRL Premiership competition, he did not reveal the measures he may or may not be contemplating.

    The Eels appeared positively anemic in a 12 – 6 loss to the Penrith Panthers and ANZ Stadium, but Arthur does not seem to be expressing the level of concern that might be expected. Rather, he seemed positively sanguine and positive in seeing glimmers that his team might be moving in the direction of a win.

    The Eels have the Canberra Raiders next, which is one of the sides you would hope to draw when the time for a win became critical. The Eels will be the tourists for that game.

    Tired of losing and the accompanying criticism, the Eels’ Nathan Brown supplied an inspirational moment when he hit Panthers’ prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard that spilt the ball lose. That sort of thing has been mostly absent for the 2018 Eels and it caught the attention of Matthew Johns, who commented on his show, Sunday Night with Matty Johns, “What that showed with Nathan Brown is that they’re up for the contest emotionally and that’s a good start.”

    Coach Arthur concurred and said that he had observed a welcome lift in his players’ commitment to defence. “We discussed that, the attitude was good this week, the commitment was great,” he said.“It’s a bit annoying that it hasn’t been there for four weeks but we need to take that and move forward with that and we can’t have anything less than that if we want to dig ourselves out of this hole.”

    Limiting Penrith to 12 was the bright spot, but it directed attention to the Eels’ attack, as six point is rarely sufficient to win a game.

    Arthur, however, chose not to focus on that aspect.

    “I’m not going to be critical of that part of it, they chance their hand and we turn the ball over and we’re none from five through completions, well you put yourself under pressure,” Arthur said.