Eels gave up in thrashing from Dolphins: Arthur

Jasper Bruce |

Jack Bostock has scored a second-half hat-trick as the Dolphins stormed home to embarrass the Eels.
Jack Bostock has scored a second-half hat-trick as the Dolphins stormed home to embarrass the Eels.

Brad Arthur has accused “part-time footy side” Parramatta of giving up in their 44-16 loss to the Dolphins, who overcame an injury crisis, torrid Darwin conditions and their coach’s absence for a classic win.

The Eels’ capitulation renews concerns about their ability to win without Mitch Moses, but not even the injured halfback could have stopped the rampant Dolphins as they ran in eight tries – 40 points – after half-time on Friday night.

Five of those tries came in a 14-minute period as the Eels fell in a heap, just as they did after half-time in the round five loss to Canberra. 

“We’re a part-time footy team at the moment,” said Eels coach Arthur. “We pick and choose when we want to play. We pick and choose in the 80 minutes when we want to make a tough choice or a soft choice. 

“That second half wasn’t good enough. It just all got too fast for us and it got too hard and we gave up. It’s as simple as that.

“There’s only a handful of players in this club at the moment that pick to choose to come every week with the right mentality and toughness.”

The Eels have now lost three of four games without Moses and things won’t get any easier as Manly, Brisbane and Melbourne await.

Moses’ replacement in the halves, Daejarn Asi, is in doubt for next Friday’s clash against the Sea Eagles after his head injury assessment was graded category one in the second half.

For the Dolphins, Tom Gilbert, Thomas Flegler, Felise Kaufusi, Herbie Farnworth and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow all missed through injury, while coach Wayne Bennett also remained in Brisbane with the flu.

But the absences counted for little as the spine put on an absolute clinic, attacking with reckless abandon from distance despite the hot and humid conditions.

“I’m very proud of the effort,” said stand-in coach Kristian Woolf. “There were plenty of reasons for us to have excuses for ourselves and not come up with a performance but we didn’t do that.”

Scheming hooker Jeremy Marshall-King helped set the fireworks in motion, twice catching Parramatta’s defence napping by dashing out of dummy-half and setting up long range tries.

Replacement fullback Trai Fuller grabbed the second of those, having been called into the team from outside of the top 30 squad amid the injury carnage.

The 27-year-old was superb in only his second NRL game but it was difficult to find a player in red who didn’t shine.

Max Plath had a try-scoring double as reward for his support play, while Tesi Niu packed on two tries of his own, the first of those after a beautiful flat pass from Isaiya Katoa.

Clint Gutherson and Max Plath.
Max Plath crashes over for one of his two tries against Parramatta in Darwin. (HANDOUT/NRL PHOTOS)

Breakout winger Jack Bostock finally had results for his first-half effort by completing a hat-trick in the final minutes.

The Eels’ capitulation came after they dominated territory in the first half, but only had an 8-4 lead to show for it.

Halves combination Dylan Brown and Asi were uninspired attacking the Dolphins’ line, appearing fresh out of ideas once Fuller proved he was able to withstand the extra pressure they applied to him.

The Dolphins were patient amid the onslaught and seemed to only become livelier as the conditions wore their opponents down.

“The conditions didn’t help in the second half but we didn’t play the conditions real well,” said Arthur.

“We’re spending a lot of time standing behind our goal posts. We’ve just got to harden up and defend one set.”