NRL Grand Final: Brad Arthur makes no excuses for Parramatta’s performance

Eels coach Brad Arthur has made no excuses for his side’s performance in the grand final, after they were blown off the park by a dominant Penrith outfit 28-12 on Sunday night.

Going into the half-time break down 18-0, Parramatta would concede a further two tries after the break and were only able to get on the board in the final five minutes.

Parramatta’s forwards failed to weather the storm early in the contest, while big-name players Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson had tough nights at the office.

Speaking to the media after the game, Arthur paid full credit to the Panthers and admitted his side were completely outplayed. 

“They are a very good team, they played very well in that first-half and they played too fast for us,” he said.

“We’re disappointed, but I just said to the boys that right now is not the time to try and review that or dissect that game. We were just beaten by a better team and they were too good for us tonight.

“We’d attempted 100 more tackles at half-time, they’d had 18 play-the-balls to our one inside the 20-metre zone.

“We didn’t have any field position…if we could try and get some field position and equal possession, we might be a chance to jag a try. They were just too good for us. 

“We’ve played them a couple of times this year and had a couple of close results and got two victories. When it mattered today, we weren’t good enough.”

Arthur’s side had to take the long road to get to the decider, but they were no match for the Panthers and finished with just 45 per cent of the ball.

Despite the heavy defeat and the 36-year premiership drought continuing, Arthur spoke highly of his squad and their resilience throughout the 2022 campaign. 

“I’m extremely proud of the team and the staff – it’s a hard road to get here and maybe the tough road took it’s toll on us,” he said. 

“It’s a big achievement, but we’re not putting the cue in the rack and say we are content with that. We can’t be looking for excuses, we were just beaten by a better team.

“That bit there at the end [scoring two tries] showed what we’ve seen in the team and the bit that we’ve grown is the resilience we have grown in the team.

“After every bad performance this year, we bounced back and we had to scramble and fight our backsides off to get to this position last week when the Cowboys were coming after us.

“We kept trying to salvage as much as we could.”

Parramatta managed 500 less run metres than Penrith and made five more errors, highlighting the difference between the two outfits.

Eels captain Clint Gutherson said the loss will only fuel the side moving forward.

“They are a quality team and when you give them that much ball on our line, it just felt like they were kicking wherever they wanted…it could have been more, but the way we kept turning up and trying to solve things,” he said.

“I’m super proud to be able to lead this club here – it’s obviously really disappointing, but that’s footy and someone has got to lose and unfortunately it was us tonight.


“You’d like to think this feeling gives a lot of motivation. None of us have felt this, so it makes you want to get back here. Even a few of the Penrith boys said that was motivation for them when they lost a couple of years ago.

“We are losing a couple of great players, but whoever steps up is going to do a job for us next year.

“We’re not going to think about that now – we’re going to get in there and enjoy each other’s company and probably sit back and look at what we’ve achieved.”

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