Paramatta Eels too good for Penrith Panthers
Some strong words at halftime from coach Brad Arthur was the key to a storming second-half display from Parramatta as the Eels brushed aside Penrith 32-16 on Saturday.
Leading 12-10 at the break, Arthur said he was unhappy Jarryd Hayne was only a peripheral figure in attack - something that changed after the restart with the NSW star scoring a try and creating two more to guide his side to their second win in four games.
"The things that pleased me most was our response in the second half," Arthur said.
"We completed at 95 per cent, but in the first half we didn't complete above 60 per cent.
"We spoke to the boys and said we have a talented player at the back but he's not getting the footy.
"He (Hayne) needs to get his hands on the footy, but if we are not completing our sets and turning over the ball he's not going to so it's a team effort."
Arthur's decision to recall Chris Sandow paid off with the diminutive halfback enjoying a winning return to the side.
The former South Sydney playmaker hadn't been spotted in first grade since round 17 last year and has endured problems stemming from some off-field issues.
Arthur admitted his goalkicking was a major factor in Sandow's return with the side only converting five of 13 attempts on goal before the game and he proved his worth by kicking four from six and looks sure to keep his place for the trip to Brisbane next Friday.
"He was solid, some things will need to get better, but as long as he's better next week," Arthur said.
"There was some things he had to go away and work on. He went back to Wenty and did well and obviously his goalkicking helps too."
Sandow's former Rabbitohs teammate Nathan Peats, who had a superb game for his new club, clocking up more than 50 tackles and scoring a second try in as many games, said he was delighted to get the chance to play alongside him once again.
"It's been two-and-half years since we last played together and hopefully we can keep it up for the rest of the year," Peats said.
"He's exactly the same. Chipping and chasing and going across field and trying to do it himself.
"It was good to see him play with a bit of confidence."
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said his side deserve to lose the game on the back of their second-half performance and had no complaints with the result.
"They were just better at the back end of the game than us," Cleary said.
"They can held their heads up they played well. It was not a good night for us, that's for sure."
Parramatta Eels 32 (J Hayne M Ma'u N Peats S Radradra K Sio W Tonga tries C Sandow 4 goals) Penrith Panthers 16 (L Brown I John D Whare tries M Moylan 2 goals) at Pirtek Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 14,448