Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has urged his struggling Eels to step up with star five-eighth Dylan Brown not expected to return from his injured ankle until the second week of the finals.
The Eels’ attack has suffered while Brown has been on the sidelines for the past two weeks.
The New Zealand-born No.6 will miss Friday’s clash against Brisbane at Bankwest Stadium, but Arthur revealed he was on track to return in the second weekend of the finals in three weeks’ time.
Brown, who is out of his recovery boot, has started restricted running but will increase to full weighted running next week.
“So, we’ll see how he goes,” Arthur said.
“They have indicated maybe week 2 of the finals, so our job is to make sure that we get to that stage so we can get him back on the field.
“That is the indication, but we are not putting any pressure on the kid, and we’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Hooker Reed Mahoney will return against the Broncos. Picture: Brett CostelloSource:News Corp Australia
On a positive note, Parramatta welcome back hooker Reed Mahoney for Friday’s Brisbane clash after he missed last weekend’s loss to Penrith with a shoulder injury.
“We’ve had two sessions this week and he (Reed) has already got through those, so I’m sure he will play,” he said.
“It is pretty unfair on Stoney (Ray). He has done a good job. He is a 13 and not a noted dummy half but he was one of our better players.
“But it will be nice to have Reed back, so we can get back to playing the way we want to play.”
The Eels have lost their mojo in attack, as shown when they were held to two points against Penrith, while they didn’t register a point against Souths in round 16.
But coach Arthur hasn’t lost faith despite this disappointing patch of form.
“We can’t be worried about the past – we’ve got an opportunity to make sure that we get it right,” he said.
“We are not exactly where we want to be, but the good thing about it is that we have got a couple of weeks to make sure that we try and consolidate that top four spot.
“From there we will worry about what is after that.
“Over the last couple of weeks our possession rate has been poor. We haven’t built any pressure, and we haven’t played the style of footy that we want to play, and that is disappointing, and that is what we need to get back to.”
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