AAP Rugby

Eels face rough race for top two in NRL

By AAP Newswire

Brad Arthur insists his side did not need a wake-up call but has warned them they must seize their opportunities after their shock loss to St George Illawarra.

The Eels' 14-12 defeat at the hands of the Dragons was easily their most disappointing of the season, and the first time they have gone down to a bottom-six side.

It comes after a scrappy month for Arthur's men, who have been made to fight hard to beat Wests Tigers, Canterbury and Cronulla in recent weeks.

The loss kept them third on the ladder after once leading it for eight rounds, and now two points behind second-placed Melbourne in the race for a home final.

The Eels face the Storm next week, and risk dropping four points out of the top two if they taste defeat.

And that's crucial given their superior record at Bankwest Stadium, with the top two teams able to play at home in the opening weeks of the finals.

"I don't know about it being a wake-up call, there are things there we knew we needed to get better at," Arthur said.

"Every game is a big game. Tonight was a lost opportunity for us.

"Next week is an opportunity for us to come with a bit more want and desire."

Arthur did alleviate concerns over Junior Paulo's ankle following the loss, after he required attention in the first half but played on.

But he was unhappy with his side's application as they made 12 handling errors and were unable to hold a lead their leads after they hit the front twice.

"I'm just disappointed with concentration errors," he said.

"If they were making errors playing footy I could live with it. But concentration ones, we need to be better there.

"Every team we are playing at the moment is coming with their best game.

"We need to match them with our best game and we're not doing it."