Matty Johns has called out what he described as a “complete oversight” in this year’s NRL draw as the Parramatta Eels suffered a third-straight defeat on Thursday night.
The Eels came up just short against the Sea Eagles, falling 34-30 and have now lost all three games to open the season by four points.
As a result Brad Arthur’s side could be looking at a 0-5 opening to the season, with matches against the Panthers and Roosters in the next fortnight.
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Those two games will be particularly tough as both teams are coming off byes, like Manly was on Thursday night and it is something that has not gone unnoticed by Johns.
“I’ll say this about the Eels,” he said on ‘The Late Show with Matty Johns’.
“This has been a complete oversight as far as the draw’s concerned. Tonight they play Manly coming off a bye, next week they play Penrith coming off a bye, the week after they play the Roosters coming off a bye.
“That should not happen. That shouldn’t happen. You’ve got a side like Penrith now who are going to sit, have a two-week preparation to freshen up to play.
“The bottom line, it should not happen.”
Eels legend Nathan Hindmarsh actually came to the NRL’s defence though, arguing that would be more of an issue had it happened mid-season when player fatigue really starts to set in.
“It’s early in the season though,” he said.
“I think if you looked at it and it was Rounds 10, 11, 12 then it would be something to go, ‘Oh, it’s a rip-off’.”
What Johns and Hindmarsh could both agree on though was that Parramatta will be in a much better place once both Shaun Lane and Ryan Matterson return to the forward pack.
Eels coach Brad Arthur confirmed Matterson would be in the 17 next week against Penrith while Lane is still a few weeks away from coming back from a jaw injury.
With Matt Doorey (knee) and Jack Murchie (head knock) failing to finish Thursday’s game, the pair’s return is even more desperately needed.
“We wouldn’t be talking about it if they’d won the first three,” Hindmarsh said.
“But they’re under the pump. They’ve got Penrith and the Roosters to come so they could be staring down 0-5 so, they’ll get there.
“There were some good signs tonight when they decided to play a little bit of footy, they were some really nice signs. When their halves got involved, got their hands on the ball and had people running in the right places for them, they looked a much better side.”
“They’ll be a much better side when they get their back row back,” added Johns.
“That’s going to make a huge difference.”
Originally published as ‘That shouldn’t happen’: Matty Johns calls out NRL ‘oversight’ as Eels suffer third-straight loss
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