Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart was proud of his players even though they lost a real battle against arch-rivals Canterbury Bulldogs, 20-16, at ANZ Stadium, last night.
Stuart, in his first year at the Eels, the team which received the dreaded wooden spoon last season, is rebuilding the foundation brick by brick.
But Stuart knows it takes time for the foundations to become solid.
There is one noticeable improvement in the Eels team under Stuart and it’s their attitude.
You can see the attitude in defence, the willingness to compete and halfback Chris Sandow is leaner, sharper and much more enthusiastic.
Defence and the refusal to wilt was the cornerstone of the second half performance by the Eels and the Bulldogs. There were no points scored after the 36 in the first half including seven tries.
Last week the Eels played smart attacking football to thrashed New Zealand Warriors 40-10.
Stuart told his players he was proud of their performance, he’s looking at the long road ahead and making sure he can prepare his footballers well each and every week.
‘‘I’ll repeat what I just said to the boys: I am one very, very proud coach,’’ Stuart said.
‘‘Everything I’ve asked for over the last 14 or so weeks we’ve been together, came out there today.
‘‘The values that we set for an individual to be in our culture were displayed out there. I’m just so proud of them.
‘‘We’re such a young team. The Bulldogs are a very good footy side. What they’ve achieved over the last 15 months is because of hard work, and we’ve had 16 weeks together.
‘‘Tonight, we hung in there. I’m really impressed with the attitude and culture we’ve got so early in our journey.
In round three, next Friday the Eels tackle Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval at 8.05pm.