Half-time spray lifts Eels' completion rate

KEN Sio isn't a big talker at the best times.

So when the 23-year-old was overlooked for the opening round of 2014 he had just one thing on his mind: "I just want to keep working hard on my game and improve with every game".

Six tries in three games for Wentworthville spoke volumes of the local junior's talent.

It also shouted his claims for a recall to the NRL.

On Saturday, coach Brad Arthur listened.

Sio scored a try in his return to the NRL in the Eels' emphatic 32-16 win against local rivals Penrith.

The flying winger formed a potent one-two combination with Will Hopoate on the right side and was dangerous every time he touched the ball.

Sio and fellow NSW Cup graduate Chris Sandow transferred their form in the black and white to the blue and gold as the pair were standouts in the Eels second win of the year. For coach Arthur the pair's form created a very pleasant dilemma.

"That kind of competition for spots makes for a difficult selection process but it's a problem a coach is lucky to have and it makes for a healthy NRL squad," he said. "Their performances for Wentworthville put pressure on the rest of the first grade squad and forced me to make some hard decisions."

Sio, and the rest of the Eels team, responded well to a good old-fashioned spray from the coach at half-time which centred on completion rates.

In the first half the Eels completed 65 per cent. In the second half that number rose to 95 per cent and resulted in four second-half tries.

"They came out and responded really well," Arthur said of the second half. "That was the thing that pleased me most was our response in the second half: we completed at 95 per cent.

"We've got a strong fan base and they want to come and see us compete and we did that."

This week's talk will shift to breaking an alarming away record. Their last win away from Parramatta came on July 31, 2012 — ironically against this week's opponents Brisbane.

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