Parra's players face crunch time

Eels feel at home in the Top End Injured Eels back rower Manu Ma'u was king of the kids on Tuesday as the Eels kicked off their time in the Northern Territory with the first of several schools and junior league club visits in Darwin and Katherine. Ma'u, Luke Burt and Nathan Cayless will spend the week promoting the game of rugby league. "They're having fun and that's the main thing. Hopefully after this week we'll have a few more fans up here in the Northern Territory," Ma'u said. Last night the Casuarina Senior College Colts played Katherine High School for the inaugural Eels Cup.

Eels feel at home in the Top End Injured Eels back rower Manu Ma'u was king of the kids on Tuesday as the Eels kicked off their time in the Northern Territory with the first of several schools and junior league club visits in Darwin and Katherine. Ma'u, Luke Burt and Nathan Cayless will spend the week promoting the game of rugby league. "They're having fun and that's the main thing. Hopefully after this week we'll have a few more fans up here in the Northern Territory," Ma'u said. Last night the Casuarina Senior College Colts played Katherine High School for the inaugural Eels Cup.

EELS back rower Joseph Paulo said every game was like a mini grand final as the blue and gold prepare for their clash against the Canberra Raiders in Darwin.

Consecutive wins against the Titans and Sharks have the Eels sitting in ninth place on 24 competition points.

A win this week against the struggling Raiders could lift them as high as fourth. A loss could see them drop to 12th.

"We know how important this week's game is for us. Every game counts and we need to knuckle down and prepare well," Paulo said.

"There are five games left and they are all like mini grand finals and we know the Raiders will be a tough game."

Paulo, who returns to the starting line up this week, said he was looking forward to his first trip to Darwin.

"It should be a good trip. We are looking forward to getting up there and meeting the locals," he said. "It's always good to get away with the boys and build the morale within the group and hopefully we can come back with an important two points."

In team news, rookie Bureta Faraimo retains his spot on the wing after scoring two tries on debut last week. Kenny Edwards also returns to the team for the injured David Gower.

Coach Brad Arthur said his team needs to improve in the run to the finals.

"It wasn't pretty and we know we need to be heaps better, but it's probably a good thing that we can still win a game when we're not at our best," Arthur said after the 32-12 win against the Sharks.

"The good thing about it is they're learning to be a bit tougher."

The Eels arrive in Darwin today with several promotional activities planned.

Advanced sale tickets for the clash have been very positive.

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