In spite of maintaining their unbeaten run playing in hostile territory in Newcastle, the Eels made 14 errors, conceded five penalties and there were plenty of set-restarts given away, and coach Brad Arthur admitted they put plenty of pressure on themselves in the Round 9 clash.
“We’ve shown we’ve got some work to do with our attack but I’m proud of the defensive effort,” he said.
“We did a lot of defence at training this week – just focused on our defence and hardly touched the ball. It probably showed tonight.
“But we knew defence would be important for us. And at the back end of the year, we need to make sure we’ve got our systems in place with our defence.”
Not long after the half-time break, Eels player Dylan Brown and the Knights’ Pasami Saulo had a head clash and both were sent off for concussion assessments.
Clint Gutherson’s penalty goal 20 minutes into the second half, was the first score after the break but in the 64th minute, he also caught the Knights defence napping with a quick tap following a high-tackle penalty on Mitchell Pearce.
The Eels skipper ran 35 metres before passing left to winger Maiko Sivo, who scored his ninth try for the year.
Praising the captain’s fitness, Arthur also said he had “really matured” as a leader of the team.
“He’s done a really good job on himself physically, he’s never stressed, never fatigued and he’s got a real clarity about the decisions he makes,” Arthur said.
“He makes good decisions all the time because he’s physically able to do that.”
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