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Stuart cautious on Eels optimism

Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart has moved to temper early season expectation on his side after their impressive opening to the NRL season.
Stuart cautious on Eels optimism
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, March 13 AAP - Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart has moved to temper early season expectation on his side after their impressive opening to the NRL season.

The Eels hammered the Warriors in a promising first-round hitout in which Chris Sandow and Jarryd Hayne starred but Stuart conceded Thursday night's match against Canterbury at ANZ Stadium is a much sterner test of their first grade credentials.

"We started off in a good manner, we showed we have some footy in us," Stuart said on Wednesday.

"But it's not just about results this year it is about the bigger picture.

"We are playing against a team this week that have just come off a grand final ... we are wooden spooners.

"If we can just hang in there ... at the end of the day if we are within two or three tries of the Bulldogs I will be happy with my boys.

"We are playing against a wonderful football team that has eight or nine representative players. And it will be a great chance for us after this game to sit back see where we are at.

"I just hope we can hang in there against a wonderful team that has had so much success under (coach) Des (Hasler).

Stuart said he was happy with the effort of Sandow and Hayne and that the challenge for them was to reproduce that sort of matchwinning form on a weekly basis.

"They have both bought into what we need for them to become consistent football players," Stuart said.

"But we need our best players to play very well every week.

"If you look at Melbourne, and I don't usually like to talk about other football teams, but Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, every week they play well. Even when they are not at their best it is still a good game."

"The boys are in a good frame of mind coming off a positive result but now it's about creating consistency and building a platform."




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