Parramatta are refusing to go quietly into the night, even with the Kieran Foran and salary cap dramas threatening to bring down the axe on a promising NRL season.
The Eels proved they have steel in their bones with a resilient 20-12 win over Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on Friday night, despite having a litany of excuses to turn belly up.
Despite Brad Takairangi being forced into the unfamiliar position of five-eight, with skipper Foran on indefinite leave for personal issues, the threat of the loss of competition points for alleged salary cap breaches hanging over the heads, and losing skipper Tim Mannah and fullback Michael Gordon in the first half, they still found the will to win.
“We have had a lot of excuses just to lay down and give up, but there’s a good feeling around at this club at the moment,” playmaker Corey Norman said.
“We’ve really worked hard on it in the pre-season, there’s a real belief here.
“I know it’s still early, but it’s good to have.”
Foran was on Thursday granted indefinite leave and just hours before kick-off flew out of Australia for an overseas rehabilitation clinic after a reported prescription medication overdose.
The Eels are expected to next week learn their fate over the NRL integrity unit’s investigation into dubious third party deals.
The loss of 10 points would almost certainly deliver the coup de grace to their season, which has begun in promising style with six wins from nine games.
With his playmaking partner out against the Bulldogs, Norman stepped up to the plate and delivered a blue-chip performance as he plays for a new contract.
He said Foran had managed to hide his personal problems, brought on by his break up with his long-time partner, and the side took the field wanting to play for him.
“No one wants to see your teammate like that and hopefully he gets better soon and we wanted to win for him and win for the club,” Norman said.
“And to try to take the emotion out of it early because you can only play on emotion for so long and I think we did that well.
“That’s how we won the game, we just stuck to what we’ve been doing for nine weeks and just kept on turning up for each other.”