The return of Corey Norman can’t come soon enough for Parramatta after Friday night’s shock 26-14 NRL loss to the injury-ravaged Gold Coast.
But Eels coach Brad Arthur said Norman was no quick fix to the problems that sabotaged their undefeated season start.
Parramatta sorely missed the injured Norman (hamstring) in a disorganised, error-riddled loss that looks set to create more headaches for Arthur.
Hooker Kaysa Pritchard limped off with a second half ankle complaint while backrowers Tepai Moeroa and Manu Ma’u are expected to attract the match review committee’s attention for hits on Titans halfback Ash Taylor.
Arthur will welcome back Norman for next round’s home clash against defending champions Cronulla.
However, he said Norman’s presence wouldn’t correct what went wrong against the Titans.
“No. Boys dropping the ball at the play the ball or getting their timing wrong on their run have nothing to do with Corey,” he said.
“They are just simple errors and NRL players have to get it right.”
To add injury to insult, Pritchard looks set for a stint on the sidelines.
“It is swollen up pretty bad,” Arthur said in relation to his ankle.
Parramatta’s depth at hooker will be tested with veteran Isaac De Gois (concussion) out indefinitely and Cameron King (sternum) injured in NSW Cup.
Arthur will also sweat on the MRC’s findings after Moeroa and Ma’u both delivered big hits on Titans halfback Taylor late after kicks.
Ma’u’s second half contact on Taylor threatened to spark a brawl.
Parramatta looked like last round’s ladder leaders when they jumped to a 12-0 lead after 15 minutes through tries to pivot Clint Gutherson and Norman’s replacement Jeff Robson.
But they then proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot against a desperate Titans.
“We knew they were going to throw everything at us – we had to have the attitude ‘expect the unexpected’,” Arthur said.
“They gave us a lesson in completing and playing a nice disciplined game.”
Winger Semi Radradra summed up Parramatta’s reversal of fortunes – last round’s four-try hero twice dropped the ball metres out from his own line to put the Eels under the pump.
“Our attitude probably could have been a lot better,” Eels captain Tim Mannah said.
“The simple errors showed our heads weren’t where they should be. It hurts. I really see that as a lost opportunity but it’s round three. We are not going to panic too much.
“We have the premiers next week so we just have to make sure we turn up with a better attitude.”