Anderson hauls Eels into office
GREG PRICHARDApril 8, 2010
The retiring type ... bandaged Eels skipper Nathan Cayless at Parramatta training last night not long after announcing his impending retirement. Photo: Ben Rushton
PARRAMATTA coach Daniel Anderson yesterday called his players in for frank, one-on-one discussions designed to pull the former premiership favourites out of the hole they have dug for themselves.
The talks came on the day Eels captain Nathan Cayless announced he would retire at the end of the season. Cayless was planning to make the announcement in his own time and was angry his hand had been forced by news of the decision being leaked to a newspaper and released on the internet.
The news on Cayless doesn't change Anderson's task, which is to get the Eels firing again in a hurry. They have lost three of their four games this season and could not score a single point against Cronulla last weekend.
''We need to work as a team,'' Anderson said. ''I can't give you any technical aspects to it because we're not competing as hard as our opposition are, first and foremost. We're finding it difficult to hang our hat on anything in most of the games we've played so far this year. We need to play better for longer periods of time and be proud of our efforts. It's time to rectify that situation.''
Asked if he had spoken individually to players in a bid to get the team rolling, Anderson replied: ''Oh yeah, I think I had seven or eight in today and had a chat about their own individual form and the way they can find some positives, and what they need to do to find some steps that will remedy the situation. As a group we need to play for each other and things will happen individually.''
Anderson said he had aimed to get to every player but could not do that in one day, so assistant coach Peter Sharp had conducted one-on-ones with the remainder.
''We've spoken to the entire 17, and I'm speaking to the boys that aren't in first grade at the moment,'' Anderson said. ''I went and saw them [the club's NSW Cup team] play on Sunday, and I've told them the areas in which they can keep improving and pressuring first grade. We need that competitiveness for our first-grade spots.''
Anderson said he was prepared to drop any player if his ''form deteriorates to the point where I have to make a change''.
Cayless, 32, said he had decided during the off-season to retire at the end of this season but had not announced it because he wanted to establish an alternative career path for himself first. He said he told the club of his decision several weeks ago, and was planning to enter the business of selling real estate.
''It's unfortunate the way it's come out,'' he said. ''I'm disappointed with that. I really wanted to announce my retirement in front of everyone, at the right time. But I always knew this was going to be my last season. The results haven't had any impact on my thinking. I'm very grateful I've had the opportunity to play for such a great club for so long, and had the opportunity to captain the club for so long.''
Cayless obviously aims to remain a starter in first grade and retain the captaincy until he retires but said he accepted he would be judged on form like everybody else. ''I've spoken to our coach,'' Cayless said. ''He said if you play well enough you'll be in first grade. That's how it is … we've all got to improve.''
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