10 hours ago
Hagan keeping fancied Eels grounded
Parramatta coach Michael Hagan has warned his players not to get carried away with the hype following their spectacular start to the 2008 NRL season.
The Eels recovered from 20-0 down at halftime to stun the Bulldogs with five unanswered tries after the break to win 28-20 at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
It was a fine way start to the year for a side many pundits and fans are tipping as serious premiership contenders after reaching the preliminary final last year in their first season under Hagan.
Bookmakers agree with TAB Sportsbet, listing the Eels alongside Manly and the Sydney Roosters as joint second favourites for the NRL title behind reigning premiers Melbourne.
But Hagan revealed after Saturday night's win he had spoken to the players about keeping their feet grounded.
"We've spoken about that fact that people are tipping us to be thereabouts at the end of the year," Hagan said.
"But that doesn't count for much if you can't get the basic components sorted out every week.
"We can't just turn up and expect to win games because the team has been called a good footy team.
"You've got to do the work and get the job done. That's what we've got to keep in mind every week."
Aside from an awful first-half performance, the only other sour note from Saturday night's win was an ankle injury to star centre Krisnan Inu, who is in doubt for next Sunday's clash with the Warriors in New Zealand.
The Kiwi international is in a protective boot on Sunday and will have scans on Monday to determine the full extent of the injury.
The Bulldogs also have an injury concern over prop Justin Tsoulos, who is likely to miss Friday night's clash with Souths after suffering a rib injury on Saturday night.
Star back-rower Sonny Bill Williams copped a knock to his knee in the loss but the club said he would be fit to face the Rabbitohs.
The Bulldogs missed a golden opportunity to begin their new era with a win after an eventful off-season which included the election of a new board, the departure of several high-profile players including Willie Mason and the resignation of chief executive Malcolm Noad.
But coach Steve Folkes still took plenty of encouragement from the game.
"We've been under a lot of pressure in the off-season and it would have been great to come up with a win against a very good side," Folkes said.
"But there were more positives than negatives and we need to get our heads around that and get back to some solid training this week with South Sydney coming up on Friday night."