Parramatta hooker Reed Mahoney says critics questioning the club’s premiership credentials is comical but concedes the “embarrassed” Eels are determined to rediscover their pride in defence and end the Warriors’ season on Sunday.
After leading the competition for most of the year, the Eels have slumped to third position following three losses in the past seven games.
The Blue and Golds are in danger of dropping out of that vital top-four position if they continue to lose matches.
It won’t be easy against the Warriors at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday given the in-form New Zealanders are determined to finish the season on a high.
Parramatta were particularly poor against South Sydney last weekend, leaking 38 points in their worst performance of the season.
Mahoney says the disappointed Eels are focused on improving the basics to restore their title campaign following a woeful defensive effort against the Rabbitohs.
“We are pretty filthy that we let that happen to us,” Mahoney said.
“We really pride ourselves on our defence and last week we didn’t have any pride in our defence, so it was a good wake-up call.
“We need to be strong for the rest of the year to put ourselves in the best position for the finals.”
Despite Parramatta’s slide, Mahoney has full faith in his team’s ability to turn around their spluttering season.
He dismissed the suggestion the Eels aren’t a serious premiership threat this season.
“That doesn’t bother me – it sort of makes me laugh a bit when people say that,” he said.
“Everyone entitled to their own opinion, but all we’ve got to worry about is the four walls out here at Parramatta and what we are capable of.
“I think we have shown that during the year, but you are only as good as your last game, so we need to improve.”
Mahoney has been outstanding for Parramatta this season, starting every game at hooker, but he isn’t satisfied.
He wants to improve his game, especially with the Eels expected to miss five-eighth Dylan Brown for an extended period with an ankle injury.
“I need to go to the next level for the remainder of the year,” he said.
“Not just because Dylan (Brown) is gone, but personally I want to go to another level.”
Eels skipper Clint Gutherson believes his team’s sluggish form is an easy fix, and it rests solely on the players’ shoulders.
“We have to come with the right attitude,” Gutherson said.
“Everyone knows we haven’t been playing our best footy for a month or so now, but we get a chance on Sunday against a red-hot Warriors to prove ourselves and it is going to be a big challenge.”