AAP Rugby

Eels pack sharpen focus to help Moses

By AAP Newswire

Parramatta's underrated forward pack will take responsibility for unlocking the Eels' attacking flair in Saturday's crunch semi-final against Melbourne.

The Eels returned to training on Wednesday riding the wave of momentum from Sunday's 58-0 flogging of Brisbane, but know a much tougher task is ahead.

Ideally, Parramatta would like to go to AAMI Park and put on the kind of Mitchell Moses inspired show that netted them 11 tries last week again.

But they're well aware it won't be that easy, and are expecting a dog fight in the middle and less space for their playmakers.

"Watching Melbourne, their forward pack is amazing," Parramatta prop Kane Evans said.

"They're probably the best in the game at the moment ... Their defensive system in itself is awesome.

"We have so many different types of players in our team that all have that flair ... There are so many options.

"It's just about that (getting the roll on)."

Melbourne's pack is littered with representative stars, with every player from the No.8 jersey to the No.13 having played a top-tier Test or State of Origin.

In comparison Manu Ma'u is the one stand out for the Eels in the forwards with his six Tests for the Kiwis.

Despite that, they have punched well above their weight in the back-end of the year.

"That's where we see our strength is," captain Clint Gutherson said.

"Going down there and playing with our forwards through the middle and letting them play a bit of football as well.

"We've got the strike power with Fergo and Waqa (Blake) out the back, so if we can do that, it will be nice.

"Not all games will turn out like that. We're preparing for a bit of a dogfight."

The difficulty of that task is illustrated by the fact Parramatta haven't beaten Melbourne in a non-Origin-affected round since as far back as 2012.

The Storm have also been the best at slowing down and shutting off opposition attacks this year, with their 300 points conceded the lowest this decade.

However Parramatta do have the game's form half in their side in Mitchell Moses, who has now set up 31 tries this year and scored two himself last week.

"As a half you've just got to adjust to the conditions and how the game is going and how quick it is," Moses said.

"It's going to take everyone. We're going to have to handle their big pack.

"There's a reason why they are minor premiers and only lost four games all year. It's because of how they defend.

"They've got the best player to ever play the game (Cameron Smith) in the No.9 jersey who controls the game so well."