Eels mentally ready for NRL finals push
Parramatta centre Michael Jennings admits the Eels weren't ready before their NRL finals flop two years ago and believes an early-week camp can help solve that in 2019.
Parramatta, who crashed out in straight sets in 2017, kick off just their second finals series in a decade against Brisbane on Sunday at Bankwest Stadium.
The Eels have taken a different approach with their lead-in this year, making the most of a nine-day turnaround following last week's win over Manly.
Players headed to the Central Coast for an overnight camp on Sunday and Monday, before having Tuesday and Wednesday off training ahead of a Thursday return.
While the team trained during the camp, they also played rounds of golf with the main focus to refresh and set an agenda before finals.
"Two years ago we made the finals and lost two games going into the finals," Jennings told AAP at the NRL Finals launch.
"We wanted to get together (in camp) and talk about what's expected.
"It's a tighter group (in 2019). We're just enjoying this moment, that's what we're doing.
"It just feels like there is not a lot of pressure going into the finals."
Parramatta were the headline team of the 2017 finals series given their long absence, but failed to land a punch when it mattered.
They were beaten by Melbourne at AAMI Park in week one, before crashing out against eighth-placed North Queensland at home.
"It was just unexpected. That playing group didn't really have much experience playing finals footy," Jennings said.
"We went with with the motions and treated it as if it was another game.
"It's not another game, it's finals footy and it's a different comp. We're treating it differently this year."
Eight players remain from the Eels' doomed campaign in 2017, having also endured the disappointment of last year's wooden spoon.
If they are to succeed in the finals series, they will be the first team since Western Suburbs in 1934 to go from last place to premiers in the space of a season.
They also have the advantage of the new Bankwest Stadium as a home ground this season, where they have won eight of their 10 games this season.
"Physically we're all ready. We just need to prepare mentally," Jennings said.
© AAP 2019