Behind Enemy Lines: Corey Norman's injury and Eel's disciplinary problems

We've infiltrated enemy territory this week to bring you the latest out of the Parramatta Eels camp ahead of their Round 13 clash against the nib Newcastle Knights at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

The Eels season hasn't gone to plan with many fans expecting a top eight result however, the reality of sitting at the bottom of the ladder means they will be hungrier than ever for a form return against the red and blue.

Depth is proving a challenge, with a considerable portion of the Eels club sitting in the injury ward until the coming rounds. Corey Norman, Tim Mannah, Jarryd Hayne, Greg Leleisuiao, and Kaysa Pritchard are all sidelined with minor injuries, whilst ACL injuries have claimed Tony Williams and Beau Scott for the season.

A combination of off-field disciplinary issues and lack-lustre performances on the field have created disruptions around the Eels camp, with external noise beginning to have an affect on players in the club.



"I think worrying about external stuff is not healthy for the team," stated Michael Jennings on the Eels website.

"We are trying to focus on what we can bring to the table, and to not focus on what could happen."

A lack of momentum in critical moments has resulted in the Eels losing a number of close games, and as a result a sense of frustration among the players has arisen from failing to execute the basics.

"It's frustrating that something simple is causing us to lose games," Bevan French said.

"It's just those little things that are letting us down... we know that once it has turned, we will be able to start stringing some wins together."

Like many teams before them, the Eels will look to silence Kalyn Ponga with intense inside pressure early into the game, as well as tighten their right edge defence through the likes of Michael Jennings and Josh Hoffman.

"It's like all good players," Peter Sterling said.

"You take away their time and space.

"Luke Lewis went a little bit high on him on the weekend, but that is the kind of inside pressure you need to exert on Kalyn Ponga.

"We know that he attacks predominantly down the left side... so our right-side defence has to be really good."