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Parramatta's Ben Smith talks to GRL - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Fri, 02 Feb 2007 19:19:00 GMT
The Eels are hoping to hit their straps at
home this Friday night against the undefeated Cowboys. Ben Smith spoke to JOSH
KING this week about the Cowboys, the coaching merry-go-round and his Origin

JOSH KING: You've got a tough game on Friday night against the
Cowboys. The atmosphere in training this week. What's that been like?

BEN SMITH: We all know what sort of a team the Cowboys are
and what job it's going to take for us to get out there and
rumble with them, so everyone's excited and everyone' keen.

JK: Nathan Hindmarsh was made captain of the team this week.
How did that all come about?

BS: Mate, i didn't even know. I only realised Cayless was
on the bench this week. I thought he was still going to be captain. I knew
Hindy was going to be one of the senior players to lead us out. Hindy, he's a
senior player and he's a leader, so I don't think it's going to hinder us too

JK: How is Nathan Hindmarsh different from Nathan Cayless as a

BS: I think Cayless more likes to talk and he likes to lead
out there and just try and calm everyone down whereas Hindy just likes to
get things done and that's the way he knows best.

JK: Obviously the result of last year's preliminary final has the
potential to make this game a bit firey. Have you guys seen any video of that
game in the lead-up to this match?

BS: Nah, we havent' looked at the stuff yet. I mean that
was last year's game. You could probably call it one of our worst games of the
year and it just happened at the wrong time. This is a new chapter and a new
year, so we're just looking ahead and more looking at how the Cowboys
have been playing over the last couple of weeks and how we've been playing and
area's to work on and areas to watch them.

JK: Does that preliminary result still haunt Parramatta?Is it still spoken about?

BS: Ohh, it's not really spoken about. I mean it hurts to
look back on it and see the way we went out of the year but I mean you
know, you move on. I think that's life and we've got to get on with 2006
and not worry about 2005. We had alot of highs last year and a few lows but I
think we've just got to push on and hopefully have a few more highs this year.

JK: Where do the Cowboys have to be stopped to beat them?

BS: Oh mate, the Cowboys they've got a lot of confidence,
especially after the way they went last year. They get a good roll on around
the rucks. They're a pretty good side all over. I mean they've got Thurston and
then Firman in the halves. They're quick and they've got good forwards so you've
got to be on your toes for the full eighty minutes.

JK: The backline of the Cowboys, would you rate that as more
dangerous then the backline of the Knights?

BS: Oohh, that's a big call. The knights, they've got a
good side as well. But I mean the Cowboys they've got Matty Bowen. He can
do anything on the field. And they've got a few veterans. In terms of Thurston
and (josh) Hannay, they keep the ship floating against any side., so as I've
said, you've got to stay on your toes.

JK: Is Friday's game a make or break game for the Eels

BS: No. I mean, there's only been three games played this
year, there's another 23 rounds to go.It would be good for us to win, and
it would be important for us to win and keep the ball rolling. I
don't think that make or break time is in the season. I mean we
started off very poorly last year before we got a kick in the ass and got
going. But i mean we're trying to do that without getting that kick in the ass
this year.

JK: What's the team going out there to play for this week?

BS: Mate, I think for us it's just sort of to get back into
the groove and get back into playing confident football. I don't think we've
been doing that over the first few rounds and I don't think we've been scoring
points like we were last year, so I think we just need to get that back
onto the field and hopefully show we're still a premiership contender this

JK: Why has it taken the guys a bit longer to get that confidence

BS: Mate, I don't know. The pre-season, we had a good season
and everything was going along well and we were confident about the new year.
Maybe a few off-field dramas that have been going on might have played in the
back of our heads and probably we didn't start the year as well as we should've
and thought we would like to do.

JK: As an individual player, how did you take the news that Brian
Smith is leaving at the end of 2006 and Micheal Hagan is coming in next

BS: It's disappointing to see Brian go. He's a very, very
good coach I think and the way he goes about his business, I like that. In
saying that though, things have always got to come to an end and the officials
at Parramatta
have obviously shown confidence in him (hagan) to bring him on board. But you
know these sort of things happen, so you've just got to roll with the punches.

JK: The coaching merry-go-round. That can't be used as an excuse for
losing any more games?

BS: Mate, I don't think it should. We're professional
athletes here and that sort of stuff should be put aside when it comes to
playing football on the paddock. But in saying that it might be in the back of
everyone's mind so early in the season and knowing what's going on. We've just
got to perform for eighty minutes each week and we just haven't been doing

JK: There are reports in the papers that Jamie Lyon might return to Parramatta in 2007. If Lyon returned would that force you to consider looking
elsewhere after the June 30 deadline?

BS: Yeah, there's always options and there's always things
said in the paper, so until someone comes out and says we want Jamie Lyon, I
don't really pay attention to that sort of stuff. Negotiations are going
alright, so I don't really take any truth out of the paper.

JK: So there's a good chance you'll still be with the blue and gold
next year?

BS: Mate, we've had a few talks and that. I'm in no rush.
We're just taking {it} step by step. You know it's only early days as of

JK: We've only seen one try from you in 2006.
Would you like more ball time?

BS: Yeah, it would be alright. We haven't really
scored that many tries this year, so it means alot more ball would be handy.
But i think that's a confidence thing as well and we've just go to get out
there and get Timmy (Smith) and Johnny Morris a bit more confident with the

JK: Tim Smith. Can Parramatta
win games without him?

BS: The only thing we can do is win and stop that talk.
But I mean Timmy's a classy player and he's probably our key
attacking weapon and key in terms of rolling the ball around and showing people
where to go. But i mean we've got other good leadership players within our team
to take over that role if he goes. You know we've got PJ , Johnny Morris and
Dean Widders.

JK: State Of Origin
is fast approaching. What could you bring to the NSW Blues if you were selected
to play?

BS: Mate, I'd probably bring a bit of enthusiasm. I'm
probably not one of the most talented guys out there but you know what I'd lack
in that department I'd sort of try to make up for in aggression and enthusiasm
just so i can make up for the skills that I don't have compared with Gasnier
and that. I tend to think my defence one on one is the better aspect of my
game. - Read More, Here