Their start to the season has not been the greatest by any means, with only two wins from their first five games, and languishing in 3rd last, but for inspirational captain Nathan Hindmarsh, he knows that this has to change, and fast.
In 2009, we saw the fairytale run to the grand final, losing to eventual winners, the Melbourne Storm. 2010 was another up-and-down year, but the same fairytale could not be re-lived.
This year, Hindmarsh knows that the Eels cannot rely on late-season form to get them into the finals, but instead, the form has to come early, and it has to start now.
“We can’t be chasing our tails again like we have in past seasons,” Hindmarsh said.
“We don’t want to be doing that. It is a hard way to play football and not a real relaxing way to play football.
“Going into the end of the season, you don’t want to be having to win every game to make the semi-finals.
“The competition is so even. I can’t remember a team stringing together five in a row in a long time.
“You don’t want to be a team put in that position. It’s hard to make the semi-finals when you know you can’t drop a game.”
With both sides coming off losses, the Bulldogs are in front of the Eels on the ladder, on 6 and 4 points respectively.
Eels star fullback Jarryd Hayne also knows that things have to begin now, and the form has to start shining through before it is too late.
“Hopefully we can turn our season around. I know it is a big game,” Hayne said.
Some will tell you that the Eels roster cannot match it with the top sides, whilst others will tell you that any team with Jarryd Hayne in their side is always a chance.
Either way, the Eels know that they need wins, and they need them now.
“It’s not do-or-die but it is important we start playing some consistent footy,” Burt said.
“We’ve been up and down. We have played some really good footy but also, in patches, been not so good.
“A game against Canterbury always [presents] a good atmosphere and a good crowd. If you can’t get ‘up’ for that, there is something wrong.”Mannah added: “Sunday’s loss [to Melbourne] was a big one for us. We have to pull our fingers out but it’s definitely not too late.
“The players are committed to the cause. It is taking time for Steve’s [Kearney, coach] stuff to jell but he will expect us to perform no matter how long he has been here. We have learnt from our mistakes.”Parramatta and Canterbury had some epic battles during the 1980s, including the 1984 and 1986 grand finals. And the two Sydney clubs have a genuine dislike for each other.
“It is important to keep those rivalries and traditions,” Hindmarsh said.
“The Penrith-Parramatta game has been pushed a bit lately but for me it will always be Parramatta and Canterbury.”
Tim Mannah also knows that the rivalry is well and truly alive.
“The rivalry has been there for a long time. The two clubs are close geographically and there is the history from the 1980s. I’m honoured to be part of this rivalry.”