Eels' Pritchard vows to maintain NRL rage

Parramatta's Kaysa Pritchard won the Anzac medal in the round eight NRL match against Wests Tigers.
Parramatta's Kaysa Pritchard won the Anzac medal in the round eight NRL match against Wests Tigers.

He's been at pains to defend his team all season, but Parramatta captain Tim Mannah has found the inspiration that'll make him stand up for his teammates for the rest of the year.

After opening their campaign with six straight defeats, the wheels are beginning to turn for the Eels after outlasting the Wests Tigers 24-22 to register back-to-back victories on Sunday.

And at the heart of it was undersized hooker Kaysa Pritchard, who inspired his team with his trademark series of hits to go with a try assist to claim the Anzac medal as man-of-the-match.

"He's a pleasure to defend next to. He inspires you a bit because if he's coming out with that energy and willing to put his body on the line, it makes everyone around him want to do the same," Mannah said.

Eels coach Brad Arthur believes, Pritchard, who was re-installed as the starting No.9 four weeks ago, rose in confidence following their maiden win of the season against Manly last week.

And while Arthur has grown to tolerate what he described as Pritchard's "erratic" play, he said the coaching staff has worked on toning down his aggression.

"We can't afford to have him taking himself out and we also need him to get through some consistent footy for us," Arthur said.

"He's just got to channel it the right way, but he has got a lot better with it."

His kamikaze nature has often left Pritchard with countless dates with the medical staff, who've brought him back from multiple knee, shoulder and pectoral injuries since his debut in 2015.

However, while Pritchard is open to improving his game, the younger brother of former New Zealand international Frank admits finding it difficult to shed his white-line fever.

"You don't think about getting injured when you go on the field. I don't, anyway," he said.

"Getting injured, those things happen. It's just unlucky I've copped a few in my time. It's good to be fit and healthy this year and stay on the field for the boys."

He also revealed being driven by a desire to deliver for Arthur, who was beginning to come under criticism for the Eels' worst start to a season in almost 30 years.

"I just put the body on the line week in, week out for the boys and for BA, especially him," he said.

"It's been a tough start to the year, first six rounds we didn't go too well and he's copped a lot of stick. It's good to come out and get the two points on the back of last week for the team and for BA."

Australian Associated Press