Eels facing tough assignment against Cowboys

THEIR star halfback has stormed out of the club to join Warrington in the English Super League, while a fresh salary cap scandal is swirling around.

That's without the drama surrounding five-eighth Kieran Foran's contract for next year.

And tonight the Eels face what has become one of the toughest assignments in the NRL - taking on the Cowboys in Townsville.

Coach Brad Arthur said his team had done its best to ignore all the negative distractions heading into the must-win game.

"We do a reasonable job of trying to shield them (the players) from any of the outside influences," Arthur said.

"The players are only focused on what they can control.

"We've had distractions all year, so we're used to it."

Arthur added that his team would have to match the Cowboys in the fundamentals - completing its sets, kicking long and making its tackles.

Last time these two teams met in round 13 the Cowboys pulled off an amazing comeback, winning 36-30 after trailing 30-6.

"Mentally, we weren't tough enough that night when we had our foot on their throat to drive the nail in," said Arthur (pictured, right).

The in-form Cowboys have been the opposite this week, enjoying a trouble-free preparation.

Only one first-grade squad member (Tautau Moga - knee) is on the club's injury list.

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