MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Sharks coach Shane Flanagan watches his team warm up during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on September 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Parramatta great Peter Sterling has suggested the Eels look to add Shane Flanagan to their coaches box after their straight sets elimination from the finals.

The Eels’ season came to an end after stumbling in the second half to South Sydney following a promising opening 30 minutes, with the story very much the same against Melbourne the week prior.

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Sterling believes that adding Flanagan’s premiership winning experience would lift Brad Arthur’s side back into contention next year.

“Shane Flanagan is a premiership winner, his input would be invaluable,” Sterling said on Wide World of Sports. 

“Do you want him there on a daily or weekly basis I don’t know.

“It comes down to taking the team to the next level – from a competitive football team to a championship team. It’s not easy to do, every coach is aiming to do that.”

Following the club’s exit from the finals series, Sterling has called on Arthur and his players to strengthen the mental side of their game.

“Parramatta led by 10 at halftime and you always knew the first 15 minutes of the second half was going to be a key period in the game and Souths scored two tries in that period,” he said.

“It was a lack of resilience when the game was on the line and we’ve seen that too often not just in finals football from Parramatta.

“How does the team cope with a situation where the game is in the balance it can go either way and unfortunately for Parramatta it has been the other side that have come through.

“It is a mental battle that they have to look at now.

“Physically we exerted as much effort as anybody. Sometimes I thought that effort was misguided, a lot of one-out running when the side wasn’t going well. There was an effort in that run but when you’re getting bashed and slow play the balls it doesn’t help your footy team,” he said.

“It’s the mental side of things. It still comes down to mental toughness, to resilience, to the moments when the game is in the balance. If you look at the big matches this year, we were still found lacking.

“When things were going well for the side we looked fantastic. When we were under extreme duress, ‘buckle’ is a strong word but probably relevant in some situations that I’m talking about.”