The Cumberland Throw

Whiskey Musings: Finals Week 2 – Good Night, Good Bye & Thank You

Finals Week 2 Drink of choice – Lagavulin 16 Year Old


And so the curtains draws on a season that ultimately should be considered an astounding success. The wounds of tonight’s loss may be deep and fresh but do not let them disillusion you from what this team has achieved in the wake of the catastrophic events of 2016. Brad Arthur and his playing group have taken this club from drunkenly lurching on the precipice right to week two of the finals in less than 12 months. The sheer enormity of that effort should not be undersold regardless of how the season finished.

Tonight our inexperience in the finals came to the fore – especially in the second half. While our ferocity and exuberance against the Melbourne Storm served us well last week, the North Queensland Cowboys were able to weather our typically aggressive first half before landing back-to-back body blows to open up the second stanza. They usurped any opportunity for our boys to set the tone for the most crucial moments of the match and the rest played out as you would expect.

So join me friends as we break down all of the action from the Parramatta Eel’s final fixture in 2017 in the final edition of Whiskey Musings for 2017.


Polar opposite result if Alvaro isn’t knocked out?


Parramatta’s ill-fated night all began when the lost Daniel Alvaro to concussion protocol in just the 5th min of play. While Alvaro’s presence would have done little to remedy the disjointedness of our attack, he is our best defender through the middle. We fought the Cowboys to a stalemate in the ruck in the first half but they most definitely gained the ascendancy through the middle in the second half and Alvaro would have helped tremendously in that regard. Still, you have to play the cards dealt to you – as frustrating as they may be – and we have overcome worse this year (see our win over the Warriors in Round 13). It is but one of the important lessons in finals football to be learned for our boys from this defeat.


BA’s bench backfire


One of the most polarising events to come out of the aftermath of the loss was Brad Arthur’s late reshuffle to the bench. Kaysa Pritchard and Peni Terepo were added to the bench in the final cut down of the initial 21-man roster. It ultimately proved to be a costly decision with the Eels entering the game a forward short, which quickly became two when Daniel Alvaro was literally knocked out of the game within 5min. At face value it looks like BA’s gambit backfired on him and while I tend to agree I didn’t want to just blindly lash out in a reactionary manner.

Here is how I tried to rationalise the bench reshuffle given that we as fans don’t know a huge portion of what the Eels’ inner sanctum is privy to:

Cameron King suffered a nasty nerve ‘stinger’ late in the loss to Melbourne last week. It prevented him from being able to play in that game for several minutes and led to significant swelling in his forearm. This much we know via the game itself last week and media reports. While he generally had a good prognosis to play, it wasn’t until later in the week that the media were convinced he would take to the field against the Cowboys.

Based on this I can only guess that Kaysa Pritchard was included was a fail-safe for King should he not be able to get through the entire game due to the forearm injury. Conversely, due to Kaysa’s lack of match fitness we couldn’t call upon him to play the full 80min at hooker. As it happened, King did get through nearly the entire game and Kaysa was awkwardly injected late into the affair with the Eels trailing the Cowboys.

If my summation is correct (and to be perfectly honest, I am reaching blindly to connect dots) the Eels were damned if the did and damned if they didn’t last night. If King’s forearm had enough questions about it to warrant carrying Kaysa then we were always going to be at a disadvantage from the bench. We couldn’t afford not to have an insurance policy for King but at the same time you can’t afford to have an insurance policy for him against the Cowboys if you follow me. It really sums up our luck with injuries to core positions this season.

The swap of Peni Terepo for Siosaia Vave was much more straightforward for mine. Vave has been something of a liability in defence this season and coming against the most dynamic middle forward, arguably in the history of the game, shoring up our ruck defence made plenty of sense. Terepo did have one contentious drop (or borderline strip) but he also ran with plenty of vim and nearly split the defensive line of the Cowboys on a couple of occasions.

Again, it may be as simple as BA out-foxing himself with his bench selections but before I flailed out blindly in an emotional outburst to our loss I wanted to at least rationalise a potential reason as to why it went that way. I may be miles off the mark but please consider that we as fans do not have access to anything near the complete picture when it comes to this kind of stuff. There is a chance that our arms were tied behind our back before kickoff.


Halves to learn from big game struggle


Corey Norman was out of sorts while Mitchell Moses flashed a few times when he ran the ball but there is no sugar-coating the fact that our halves struggled. After engineering a comeback against the Storm last week, Norman and Moses were bereft of options against the Cowboys. Norman regularly went to the line only to lose track of his runners while Moses toiled away unable to find that extra split second of time he needed on multiple occasions.

It was just that sort of game. We didn’t kick early looking to turn the big North Queensland forwards around and we just didn’t have that crisp timing and the bodies in motion that makes our attack so fearsome when it is on. We frustrated ourselves with our errors as much as the Cowboys stifled us with excellent defensive discipline. As with so many facets of this game it is a lesson that will be carved into the very beings of our boys.


Cowboys show the importance of big game experience for the little things


Directly following on from my previous point but the entirety of the Cowboys team, the 2015 premiers if you will recall, showed just how precious it is to have that big game experience. They were not overawed by the occasion in the least. The Eels threw plenty at them in both attack and defence in the first half but they remained patient and counter-punched to brutal effect in the second half. Most importantly they showed just how important that extensive finals experience is for all the little things in a game.

The Eels struggled to get kick pressure on Michael Morgan or Lachlan Coote all night while the Cowboys nearly always had someone in the face of Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses. Their kick chase we relentless, looking to pin Will Smith inside his own red zone on each and every kick. Parramatta, who have largely had a terrific kick chase this year, faded out in this regard.

North Queensland were also confident to test the limits of the referee’s resolve in a high-tension clash. As the game wore on they began to creep more and more offside, gaining that much of an edge in defence as the game entered it’s most crucial moments. Don’t mistake me, this is as much a praise for the Cowboys as it is a criticism of the referees. They knew how the rules of the game change in sudden death footy and we didn’t.

When you couple that with their stellar execution and completion rates juxtaposed with our misfiring attack and woeful ability to get to our kick, it quickly adds up on the scoreboard.

Much has been been made of the absences of Jonathan Thurston and Matt Scott and there is little doubt that they are huge additions for the Cowboys but remember this – the Cowboys won the 2015 Grand Final with Thurston playing an absolute bludger. They still have a damn good roster loaded with finals experience, as evidenced by their ambush of the reigning premiers last week.


Au Revoir Semi


And here we come to probably the most painful feeling to come out of this loss – the fact that this may very well be Semi Radradra’s last game in Blue & Gold. Of course there is genuine hope that he will return to the Eels but as we have learned to brutal effect, life can play out some funny twists when it comes to Parra.

I think we as TCT will touch on Semi’s impact and lasting legacy to the Eels in another post soon but I have no issues in saying that I think Radradra is an all-time talent and if given enough time in the game, could have gone down as the greatest winger to have played.

He certainly left a lasting imprint on the NRL as well, scoring one of the greatest individual finals tries in the first half when he soared through the air to defuse a Te Maire Martin bomb before racing 100m to score the opening try of the night. It was vintage Radradra. A try so ridiculous and unbelievable that it had to be seen live.

The roar of the crowd as defused the kick and saw the glimmers of daylight before him, the sight of beer and coke flying through the air as fans leaped to their feet as he began to stride down the sideline. It was truly something only Bula could do. In that brief moment, nearly 42,000 fans unified as one in a once if a lifetime moment. It was just a shame that it didn’t result in a Blue & Gold victory.

God speed Semi, you magnificent bastard. Here’s to hoping that you are back at Parramatta sooner rather than never.


The Final Word


It is a damn shame to end the 2017 season on this note but just as how I opened this blog, I implore you all not to forget everything we have achieved against all odds this year. We were barely given a hope of making the Top 8 this year and we finished in the Top 4, even in spite of several crippling personnel losses. We have our first real spine since the 1980s, a stack of young players on the rise and a roster from top to bottom that will be keen to right their own wrongs in 2018.

We achieved a 16-8 regular season record with several games that we threw away. Our NYC team will play the Penrith Panthers for a place in the last ever Holden Cup Grand Final. We are a club on the rise and just as how the pain and loss of 2016 forged a team that went to the second week of the finals this year, we will learn from our mistakes and come back a better team, a better club and a better fan base in 2018.

Thanks for dropping by everyone, it has been a helluva ride.

32 thoughts on “Whiskey Musings: Finals Week 2 – Good Night, Good Bye & Thank You

  1. Achilles' Eel

    Nice comments, Forty. The Cowboys give you nothing, and one must take their chances to beat them. They, in turn, took theirs. If only Mitchell Moses had been able to squeeze through the defensive line in his two or three darts from first receiver. If only… the Cowboys didn’t defend so well in those instances. If only John Asiata didn’t score off the bomb that was allowed to bounce. Any of these might have been the fillip for a Parramatta win. Still, a brilliant performance from the team throughout the season. I’m already looking forward to the next – with or without Semi.

    P.S. I still think that Semi is taking a honeymoon to the south of France while playing rugby on the side. Expect him back!

    1. Forty20 Post author

      It was very much a game of ‘what ifs?’ wasn’t it AE? And that speaks to our inexperience. Will Smith, as fantastic as he has been in his role as 3rd string fullback, misplayed the bomb leading to Asiata’s try. Gutherson or French would have been far more decisive in their approach to the bomb.

      The disappointment from last night will linger among fans for quite some time I have no doubt. After giving Melbourne an almighty scare last week there will be feelings of a wasted season but I am unashamedly fired up for 2018. You take your lumps and learn from them and that is something that we have done from year-to-year. We are most definitely a team on the rise and internally we have a world of improvement left, before you factor in any potential new recruits.

  2. Parra Pete, Hay

    Thanks for your great coverage, insight and ‘honest assessments’ all season. Really looked forward to reading your articles, and look forward to reading them in the off season and next year also.
    “It is better to have played and lost, than to have never played at all”.
    The Cowboys – finals hardened over the past seven seasons – provided the Eels with a lesson in what it takes to win the big games. Having players like Morgan Jason T, and Gavin Cooper is a pretty big help too..They go OK.
    Disappointed but not devastated with the loss.
    To secure a win and not deserve is like ‘kissing ya sister’….Not good enough on the night.
    Good season – onwards and upwards.
    It was a milestone for me..after living the past 51 years in Hay, I have sold my home and move to ThUrgoona (Albury) on September 28..Last time I get to watch the Eels go around from my lounge room in Hay…..

    1. Forty20 Post author

      Talk about end of an era Pete! Holy dooley, hope the move goes smoothly mate. It is always an absolute pleasure to have you posting on TCT.

      Our boys have definitely bettered themselves based on lessons learned in previous seasons, I can only imagine that the hunger will be burning harder than ever in 2018 after their first tantalising taste of finals footy this year.

  3. Ted Arthur

    Just a one off guys, honest and fair assesment as usual. Many thanks to tct and its contributors for their support and educated comments. Everyone’s opinion is valid when done respectfully. Hope you all enjoyed 2017 and are as excited as me for 2018.

    1. sixties

      Thank you for posting here Ted. Brad and his staff have given us a future to be excited about. Looking forward to next season.
      That respectful exchange of opinions is something that we are proud of on TCT.

    2. Forty20 Post author

      Thank you Ted, it means a lot that you would drop by and say that.

      This year has been one heck of a ride and even though we are all hurting right now we should remember that the playing group are the ones most frustrated with how they ended this season.

      It will probably be for the best for everyone to take a few days to collect themselves but there is so much good stuff to tear into when looking back at the season that was.

      We may have fallen a couple of steps short this year but this was the year that Parramatta finally announced its return to the NRL proper.

    3. Clint

      Thanks so much for swinging by Ted, we are so proud of your boy and what he and his team in the blue & gold have done in 2017.

      It hurts, it stings and it may do so for some time to come, but I couldn’t say it any better than Forty20 has already.

      The Cowboys game evidenced that premiership teams aren’t built over night and perhaps we will have to bide our time a little longer, but Brad has lead us out of the wilderness and put tremendous pride back in the Parramatta club. You, he and everyone associated with the Eels should be so, so proud of what he and the team have been able to achieve this year!

      Having worked with Brad before, I have no doubt he’s already (at least mentally) beginning his preparations for 2018 and Saturday night only fueled his hunger and desire. We believe Ted, we believe!

  4. Adam

    Lovely story Parra Pete.

    Couple of thoughts.

    The lack of kick pressure was terrible and very un-Eel like. It’s like we were gunshy due to the negativity surrounding this tactic the last time we played them. The Asiata try, Morgan had so much time to kick it was embarrassing. Corey Norman was at first marker and made zero effort to get to Morgan. It was almost as crucial as the Will Smith no take in the try that resulted. Morgan is a confidence player. He kicked shit in the first half. We should have been pressuring him because we he makes a few mistakes in a row, he can go really quiet.

    Both our centres had their worst games in months. Taka’s misread which led to the first try was a shocker, totally had them covered for numbers but he raced in on a man who had already overrun the passer. Inexplicable.

    Jennings was solid enough in defence but lacked any of the blistering attack he had produced pre-finals. And his cold drop in our 20m early in the second half marked a massive swing in momentum against usm

    I actually thought the Cowboys were fading fast in the few minutes leading up to the Matagi dropped the ball in their 20m with 10 left on the clock. Even before that, Mau dropping the ball over the line when we were down 8 points with 15 to go. He scores there I reckon we get a massive injection of energy and confidence.

    Still we were never certainties to storm home as the sad fact is we were just so disjointed in attack. Exactly the same as the other games we were massively favoured to win. Must be a mentality thing but the same stitled attack was on offer in the narrow wins over Bulldogs/Tigers/Souths and the pantsing we got from Newcastle. Make of that what you will.

  5. Trapped in the 1970's

    Good assessment 40:20 and I agree that the lack of finals experience amongst our squad was a major factor in both games, but at least most have been blooded in that arena now so that at least that is some sort of positive.

    Listening to BA’s presser last night was hard as I could hear the hurt in his voice from what he’d just witnessed. He said the coaching staff wouldn’t be looking at the repay too soon but when they did they’d hope to learn from it.

    When they do I’m sure they won’t miss the players who had mini brain explosions at crucial times in that game and some of the same subset who lost their self control when it was a time for cool heads and if those players can’t ship up then its time to ship them off.

    I’m as disappointed as anyone with the loss when like so many I was daring to dream. However to have played finals football for the first time since 2009 and to see the positive development in so many players and the emerging blueprint for future years certainly dilutes some of the pain.

    Finally on Semi, what an amazing player. I’ve watched first grade league for over 50 years and I can’t recall any player over that period who has so regularly scored long distance tries that he has and he’ll be sorely missed but ever so fondly remembered.

    Thanks to all of the TCT crew for your tireless work this year and for the information and entertainment that you’ve brought to a true supporters site.


  6. Pou

    With the minutes players are capable of these days, you don’t need four forwards on the bench. The Cowboys carry Hampton, the Roosters have Watson, Griffin at the Roosters, and the Broncos carry an outside back on the bench. These are the four remaining finals teams. The Sharks also had Segeyaro and the Panthers have Katoa. Even Lewis Brown at Manly can play hooker and centre in an emergency.

  7. Clive

    Thanks for a great season to all you guys at TCT.

    I agree it was a great season and a really pleasant surprise to get as far as we did but after last nights game I think some hard calls need to be made.

    I think Takarangi should be very nervous about his place in the team for next year. He hasn’t provided much in attack this year and his defence is continually letting us down. BA should be looking far and wide for a top class replacement.

    I know this will be unpopular but I also think Manu needs to be looked at. He is a good player who tries hard but he doesn’t give us a real barn storming threat on that edge and his ball handling seams to be on the slide to.

    As much as I like Tim Mannah I think he is on the slide and is a bench player at best.

    Hopefully Kane Evans continues to improve and we really need young Meehan to have a huge offseason because we all know the rest of the NRL will improve and we haven’t really recruited much at all.

    Semi will be a massive loss and I can’t really see anyone ready to replace him.

  8. Mitchy

    Good comments fellas and nice to hear from Ted.
    Today has been hard to get up; even my lady has noticed my grumpy behaviour..
    Parra for me made too many errors; and I’d have liked to see our halves dictate more. Having said that the Cowboys are a tough semi final team who’ve won a comp; have origin players and held their nerve. Pretty simple…imagine Manu had not dropped the ball and Smith had caught that bomb on the full….
    Anyway enough said and off season starts….couldn’t care who wins NRL; but NYC is ours.
    Thanks TCT for the work done and effort put in; always a highlight of my week.
    Our boys need to hurt some and come back stronger maybe mentally as i think the Melb game took more out of us. Bevan, Tepai and Guth on sidelines didn’t help but that’s footy

  9. Parramatta Tragic

    Everyone will feel gutted and none more so than BA and the players. The eels didn’t deserve to win last night and they didn’t deserve to lose to Melbourne. I think Forty has covered everything in his great musings and I agree that we don’t know the machinations that go into bench selection behind the scenes and those chosen would have been chosen for sound reasons that we will never know about. I was quite fortunate to sit near a group (covey/gaggle/swarm?) of highly intelligent supporters last night that made the game as enjoyable as it could possibly be. Onwards and upwards. Thank you to BA and the playing group for a great year and the current feeling of disappointment will only fuel the flames of success next year

  10. JK

    Just want to say a huge thanks to the TCT team for the brilliant coverage all year. Loved the player ratings, the musings and especially the interviews with the coaching staff. I always chuckle when I hear people describe footy as a simple game, those brilliant coaching interviews provided a deep insight into the complexity of leading and preparing individuals to become a (successful) team. As for the game last night, I’ve been to hundreds over the years, but doubt I have ever been part of a happier and optimistic crowd before a game. It takes some work to make that stadium jump, but last night it certainly was. That energy carried right thru to early in the second half… what could have been! Thanks again team, awesome work!

  11. JonBoy

    Oh the heart ache…from the “Seeeemi” chant of the 7th minute to the “Cowboys” chants of the 2nd half that meet no resistance from the Parra fans…it was such a delta.

    Like many I am sure, I have spent today feeling bereft of feeling. I can only compare the feeling to breaking up with my first love.

    Overtime the pain will subside and my attentions will turn to my other great passion…”The Ashes”! Let’s hope that eases my suffering.

    But this team has done themselves proud.

    6-8 weeks ago I felt we had done enough to grab 8th spot.

    3 weeks ago I was able to see my team grab 4th spot.

    Last night I was there to support them in the clubs first finals series in nearly a decade.

    Next year I will be there to cheer them on as they endeavour to surpass this years effort.

    Well done team!

    Well done BA and staff!

    Well done to Max, Bernie and team who have stablised the front office.

    Well done to the team at TCT who have compiled plenty of quality material during the season and finally…congratulations and thank you to all the real supporters who frequent TCT!

  12. Shelley

    Thank you to all at TCT for the wonderful reports and fan interaction this year. Your dedication to keeping fans up to date with news etc has been wonderful.

    My family are overseas at the momemt ( my son was most upset at coming on the holiday as he thought Parra was going to the grandfinal and he was going to miss it- needless to say he has learnt a tough lesson about footy- no games are a certainty,especially finals game for Parra)

    I have to say I was shocked when I was informed by my parents of the score. They were at the game and are absolutely shattered for the team as we all really thought they would beat the Cowboys, obviously that Storm game was to hard to back up from. Maybe it is better that I did not see the last game as I can look back on 2017 as a truely successful year in which we grew a lot as a club without having witnessed the disappointed of the last game.

    My family and I am and always will be proud of the players and coaches because from the sounds of it they did not play well but I know without even watching it they would have tried hard, maybe a little to hard. They will learn and grow from it.
    They all need to remember that they have all started rebuilding our club and although I am sure they are gutted they need to acknowledge that much good has come from this year. I hope they use the disappointment as motivation to build and improve upon those things they need to.

    Onwards and upwards for next year and good luck to our 20’s for the coming game.

  13. Wayno

    Feeling absolutely gutted today. Was expecting a GF appearance this year. Seems the more the media build us up the more likely we are to fail. Happened all this week and back in 2009. What’s done is done now.
    A massive thanks to BA for a champion effort with the team, one of the best things to happen for Parra over the last few years. Great to see the massive improvement to the team this year and expect bigger things next year.
    Sad to see Bula leave, one of my favourite players who always has me on edge of my seat whenever he has the ball. With any luck he will be back in the blue and gold very soon, hard to see anyone replace him.
    To all the team, I know you are feeling gutted and disappointed as all the fans are. Hold your heads high, you did us proud this year.
    To all the TCT staff, keep up the great work. Started following you on Twitter and now this is one of my favourite sites.
    Catch you all next year for a bigger and better 2018!!!!

  14. JJ

    Good summary 40/20, I like you would of loved to of known BA’s thought process in picking the bench he did. I did not understand it and knew we were in all sorts of strife when we lost Alvaro early. I also thought the interchange of taking Beau Scott off for Matagai in the 2nd half was a move which backfired. Beau’s body language sitting on the bench said it all, arms crossed and not looking impressed at all. We needed our most experienced forward on the paddock not sitting on the bench.
    All in all a good season and the wounds from loosing last night are fresh. If our positive trajectory continues the way it did this year then BA and the players will learn some lessons from last night and be better for it in 2018.

  15. DDay

    Great insights once again from Forty/Twenty and TCT. We fell short but it has been a good season on many levels and really enjoyed the “ride”.

    I look forward to 2018; BA consolidating a competitive team with some Eels NYC juniors and maybe a couple of recruit surprises.

  16. Skippy Nonna

    Thanks 40/20 and all the TCT posters for a wonderful website and all your hard work through the year. For the first time as a Parra supporter of 50+ years I wasn’t filthy all the next day after a loss. This season gave us so much hope for the future. I have never been so proud of the way they have rallied after last years fiasco, they have had so much to deal with over the last few years. BA , the team and the coaching staff deserve all the praise we can give them. Every team left in the finals have representative players in their team, we have none, we have done exceptionally well this year. Thanks

  17. Adam

    Once again a very good post. Well written with some very good points. Rather than focusing on the disappointment of Saturday night and who should/shouldn’t have been on the bench, I think I am instead going to focus on the year we had. We finished top 4, we put 50 on the Broncos and we scared the shit out of the storm last week. We have a team of contenders for 2018. I’m sure there are signings in the wings for next year which can only add to our strength. Now that this season is over I’m going to enjoy the summer, watch the Ashes, and read 60’s training reports. I’m also going to spend time with those that matter and come back in 2018 refreshed, looking forward to seeing the boys go toe to toe again. I’m also hopeful that constitutional change happens and that it doesn’t take the limelight. Thank you to TCT for the reports and musings. By the way, I’ve been wondering, what’s your favourite whisky!

    Cheers guys

    1. Anonymous

      Pretty sure the squad will be tinkered adam , need couple big boppers and outside back my opinion , stacks of good juniors knocking on door but probably another 12 months away , yep bring on 2018 ,enjoy the ashes in meantime !

  18. Grunta

    What an outstanding season for the boys and BA, not to mention Max et al.
    You only have to look back 18 months to when the club was an absolute rabble to realise just how far the club has come in such a short period.
    OK, we are all disappointed that we don’t have that next game to look forward to and months of excitement was extinguished in 40 minutes, but what a ride and what a side!
    A couple of big boppers and a very good replacement for Semi and we will go even further in 2018.
    I’m just glad that we have a team that is a real force again and one that we can all be proud of.

    GO YOU EELS!!!

  19. q

    Like all Eels fans I was very disappointed with the result and it has taken me until now to post a response.

    I understand what Pou posted and don’t disagree with it. other teams not having four forwards on their bench. However it has been four forwards on the bench that in my opinion has been the key to our success in recent times. What works for other teams does not necessarily work for us. Maybe with improvement in our playing squad next year will enable us to go with three forwards on the bench but as soon as I saw that we weredown to three big forwards and a back up Hooker I was worried. When I realsised Alvaro wasn’t coming back I was majorly concerned.

    Just a couple of things moving forward

    1. John Eel

      Sorry about the post above. I had started to write it then thought that I had shut down the computer before posting. Not sure how it got posted.

      For 2018 I am thinking that there will be some organic growth in this squad which will make them a better team. It must be remembered that they are still basically young and inexperienced so having experienced 2017 will be good learning for them for next season

      It was reported in the media that we have around $1 Mill left to spend in the cap for next year. If this is true it may allow BA to get a couple more players for 2018.

      Not sure who BA thinks maybe worth promoting next year if any. Of the younger brigade most would seem to be a little too young and inexperienced for a full season in NRL in 2018

      Finding a replacement for Semi will be difficult. I think we may need a further addition to the backline. However having said that we will have Gutho and French returning next year.

      However I think that the biggest plus for us in 2018 will be our halves spend an off season together before the start of next year. This will give them the opportunity to work together without the immediate pressure of performing in a game

      What I am sure of is that we will have a better 2018. Go Eels

  20. shane(norman is the best)

    Good read forty20, I look forward to reading your section every week. I like your thoughts on the bench changes but I think it was a big error by BA in this game. Having 4 forwards on the bench was working for us and BA needed to look outside of the box so to speak. As an example if he had concerns over King he could still of had 4 forwards on the bench as he could of had Smith move to hooker, Taka to 5/8 Norman to fullback and Mau to centre who all have played in those position and done a good job or at the very least he could of let Brown take over the dummy half responsibilities or just have Smith take over the dummy half roll in attack having an extra forward on. All good in hind sight but having a game unfit Kaysa and Terepo on was a bad call on BA’s part.

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