Eels: 34 defeat Dragons: 16
Crowd: 16, 023
What a great result for the Eels and a superb start to the season. For those of us who travelled down to the Gong, the sweetness of the victory made the 3-hour drive back home worthwhile.
A week is a long time in footy. Let’s consider the form line going into this round. The Dragons towelled up the Panthers and the Tigers played brilliantly to smash the Bunnies. Jump to this week and the Panthers played awesome footy against a hapless Tigers and then the Dragons have difficulty getting any momentum against a clinical Eels.
Oh how the Mighty Red V turned on their team yesterday. Yes a week is a long time in footy.
So, let’s have a look at the stats that matter for Parramatta.
|1||1||C.Gutherson||TRY||0 – 4|
|1||3||C.Gutherson||CONVERSION MISS||0 – 4|
|1||17||S.Radradra||TRY||0 – 8|
|1||18||C.Gutherson||CONVERSION MISS||0 – 8|
|1||22||S.Radradra||TRY||0 – 12|
|1||24||C.Gutherson||CONVERSION||0 – 14|
|1||31||B.Takairangi||TRY||0 – 18|
|1||33||C.Gutherson||CONVERSION MISS||0 – 18|
|1||38||G.Widdop||TRY||4 – 18|
|1||39||G.Widdop||CONVERSION||6 – 18|
|2||46||B.French||TRY||6 – 22|
|2||48||C.Gutherson||CONVERSION||6 – 24|
|2||50||J.Dugan||TRY||10 – 24|
|2||52||G.Widdop||CONVERSION MISS||10 – 24|
|2||58||S.Radradra||TRY||10 – 28|
|2||59||C.Gutherson||CONVERSION||10 – 30|
|2||69||P.Vaughan||TRY||14 – 30|
|2||70||G.Widdop||CONVERSION||16 – 30|
|2||75||S.Radradra||TRY||16 – 34|
|2||76||C.Gutherson||CONVERSION MISS||16 – 34|
|Complete/Total Sets (%)||27/36 (75)|
|Time – Opposition Half||43:23|
|Time – Opposition 20||
|1||Goal Line Dropout||
The most pleasing aspect of this round was our ability to convert Opposition 20 time into points. We certainly earned the right to score points against the Sea Eagles the week before, but a combination of resolute defence from Manly and some rustiness from the Eels limited the work of the scoreboard attendants. There was no such luck for the Dragons. Even the Jennings dropped ball with the line wide open provided little respite for the red and whites.
Parra’s offence really clicked and the Dragons had no real answer to stop the fast moving Eels attacking line. Fortunately for them, a howling wind from the north gave Gutherson grief with his kicking and helped to keep the score under 40.
|Complete/Total Sets (%)||
|24:45||Time – Opposition Half||
|Time – Opposition 20||8:36|
|0||Goal Line Dropout||
The 1st half stats really don’t show the Eels dominance. Parramatta’s attack always looked threatening, whereas the Dragons made little impression on Parramatta’s fast moving defence. A forward pass call on Semi, a dropped ball from Jennings and a few missed conversions from Gutherson left the score at 18 – 6 at oranges. In fact, if Jennings had taken that pass, the Eels would have been celebrating their fifth try of the half instead of waiting for Widdop’s conversion of his own four-pointer.
It was a score line that was flattering for the home team.
|Complete/Total Sets (%)||14/18 (78)|
|12:32||Time – Opposition Half||
|Time – Opposition 20||10:55|
|1||Goal Line Dropout||
The 2nd half saw the Eels reign supreme in both their play and the scoreboard. They were simply dominant in all aspects of the game.
This was not to say that the Eels were perfect. From my vantage point in the Northern Stand, there appeared to be moments during the second half when the Eels lost a bit of concentration. I’m not sure if it was due to tiredness, match fitness, or thinking they had the game in the bank, but the intensity seemed to drop off. However, even at those times the Eels did regroup and their game management was quickly restored.
Many in the press have labelled this performance as an attacking masterclass from the Eels and it’s difficult to argue with that.
Corey Norman played a brilliant hand in the Eels attacking raids and was a constant threat to the defence. A well known journalist who failed to include Norman in his top 50 players in the NRL must surely be questioning his own judgement.
Importantly, Norman was professionally supported by new halves partner, Clint Gutherson. These two are was already gelling and the combination can only get better. Indeed, rather than simply being the junior partner, the supremely fit Gutherson actually had more possessions than Norman. Certain ‘experts’ would be putting their humble pie in the oven now – put the bibs on now fellas. Better yet – just jump aboard the ‘Guth Bus’.
Of course it’s early days, but it shows that the attack isn’t totally reliant on our gifted halfback. As he showed last year, Gutho can lead the team around the paddock and is developing a nice short kicking game.
|Top 5 Runs|
|Top 5 Run Metres|
Only 3 Eels ran for over 100 metres
Only three Eels ran in excess of 100metres but these players topped the running metres for the match and a further 4 Eels ran for over 90 metres each. In contrast, the Dragons also had just the 3 players run over 100 metres but had no one in the 90’s.
I can’t just talk statistics, because it would be remiss of me not to mention the Michael Jennings try assist pass from between the legs. Once again, the Eels have produced one of the highlights of the season already. Michael himself might be modest, and people might call it a fluke, but Sixties has reported on the skills work done with Joey Grima at training. Hand eye co-ordination, along with carrying and juggling the footy in odd positions are part and parcel of his drills. The results speak for themselves.
Yet with such a highlight from Jennings, it was still Semi’s finishing that got me on my feet. He had to stop and wait for the ball then just powered his way over. It was sensational work from the left edge.
|Top 5 Tackles|
|Top 5 Missed Tackles|
Again the Eels forced their opposition to complete more tackles than themselves. The Dragons made 350 tackles to Parra’s 261. The missed tackles read Dragons 16, Eels 23.
The Eels defence was once again on task. Although the missed tackles seem high, this statistic can be deceiving. The Eels excel as a defensive unit and the covering defence is rarely far away. What was encouraging as well was Parramatta’s 2nd phase defence. The Dragons did slip a few balls away, which was a bit of a worry, but the cover was there in spades.
From an individual perspective, Kaysa Pritchard impressed by leading the tackle count. De Gois leaves big shoes to fill but Kaysa is excelling in line speed and pure numbers. Was there ever any doubt?
The defence also supplied a highlight reel moment with Matagi’s hit late in the game. What a signing he is for the Eels!
If there are any further stats you would like to see, please let me know and see what I can come up with.
STAT ATTACK: PLAYER OF THE WEEK
I couldn’t go past Semi for his performance against the Dragons.
Semi gets this week’s gong from the ‘Gong with an impressive attacking display. After a quiet week at Lottoland, Semi showed why he is the premier winger in the NRL with 4 tries.
Semi seems a lot happier out on the field and is showing he does want to be here in 2017 and repay the Eels for 2016.
Hopefully we will see this type of form for the weeks to come, and especially after May.
Welcome back to form Semi.
Stats courtesy of Champion Data. All these stats and more can be viewed on our match centre at http://mc.championdata.com/nrl/ including live game stats.