The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Integrity, Respect, Excellence (and Honesty)

Sunday’s slaughter.

We can’t ignore it but neither should we now dwell on it.

Of course I’m disappointed but I want our players to pick themselves up and put their best self forward.

So as a fan up in the stands, I’ll leave last Sunday in the past. But, in looking forward, I’ll take the opportunity to reflect on the times I’ve seen attitude, desire and respect from our boys – times when our backs were against the wall. You see, I believe that those things simply went missing last week. Those qualities haven’t been destroyed.

Let’s take inspiration from our recent past.

Round 2, 2016: Parramatta vs Cowboys
I was so excited before the season started. The great saviour, Foran, had arrived and round 1 saw the team lined up against the Broncos at Parra Stadium. Unfortunately, the clash didn’t go to script and sadly the Eels got beaten up. Foran did not play and Norman was taken to hospital with a neck injury.

It was a disaster with star players injured, and the fans in the packed stadium left deflated.

The next opponent, the Cowboys, were the reigning champions.

Nobody told the players they couldn’t possibly win, because they didn’t just come up trumps on the scoreboard, they also won the battle of desire and attitude.

It was the first time in a long time that I saw the Western grandstand rise as one (as did the Cronin Stand) when we held Jonathan Thurston and his Premiership team out after 6 consecutive drop outs. Yes, we cheered the fact the scoreboard had not changed, but more importantly we witnessed the great attitude and desire now evident in BA’s Eels. It was a quality which would earn my admiration.

Round 19, 2016: Parramatta vs Penrith

The season had imploded with off-field salary cap dramas and on-field injuries.

The injury crisis saw Manu Ma’u at centre.

Our team had lost its points. Players such as Peats, Paulo, Norman, Foran, Takairangi, and Radradra had either left the club or were unavailable through injury. Ma’u had to play in the centres and Gutho was playing five-eighth alongside Jeff Robson. Michael Jennings was then injured in the middle of the match, with Beau Scott and Kenny Edwards taking turns to fill in at centre.

We lost the game on goal kicking, but won so much more.

The resilience and pride in performance was extraordinary. We even hailed a new king. We could all be proud of the team again and I knew that in 2017 I would be proud of the club again.

It was evident that our new club values of integrity, Respect, Excellence were being defined and written in stone long before our new board and CEO named them officially. We could also add some good old fashioned honesty.

Round 17, 2017: Parramatta vs Tigers

Easter Monday at ANZ, our 70th birthday game.

The Eels were coming off four straight losses and I went to the game hopeful rather than confident.

Bevan was injured, Norman could hardly run with his hamstring and Edwards was still suspended. They had not played great the week before against the Warriors, actually they were dreadful, but the fans turned up in big numbers for this important day.

As the Eels fell behind 18-10, Moses was lining up a kick for the Tigers. I was cursing and waned half the team dropped.

Gutho – he and Taka inspired their team mates.

Then I noticed 2 players, Gutho and Taka, blasting the players and looking them in the eye. I vividly remember Taka pointing to different parts of the crowd. I saw desire and attitude. I could see that he demanded that the players respect the occasion, respect the club. I could see that Gutho and Taka really wanted to win and demanded this from the other players.

From the ensuing restart, we started running harder and went from pathetic to brilliant all with the same players on the field. Many of the same players who in the previous 4 weeks and the first 60 minutes of this game had dropped ball after ball, given away absurd penalties, missed tackles – really soft tackles and looked disinterested, had somehow recaptured desire – and the crowd support followed.

In the following weeks we beat Penrith and the Cowboys. Our season started again and the Eels qualified for the finals in 4th place.

The point is that no matter why players lose desire, they are the only ones who can fix it.

BA made no structural changes in that game last year, we had no big props that came on, and Semi had a dreadful game – but the boys were made accountable on that field by Gutho and Taka.

I am not sure who or how or when the boys will make each other accountable, but it is up to them.

I’ll do my job. I’ll support, yell and cheer whatever team BA puts on the field, even if I disagree with it. The coaches will prepare tactics, just like they did last year to get us to the Top 4‪. Ultimately, it‬ will come down to the attitude and desire of the players.

Our season is on the line, not with regard to points but rather attitude and desire to compete. For me, a win is not necessarily found on the scoreboard, but in that desire and commitment to compete.

This team has demonstrated on a multitude of occasions that they can rise against the odds. I know and believe to my core that it can return. And if it does, the rest of the season will take care of itself, regardless of the result this coming weekend.

The supporters will get behind the team.

This week is our new Easter Monday moment.

Last year we celebrated our birthday. This year, I predict we will witness the rebirth of the trust/ respect between our fans and players.

So given that I have now called on Eels players to be resilient, and rediscover that attitude and desire, then I will do the same.

My family and I will make the 5 hour round trip up to ANZ and I hope to see the Blue and Gold army with me. These players played a leading role in helping hold our club together in 2016 so let’s return the favour and help them.

Over to you boys, I will do my job and while some will call me crazy, I have faith you will do yours.

Integrity, Respect, Excellence (and Honesty) – find this in your performance, restore the pride – and we’ll be in the stands cheering you on.

Shelley

34
Click Here to Reply ...

avatar
16 Comment threads
18 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
John EelKeyser SozeShelleyParra Pete, ThurgoonaJJ Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Here! Here! Rise up eels supporters and all cheers to Shelley – Great blog Shelley. Thanks.

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

Of course like many I was disappointed. Upon reflection this team has given us far more to be proud about and we need to be there to support them, just like they supported the club in 2016. I think if we support them, then in fact we can turn last Sunday into a positive. If not and we keep reminding them how bad they played, then it could turn ugly very quickly.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Sometimes the puns work better when not intended, when read in the right context.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Its quite interesting when one considers 2016, we were doomed to finish outside the top 8, yet all and sundry were supporting the team, and the coach. We played for pride and didn’t they get that in huge lumps? 2017, we reach the finals and most thought it was a fluke, after the event., Now we are in 2018, yes like you I am disappointed, and like many would have liked to have seen more changes to the run on squad, and said so. Now we are two nights away from our next match, would love to be there but… Read more »

Trouser Eel
Guest
Trouser Eel

Well done Shelley. If you gave that speech on the back of a horse, with half your face painted blue (and the other half gold) I’d follow you! I’ll be there. Let’s raise our voices and show our support, so the boys can show their commitment.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I’m.coming from Canberra for the game. In believe in what BA is doing, he will get them firing again and we will be back on track.

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

Well done! I know some have been very vocal and tashing everything Brad and the boys have achieved, but I think the majority of Parra’s supporters are far more resilient and will stick solid

Parra Pete, Thurgoona
Guest
Parra Pete, Thurgoona

OF COURSE….I remember the years when having 50 put on us was a regular occurrence….Separates the wheat from the chaff.

Two rounds so far in 2018..”Nothing great is Easy”

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Shelley, what an inspiring blog, I can add the support of myself, my best mate/wife to yours and your family. We will be there at ANZ stadium and I believe we will be surrounded by many more faithful Parra fans too. You hit the nail on the head there when you said this team can rise to the occasion when required. That is now. I believe among all the excuses for the loss against Penrith, complacency may have been one of them, accompanied by it’s bedfellow. A real lack of urgency! These two character flaws were trotted out again on… Read more »

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

Thank you. It is what I believe and I think the blue and gold army will be there on Saturday so badly wanting to get behind the boys. They just need to give us a reason in the game to cheer loudly. It is a big game for them and the club.

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

I don’t why but my last comment was published as anonymous, but I’ll take responsibility for calling our team “Delusional”, “complacent” and “having a real lack of urgency”

JonBoy
Guest
JonBoy

I too will be there and hope to see the level of effort and urgency we all know exists in our team.

PS- Not trying to be clever but just pointing out that the values are Integrity, Respect and Excellence. Throwing in some honesty certainly doesn’t hurt though, especially this past week.

sixties
Admin

Cheers mate, I’m going to do a small edit on Shelleys behalf. Appreciate that.

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

Thank you for noticing that, your absolutely correct.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

That’s the passion that all Eels fans demonstrate! Well written. I think if any players or coaching staff see this, they will see we’re still backing them!

Milo
Guest
Milo

Good piece Shelley, i enjoyed it. the quote below is interesting, ‘Then I noticed 2 players, Gutho and Taka, blasting the players and looking them in the eye. I vividly remember Taka pointing to different parts of the crowd. I saw desire and attitude. I could see that he demanded that the players respect the occasion, respect the club.’ To me this should not need to occur to if we want to be a top four team, that is what worries me. We seem to have some players who drop their bundle; i admire the work of Taka / Gutho… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Milo, don’t totally agree but don’t totally disagree either. In the games that I watch, and not just those with the eels in it, every team that I see that has a try scored against them usually has the captain rounding the players up and talking to them, sometimes very agitated. Its also common to see the on field trainer and bottle boy in the midst as well relaying messages to them from the coach. Do these actions help or hinder? As I am not on the paddock to hear the discussions I have no answer for it. OTOH, I… Read more »

Milo
Guest
Milo

Yes Col, i see that. I guess my main point is the players should have the effort / desire inside them to perform. To me we at times seem drop our bundle, and i do not mean the whole team, only some but it does affect the team.
Anyway its a good article by Shelley.
I just worked out what OTOH is!!

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Unfortunately Milo, dropsy is contagious. And by that I mean, dropping/switching off, once one does it, it tends to spread.

The article is an excellent one indeed, and has brought good responses to it.

Milo
Guest
Milo

I can see that point Col; i think some strong teams handle it better! No pun intended

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Colin in that last sentence I think that you just described the Storm

Skippy Nonna
Guest
Skippy Nonna

Well said Shelley, I am with you all the way, you’re either a supporter or not. I have withdrawn from 2 Eels fan sites this week because I am sick of the way they denigrate the players and coach. Yesterday while picking my grandkids up from school 1 of the fathers turned wearing an Eels hoodie and supporters cap, he was greeted with laughter and when asked why he wore it after Sundays game he said “I wear it when we win and I wear it when we loose”. That’s the type of supporter we need.

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

My sentiments also Skippy.

I wish they could understand what disloyalty and unfaithfulness do to undermine a society.

What would these people do in time of war if they can’t be loyal to a footy team?

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

Well said

Gazzamatta
Guest
Gazzamatta

Churchillian speech Shelly. What are you doing 5 minutes before game time on Saturday Night. Maybe BA could use you.
Well said.

Lady Eel
Guest
Lady Eel

Love your loyalty and passion Shelley, and like you, we will will make the 5 hour return trip to the game, determined to show our support. Every Eels supporter would be disappointed with the start of the season, it’s not something we expected, but we need to get behind the team and show our support, it’s not the time for showing emotional immaturity. You are either a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person, and I love the fact that this site attracts the glass half full type. Good luck to Brad and the team this… Read more »

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

I was disappointed and certainly let my thoughts be known about Sunday. But it happened and you move forward. This club is as much about the fans as it is the players, as are all NRL clubs. If we stayed fixated on Sunday and wont move forward, how can we expect the players to. It is up to the players on Saturday night how they perform, I really care little about the result, but more about the performance.I trust Brad and and the coaches. He sees what is happening each day. If he feels he should stick with the players… Read more »

Pou
Guest
Pou

You say thing good Shelley. I agree.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Shelley loving your contribution to TCT. Just one thing though, if we keep using that photo of our own follower, Hamsammich, he may start charging. Although between us, he loves that he has been immortalised in the go to shot of eels fans. Very jealous Ham!

sixties
Admin

I’m the one guilty of dropping in Ham’s photo on a regular basis. Trying to get to the point where Eels fans stop him in the street.

JJ
Guest
JJ

Great work in your compiling this piece. I was there when Manly clocked us at Parra Stadium many years ago and there again at Brooky on Sunday. We all feel the pain of the Brooky massacre last Sunday and we all vent in different ways and expressions.
The elegance and grace of your written words always demonstrates your passion whilst expressing the reality of what all Parra fans feel. I commend you as being a lady of knowledge and grace and someone I think many on theTCT would like to have drink with and talk footy with

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

Thank you, much appreciated. I was taught to love and respect the skill of footy, especially my Eels, by my wise and wonderful grandfather.

Keyser Soze
Guest
Keyser Soze

Great write up Shelley. Warmed the cockles of my heart.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Shelley. Completely off topic, I think that there is something wrong with the photo of the stadium on your header.

The artists impression of the WSS shows the corporate boxes on the Western side. However it shows the setting sun shading the Eastern stand. Of course it could be an early morning game showing the sun rising.