The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Keeping The Faith

Keeping the faith.

It’s easy enough to say, but why should I?

What did I see “From The Stands” to give me, or any other Eels supporter, the basis for such faith?

I saw a team that played tough, showed respect for the jersey, and didn’t put up the white flag with the injuries sustained and penalties conceded. After the previous week, when none of this was in evidence, the contrast was profound. One wonders what may have been possible with the possession rates reversed.

I saw a team who looked gutted when they lost. As supporters, we knew that in terms of effort (though maybe not execution) they left nothing on the paddock. Deep down we know it’s imortant to them, but we do want the players to look like they care as much about the result as the fans do. There was no doubt on Saturday.

I saw a team who fixed their defence. If a team’s attitude is measured by its defence – and many pundits believe it is – then this is the basis for launching the season. Being zero wins from three starts is not where any playing group would want to be, but the Eels only conceded one try against a Sharks team enjoying 60% possession. That says plenty about attitude.

Browny you champion!

I saw Michael Jennings and Nathan Brown play outstanding team games ‪on Saturday night‬. They played the style of game and indeed the leadership that we need. In attack they just needed a few more to follow their lead.

On a side note, I also saw the difference between being a rugby league fan in general and the tribalism of Sydney league fans. Most Parra fans came mid-way through game one and they were only interested in their team (although I did take pleasure in watching Manly lose). The Rabbits fans left after game one. Manly and Shark fans quite simply didn’t turn up in any sort of numbers – they don’t leave the beaches.

The crowd was so disappointing. I don’t normally defend the NRL but seriously what more could they do? Would the combined crowd of two stand alone matches have been larger? How much was the attendance impacted by featuring three teams yet to register a win?

Enough of the NRL and their decisions. Back to the footy.

Looking ahead, where do the Eels go?

BA has said in the past “we just have to find a way to win”. That’s this week. Last week we just had to restore some pride, show some determination and desire. This week we have to win.

But how?

Many fans ‪will frustratingly agree that ‬Moses and Norman need to straighten the team in attack. Stop crabbing sideways. Sitting behind the goalposts as we did, you could not help but notice everyone was running one out and everything was being done many metres away from the Cronulla defensive line.

The best comment I heard ‪on Saturday night‬ to describe Parra’s attack was from a Souths supporter. He said this very genuinely to my family and I, “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians! Why did you change? It was working so well.”

We need to find our second phase play again and we need our fullback in the middle backing up our forwards, not standing out in the backline making an extra ball player and in fact crowding our centres, wingers and edge backrowers.

But my big hope is that this week the team is given back or taken back by Norman and Moses. If everyone else becomes a runner, just like last year, I think we may see a world of difference to our attack and see it very quickly.

Saturday night’s attack looked like a team trying not to lose – no risk football. It was both obvious and yet understandable, considering the week before.

This week the Eels need to play some “Parra Footy”: aggressive, fast, decisive, skilful footy. If we lose playing our footy I will accept that. The Sharks game was a step forward, but it’s time to release our attacking “Parra Footy” against the Tigers.

As supporters we also have to lift.

Finding our supporter mojo is important.

From in the stands it was a really strange experience as a Parra fan, something very unusual. The Parra crowd was very apprehensive, almost passive. I was thinking, do we clap, do we cheer or do we just wait and see? It was as if the indecisiveness on the field was manifesting in the crowd.

Most waited and started yelling once the referee sufficiently annoyed us all. At least the referees helped us in some way.

We need to win this weekend, but in doing so we must keep the faith.

The players need to keep the faith in ‘Parra footy’.

The supporters need to keep the faith and get behind our team. These are the times when they need us.

Finally we really should take heed  from the name given to Round 4 game ‘Stay Kind Cup’.

Stay Kind to all supporters, even those you disagree with. Stay kind to our players – they turned much around in 6 days.

I’m keeping the faith that they will continue to find their best footy – Parra Footy!


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7 thoughts on “From The Stands – Keeping The Faith

  1. Rubber

    I love coming to TCT for a dose of the positive but I’m starting to think that maybe I come here to escape reality?

  2. Colin Hussey

    Shelley, good blog mate, & as I read what you have said, reminds me of a cheer leader who is anxious to lift of the seat ready to wave the banners and cheer. C’mon you lot, time to really put it together and lift, go get’um.

    I guess I also sense like all eels supporters your pain in where we have been and are looking for a new beginning, put aside what has happened and start afresh, as the old Whitlam adds said, ITs time!

    I look forward to Mondays game and for our first points on the table to come out of it, so it is time & its been too long since a win, the run starts now, it simply has to.

  3. John Eel

    I think that they can win. Tigers play with aggressive defence but like the Eels have not shown a lot in attack. Hard for the Tigers to keep that sort of play going.

    1. Anonymous

      Interesting thought John. Is there a limit to the Tiger’s high energy, relentless defence? Will they be impacted positively or negatively by last week’s ref shocker?

  4. Rowdy

    Well Shelley, that was great to read and for me pointed to two things.

    Firstly, your call re the fullback role was spot on even if at centre half the time previously. we miss the only real fullback for this team which is Gutho! Not that the other two or three fullbacks can’t play just that Gutho proved to be so good there because he complimented Moses and Norman which is the main point I believe you were making. Very astute of you girl!

    Secondly, your summing up was quite philosophical and nice. I can’t see why we can’t play our best Parra footy and also be kind to everybody. A happy Easter Weekend to the same everybody. After all. Our saviour died for that same everybody, even if you don’t believe.

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