Welcome back Parra.
I’m not sure why my Eels ever left, and I really have no idea how they turned it around in one week, but that team I had the pleasure of watching at ANZ on Sunday was my Parra team again.
I welcomed back a team full of passion, grit, determination, pride and commitment. This team, born and bred under adversity in 2016, returned. My family and I are so glad we had the opportunity to watch it come back to life.
The unbelievable skill and at times freakish talent in the backline was there for all to see and from the stands you could see the penny had finally dropped for our team.
Talent does not give you the right to win games, it simply allows you to ice it once you earn the right to do so.
Sixteen players in our team did their job. They were disciplined, both in attack and defence. They were controlled. Our back five started the sets really well, our middle forwards ran hard, straight and got quick play the balls. Our edge forwards ran strong damaging lines, used footwork and caused the defensive line to make decisions.
The offloads were beautiful, as Gutho’s try showcased, and as the game progressed it went from just Gutho supporting the forwards and encouraging offloads, to the rest of our spine consistently moving up and expecting an offload. From the stands, it was apparent that our team believed in one another and themselves again.
Our halves complemented each other magnificently. Norman was patient and controlled with his general play. His kicks had purpose and were pin point. Once we got Manly trapped in their own half, his kicks and the team’s fantastic chase and defensive discipline kept them there. As the game went on and Norman grew in confidence he took the line on more with conviction. Moses was able to shine brightly because he was running and attacking first. This opened space for his wonderful skill set to shine and shine it certainly did. This combination has the potential to be absolutely brilliant but for this to happen they need the people around them to do their job. This past Sunday they all did.
Sixteen players did their job, and one player stood out. I thought Kaysa Pritchard was superb. I’ve always believed that he could defend and be brilliant in attack – I just didn’t think he could do both consistently in the one game.
Didn’t he prove me wrong!
He was controlled but still aggressive in defence. He finally started running with the ball and kept the markers engaged. It opened up our attack, giving time and space to our halves and forwards. I think we clearly saw that a dynamic 60 minute Kaysa is far more crucial then an 80 minute tanked Kaysa.
Finally, while the win was much needed for the team, supporters, coaches and club in the 2018 season, it was far more important than that. From my perspective, the most important thing that was rediscovered this past Sunday was our spirit, or to steal BA’s words- our identity.
All great clubs have a unique identity and we somehow rediscovered ours. We’ve dug a really big hole for ourselves in the 2018 season and who really knows if the hole is too big to get out of this year. But there are two things I feel sure about: my team won’t give up and this past Sunday got us back on the right path as a club.
Welcome back Parra!
It’s good to have my team back again.