The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – The Jewel In The Crown And The Hidden Gem

From the stands there was something a little special about last Sunday.

I’ve been a part of bigger crowds at ANZ, and I’ve seen the Eels play better matches, but in terms of a regular season game that Tiger’s clash was one for my memory bank. The noise and atmosphere was simply brilliant.

This was a game in which the supporters and the players were as one. The Parramatta team, through pure effort and determination, dragged the fans into the game. In turn, the fans yelled themselves hoarse and helped the team to get over the line. It’s the jewel in the crown when everyone contributes in a total club victory.

From the stands there was a huge difference between Round 7 and Round 8. Against Manly, the team finally found their attacking mojo but the reality is that the opposition were a dispirited outfit. Some observers have even claimed that Manly played the Eels into form. Nonetheless, a win was all we really wanted so it was like winning the lottery.

On Sunday, the Eels showed a desire to play well individually, back themselves and ultimately back each other. They were disciplined. They took calculated risks, backing their team mates to execute. Importantly, when mistakes were made, especially with some really poor defensive reads, they didn’t drop their heads. As Brad Arthur demands – they made up for it. That’s my team and that’s a team I will always support and defend no matter the result.

Nothing exemplified this reborn spirit, desire, confidence and determination better than that Bevan French try.

What a try! What a celebration!

Yes, it was brilliant to watch and ultimately very important – but my joy did not purely come from the brilliance. This young man has spent the last two weeks being crucified by many. In some circles his desire and attitude was questioned, very unjustly in my opinion. It was hard to watch and listen to commentators and some supporters question a young man who has demonstrated nothing but great skill, desire, humility, guts and team spirit from his very first game in 2016.

French responded the way any good sportsperson should, on the field. During the match, he got involved, went looking for work, backed his skill and answered the critics. Just as importantly, his team mates clearly showed how important Bevan is for this team and to them. They continually got him into the game and, while his skill was enough to nail that try, the work done by his teammates beforehand to give him the opportunity was just as exciting for me. To see how excited the other players were for Bevan when they rushed over to congratulate him showed me that my team is back from whatever strange place they visited in the first six rounds, so I’m going to simply sit back and enjoy the ride.

Realistically, the hole we have dug for ourselves is still very deep. The up side is that we’ve started climbing back towards the light and given ourselves a chance to salvage something from a season that promised so much, but up until the last two weeks delivered nothing but misery.

The brothers, Jennings.

The salvage may not end up with finals footy, even though the dream is still alive, but it could uncover some hidden gems.

Look no further than a player whom, just four weeks ago, was known by most as simply Michael Jennings’ brother. He’s now earning his stripes as a very talented footballer in his own right. Indeed from the stands, George Jennings proved that he can handle the pressure of a tight NRL contest. He may just be one of the shining lights in what has, so far, been a somewhat dark year.

I have the belief that we may experience more light in the weeks to come.

 

Shelley

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Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

I agree Shelley. Gennings has been a great addition to our 17 and has been improving week on week. It was a great day at the footy, not just for the win but for what the team has shown they stand for. Parra Pride.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley a very good post indeed. Agree totally with you regarding the way Bev has been treated from sections of the broken fan base.

Bev and like many others are confidence players and he is now showing that, we all want success and it shows with players like him. I sometimes wonder re the attacks on him, is because of he is well presented in appearance rather than the want of a hard nosed bush type???

Skippy Nonna
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Skippy Nonna

Good Article again Shelley, I agree with you totally about the atmosphere that the crowd delivered on Sunday. My daughter and I have been asking for that sort of effort from the supporters all year.

Clive
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Clive

The criticism of French was ridiculous and from the usual suspects. I can assure you there was more to Bevan’s “off game” a few weeks back and none of it was Bevan’s fault.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Clive it wouldn’t matter if those who have put him down the most would not care about truth at the end of the day.

Born Eels man
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Born Eels man

I was on another eels site and some of the comments about our players and club were absolutely abhorrent , I left the site due to being attacked continually and I’m so glad i found this site

Tad
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Tad

Nice article Shelley. The few times I have seen French interviewed I have been really impressed with him -He seems like a kid wearing big boots,with a very polite innocent manner –he has loads of natural talent–I have said it on the other site but worth repeating -he is gifted with a very creative quick thinking mind where he can create something very special from nothing. His bodily fine motor skills are exceptional–would hate to lose him–he has the makings of being a very special player for us.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Tad, a spot on commentary of one of the most pleasant and natural persons I have ever struck, at least not in the flesh. For me its almost impossible to separate some of our younger players from each other in regard to their really wonderful attitudes and most of all their ease of speech and how they present themselves not only that but there politeness in the way they speak is tops. I believe Bev, Gutho, and Moses have each developed in to quality players and people, wonderful examples and ambassadors for the eels. We simply cannot afford to lose… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I really enjoy watching Bevan play but he also comes across as a very humble, loyal and hardworking young man. I think he is someone that can develop into a vital part of our team, especially if we want to win big games. I believe a prop or second rower is easier to find, but someone that has absolute natural ability and sees the game in a different way to most is a rare commodity.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Natural ability is something that cannot be coached into a player that includes his playing abilities and his off field ones also. He will be 22 next year and with his natural abilities along with his body strengthening with experience and normal body strengthening he get better. The one thing I would not like to see is any attempt to really try to bulk him up, his greatest asset is speed and agility which simply cannot put at risk. This may well be the area that our new trainer from the AFL could actually be a big plus for players… Read more »