“ You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it”
If I was to meet the Parramatta players, coaches or management I would apologise because I have made judgements on players and their effort and attitude based purely on what I see. The reality is what I see is clouded by my disappointment and, like many I need answers, I try to find them.
The truth is I know nothing about the players, or their lives. They don’t stop being humans when they walk on the field. I don’t know the game plan, unknown injuries or anything else. Yes I hate losing but I hate quitters more.
In the light of this, my message to the Eels players and coaches would be this:
I have faith in you.
I believe you are a good footy side.
I believe you care not just about your team mates but also this club.
I trust you will have the strength to come out the other side better for it.
However, this next message also needs to be crystal clear:
As long as you carry yourself like a defeated player or a broken team – whether it be by your talk on the field, your body language in the contest, your attitude in the dressing sheds or your comments to the media – you will remain just that!
Let the haters hate and the journalists spread gossip, nothing you say will change that. But, you must think positive, act positive, be confident and believe in yourself and each other. It is the only way out of it.
Simply, the negativity must stop and so from me it will.
Therefore, with the positivity being firmly on the agenda this week, what did I see from the stands that pleased me from that last game against the Warriors?
1) Manu Mau- Since the Raiders game Manu has stood tall, taken the criticism and moved on. He’s been an on-field leader, run hard, tackled harder, and showed immense pride and resilience. He’s reminded me and hopefully many more why he is so important to our team.
2) Peni Terepo- He did what he usually does well – hard running and making metres. He avoided the handling errors and missed tackles that also normally spoil his game. He showed great effort and commitment, especially in the second half. When the time was toughest and we needed him the most he stood tall.
3) David Gower- A couple of weeks ago David Gower said “I always have had to fight for my spot.” Fight he did. Add to that running hard and straight with unwavering commitment and determination.
4) Gutherson- He was not one of the best on the field but one moment summed up Gutho and why he has so much leadership potential. In the first half he was faced with a decision with a bouncing ball on the ground close to the line with a Warriors player in toe. He put the ball out, backed his team’s defence and was rewarded – we held them out for three consecutive sets. He learnt from his mistake last week and made sure he did not make it again.
5) The fans – Those who turned up at the game, switched on the TV or radio or supported them in whatever way they could remain an important part of the club turning things around. We must stay the Blue and Gold army, a disciplined group all moving in the same direction if we want to win the battle. At this point we are the shield behind which our team can shelter so they can regroup. That is what an army is designed to do.
Finding the positive is my choice. I can understand the frustrations of Eels supporters and I would not begin to tell anyone that they aren’t entitled to feel this way.
In life, I believe that you should back people, show your faith in them and give them a helping hand when they’re lying on the ground rather than lay the boot in.
All these players above have bounced back from much criticised form, misjudgements, brain snaps and poor errors. I decided to acknowledge and celebrate that bounce back from certain players because they epitomise the qualities and type of people that will help my club rebound. Quite frankly, I have faith we will do just that – bounce back.
I trust BA. I trust he can and will make the correct decisions. I trust the players, their heart and desire. This choice is mine and I am sticking solidly to it.