The Cumberland Throw

The Spotlight – Passion Without Precision But The Signs Are Right

Don’t let that loss hurt. Draw inspiration from it.

That should be the message from the Eels loss to the Broncos.

Players should never be satisfied with a strong performance in defeat. The aim for every match is victory. Parra lost, again, so nobody would be strutting around pleased with what went down.

That said, this was a defeat from which plenty can be taken.

But before looking for the positive, let’s not gloss over some of the continuing problems.

Errors again featured, and the Eels certainly get punished on the scoreboard for most.

The first 15 minutes of the game basically set the game up for the Broncos.

A line-ball offside penalty against the Parramatta kick chase (after Moeroa was held up one play earlier) led to a spectacular individual try to Osako.

A soft head high tackle call was followed up by the Broncos going for the quick tap. Jennings conceded the penalty and found himself in the bin. The next Bronco try soon followed. (The blatant forward pass from Boyd was naturally given the all-clear!)

In both instances, errors from the Eels were spotted by the referees and the tries were scored as a direct consequence.

The third try resulted from clever play from the Broncos. The quick identification of Brad Takairangi not being properly set and balanced in the defence line was rewarded via perfect execution and the pace of Roberts. Classy teams will seize those opportunities and the Broncos were the epitome of class in that moment.

Across the balance of the game, my greatest concern surrounds the mid-field kicking game from the Eels. Every week, mid-field bombs or high kicks directly to the fullback are the norm. Yet I know that this is not part of the game plan. It’s confusing as to why it continues.

I’ve read some criticism of the kick-chase, and there is that saying – “a kick is only as good as its chase.” Whilst acknowledging that there are some occasions when there could be someone competing for the ball, it’s apparent that the team are trying to maintain a straight line in chasing poorly placed kicks. It’s an aspect of Season 2018 that must be improved.

Twice denied Michael Jennings.

It’s also impossible to ignore lost try scoring opportunities. The Eels crossed the line four times for one intercept try. It could be argued that Jennings second dropped ball was literally in the act of scoring. How can this be rectified? It’s arguable that the body position of Eels players is too high as they cross, allowing the opposition to hold the player up or get access to the ball for a strip. This could be a consideration for the coaches. That said, the 50/50 calls don’t seem to go the Eels way with last pass or strip calls.

It may seem like I’ve again identified aspects of the Eels play which point ownership for the loss at the Eels. Any fair minded supporter would not ignore the errors or poor execution which typifies the Eels season. Last night was very much passion without precision.

However, let me be clear. I was fuming about the officiating last night and believe that it was a major factor in the loss. It was reminiscent of the 2017 Finals match against the Storm.

It’s my opinion that not one 50/50 call went against the Broncos. Forward passes, interference on the kick chase, professional fouls that should have resulted in a sin bin, the strip on Jennings – every decision fell their way. It is often said, “that’s footy. It all evens out.” I’m still waiting for the roundabouts to follow the swings in that regard.

Of course, there’s nothing to be gained from focussing on the shortcomings of Ashley Klein and his mates. In my opinion he should not be controlling NRL matches, but as he still gets appointed to a frustratingly large number of Eels fixtures, it’s up to the team to improve their performance.

So to the positive.

In recent weeks, the Eels have lost matches to teams who should have been beaten. In those clashes, Parramatta have played some awful football.

It hurt, but the Eels should draw inspiration from their effort.

Against the Broncos, the effort level from Parra was possibly their best of the year. There were a couple of defensive misses, but all teams will miss tackles. For the great majority of the game the players worked themselves to exhaustion. Nothing was left in the tank.

Parramatta’s much criticised forwards measured up against their much bigger opponents. It’s been the trend from round 7 onwards. The stats confirm the inroads made in attack.

The Eels made 1617 metres to the Broncos 1480. Parramatta matched the Broncos 6 line breaks and their carries resulted in 35 tackle breaks to Brisbane’s 30.

The message to the players can be clear.

That level of commitment had you close, very close, to defeating a talented opposition. Perhaps a different official would have seen a number of crucial calls differently. Perhaps, on another night, Jennings holds onto the ball both times. It may be a case of “what ifs” but this really was one of those matches.

Don’t feel frustrated.

Don’t feel defeated.

Don’t feel miserable.

Feel energised by proving to yourselves, and to your supporters, that you can and will compete with the best.

Commit like that every week and the victories will follow.


Eels forever!




Credit for images to NRL and Parramatta Eels

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AnonymousRowdyOffsideRealistic EelShelley Recent comment authors
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Totally agree with your comments Sixties; errors are killing the team along with some execution. Jennings has carried the ball this way since his junior days; Penrith tried to sort it but could not.I have little else to say about this as its frustrating….. 🙁

Colin Hussey
Colin Hussey

60’s, the last 3 listed items if mixed together makes a wonderful stew. I shake my head in disbelief at the game last night. I stayed in front of the box last night until the final hooter, it was both hard to watch but also good and it showed how the eels really can play. Three tries denied by inept refereeing tells but one part of the story. The French no try was a linesman call rather the Calvins call, thing was on replay the linesman was behind the play rather than in line. Jennings badly dropped one sitter but… Read more »

Parra Pete, Thurgoona
Parra Pete, Thurgoona

I can cop a loss when the players have a go..and they did HAVE A GO against the Broncos..The refereeing 50/5o calls went against them and five times over the line for one try!!!!..tells the tale


As long as my team is trying hard both in the game and to improve what needs to be improved within the squad I will always support them. I don’t have to agree with all decisions, game plan etc I simply need to see pride in the Jersey. Sure winning is what I ideally want but that does not always happen. Rabbitohs, Warriors, Dragons missed the 8 last year- a few selective, smart and calculated changes can turn things around. I just hope my club can stay calm, avoid past errors, ignore the irrational tabloid news who will get every… Read more »

Realistic Eel
Realistic Eel

Nothing to celebrate here. Since Brad Arthur has been our coach the effort of the players hasn’t been questioned in probably 99% of games. That’s his strength as a coach…his players playing with passion & giving it their all. BUT, once again……the amount of ball we had in the opposition red zone & our attack was clueless, unorganised, at least the forwards threw a few offloads but it makes me sick that two or three times in a set 20m out or less we just we have a forward making a middle field settler. It’s so boring, other teams attack… Read more »


I believe/hope he has already coached himself out of a job. Our lack of ideas inside the 20 all season have been diabolical


OK Sixties. I won’t feel miserable. I won’t feel frustrated and I won’t feel defeated any longer than it takes to arrest those thoughts, because it’s generally not in my make up. Unless of course we’re talking about referees? Then I’ll battle the frustration over and over again until we get a few calls go our way or the weekend passes without any impartial support for my chagrin. If Tuesday morning arrives without impartial support? Then I’ll settle for biased, partial parochial support because I know I have to get on with life! As for defeated? Can’t argue with the… Read more »


Attitude and execution is poor. Sadly Wenty did not look much better yesterday against the bears.