The Cumberland Throw

The Spotlight – Dedication Goes AWOL in 2018

I’ve got a lot of respect for NRL players.

They put their body on the line in arguably the toughest collision sport in the world.

For many years I’ve watched the Eels team both train and play. Year round. Like other teams, it’s a gruelling pre-season regime, followed by the weekly demands of professional sport. Individuals have to be tough, talented and dedicated to succeed.

These players dedicate their lives to preparing to wear the jersey that supporters cheer for. It doesn’t come easy. Anybody who thinks that it’s easy doesn’t understand football.

Out of the countless thousands that played footy as kids, it’s a minute percentage who go on to be professional footballers in the NRL. And they deserve the success and the pay packet that comes their way.

With that acknowledgement made, there’s some truths that need to be said about the Parramatta team tonight.

I’ve deliberately used the word “dedicated” a number of times in my preamble. That’s because something made perfect sense as I wallowed in the agony of defeat.

There was a distinct lack of dedication on the field tonight.

It’s all very well to give everything you’ve got on the training paddock, to give lip service about the need to turn up on match days and perform. But if you haven’t got 17 players all dedicating themselves to doing what needs to be done in every moment of every game then you won’t win football matches.

Sadly this is Parramatta, 2018 version.

In past weeks, Brad Arthur has talked about the big moments that we’ve lost in some of the close defeats this year. He’s specifically mentioned periods of games that let the team down. Against the Knights, it wasn’t just big moments. It was many, many little moments too. And the period that the team let themselves (and supporters) down for was bang on 80 minutes long.

On countless occasions against the Knights, players stared at a ball on the ground, waiting for someone to pick it up or fall on it. There was zero desperation to stop Knights players from grounding the football over the line and yet this is something other teams do so well against the Eels. Certain forwards pushed through the defence line with an arm free, only to find nobody there or the person in support with their head turned away because they’d given up on the play.

Adding to all of that, the frustration of seeing players taking wrong options is now a weekly ritual.

A big run, a big hit, means nothing if you’re not prepared to do the effort on effort plays or the one percent moments that are so crucial in every game. Surely staying alive in the play until the referee calls held is one of the basics to an NRL footballer.

Where is the commitment, the dedication to playing for the blue and gold colours that many supporters have loved for a lifetime? Those of us who braved the cold conditions at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night did not deserve to sit through that uninspired performance.

As I typed up this post, I questioned whether expressing my opinion like this was appropriate. Shouldn’t I be supporting the team when they are down?

It was then that I had an epiphany.

I show my support every week. I’m dedicated in my support – and I’m sure the rest of the roughly seven thousand people in attendance tonight are just as dedicated.

The supporters who turned up deserved to have every Parra player turn up too. It’s not a matter of whether the team wins or loses, it’s whether the team digs in and leaves nothing in the tank.

It was not so in this clash. The supporters had to witness a lack lustre effort against a team with the worst defensive record in the competition. As horrible as the score was, it flattered the Eels.

Walking out of the ground tonight, I started to compile a list of players whose effort was above criticism. After considering the merits of five or six players, I realised how ridiculous it was to consider such a question. Simply posing the question to myself was evidence enough of how little the players were dedicated to their roles in this match.

In the press conference, BA and Gutho described this game as embarrassing. I hope that all of the team feels that way, because there are no excuses – absolutely none! It was not the performance of a team that cares about who they are representing.

I’m not going to single out individuals for praise or criticism. The fact is that too few deserved praise. And yes, the fans also felt the embarrassment.

The feedback from the supporters tonight needs to be that blunt.

I’ll keep turning up. It’s about time that the whole team did too!

 

Eels forever!

 

Sixties

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Realistic EelThe rev aka SneddenShelleymitchThe emporer Recent comment authors
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Anonymous
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Anonymous

G’day Sixties, fellow supporter and disillusioned fan. I took my oldest grandson to tonight’s game, hoping to re-ignite his fervor for our team. I picked the wrong night as it turned out, but we did have a good night just enjoying one another’s company. We ate a couple of really nice Villis pies and shared a twin Crunchie bar. When he decided we’d had enough with about 10 mins to go? I didn’t offer any argument and I got the opportunity to explain to him that following a footy team means learning how to win and to lose graciously. I… Read more »

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

Jenko hasn’t had a good run in recent weeks, but to say he has been a bad selection from day one is simply wrong. There have been many good games from him and hopefully many more to come.
His recent efforts deserve to be called out, but it gets tiring when I hear people call for heads to fall over periodic form slumps. If we had someone better in the ranks, if expect BA would select them.
So, who should be playing in his position?

Trapped in the 1970's
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Trapped in the 1970's

I’m a contractor and I regularly go to the Blue Mountains to work. I was up there again last Friday and the greater proportion of staff where I go are panthers fans. Early in the season there was some light banter but in recent visits there has been none of that, just pity. They shake their heads and ask what’s wrong, the eels were in my top 4 for this year, they’ve got a good roster and coach, played so well last year. Not to worry they’ll come good I’ve tipped this week (vs. Knights) they told me. I told… Read more »

Realistic Eel
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Realistic Eel

Nothing personal against Brad Arthur but surely his time is up? In European football club owners & bosses acknowledge that a coach has 2yrs max at each club, possibly more if winning trophies. They realise that players have an extra spring in their step once a new voice is in charge, this may last for one season but then usually goes pear shaped in season two. Hence bring a new coach in and the process starts again. Not easy in the nrl due to the salary cap but first step for Parra is to hire a head of football to… Read more »

Avenger
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Avenger

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Agree 100%. He needs to be sacked and a new coach to instil a new approach and recruit new players. There are plenty of players coming off contract for 2019 and the time to plan is NOW.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Its quite interesting to read where the aspect of there being plenty of players off contract end of the year is going to alter a lot. Should we sign 10 from elsewhere, we get the critics again in regard to ignoring our jnr players which means they sign elsewhere and if they come back we have to pay overs for them. I watched a young player yesterday for the chooks played in the 11 jersey first game in the top and he went well. He did not look huge but tall and lanky, like Twal is. We have good young… Read more »

MAX
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MAX

Colin, we have nothing coming through the system. Ray Stone is a maybe, but he is small, Murata perhaps, with some decent game time, that Brad wont give him.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Max, this is the problem if true and why when we are losing some of the good jnrs to other clubs without any alternatives. What I see is other clubs bringing in unknowns from their lower grades and systems, or brought in from other nurseries and they do more than ok, but we do not seem to give any the chance to show if they have what it takes to be NRL standard. Its been good that Marata has been given a chance, initially short minutes and increasing, we have nothing to lose in playing the likes of Mahoney, Salmon… Read more »

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Snake, most people agree that this is you. Having said that I must say this is the most respectful and professional post you have created to advance your opinion and it has given much more weight to your argument.

The points you’ve made, supported by facts that can be seen as relative to your argument give me reason to expect a similarly respectful and professional reply from whomever would attempt to refute your supposition.

It also makes me question if it is really you snake? Yeah, nah! too well mannered to be you.

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Brother rowdy I always thought the naturalist was snake. He always talk about being a naturalist … Welcome to TCT this site is all class n respectful eels web site n no thinking but footy which is good.
I keep hearing Michael Mcquires name getting talked about. Not sure if its to coach or being a assistant to brad.
I know 1 thing I’ve had a good chat to god n I have been to harsh on brad Arthur I will give him until the end of the yr to judge his performance

Poppa
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Poppa

WE need to sign a football manager! BUT Signing a football manager now is only useful if you have one available and one that meets the desired standards. That appointment by its very nature would be a minimum of say 5 years. Whilst the rhetorical response from fans in general is understandable……. can anybody tell me what was learnt last night that we didn’t already know. BA has any reasonable fan’s respect, but it is maybe time to limit his involvement to purely coaching, we need someone in charge of the whole shooting match….yes Gus Gould type position. The coach… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Pops, I agree and perhaps a bit overdue. Thing is who, and blowed if I know, thing is that I doubt very much any of the more recent out of work coaches would be in the best interests in the club, and question is do we want/need someone from the home turf, to me, I would say no to the idea of someone from within as they might just want to set their own agenda up. I can think of some names on that score but to have someone over the head coach that was under him would be a… Read more »

The Captain
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The Captain

The issue is Poppa, BAs had 5 years to figure out how to manage and balance his role. If the lack of support or being spread too thin has been an issue for Brad then it’s well within his paypacket and position to call it our – to the CEO, the board, heck the fans if he gets no traction from the two former groups. As it is BA is head coach, and the primary metric for a head coach is success of the first grade side. Sure there are a heap of other metrics, but fail the first and… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

BA’s biggest non attribute but also a big attribute is his loyalty to the players. He likely needs a dummy spit himself and sack the non performers and bring in fresh new blood from below somehow its what is needed.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

I could not find a streaming site that I could watch the game on, I guess that was a blessing in disguise and in the end. Best I could do was to sit in front of the computer screen and watch the updates, got up a lot as I felt nothing as the score increased for the knights. Errors, penalties, sin binning and potential suspensions, all came up as the score increased against the eels zero. Then we get 4 points at the end of the match, say goodnite Dick, goodnite Rowan. Having been an eels supporter now since, well… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Mate, I’ve been a season ticket holder since Parra Stadium was built back in ’86. I reckon i’m up around 500 games and I have lifetime mates that go to the footy with me. Last night I opted out – the boys went but I chose to stay home with my family. I’ve never chosen not to go before. I was quite sure the team would produce another inept performance and, to be honest, I wasn’t up to wasting another night sitting through it and, frankly, I have no regrets. Well, I was right, although their “effort” last night was… Read more »

Big Derek
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Big Derek

Here we go. Talking to a number of supporters walking out, then to a junior coach and finally driving home and sleeping on it. 1. Loyalty should be a good thing, but the game evolves and just keeping the same team and adding 3 new pieces but keeping the same playing style is a coaching issue, what is the phrase ” doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity 2.. Where is our attacking structure. There is no threat and little cohesion when the team gets in red zone, the sweep plays and unders… Read more »

BDon
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BDon

I think Bernie Gurr needs to catch the train out to Penrith and have a look at what Gus has been doing out there. Our junior development, for starters,would not be the model used at the Riff.

Poppa
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Poppa

Always listen to you Derek as you are hands on, where is most of us aren’t /can’t be.
Who is responsible for the appointment of the GM Junior League and what can be done? what process creates this situation and how subjective is it?

Tad
Guest
Tad

I agree with most you are saying Big Derek seems obvious to most that banging your head against a brick wall without a result suggests you start looking for something different. BA has been slow to adapt. I suspect He has a lot of input from other assistants around him and even players themselves.It makes you wonder why they are so stuck in that mindset and expect things to work out differently

mitch
Admin

I just want to offer an alternative point of view, and I’m not even saying I particularly subscribe to it; but what if the players themselves aren’t executing the game plan/strategy/tactics/plays in game? What if the plan is still appropriate but the execution is off? Do you throw it all out and start again, or do you persist?

Again, not claiming I know what’s happening, or even saying that is what’s occurring, just offering an alternative. If you’re BA and that’s happening (knowing that it did lead to some success last year), what do you do?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Mitch Nice to consider different things. To be honest I think all the players basically know they are on notice with a high risk of their careers and handsome incomes maybe becoming extinct at the end of this year. I think they are trying to the best of their abilities but are simply lost. Emotionally drained and not knowing what else they can do. Confidence basically destroyed and little power.I saw the Australian soccer coach have players do things in a very small confined space. Really puts the pressure on working in tight spaces so that when you get into… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I know what I saw last night. I am not blind. I saw some players who tried their guts out and I saw some who simply don’t give two rats. You can’t serioisly say your trying and care about and respect the fans, BA and the club then stand still on your try line and let the Knights forwards, not the Sharks or Panthers but the Knights forwards run over the top of you. Not once or twice but on multiple times. You can’t be trying if you simply refuse to even chase a grubber kick, support even once your… Read more »

Big Derek
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Big Derek

Shelley, spoken from the heart as a true fan. Even with his faults BA bleeds for the club, my familyhave had season tickets since 1982, keep BA and provide what’s needed in players and support to repay the fans. Like many I would find it hard to dig as deep as usual if they didn’t see what happened last night. I feel numb this morning, how I feel,for Gower, Alvaro, Brown and Gutho – they must be devastated at what happened around them 😁

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

BD, I disagree with you on one very important point. Shelley is not a FAN, she is a true EELS SUPPORTER, nothing less. I admire her passion and feel for the whole of the eels team except I would suggest the bludgers that hide behind those who are putting in I totally agree that and for me those who are having a go and putting in should say to the coach and CEO we as a group can no longer play with them unless they dramatically change their attitudes. If they don’t want to play here those in that bargain… Read more »

Avenger
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Avenger

A good reason why they should be the only 4 guaranteed a starting position in 2019.

Milo
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Milo

I can agree wit your comment Big D; we have too many lazy guys who do not play consistent; its a cultural thing with me. The guys you mentioned above all have one thing in common. Consistency.
Players can make and also break coaches…..
I am beyond devastated tbh. Its easy for some to blame coach when some of these guys fail to show up.

The Captain
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The Captain

Totally agree Shelley. I don’t make all the games but I was hoping for a really special effort last night so I headed on in. I didn’t leave early but I was very close. The cold chill of the night and the cold lifeless body of the Eels season that could’ve been were both freezing me to the core. Can I ask which players in particular you were filthy with? I agree I think it’s high time we started calling out lack of effort, and I think that goes for us as fans too. Which players would you need to… Read more »

Avenger
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Avenger

I’m so sorry Shelley that you feel like this but the buck stops with Arthur. He is the coach and we need to start fresh. He has broken all records and this is the worst performance by an Eels team since I have supported them.

When was the last time the season was finished prior to Origin?

Realistic Eel
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Realistic Eel

Join the discussion…Don’t be delusional Shelley! Brad Arthur is not bigger than the club! So if we sack Arthur & he gets a job at the Storm will you become a Storm supporter? PLEASE! It’s a results based business….yes lots of players need to be shown the door but the coach is ultimately responsible. If he’s lost the dressing room it’s down to him. The players might like Brad but possibly they don’t ‘respect’ him.

Shelley
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Shelley

I respect your right to disagree with me, I really do but I am also entitled to an opinion. BA is not above criticism at all. If things don’t improve and he does not make some changes with player selections I will not defend that. I really dislike our attacking structures and BA needs to adapt. If not then he will probably deserve to be sacked. My view is simple on Saturday. It was bad, really bad. If there are players who are sulking and you reward that by sacking the coach we end up like the Titans in 2018.… Read more »

Tad
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Tad

Shelly the season is basically gone now– I think things will become much clearer in the next 6 weeks or so hopefully when our injured players return and see if BA has been able to make something out of the rest of the season. I think if he can,t make effective changes to our style of play he will probably decide to go himself. The pressure on him will be too great

Realistic Eel
Guest
Realistic Eel

Shelley……let me paint this picture for you: Brad Arthur gets the sack & you don’t renew your membership. Then in October 2019 we are playing in the Grand final after a season of wonderful performances. I’m sure you’ll be back & Brad Arthur will be a distant memory. Yes the players need to be accountable but very hard to sack players en mass without destroying your salary cap. As Phil Gould once said, if players get a sense that the coach is under pressure their natural instinct is to throw him under the bus with poor performances to take the… Read more »

Avenger
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Avenger

There is no sporting organisation anywhere in the world with a profile similar to ours that would put up with this mess.

Cappy
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Cappy

Spot on Avenger, Arthur still having a job surprises me this is not the worse roster in the nrl but we are wooden spoon bound.
Bernie is quiet as a mouse in the bad times also.
This team didn’t actually show up in the 2018 season until round 7.
The culture is rotten to the core.

Poppa
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Poppa

I think the jersey comment showed your colours, any one that wants to talk about the jersey in the same context as the seriousness of sacking the coach tells me that your name should be vengeful.

Milo
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Milo

Agreed Pops; jersey comments are ridiculous.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

So, another one joins here and blames the jersey for all our ills. How many years since the last premiership win, and all of those years we have played with how many different variations of basically the same design? and dare I suggest they are just if not more cursed than the old ones. What makes people think that in this modern age of the me generation that every decision that affects the club one way or another cannot be done by the club management, rather than going to some sort of time consuming public appeal as to what the… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Colin The reason we lost is that the stars were not in alignment mate.Every Unicorn knows that

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Not sure about that I think its the aspect that good ole Donald Sutherland was up against with oddball in his tank crew in the movie Burning Bridges and their negative vibes, has taken over a vast percentage of eels fanning people…

Milo
Guest
Milo

Classic movie Col; Oddball was superb and Clint always a legend. Great old flick that one….

Avenger
Guest
Avenger

I’m not blaming the jerseys mate. I’m just including it in my frustrations. If we did a poll on what jersey we should permanently have I’m confident that this “wooden spoon” design would not come out on top.

I’m guessing this years heritage jersey (1986) would come out on top.

Tad
Guest
Tad

The jerseys are such a minor issue –Lots more bigger things to contemplate

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Tad, I did not raise the issue, just commenting on it in reply, Avenger. Let me say this, I like the original and the predominate blue and what is supposed to be the home strip, I do not like the predominately yellow/gold away strip though. If the new heritage jersey (which really is not heritage as such) was to be our away jersey, then I would have no issues with that at all. Lets have home and away playing outfit that depicts our heritage based on the originals, but not the current one, get rid of the blue down the… Read more »

Tad
Guest
Tad

Hi Colin I have written heaps about the jersey on the other site mate when the subject originally came up. Got confused a bit with expressing myself but over it now. Not a fan of the predominate yellow jersey at all. I would like to see a higher portion of blue in the home jersey —overall 75 % blue or so as the dominant colour. I am all for holding onto tradition as a concept for the jersey as well– can be modernised I suppose without losing the heritage.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Tad I had an early supporters t shirt in the 70’s that had wide alternating blue and gold strips, they were around 30mm wide and alternating, I liked it and wore it everywhere until it finally fell apart. In Newcastle there is a RL team that plays with wide alternating B&G bands to me they are too big and would be better with narrower bands. Our oldest Grandson plays Ra Rah in NCLE as well, his team has a similar design whereby the shoulders are all blue and then alternated from the armpits down with a narrower design than the… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Colin nice to have the old timers with a corporate history on board

Poppa
Guest
Poppa

So what Chief, you think polls decide and manage all the ills!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Dear vengeful, don’t we have bigger problems than our footy jumper. I bet you’ve got a long neck too!

Avenger
Guest
Avenger

Why was my post above edited?

Tad
Guest
Tad

I think the last few loses where they put a lot of effort in and lost the games through bad luck and some poor ref calls has had a big effect on last nights game. Emotionally with the injuries early in the game and poor possession took its toll. They appeared to have nothing left in their emotional resources to fight on. The biggest concern was that BA has not adjusted his game plan in attack for far too long. One up very predictable hit ups with no attempt to offload and create a second phase play can stifle your… Read more »

Lady Eel
Guest
Lady Eel

Must admit we left before the game ended, the comical replacement of Will Smith/Matagui scénario was enough for us – you will know what I mean if you were at the game. Don’t know how many heard the discussion today on ABC radio when Matthew Elliott, former coach was asked what he would do if he was coaching Parramatta. He replied that he thinks Parra’s issues are mental or psychological. They were widely tipped to be top 4 finishers, and probably the team believed the hype also. Hé went on to say that winning releases certain chemicals in the body… Read more »

BDon
Guest
BDon

Geez, i’m trying to think how you make the players feel good or happy in a way that’s not forced, contrived or shallow. Big challenge there, as the ship tilts. From what I’ve read, BA works hard at this as part of his method, many think he works too hard at it. Is it team based, individual based, continuous, integrated, stand alone,one-shot tricks?? The truth session around the 18 gallon doesn’t seem to fly these days. What would Jack do? I’m not sure Matthew Elliott is 100% right. The top 4 teams have big packs, solid spine and good kicking… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Very good points and many seem to forget — conveniently?

BDon
Guest
BDon

A few years back when Gould had his SMH column, he was pushing a strong case for western Sydney to get its act together and take a longer term, organised view to NRL development. He saw Panthers and Eels as central in this, but basically saw that we couldn’t manage ourselves let alone a broader strategy. He wisely preferred to not comment on us, with his only words to the effect ‘until Parramatta get their off field act in order, they’ll struggle…’ and Brad Arthur has had to run a football team under this cloud.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Yes Lady Eel you probably heard about a therapy based around laughter. You start to laugh with other people and can lift others around you who may be on a downer to laugh as well. It becomes contagious.I believe it releases endorphins which can lift your mood.I think we do need some in Sports or mindfulness training to help out. It can help in many areas of football with things like personal disciplines around impulse control and focusing on putting power into the physical

Poppa
Guest
Poppa

One final point on this as we seem to have gone to jersey’s to therapy sessions…..what next? The reality is we have a football team whose roster does not make us competitive enough to be the force we want and need to be. Lets gets some leadership happening and discuss the potential of what ever plan is implemented. This team in its current format is simply not good enough. Once that is accepted/happens we can dwell on the future, currently we are locked into the past and gazing deeply into our naval. Stop the naval gazing and lets go forward,… Read more »

Longfin Eel
Guest
Longfin Eel

One thing I have noticed all year, and you touched on this Sixties, is that our support play is non existent. Too often someone makes a break, but there is nobody around to accept the pass on offer. I would have thought this is one of the first things you teach kids when they are learning some attacking play. It’s basic stuff like this that we are not doing, and this is killing our attack. I think if the players felt more comfortable in attack and their abilities to score, the defence would also fix itself. Forget trying to sure… Read more »

MAX
Guest
MAX

How well stated is that little segment from Sixties, and thank you for imparting what we as dedicated fans are thinking, hopefully someone from the club who may listen to how we feel. My point is, and I will leave it at this, I don’t care if we lose as long as we have left nothing on the field, and each player can sit in his designated chair after the game, orphaned of remaining energy and think I did my best. As a dedicated fan that is all I ask of you. Sadly none of you as players gave that… Read more »

Poppa
Guest
Poppa

If I was a fair wether follower, I would not be here………that said I am over there as well and like to come here for the civility when I can.
No problems, there is room on my horse for two!

The emporer
Guest
The emporer

poppa, always regarded you as a genuine intelligent supporter and most welcome.