The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Calling on Playmakers

Let us begin with a little trip down memory lane.

‘He’s quick between the ears’.

Every genuine Parra fan knows who said this and what player it was about. Back in those days it was an aspect of the game in which the Eels had a distinct advantage. Not for one game. Not for one season. This advantage delivered five grand finals and four premierships.

Watching the game last week got me wondering about who has the football brains in our current Eels team. After all, it was incredibly frustrating to watch. Why did we keep running to the side the Storm had intact? How did someone on that field not see the problem and rectify it?

To be clear I am not talking about a coach sending a message out because in all seriousness if the play makers on the field needed to be told who the play should have been directed at, ie the makeshift winger, centre and half combination, then we have serious problems. If they cannot see a match direction so obvious that it literally has its own spotlight and billboard, then what hope is there when minor nuances need to be read in tighter encounters?

Learning his craft – the apprentice Jaeman Salmon.

After so many positives emanating from the Dragons clash, this question about leadership still hangs over the heads of the Eels playmakers. This side now has Moses calling the shots, Norman in a secondary role and Salmon in an apprenticeship and running off the playmakers. Is this to be the structure of the Eels going into next season? If so, there remains much to be done.

Don’t get me wrong. I can see this Storm game potentially being wonderful for this team and its development.

On the night, the young players got invaluable experience, playing a hardened team in a tough venue and they did not disgrace themselves. In fact, the young squad stepped up to the mark in a massive way in defence. For a player like Salmon, targeted as he was by the Storm big men, the benefit of rising to the challenge will be profound.

Furthermore, I would argue that the Eels young players have the ability to learn much more post match, if our senior players step up during the process. No doubt a team review has been conducted on the game. Genuinely owning the poor decision making, understanding why it happened, and finding a solution on the training paddock will drive the team to make better choices the next time this situation arises in a game. In that way, a match that was so frustrating for fans to watch can becoming a valuable learning process for both the experienced and the inexperienced players.

Let’s hope that our senior players set the standard in that regard!

However, we still come back to our playmakers.

Will Moses deliver against JT?

As Jack Gibson so rightly put it, who in our current Parra team is going to show that quickness between the ears, the footy intelligence that Sterling provided and in doing so set our Eels of the 80s so far above their opposition? We’ve seen it in all the great teams of the modern era since then via the likes of Stuart, Lewis, Langer, Johns, Fittler, Maloney, Cronk, Thurston, and Smith. You can’t win premierships without football smarts.

Perhaps the answer to the question will be found in this week’s clash with the Cowboys in Townsville. One of the game’s all time greats, JT, will be guaranteed to be primed for his farewell appearance. All of his guile will be on display. He won’t walk off that field with the music still in him. Will Moses or Norman step up to the mark in such a vital match? Will they earn the right to the conductors baton? There’s little doubt it will be crucial to the outcome.

Whether or not Friday night provides the answer, I do know we won’t win a premiership without a playmaker who is footy smart and to be blunt, I want my team to be building towards a premiership, aiming for anything less is not okay.

Shelley

 

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Wile
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Wile

I was not sure how badly this reflected on the decision making given that we were playing with a lack of props and go forward up the middle. If we had our full compliment of middle forwards and we played like that then we need new play makers and captains

Shelley
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Shelley

I agree absolutely that having all our forwards on the park would have helped, significantly so. I simply thought we lacked control, looked rushed and had little direction. I know the Storm can do that to teams but we have so much talent in the halves, I almost wish they would be a little selfish and take control, run the ball- be decisive because they could be great and also help in turn those around them.

Parra Pete
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Parra Pete

Love your articles Shelley..Enjoy reading them, and the thought you put into their preparation..

Shelley
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Shelley

Thank you. I love my team and club and love contributing to positive discussion, even if writing about a negative game or performance. I think you always need to find the good and correct the bad otherwise you go around in circles making the same mistakes.

BDon
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BDon

Yes Shelley,good train of thought, we ve been hit or miss all year with playmaking. Without checking his CV, Moses was No 6 at Tigers with Brooks No7, which doesn’t mean he had no playmaking role, but he was more of a ball runner. He just may not have the skills and experience right now. He has acceleration,speed and evasion, he has passing and kicking skills, but lacks patience and consistency which reflects in decision making. His defence has improved. Maybe a mentor to assist in developing his organising and decision making. There’s enough on video in 2018 to work… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I really think Moses has so much potential, I simply think he needs to take this team as his own, every game if he wants to be the playmaker. I do actually have hope he will and agree a senior hand helping him out could be wonderful for him

Anonymous
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Anonymous

First off I can not see us doing well with so many of our run on forwards missing eg: Alvaro, Brown. As for the halves Moses is not a leader and makes too many wrong decisions, and goes missing when the team needs a leader to show the way and his long and short kicking game is rubbish. He will never or should never be a dominant half as when he was at the tigers he was the dominant half and brooks took a back seat and his game suffered and the tigers played like shit. As proof you only… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I disagree with there being no hope for Moses. While I have supported Norman you have to remember our form turned around last year and we started winning when Moses came over. Norman struggles being the only halve as most would as it is easy to target them.
I actually think having a more mobile pack this week might help us as we need to move the ball around against the Cowboys. They are slow and the forwards don’t defend well against movement

Rowdy
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Rowdy

That post gets a big tick from me Shelley. You certainly have a flair for putting all our observations into a few well structured paragraphs.

I dare say though, we may still have a little too much “second play maker” presence on the field with Corey struggling to lend enough of his confidence in “#1 play maker” to the #1 play maker” Mitchell Moses needs to assertively step up and over call Corey especially if he’s willing to nail the play. Then the rest of the team will follow his leadership.

Grunta the Disgruntled
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Grunta the Disgruntled

I can’t help but think how good Blake Green would have been for us for 2 years.

Milo
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Milo

Could not agree more Rowdy; the halves for me have cost us this year in terms of consistency; and hence I am glad Salmon is there to have a shot. The halves would be the highest paid (Jenko too) and need the consistency and should run the team.
Heck by midway through the year they should know the plays 2/3 times in advance and know where they want to end up after 6 tackles…….frustrating to say the least.
And yes Great post again Shelley

Shelley
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Shelley

Don’t know what change should happen in the off season but for whatever reason Norman/ Moses has not worked and expecting it to simply work next year is silly. We need to make some tough decisions to enable us to move forward.