The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Excuse Free Zone

“He deserves to…he is better than this…I can’t believe…”

Enough of the excuses!

I know a review into our season is being conducted and I accept far greater footy minds will understand what went wrong in terms of the football organisation, but I work in and around people, lots of people, everyday, and from the stands my view is simple – we need to rid ourselves of this talk and the people who continually use it.

In my experience this is language used by people who are weak and don’t want to be held accountable. It is excuse making and counterproductive to moving forward.

All year, including this past week when the players should have been focusing on winning an important game, I have heard our players, coaches and even fans say these things. Player X is too good for reserve grade. Player X deserves to be in the team, we must find a place for him in the 17. And finally the most annoying of all, I can’t believe we are sitting last on the table.

We need a reset. More importantly we need players, especially our senior players and or leaders to stop saying this and making the excuses available for people to hide behind.

No player has a right to be in first grade. Once they earn the spot, they then must keep it by playing well and contributing; by doing their job. Some of our first grade players are in reserve grade because they have repeatedly played poorly. I dare say if it was not for injury and players who left mid season they would be joined by more.

We deserved this!

The simple fact is we are coming last because we have had far too many games in which too many players have simply not performed, not contributed to a win by doing their job and or being disciplined.

Last Friday we had no chance of winning unless we could stop the go forward from Scott, McLean and Taumalolo. We all knew it, the players certainly knew it and after the first set of six I can comfortably say we all knew the game was over. Yes we had injuries and some of our best forwards out, but no team will be consistent winners if they can’t absorb and change momentum.

We all knew the Cowboys would get the calls and would be given assistance from the opening whistle. So prepare for it and deal with it. But last Friday, just like most games this year, some of our players simply threw their hands up, complained, lost discipline and rolled over. The harsh reality from the game, just like many this year, is that some of our forwards meekly buckled and our playmakers went missing.

When it is a one off you can rightfully say a person deserves a chance to rectify it. So yes in my eyes BA deserves a chance. From my perspective BA got the Top 30 squad balance terribly wrong this year and he must accept responsibility for that. However, the NRL Top 30 rules mean a coach cannot rectify this mistake until the next year.

BA must farewell some of our favourites.

I will reserve judgement on BA until I see the final Top 30 squad for next year. Change must occur. His loyalty to some players must end as they have had multiple chances to fix the errors, to become more disciplined both on and off the field, to improve their contribution towards us winning – and they simply have not done so.

It is time to move forward.

That means my family and I will be at ANZ stadium next game and will be cheering for this team. We are thankful that this is our last game for the year and last home game at the soulless ANZ.

We also recognise that we should be watching some players pull on the Parra jersey for the last time. I can accept that some of the players who should not be in our squad next year are talented and are favourites of mine, but they are not what we need moving forward and I dare say a change may be as good for them as it will be for us.

So I will thank them, wish them the best and cheer for them one last time.

It’s said that the greatest sign of insanity is to do the same thing again and expect a different result. If the Top 30 squad for 2019 is not significantly different to this year’s, if the tough choices are not made, if some of our young players are not elevated and replace older guys in the squad, then BA will be signing his own death warrant.

For my family and I that would be so the most upsetting outcome from this cataclysmic year.

No more excuses!

 

Shelley

 

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Glenn
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Glenn

Yes the refs helped the result BUT our refusal to lock the ball up and stop their offloading meant we were never going to win. Countless times 2 or 3 players tackled their player yet the ball still came out. And during the offseason, someone please, work on our edge defence, its deplorable. And someone work on our attack, again deplorable. We need to offload more and play ad lib football, but do we have the forwards for it? And finally someone get into their minds and build a resilient, tough and uncompromising team that’ll try to the end. Really… Read more »

shelley
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shelley

I am not a person who sees any good in blaming, but surely you have to first admit the problem. To hear BA take blame entirely himself made me mad. I get it on some level as he is protecting his players from the media frenzy, but I would hope that at some stage more honest conversations are being held behind closed doors. Example I really like Bevan French but he was dropped because he was not playing well and was being targeted. He is still good and I would hate for him to go but to simply say he… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley totally agree with you especially re the senior players, I said over on the other site that some of the players should hand their salary back as to non performance and one player in particular a seasoned international and rep player who was shone over by his basically unknown younger brother. BA cops the blame but did the coach drop the balls, did he miss the tackles and go missing in the games? If so its all his fault but, I don’t see it that way and I don’t see the coach giving a game plan that means they… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

You should take up coaching glenn

Anonymous
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Anonymous

My impression is that we will have a revamped squad next season but maybe sixtys could outline that better than me with signings and juniors exected in our top 30 next season ,might add looking at end of 2019 is even more interesting with a fortune off finished players coming of contract ,norman, jennings , taka , manu ,hoffman ,french ,moses but again sixtys could outline this better than me . BA might finally have a squad for our future .

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, thanks for that post, and to me it would resinate with every eels supporter. I often, and maybe too often go to the eels home page and look at the gallery pages, & up until recently the ISP team gallery has only had around 6 or so photo’s of the players and some info on them, the rest are named, but just big black empty spaces for their photo’s. and this year there has not even been an Flegg team profile page, both disappoint me with the lack of promotion/profiling. I guess the black and empty photo’s is truly… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I agree with so much of what you said. To me there are two areas we simply must fix as nothing else will work without it. 1) We have to work out our halves situation. I will be honest, on the field I am a Norman fan but he has been so inconsistent this year ( although the constant media speculation would not be easy to deal with) but if he is a bad influence off the field, being unprofessional, with so many young kids coming up he would be a risk to keep. Moses in my eyes is super… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley I am with you in regard to Norman and Moses, thing is that they both worked together ok last season, this year they are not working together, with the combo misfiring, Norms went well in the 1 spot for I game then? ambling around and really let in one try in the last game without really trying to get to the bouncing ball in the in goal area. Moses has become very one dimensional in kicks and little variety in his general play, One thing to me is that one of them needs to go before next year, but… Read more »

Pete
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Pete

Thanks Shelley, great read. A season of massive disappointment, it sure was. But if I could sum up the season with one word, the word would be Failure. We came 4th in 2017 instead of reviewing and preparing what we needed to win the comp, we did nothing! Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! Failed to appreciate the loss of Semi! Failed to see 20 tries per season is worth more than $1million, Failure to see that Semi got people to the game! Failed preseason. Fail only 1 trial game, Failure to respond to changes within the game. Failure… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I fail to get your point

Shelley
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Shelley

Things are never a failure long term if you are honest, learn what went wrong and fix it. Ultimately we could look back and say this season was beneficial. But we need everyone, players, coaches, admin and even us fans to take responsibility for our role and improve. The gossip spread by fans at the start of this year certainly did not help. It fed the media frenzy and created a negative vibe before a ball was kick. We all need to be better, but ultimately the players must want to. That should be the ultimate criteria for keeping or… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Absolutely, and that last sentence should be made very clear to all the players.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Without giving things away im sure sixtys could give a clear insight of BA s thoughts regarding the pathways forward 2019 and the accent on youth that seems to be happening and why its taken this long ..

Milo
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Milo

Superb article Shelley; as Tony Abbott once said, ‘ we need lifters not leaners’. I will refrfrom adding more; loved th article and its 100% spot on. Your article highlights some of the issues.

I just get concerned about who we purchase for 2019; and tbh 5-6 forwards are out who would be in NRL. Our halves have not performed consistently and we need good strong leaders on the field and BA has to move on some favs

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I think it was the chief leaner himself who said that. Joe Hockey.

Milo
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Milo

Think Rudd was a fair leaner…..

Shelley
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Shelley

Thanks. I don’t really know the answers, I just think that having clear and simple goals is important and players developing a trust/belief in those around them is crucial for any good team but it takes time. From the first game this year there has been so much switching in key positions and as result in games our team has looked like a group of strangers playing together for the first time. Different fullbacks- even switching in games, different centre- wing combinations, different left/ right second rowers. I know some came about as a result of injuries and eventually players… Read more »

Pou
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Pou

“It’s said that the greatest sign of insanity is to do the same thing again and expect a different result.” We had pretty much the same squad this year as last year and got a very different result. Unfortunately these players all played worse (age in brackets): Auva’a (26) Brown (25) Edwards (29) French (22) Gutherson (24) Mennings (30) King (27) Matagi (30) Moses (24) Norman (27) Scott (34) Smith (26) Takairangi (29) Vave (29) Of all those, only Scott is old enough to have declined due to natural causes. The next oldest (Jennings and Matagi) are only 30. They… Read more »

Salty Pete
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Salty Pete

Really thoughtful and constructive Shelly. I agree with you. This doesn’t have to be a long term situation if decisions are made quickly, and they can be. As much we know Norman and Moses have struggled this year, the best halves in the world (Thurston for instance with the Cowboys) can’t perform behind beaten packs. And you have addressed this. Just a few more forwards with impact would make the world of difference. Anyway, I guess, we shall watch this space, but we do need strong older players to help guide the young guys coming through. Great work though Shelly,… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Very well expressed – “dignified high ground with measured constructive criticisms” – all Parra supporters would be feeling shell-shocked from the way the season unfolded, but lets face it, there is a big difference between disappointment and the hate some have expressed. I have found this hate by some a bigger disappointment this season, it is a game after all. When I read that Brad Arthur hadn’t been out with his family because of how he felt about the way things were going I couldn’t help but think we have all lost the plot!! He didn’t say it but he’s… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Well said Anon.

sixties
Admin

Thanks for the reply and kind words Salty.
Mentoring of the young talent will be paramount. This can be done by any senior player, not just a captain. The youth can’t turn our club around on their own.
None of us are happy with this season. Criticism is warranted. Personal attacks are not.