The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Proving A Point

The difference an environment can make cannot be undersold in any workplace, and the sporting environment is certainly no different. It’s difficult to say what exactly makes a good environment but you know when you have it. There’s a feeling that anything can be achieved, no matter how challenging or far fetched. If you have people around you who all want to be there and all know they belong, you can do great things.

From the stands, I love our new home ground, because everyone does – the players, the fans and even the opposition. There is a simple joy at being at the ground.

The new BankWest Stadium proves a point about the value of a quality, spectator focussed, facility. For the first time in a long time, people who are watching at home on TV miss out. This can only be good for the NRL in general, fantastic for our club and a boon for the city of Parramatta.

Furthermore, I can imagine there would be players from other clubs who are envious. Athletes like performing in front of crowds, they like the atmosphere and often rise to the occasion. We have something that many other clubs don’t, a place that is ours, a place that even when we’re listed on the draw as the away team we will still be the home team. The atmosphere is infectious and I can only imagine what those young kids, like my son Jack, are feeling as they finally discover what it is like to watch a game with atmosphere and a sense of community.

But, despite the glossy new surrounding, I sense there is something a little deeper to this new found connection between the team members, the fans who attend the game and the wider supporter base.

In his post match press conference, BA said words to the effect that fans like to see effort – the flashy tries are nice but effort is what fans really respond to. I agree

Strangely, at 14-0 on Sunday I was still really confident. My family and I sit behind the goal posts in the General Admission members section and from that viewpoint you can see effort. You can see all the work the players do off the ball.  You can see the communication between players. And the difference between this year and last could not be more stark.

I won’t even begin to ponder what went wrong last year or even how it has been addressed because the reality is I will never know and nor should I. Professional organisations that have integrity respect the people in the organisation and respect privacy. Importantly, you can see that the areas from last year have been addressed and you can see everyone has bought in.  At the end of the day, that’s what I needed to know as a fan and member.

Jaeman Salmon – photo courtesy of Fox Sports

There’s one effort area that I saw on Sunday that that I want to address because it summed up the game for me. Again it wasn’t flashy but in the overall scheme of the game it was vitally important. It was when Jaeman Salmon put the kick in, chased and earned a line drop out.

This young five-eighth is improving with each game. He obviously knows what his job is and he’s going out there to do it. Off the boot it looked too big and possibly the ball bounced favourably. But he didn’t give up on the chase, so when he got the friendly roll, he was there to take advantage of it. Those effort plays are the real difference as I see it to last year.

We can talk about the new dimension added to the team through the recruitment of Fergo, Paulo, Sivo and Lane, but without that commitment and determination displayed by every team member over the pre season and on match days, nothing would have changed. It’s obvious that they had a point to prove after last season.

Gutho captured by Eels media at training,

Finally last week I said I looked forward to watching Gutho play with enthusiasm and energy because he has always bounced back from any setback. Well he did and it was such a pleasure to watch live.

You know my views on Gutherson and extending his stay at Parra so I won’t repeat them, but it was pleasing to say the least to watch a young man who had a barrage of negative and really undeserved criticism show up with energy and stand up just when the team needed it. From the stands that looks like superb leadership to me. He was certainly proving a point about his message to them. Well done Gutho, well done indeed.

So onto this week. A big game. Let’s see if we’ve learnt from the Knights game. We are playing a team this week coming off a poor performance and a public spray from the coach. Melbourne will have a point to prove, just as the Knights did.

And in keeping with the theme of this post, there could be no more apt time to prove that the team are a different beast to last season. What better way to demonstrate you can be consistent than by doing so against the most consistent team of the last decade.

Good luck boys, turn up and do us, and more importantly each other, proud.





Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Colin Hussey

The B&G blood that flows through me says an eels win, my brain however is trying to fight with the heart over that decision, which one is right?

The mind analyses, while the heart pumps the blood, so have to stick with the heart, but it wont be by much.

Shelley agree with you re the fish, he’s certainly showing incremental improvements each game so he’s going to be a value player for the eels into the future but, I think there’s going to be a traffic jamb for his available spots though.


I want them to win and I think they can. But for me I really want them to show up and have a red hot crack. They are a young team, both in age and games together. Getting into the fight is what they must do, winning will be a bonus. The referee will make it hard, simply because the way he interrupts the game is really bad for us. I would rather have him (if we must) against the Storm as it will be tough to win no matter who was in charge and Smith influences all the referees… Read more »

Trouser Eel

Great piece Shelley. Your comment on Jaemon were spot on.


Yes spot on about Salmon; he is dong v well in first main season. I also thought M Jennings did two superb thins for tries; he back up Sivo all the way for his try and this allowed Sivo the option of dummying or passing; and Jenko made a quick pass to Sivo again to score his double.
We will need to start well this week and be on our best behaviour discipline wise. Tough sk but a win is there for the taking I feel.


The start is crucial every week but especially this one. Melbourne are under pressure. Yes they have more wins but they have not been playing well and as a club they expect to not only win but be a top contender. Also if we start well it may help to eliminate the referee a little, because if we drop early ball and get stuck down our own half he will make sure we stay there. I dont rate Melbourne’s attack once they are not on the try line. They don”t have the players to set up tries from 30 or… Read more »


You’ve nailed it Shelley, Melbourne are still playing the same style in general and defensive plays, but, lack the cohesion in attack now Cronk has moved on. They appear to be hoping the “off the cuff” style of Munster and the new half is enough to get them through. If we maintain possession at a high rate and continue our attacking style I believe we can do a job on them. Will take patience and good game management though. A good test for us

Longfin Eel

You can definitely see the effort there which may have been lacking last year. One thing I have noticed though is that we tend to start a bit slow, and this has cost us 2 games and almost cost us another 2. We need to be ready to go from the start of the game. Melbourne will be clinical, and we can assume their focus will be on playing exactly to the game plan, with effort upon effort. They will be relentless in driving our momentum back in our own half, as that is where we are most vulnerable and… Read more »


We need to get the balance right between moving the ball around and simply going forward. I am looking forward to it. This is a big game for Mitch and Reed.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x