As a supporter I consider myself to be dedicated, extremely resilient and loyal. I always bounce back and support my team the next game – as do most if not all Parra supporters. After all, we’ve had more than enough practice at this.
Turning on players is never on my agenda. I may not agree with selections but if they wear the Parra jersey they have my support. I also understand that no player goes out to lose and I know the players were hurting after Saturday night.
I am not sure whether a result like that hurt some of the players as much as it did the Blue and Gold Army, but only the players can demonstrate how they feel about their performance. And they have to do it on the field – not through words.
My feelings as a supporter are unlikely to be unique.
When my team wins I love it.
When they lose, I’m none too pleased.
When they get belted, I hate it.
If they get embarrassed, I completely despise it.
But when they embarrass me or my club, it’s completely unacceptable. There are no excuses. Don’t dare offer any.
I could write forever on the Storm game, but it serves no purpose. Besides, there’s no mystery to what we saw. It was embarrassing for supporters.
However, I want to single out one moment that sums up my reaction from the stands both during and after the game. That moment was Taka’s offload.
It was an offload thrown to a player in a worse position. An offload thrown with little hope for reward. An offload thrown after we had just held the Storm out with some really resilient try line defence.
In other words, it was an offload completely devoid of discipline. With 25 minutes to go the Storm had 69% possession. We invited them down to the line, they accepted and stayed there.
I’m not singling out Taka the player, as to level blame at one person after a team effort like that is completely unfair. After all, too many players did not measure up in this important clash. So consider the pass as a moment. One that exemplifies how moments of poor discipline, of not being responsible in your role, can impact your team mates.
Mistakes happen, bad bounces happen, defensive misreads happen and will always be part of any game. But there are things that are entirely within your control. Knowing when to throw and hold the ball. I picked that moment of Taka not knowing that but there were other things that other individuals had control of – like running hard, taking responsibility for making your tackles and wrapping up the ball. How many of those moments did we see on Saturday?
So Taka provided a perfect example but he wasn’t on his own.
With some of our players the bad outweighs the good. I don’t like saying who BA should or shouldn’t be selecting moving forward, as that is not my job and will be ill informed.
But as a fan who watches my team every week, I do know that when things happen over and over again they are not mistakes – they are fundamental flaws.
Good teams have playmakers who have the smarts to identify, attack and expose fundamental flaws. Our lazy markers got exposed by Cameron Smith. Unlike the Knights game Cameron Smith stayed in that middle third around the ruck and destroyed us.
The Storm captain exposed some fundamental skill errors, and to be honest, some flaws in the Eels mental strength. My concern is that I firmly believe that first grade is not the place to correct fundamental flaws.
Like always, I’m looking forward to the next game.
The team can redeem themselves and get the season back on track. It is entirely in their hands. When they show up with the right attitude and desire they can beat anyone. We didn’t see that last year, so that’s a huge plus, but we are yet to see any level of consistency this year.
I am writing this post before the team list is announced. I expect some changes but will not jump up and down if there are none. Ultimately any leader, and BA is the leader of the football department, will rightly always be judged by the decisions they make or don’t make.
It’s time to move on from last week. That’s easy. My support won’t change.
The team must also move on, but unlike me, they must find the answer to the questions surrounding last week’s disaster. And do something about it!
If they don’t, the team and its leaders face being judged by the questions they don’t ask rather than the ones they do.