The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Helping Success To Begin At Home

What value do you place on home matches and home ground support?

From the Stands I see having a true home as crucial to a team’s success and therefore, this week, I’m making a call for our fans to get out and support our boys in the next few games at home. Getting behind our boys makes a difference.

Here’s a simple fact right now. At the end of round 10 we are in the Top 8 and one win away from equal 4th.

That doesn’t mean that we should be blind to the obvious flaws in our team at the moment – most notably the track being worn right down our middle third for the last 3-4 weeks. The Eels have a team being re-shaped because it needs to be. There are a large number of unsigned players for a reason.

But we need to sit back down and take a breath.

Here’s our options as fans.

We can sit passively on our lounge room couches, lapping up the media spin about the Eels inability to win away from home. We can be demotivated and stay on those couches this Thursday night. Or we can get off our backsides and make it difficult for the Panthers to win at our home, BankWest Stadium.

I normally don’t write on stats, but the narrative being spun by the media about Parra having this unique and fatal problem of not being able to win away from home is very misleading. Virtually every team faces a challenge away from home.

The stats prove it.

In nine home and away rounds this season (I left out the Magic Round as there was no true home matches) there have been 72 games. In those games, only 30 have been won by the away team. Of those 30 games, 13 have been won by the Roosters, Storm and Rabbitohs combined. Those three clubs are the elite teams of this season and therefore the yardstick.

Here’s the clincher. That means a total of 17 away games have been won by the other 13 teams.

The Eels have won 2 away games. They’ve also won a “home” game against the Sharks at ANZ Stadium.

This puts Parramatta on par with the following clubs who have also won two away clashes: Dragons, Knights, Raiders, Bulldogs, Manly.

Faring worse are these clubs who’ve only managed a single away win: Wests Tigers, Sharks, Warriors, Penrith, Cowboys.

Two NRL clubs north of the border are yet to win an away game – the Titans and the Broncos.

So the truth for virtually every team is that success begins at home grounds.

It could be argued that the Eels have had a tough home and away draw. In the opening ten rounds of this season the Eels have only played two games at our home, Bankwest Stadium. Consider that. Only two true home matches, yet we have three wins away from that venue.

If I had said to you at the start of the year that we play Melbourne, Canberra, Cowboys, Knights, Penrith away as well as Sharks, Dogs and Roosters at ANZ in the first ten rounds, without our most important forward in all but one of those games, would you have accepted 5/10? I know I would.

The Eels are coming off a wooden spoon season and have only beaten one current top 8 team, the Tigers, this year. Our four other clashes against Top 8 teams have been away from BankWest Stadium. This record is probably a fair indication of a team looking to climb back from last year’s disaster, but given that we’ve only played two true home games, we haven’t had the opportunity to take on any other top 8 team on our home ground. It’s also unfair to compare such records against other teams this early in the season. The Top 8 fluctuates throughout a season, so it’s best left for post season analysis.

Nonetheless, sitting at a 50% win rate with only 2 real home games after 10 rounds is better than I expected. I think this team has the ability to get much better as the year progresses, especially when some key players get back on the field.

Our home, from the stands.

We cannot change the past we can only move forward. We have 8 games left at BankWest, including a notional home game for the Tigers. We only leave Sydney 3 times for the remainder of the season, one trip to Suncorp, one to the Gold Coast and our home trip to Darwin.

We may not like some aspects of our team at the moment, but we are in the contest and with some reinforcements such as the two Browns due to return from injury, the team will strengthen.

Here’s where we, the fans, can make a difference. Playing at home won’t win a competition, but the support that fans provide can help to get the team across the line in half of a season’s games, and that goes a long way towards finals qualification.

We need to create energy, we need to push the boys on. We get the opportunity to cheer and call for the crucial penalty or favourable referee decision. They are all the benefits to playing at home and as the stats above show, it makes a difference.

Therefore my family will do what I am suggesting we all do. We don’t normally go to Thursday night games in Sydney with a 3 hour commute each way, but we will this week.

The next two weeks are crucial for our Eels. We have the opportunity to go seven wins from twelve at the half way point. That sets our season up really well. Both matches are very winnable games.  A Panthers team down on confidence and unity and a Rabbits team minus State of Origin players puts the advantage in the Eels court. Hopefully Mr Fittler does us a favour and picks the inform Cody Walker.

But it won’t be as easy as it appears on paper.

The Panthers always get up for this local rivalry (even more so after a barrage of criticism) and a 5 day turn for the Eels is not ideal. But our support can be the impetus. The boys need to run out to a roar.

My family and I will be in the stands cheering them onto the field and I hope to see many Parra fans joining us and doing their bit to help lift our boys.

Let’s be an active part in beginning our success from our home base. Let’s be a factor in our victory.

Shelley

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Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

Who doesn’t like watching their team win? With a statistical likelihood of a win at home, it’s the best place to go and watch your team play. I’ll be there to hear the roar at the new stadium which is unrivalled in Australia.

Some of our players are playing for their contracts, I expect them to lift for the battle of the west honours.

It should be a fun night.

June Barton
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June Barton

WE don’t usually go to Thursday night games either, but we will be there in full voice tomorrow night. I’m willing to put up with cranky kids on Friday morning, so hopefully we can help Parra get over the line tomorrow night.

Shelley
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Shelley

Either way we will have a cranky kid; one who is tired or one who is upset watching at home. We love the fact that our son Jack loves going to the ground even if they don’t win. It is not the same watching at home.

JonBoy
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JonBoy

Well constructed Shelley and thank you for taking the time to put together the stats. I suspect many of us (myself included) started to let the hyperbole get inside your head with all the talk of our inability to win away. Having it broken down like that allows you to see the “forest through the trees”.

I’ll be shouting with you all from the stands during the game on Thursday night and look forward to signing Click Go The Eels, hopefully after watching our team play tough and earning a victory.

Shelley
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Shelley

I look into it because I started hearing it a lot and I thought we could not be the only team. The stats are the stats. I want us to become that tough team that can win away from home but we are not alone.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley the big plus for me is despite the horror loses, as you pointed out and I have done the same elsewhere is that we are still 8th on the ladder, a win tomorrow night will be great, especially if it is big enough to get us a bit higher and while only a -2 on the deficient its something I would like to see wiped away for the rest of the year.

We walloped the Tigers yet they sit above us on the ladder owing to the differential, on the same points as us.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Drive safely Shelley, our trip is only 2-1/2 hours each way, and when we walk into Maccas on the M1 on the way home we are always astounded by the number of travelling Eels (of all ages also). We’ll be there, we must win this game.

Shelley
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Shelley

For us the drive is nice, we come from the Sth Coast and we are driving against the traffic until we hit the M7. We have some resilient fans hopefully our team can reward that with a big effort. If I see effort I can not and will not complain.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

When we lived at Werri Beach, the drive was ok, old roads though and the best drive was up to the GF we won.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, You certainly know how to promote our team, was wondering if the club could use you for motivation, as you do a great job here. All those points you make are very good, and agree with them, and while I would love to be there, afraid my body and health these days precludes it, the 2+ hours drive each way and night air are not on my health watch these days, especially the night air aspect. The atmosphere at the new Cumberland (can’t get my head around any other name for the eels home ground) is dynamic from all… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

The atmosphere is like many others. I was lucky as a child we went to the footy almost every weekend, either watching Parra or local A Grade and learnt that atmosphere is what actually makes a game. BankWest has an atmosphere that is wonderful. It must be the design features with the stands as the noise seems so much louder.
Not all fans can make games but those that can should, it does help the team. My job allow us to get there in time, some don’t have that luxury.

Rocket
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Rocket

Great article Shelley.
Love your passion for the Eels.
I’ll be at Cumberland on Thursday but not confident at all. We seem to play teams into form!

Milo
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Milo

I cannot argue with your points Shelley, i could make some points about our defence but will refrain. I only hope they show something in terms of effort and attitude with and without the ball, as what we have seen in the last 2 weeks is very off.
It is hard to fathom seeing the team play well 3 wks ago and then this.
Always supportive of the team and hope they can all lift. This is crunch time in my view and some selections raise a few furrowed brows…..

shelley
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shelley

Our defensive efforts have not been good enough and if they are not addressed it will not help playing at home. I think playing at home can help to give the boys a lift and that little extra effort but ultimately it will be up to them. I just think that as a club we have come a long way from the depths of last year but I can understand how and why people think the worse we have been let down before. If I go and others turn up and give the boys the atmosphere and support to perform… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Yes good point. We need another player like N Brown…..maybe two. Defence is attitude and we need it.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

I also think our other Brown boy is being missed more than we like, seems that since he’s been out there has been a lack of variation in plays in the halves area.

Longfin Eel
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Longfin Eel

In a way we have got the worst away grounds out of the way in Canberra, Newcastle and Townsville, as well as Melbourne (played this in Brisbane). As you said, most of the remaining games are in Sydney and hopefully we will have a fully fit team for these games. The main problem to date though has been the energy of the players. I feel this has dropped since the Newcastle game. Whatever is causing that needs to be rectified, but I agree that a raucous home crown could be just the tonic. Hoping to see a very large crowd… Read more »

Offside
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Offside

I won’t be there as i work Thursday nights. I currently have a spare season ticket as my dad after all these years has decided he’s had enough the moment BA got a new contract he called me to say ‘thats it im done’
Im sure he will be back just as im sure we will continue to be a team who can win at home but as soon as we travel we forget how to win or compete especially as we seem to not have the ability to win tough.

BDon
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BDon

On the wrong side of circumstances lately Shelley, but I’’ll do my best from the couch. We did 20 yrs plus of attending (including, like yourself, local A grade)so I do get it. I must say we are taking aim at a return for all the reasons you share. I’ve already said this, if we can cobble together a good start, we’ll win tonight. Stephen Kearney was an advocate of a low risk, set for set start, and I still (near) pray for it every game. For a team like ours it sets a tone to take risk at the… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I really feel sorry for anyone who bothered to turn up last night.