The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – A Victory On And Off The Field

Well done Eels fans and players alike, my faith has been restored. It happened before the game, it happened throughout.

For the first time in a long time I had to think about going to the footy on Friday night. It was cold and, in truth, driving to the game I was still so disappointed with what I saw the previous week that it was hard to be excited.

But, like over twenty-one thousand Parra fans, we fronted up for another game by making our way to the wonderful BankWest Stadium. From The Stands, the effort of the long drive was quickly rewarded in witnessing the honour given to Denis Anderson, and then reinforced during the opening five minutes of the game.

I saw three simple things early that made me realise that we would be in the contest, having a real go. Those things gave me the green light to start cheering and then letting my voice be heard as some of the ridiculous and baffling referee decisions reared their ugly head.

I saw enthusiasm, effort and most importantly energy. It started with defence and then as the game developed you could see the patience with the ball in hand.

As the match unfolded, the most pleasing aspects were the improved line speed in defence, the ability to stop the offload and the return of the line running with ball in hand.

Evergreen David Gower

Tepai, Manu and Gowie attacked behind the ruck all game and made great metres to get us on the front foot. Even though we went short to Lane all night, that will pay dividends as the weeks progress and Dylan Brown returns. Opposition defences will be uncertain as to whether Lane, Jennings or Gutho will be the one getting the ball. I dare say it may even open up space for Brown to use his pace.

Driving home from the ground, my family had plenty of time to reflect on the importance of beating the Rabbitohs. Sure they had Origin players out, but on paper this game was not dissimilar to the Cowboys game. Souths still had a big impressive forward pack with a talented half, just like the Cowboys. However unlike the Cowboys game, we matched them in the forwards and then let our backs get the points.

From the stands you could see the effort, you could see the teamwork and you could see the desire.

Hopefully this isn’t lost on the players. Effort, desire and teamwork is at the core of what Eels fans look for. Give us that every week and the players will see and hear passionate and vocal support coming from the stands. We’ll play our part in getting them across the line.

I look forward to the return of the Brown Corporation in the coming weeks. Dylan and Nathan have the potential to make us a much better team.

This week another challenge awaits – facing the Sharks away. They will test our ruck defence and ability to stop the offload. It will be a big challenge.

Evans justified his selection.

It will be interesting to see how our forwards go. Will they bring the same energy? Junior and Kane Evans had impressive performances last week, now they need to back it up. There are still some areas we must improve in, but that is why we are a team fighting for a spot in the eight, not a certain finalist fighting for the title.

Which Parra team will turn up at Shark Park? The one with energy and effort or the one we saw against the Panthers? They need to decide how they want to be seen. A team who always shows up or a team who, when they show up, can beat anyone? If they want to build towards a premiership in the coming years it must be the first option.

To finish, I want to congratulate the club on the way they celebrated and paid respect to Denis Anderson, not just with this game but going back to the opening game on Easter Monday. The naming of the dressing sheds, the junior sportsmen medal, the stitching on the jersey under the emblem, the representative from Parra Junior Eels hoisting the Blue and Gold flag, the minutes applause and the signage displaying Parra’s in the tunnel – all of this was spot on.

From what I’ve heard many people say about Denis, it’s exactly the tribute he would have appreciated. People like Big D help create, build and give a soul to a sporting club and it’s important to both respect and honour them when they are in our presence and also when they are no longer with us.

Well done to our club officials and players. You showed great respect and appreciation towards a great man. The win was important, but appropriately honouring Denis provided a genuine victory for Denis and every person who gives so much of themselves to the Parramatta Eels.

Shelley

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The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Good read Shelley.

Like other teams core is the fundamental requirements to building a successful team.
In return you should have a core group of ppl heading in the same direction to make a successful team.

With what I saw on Friday night can be the start of something special. We just as a club n fan base need to be the foundation to build that something special.

As ppl know with out the fan’s there’s no clubs. We the ppl that drive success.

shelley
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shelley

They certainly had a different attitude. The real test is this week, can they back it up and can they bring the right attitude without having backs against the wall. We would have been in real trouble as a club if our players did not improve after what they dished up against the Panthers. I have a feeling that the core of this team has so much potential and with the right retention and recruitment we could be very very good. The trick is you want our young up and coming players surrounded by winners and mentally tough leaders, players… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, thanks for a great post, glad to see your real self back as is many others who are in the same category as you are. Over the last couple of days as my hope has built up somewhat since the mixies game, I keep getting the reminder about one swallow doesn’t make a season, it just provides some sustagen for the coming matches. Your great call re the respect for Big D is also tops, in some ways it makes up for no recognition as such the previous week but thinking of it in hindsight Cumberland and its other… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

This team has the ability to beat anyone, they can also be beaten by anyone. We have a very talented backline, we simply need our forwards to sum up. I expect Nathan Brown will strengthen our middle especially on line defence. Saturday will be interesting, especially how the handle Fafita.

BDon
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BDon

Shelley, the point you make about attacking behind the ruck. This became increasingly clear as the game went on, and I give Souths credit, they stayed awake and alive, we made good inroads but didn’t cut them to ribbons. A massive positive is when you hold the ball, consistently take your six, you can actually ask the questions and execute a game plan. In all of our losses, we just couldn’t do this. In four losses, we succumbed to high tempo play, and in two we bumbled our way to disappointment.

Shelley
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Shelley

Agree Souths did defend it but it allowed us to get quick play the balls so our shifts had more threat. I thought Jennings was excellent and very dangerous. I also think that is the spot to target the Sharks. Manly always attack them behind the ruck as the Sharks tend to spread wide in defence.

sam
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sam

Nice article, thank you. Also very happy they did something for Big D – my old man worked with Him at junior eels back in the day. I have to eat my words, as Kane Evans was excellent (except for the drop ball) basically all night and proved His value over Alvaro’s recent performance & Mannahs bench contributions were dwarfed by Gowie and what He brought to the game. Well done to those 2. Can’t wait for the fully fit Mrs Browns Boys to get back in the action. We will have greater forward versatility and a threatening half on… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I must admit I could not believe I was watching Kane Evans. He ran hard, offloaded and actually pushed them back in defence. Let’s see if he does it this week? He needs a few more games like this in a row before I will really trust him on the field.

Milo
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Milo

Another quality article, thank you Cannot agree more as to which Parra turns up this weekend. We only hope this last match Parra does. I really don’t know tbh, as they have been up and down all season and again i do not know if we have the consistency in the pack and only hope Brown does come back fit and healthy. If we don’t in it wont end the season, but our attitude and effort needs to be like Cronulla, tough and consistent. I still do now know what we get from our 5/8 and i like W Smith… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

Don’t really have a comment on Wenty ( did not see the game so hard to judge) apart from this. On paper we should have smashed them. There is the problem. Some players in that Wenty team, regular first graders, have been guilty many a times of playing down to the opposition and just expecting the win without maximum effort or attitude, case in point the Panthers game. I suspect that attitude accompanied them to reserve grade and hence while disappointed with the score I can not say I was shocked- past behaviour best indicator for future behaviour. Let’s hope… Read more »

Big John
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Big John

So true Shelly. I was at the game and when French and Salmon had the ball the team fired on the back of work done by the middles. For some inexplicable reason, the middles (Mannah and Alvaro – who I both like by the way) thought they could win the game by themselves, and French and Salmon hardly saw the ball in the second half and looked like they were getting overcalled on nearly every occasion.