How good was that!
There would be many items on Parramatta’s list of necessary improvements, but the number one on my list – resilience – was finally delivered against the Raiders.
Not since that finals loss against the Storm in 2017 has such resilience been on display. Instead of rolling over, the Eels dug in. All of them, every player on the field. Some had better games than others, but that will always be the case in any game, in any sport. But, most importantly, they played as a collective and were accountable to each other.
If I’m honest, at 16-0 I thought about switching off. I’d seen that show a little too often.
But, like most Parra fans, I stick with the team through the good and bad, so I kept watching and I was glad I did.
This game reminded me of our victory against the Warriors in 2017. Watching from The Stands that night at ANZ, I was amazed at how we won and just like that game, the victory over the Raiders was initially difficult to explain.
Essentially, it looked like we simply wanted to win more.
That comes back to individuals having pride in the jersey and a team believing in the goals they have set each other. It’s a far cry from last year and I think as supporters we need to remember the depths we are digging out from.
Last Saturday night we ran harder, looked fitter, held our nerve and most pleasingly adapted mid game. We were able to fix the gaps in our defence mid game. We changed our movement in attack and straightened up mid game. With such a young spine, to be able to change things on the run and become more patient as the game progressed was pleasing.
It was a good team performance but from the stands a couple of players stood out.
Junior was so destructive in attack. His mobility and stamina is a credit to him. He has obviously worked hard both in the off season and during the season proper to maintain his fitness. To see him running hard at the end of the game and making crunching tackles on more agile Raiders forwards was wonderful.
It was always going to be pleasing to see him return to Parra, his home, but to see him excel almost every week is huge for our club. It shows our other young up and coming forwards the way to do things. He could very well turn out to be the exact role model that our young forwards coming through need.
The other person I want to credit is Blake Ferguson.
I was a little hesitant when we signed him but he is proving exceptional both on and off the field. While he seems a character off the field, his ability to be in the right spot in big moments is no fluke. He seems to read play beautifully and appears to understand that as a senior player he has responsibilities to help us win big moments. He certainly did that last Saturday.
It’s now back to Sydney and a crucial moment in the 2019 season.
Our team is stepping up and learning to work together to achieve its goals. We need that to continue. As supporters, our role cannot be underestimated.
In Round 17 we’ll be playing the Tigers in an “away game” at BankWest Stadium. With the bye this weekend, the Eels will come into that round on 18 points, and still in the Top 8. Our team has not been out of the Top 8 at the completion of any round this season. What a remarkable turn around from last season.
The Tigers will be up for this clash.
In a game that could be Benji’s 300th, the Tigers fans will likely show up in numbers. As much as I respect Benji and will happily applaud him, we need to be there to support our boys. We need to outnumber and out support the Tigers fans. We need to be the louder voices, the ones to influence the officials, to encourage our team.
Our Parramatta Eels showed on Saturday they are going to fight really hard to try to make the finals. We are wonderful supporters and we stick solid. We need to get to the next game. We need to show the Tigers and any other team who plays Parra at BankWest that this is our ground, it is our spiritual home. We need to be the home team, no matter what the draw states.
Get there, buy your tickets early, support our boys, support our club.
The Eels deserve it. It really is that simple.