The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – The Blame Game

The blame game – the act of pointing the finger at others to explain your shortfalls appears to have found another home. Thankfully it’s not at the Eels.

Some of the actions and reactions to last Saturday highlight why our club has turned a corner in 2019, and why the Warriors have to find that same road to travel on.

Before doing so, let’s address that forward pass call. If Parra had been on the receiving end of that call I would be upset. I don’t know if it was forward, but there was certainly some doubt about it. 

That said, refereeing errors could be found in the first Warriors try, in penalties not given to Parry when he was taken mid air and in the ruck. The Warriors were heavily penalised because they came with the game plan to bash the Parra pack, and when that didn’t come to fruition, they turned to tactics which were obvious infringements. Indeed, their actions in the ruck should have drawn more penalties. They have no one to blame but themselves for the lopsided count.

Brad Arthur

However, to spend too much time debating refereeing only detracts from the positives to come from the clash. As an NRL coach, Arthur won’t enter such debates. Despite Eels fans calling for the club and coach to let rip in media conferences and wear a $10K fine, he stands firm at looking within.

Unfortunately, the post match focus last Saturday overshadowed the positives.

Nathan Brown was a star on the field. Then, to see him on the sideline with a few minutes to go pacing up and down yelling at his teammates was wonderful for fans. You could see how much he wanted to be on the field and how much the game meant to him. People around me pointed it out and the comment was made that if we get a few more with his attitude we will certainly get better in the coming years.

Nathan Brown

But maybe we already have many of them in our club. Maybe another off season with young players training alongside players like Gutho and Brown and seeing that desire, commitment and mentally resilient attitude will work wonders. 

Last Saturday was about getting the win. Good teams win well, really good teams can win ugly games. We have not won a game like that for a while and I was really pleased with it.

Another thing that has pleased me is the total BankWest game day experience. It has really been the last two games at the stadium that I have realised how much I missed the experience of being at a true home game. Going to the Leagues Club before and after the game. Having a meal, predicting and dissecting the game in our club, surrounded by Parra fans, makes the game day complete. It is creating an energy around the whole day and will only get better if and when the team becomes more consistent.

Where are our Eels at?

The five teams that sit above us have been much more consistent. The teams directly below us on the table have lost 4,5 or 6 games in a row. The last couple of teams have issues off the field, that have impacted them on the field.

Our place on the Premiership ladder probably reflects our strengths and our weaknesses. Not consistent enough to warrant a top four place, too good to slump to lengthy stretches of losses.

The positive has been the progress made this season. After last year, we accepted our faults, the club and everyone in it took responsibility and we are coming out the other side better for it. We looked within.

Perhaps looking in the mirror would be a better option for CEO, Cameron George and his Warriors team.

In my opinion, George, was less than professional when calling on Warriors fans to bring whistles to the next game. It’s embarrassing to have the head of an NRL club trying to incite the fans to undertake match disruptive behaviour. Furthermore, for him to suggest that the calls cost them their season is ludicrous, especially when a number of dubious decisions have gone their way, both in this match and other clashes.

Supporters might make emotional statements and have a shot at ref calls costing their team a game. Leaders of organisations must hold themselves above such public comments, no matter their beliefs.

I could never imagine the Storm or Roosters making such amateurish comments. Likewise, I could never imagine Bernie Gurr saying such things.

On reflection, when supporters like me know that our club executive will conduct themselves as total professionals, that they won’t fall back on the blame game, it’s an indicator of the progress that the Eels have made.

Finally I want to wish Bevan French all the best.

It has obviously not worked out for him but I think he played an important role in our recent history. He came into our team just after we had lost the points in 2016 and the loss of key players such as Peats and Foran. French provided the fans with an exciting young player to cheer for. I think that parting company is best for everyone.

I hope Bevan goes really well at Wigan and starts to enjoy his footy again.

 

Shelley

 

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Rob
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Rob

Thank you, Shelley, for continuing to represent us as well as you do.

If Parramatta as a club blew up about the enormous number of dud calls the team has received over the years then we’d never be out of the media and would be a laughing stock.

Penalties were and weren’t called correctly for both sides in what was an excellent, tight contest.

We won, and we deserved to because we played better.

Parra forever

Shelley
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Shelley

I think a fan has every right to get upset and hold whatever opinion they want but club officials and to a lesser extent journalist need to be more objective. For the Warriors CEO to give his players an out and excuse for a disappointing season will do them more damage. They are a club full of excuses blaming everything and everyone else for their failure and I think Parra fans can say that because for over a decade we have been the same. Thankfully that is changing. Nathan Brown, Moses and Gutho are the keys for us in the… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

I think you are on the money with Brown, Moses and Gutho being the leadership group. I also get a sense reading what comes out of the media that they are close off the field as well.

Only other name I might add is Junior

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Fair call in all that Shelley and no disagreements from this side. As I am old school I believe the team and coach should be prepared to cop the claps when deserved and cop the flack when deserved. There have been times where BA has made some rudimentary comments about officials but they have been very measured but I think there are times where could have stretched the measurements a bit further. The more I am reading, listening and watching the team, the more I am of the view that Nathan Brown needs to actually be the eels primary on… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I think Brown is a leader with or without the captain next to his name. Captain, especially next year without Mannah, requires a lot of media and sponsors work and I think Gutho is much better suited to that. Possibly they could be co captains.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, the eels over the years have had 2 captains on a pretty regular basis, often called by different titles, such as Club Captain, something Tim Mannah had for some time and think he still has that tag as well. We have had the aspect of Co Captains, plus Captain and Vice Captain, certainly since the interchange period there has affectively been two players designated as Captains, more usually a back and a forward. Tim has been a good club captain as he has been well serving in that role and presents himself well in that arena, something I think… Read more »

JonBoy
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JonBoy

Colin- the reasons you say Gutho should not be captain are in my opinion exactly why NBrown should not be Captain.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

So what are you saying JonBoy?

I have not said that Gutho should not be captain, rather putting an option up that has Nathan Brown and Gutho both as captains, its a basis of who is the primary captain that’s all when both are on the field.

JonBoy
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JonBoy

Col, I’m suggesting that NBrown should be allowed to continue to focus on tackling everything that moves and running flat out into anything that doesn’t! He is an aggressive forward who should continue to channel his energy AT the opposition rather than his team mates, or worse the ref.

I actually think Gutho has both the emotional and intellectual intelligence to manage the captaincy on and off the field.

sixties
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Nailed!

Milo
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Milo

Great read Shelley. I am one person who at times wished BA did have a go in the media….but i see your point. We have had our share and more of bad calls. The warriors manager showed to me how unprofessional or emotive they are and its a shame, as pointed out most of the penalties given were for discipline issues. You hit it on the head about where we sit; not consistent enough for the top 4. It shows in our defence, and this to me is something we need to sort asap. Whether it be personnel or otherwise… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Agree on each of the two three accounts, however when it comes to the defence aspect, I’m not so sure about how one goes about fixing it, as we have a defence coach now for half of 2018 and the same one this year, and there has been nothing of note to suggest he’s done anything to improve that aspect of his charter let alone fix it. ATM, seems that there are about half the forwards that appear to be carrying the defensive forward burden, with the backs in many ways holding their own, I for one cannot understand the… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

Last year we had defence issues all over the park. We have fixed some but the middle defence is still a big concern. A good tackling second rower and a tackling prop is what we need. Sivo will be much better with Jennings and the more he plays the better he will get, just look at how much his attack has improved, defence will also.

BDon
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BDon

Agree with recruiting Shelley. I’d take a lead from top clubs (ie Storm, Roosters) and ensure mobility/agility is in the profile. Dare I offer Manly’s emerging pack as an example, even the big guy, Fonua Blake is not without mobility.

John Eel
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John Eel

Dale Finucane would be nice

Paulmc
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I went down to Canberra this year to watch us play the raiders. I was very pleased with a defensive effort that saw us repel the raiders set after set. Then a miracle pass on our line saw us race 90 metres to score only to be called back for a forward pass(???)
A real game changer. I also witnessed the continual attack on Blake Ferguson head and ribs with no interference from the match officials. I couldn’t have more proud of a gutsy loss

shelley
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shelley

Well said. It is poor by the Warriors to blame a poor season on 4 match officials. All teams have 24 opportunities in the season to win the necessary 13 games.

MAX
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MAX

A fabulous write up and synopsis of the game, firstly as long time Parra fan, I don’t believe the Warriors forward pass was forward, albeit I was watching from an area that the play was coming at me, however I do believe replays support what I thought I saw. Shelley I agree with you 100% that Nathan Brown was a standout on Saturday night, I was left questioning the timing of Brad Arthur taking him off in the second half, when he left the field, we lost all momentum, and clearly Browny was put out by his removal as he… Read more »

shelley
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shelley

I have to agree re Brown not being on at the end of the game, of course not knowing any injury etc this makes it hard. But my thought at the game was get him back on there.

JonBoy
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JonBoy

BA removed him straight after he charged the ball back from a drop out and then got tackled around the neck, earning us a penalty.
The “dug out” is directly in front of my seat and Browny was like a caged lion.

I actually think it was a cool headed decision to pull him as he was sooooo fired up that he could have done something that we all would have regretted.

sixties
Admin

Really appreciate this insight JonBoy. Nathan was once renowned for his uncontrolled aggression. That has not been the case at Parra. Perhaps this action kept it that way.

John Eel
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John Eel

It is very interesting reading the media this week. Nobody, bookies or media, give the Eels a shot at beating the Dragons next game.

Given the Dragons are 1 win from their last 5 games and the Eels have not been out of the 8 since the season began I find this remarkable.

They are just not that bad to be so despised. Maybe they have all read Warriors CEO George’s statements and that is keeping the Eels under the radar.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

John the more the eels are down played the better I believe for the team, great to follow a team of winning underdogs.

John Eel
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John Eel

I don’t disagree Colin. The Dragons Edge defence is really soft. I think that Sivo will be better in defence against the Dragons with MJ inside him and Blake will be better for the run last week.

I am predicting Sivo to have a field day against the Dragons right edge defence and will score a brace.

Longfin Eel
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Longfin Eel

Some great points Shelley. You only need to look to the past few seasons where Parra were continually on the receiving end of penalties against us. The club saw that most of these were due to our style of play and BA was determined to not give the refs an opportunity to blow penalties against us. This year we have fixed the ruck indiscretions and seem to win more penalties than our opposition (haven’t seen the stats), which may be leading to more 50:50 calls going our way. The point is that as you say it is up to the… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

Spot on. You always should look in the mirror first before blaming others.