I was probably like many Parra fans before the game on Sunday. According to the team list, the premiership table and form I knew we really should beat the Dragons, but as we know, what we should do and what actually happens is anything but predictable for our Eels.
It was not the prettiest win, but it showed a side to our team we have not often seen in the past 18 months.
Away from home, with calls going against us and giving up some cheap ball, we managed to win the big moments. We made the crucial tackles and most pleasingly, we showed the ability to turn momentum at the most opportune times.
The Eels delivered what they needed to do.
I have no doubt at all that we can score points against any team and on Sunday we showed some backbone defensively and it is certainly a platform to build from. We are not perfect, nor are we at the level of the top few teams yet, but we are becoming more reliable, with players staying in role and doing their job.
From the stands last Sunday it was obvious to see that, sometimes, a returning player does more for those around them. Michael Jennings’ return was obviously good for him, but the benefit for Dylan Brown and Sivo was obvious for all to see.
Jennings must be extremely good with communication in defence, as a glaring weakness for us since his injury looked safe and secure once again. While Jennings will take time to get back into attacking form his defensive skill was very much welcomed.
The most pleasing aspect for me from the game was the ability to stay composed and play as a team. We saw players step up and meet the Dragons pack – Paulo and Evans in particular had strong games.
But in truth it is simply pleasing to see our boys playing as one. I have said it a few times this year, but the ability to reconnect and find our unity as a team this year is a credit to all the staff and players.
I personally look forward to this week as it will be the second game this year my grandfather will be attending. The last one was that amazing Easter Monday game. The trip up to Sydney is a big one for him but he loves league and his beloved Eels. My love for Parra and league comes from him and I am sure my family will be like many others this week in enjoying our day at the footy, watching three grades and simply being grateful that we are very much still in this competition as too often in our past Parra has been finished by this time of the season.
We are playing a team we normally struggle with. But this year we have begun to meet some of those struggles head on and I have faith this Saturday will be no different as we turn up to take on the Knights. This time however we can give the Knights an experience they normally give others, we will be the ones with a vocal home crowd getting behind the team.
Turn up in big numbers Parra fans, this team is showing us they deserve our support. Let’s deliver the noise.