The Cumberland Throw

Draw & Pass – Breaking Down The Eels’ 2020 Draw

Image courtesy of NRL.com

 

The 2020 NRL Draw has officially dropped and it has delivered a mixed bag for the Parramatta Eels. There is plenty to dive into so let’s get right into the meat and potatoes of the 25 regulation season rounds of the upcoming season.

 

Key Details

  • The Parramatta Eels will enjoy headliner status for the 2020 season as they host traditional rivals, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday Night Footy.
  • Parramatta play just three home games, including our annual trip to Darwin, in the first ten rounds in a grueling away-trip schedule. It is no secret that the Achilles’ Heel of Brad Arthur and his troops has been their inability to win consistently on the road so this will be a true test of the mental growth of the team. An Easter Monday ‘away’ game against the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium in Round 5 helps somewhat but the Eels absolutely have to overcome this weakness.
  • Conversely, the Eels will enjoy a whopping 9 home games and a bye in their final fifteen rounds – although a punishing line-up awaits them. The Rabbitohs (x2), Sea-Eagles, Raiders, Roosters and Storm feature in that stretch among 2019 contenders while fixtures against the Panthers (x2), Tigers and Knights always carry trap game considerations.
  • A manageable Magic Round! The scars of the inaugural Magic Round thrashing delivered unto the Eels by the Melbourne Storm lingered for a month as they subsequently bottomed out before eventually rebounding. The New Zealand Warriors are far from a free win but they will be a much more welcome opponent when Parramatta travel to Suncorp Stadium in Round 8 for the gala round.
  • Speaking of the Melbourne Storm, the Eels will host their interstate adversaries for the first time since 2016 when they meet in Round 22 in prime-time footy on Friday night. First things first though, the Eels will need to take care of a full strength Melbourne contingent at AAMI Park in Round 10. The regular season double-header means that the Eels will likely need to go weather the Storm on separate occasions in 2020 if they intend on making a deep push into the post-season.

 

Match-up Breakdown

Bulldogs (Round 1, Round 6)

Broncos (Round 7, Round 20)

Cowboys (Round 3, Round 12)

Dragons (Round 4, Round 23)

Knights (Round 24)

Panthers (Round 11, Round 25)

Rabbitohs (Round 14, Round 19)

Raiders (Round 18)

Roosters (Round 21)

Sea Eagles (Round 9, Round 17)

Sharks (Round 15)

Storm (Round 10, Round 22)

Titans (Round 2)

Warriors (Round 8)

Wests Tigers (Round 5, Round 13)

 

Five Day Turnarounds

The Eels cop a NRL high 3 five-day turnarounds in 2020. They share this burden with the Cronulla Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a shockingly lop-sided case of scheduling. Beyond that six clubs have to plan around a single five-day turnaround a piece while the remaining seven clubs have no such issues at all with a short week.

It all really does raise an eyebrow as to how the schedule can fall into place in such a way that three clubs are so heavily impacted by short weeks to recovery and prepare for their next opponent.

  • Round 5 – Round 6
  • Round 11 – Round 12
  • Round 18 – Round 19

 

Key Stretches

Round 1 – Round 8 (Bulldogs, Titans, Cowboys, Dragons, Tigers, Bulldogs, Broncos, Warriors)

It is almost cheating to start with an entire third of the season here but the Eels open up their campaign with eight extremely winnable games – regardless of home or away billing – as they face only one 2019 Top 8 team in the Broncos.

Round 17 – Round 22 (Sea Eagles, Raiders, Rabbitohs, Broncos, Roosters, Storm)

If the opening stretch could be considered a cake-walk by NRL standards, Brad Arthur will be looking to have the mother of all bye weeks because a brutal 6-game stretch awaits him after the week off in Round 16. He is staring down the barrel of a line-up that features five teams from the 2019 finals series including the entire Top 4 and the eventual premiers.

 

There you have it!

What’s your take on the draw? Are you concerned about the heavy away game load to start the season or pleased about the tremendous run home at Bankwest Stadium?

And those five day turn arounds!

Plenty to digest.

Over to you.

 

Forty

 

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Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Forty/20, way I am looking at the draw is that the sooner it starts the better as the new season cannot come fast enough. Ok!, that aside, the harder things are for the team the more they have to lift in their performances, its really time where the eels need to get used to playing away and not just waiting for a game at the sanctuary. A bit that concerned me this season was the attitude regarding our new stadium, to me its just a modern Cumberland and always will be Cumberland, the great longing to play there is great,… Read more »

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Good point regarding the early away games Col. It could be a great opportunity for some extra early season bonding sessions if the team take a couple of days away together for each of the long distance away games. It tends to work well (~80% win record in NT) when we go to Darwin.

sixties
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Rowdy. That massive away stretch can work both ways – as noted by you and Col.
The Eels must win the majority of those games to keep a similar position to the one they held in 2019. You can’t look at the opposition and regard the games as should win. Every game must be played on its merit, and at the start of the year, some of the teams that drop off in form later tend to start the season with plenty of energy and determination.
Despite this years good form we have to be better in 2020.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Sixties, without bringing in witches left over from Thursday lollies brigades doing the street crawls in their health kick meanderings, I have some concerns about our horror start last season when we led for approx. 30minutes in first half and then into the boiling cauldron for the rest of the year. While I do not and would imagine the coach and other heads of training and the like will be very much focussed in that area, every team will be working hard for good season starts in order to build for every round. Complacency could cause issues but I believe… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Yes a bit like Col here.
We need to prove that we can win away from home. It’s very simple.
I’m also questioning why the nrl give us Brisbane in NT; when at Bankwest wed have almost sold it out. It gives Brisbane another advantage in the humid conditions and I get it that we need to beat all teams; I’d have taken Canberra or Melb there.
Don’t start me on Thursday night games let alone the 5 day turnarounds.
Who does not get a 5 day turnaround? 🙂

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Brisbane Milo, that’s who!

Milo
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Milo

Don’t start me on them Rowdy….its the off season but i can feel the blood pressure now.
I think as a fan we just want fairness, and what is somewhat funny is the NRL highlights the company who makes up the draw with all of these combinations yet we have several teams experiencing a few 5 day turnarounds and some not.

Glenn
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Glenn

What is apparent is that the NRL do everything in their power to get ponies into the finals. The ludicrous decision, this year and last, that the magic round is not made the ponies home game is a case in point.

Milo
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Milo

Agreed; maybe its an NRL trade off for no GF..who knows. They do get a very good run with games and schedules.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Milo I agree with your comment on the Brisbane game. That early in the season that game in a friendly time slot would be a massive draw

The same applies to the opener against the Dogs. That game Sunday afternoon at Bankwest a sellout.

sixties
Admin

Milo, I see it this way. The NT sponsorship gets some return this year via a featured free to air game, which undoubtedly will include scenes from NT’s tourist spots that Broncos and Eels will call in on. The game will draw more visiting spectators with the Broncos playing and hence prove a better television spectacle, better match atmosphere and more $$$ for the local economy. I reckon it’s a commercial decision and not a footy one.

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Thanks for breaking it up in this manner Forty/20. Your 3 point format of pertinent issues in the draw concerning Parramatta has given inspiration to my perception of “how will this draw effect us, and why”.? It’s a very simple two headed penny if you’re a positive half glass full type of dude, as I am. It could also be “Oh no. Oh no, and Oh no” if you’re a pessimistic worry wart always holding a flat half glass empty fella/chick. Personally I would rather play the teams we’ve drawn for the first 8 rounds any day, when battling to… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Rowdy, The eels always have had obstacles to jump over, and next year will be the same, like many I believe all teams should be treated equally as far as the short turn rounds are concerned, but for the eels it seems to be never or rarely the case. I would like to see the club, players and supporters actually push it as a positive, and just another hurdle to jump and conquer. The way the team and club are developing I definitely believe they can do it. If its seen as just another challenge or hill to climb to… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I have not taken the time to analyse our 5 day turnarounds from the season just finished but I am pretty sure we did not do well.

What makes it worse is it is so unbalanced over all 16 clubs

John Eel

Shelley
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Shelley

Trying to predict a difficult or easy draw this far out is almost impossible, so I don’t really worry about it. How anyone can even try to honestly justify the injustice with 5 day turn arounds between club is beyond me. I have come to accept that the NRL draw is about as transparent and fair as the NRL decisions on medically retiring players. I could be cynical and say the difficulty of our draw can not be determined yet as we don’t know how many players the Broncos and Rabbits will be allowed to retire to fix the obvious… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, love your post, especially on two fronts, the first is cynical and the second is the entirety of the last paragraph.

Longfin Eel
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Longfin Eel

This draw could be the stepping stone to get Parra to the next level. Win most of the early away games and our confidence will be high. We might get our pants pulled down a couple of times from round 17, but this should inject some venom into the side. The 5 day turn arounds are pretty poor from the NRL. Supporters have been complaining about this for years yet the NRL insists on pulling in the dollars before player welfare. I don’t think I am overly concerned about the tough stretch from round 17. There are a few winnable… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

The hard end of the comp could be where the club really shows where its at, good early season wins gets points on the board and helps the ladder position. The end of the year games though is where the real abilities will be needed if the players especially want to shake the tag of a middle order team at normal/best or spooner’s as worst. They need to win in the hard games more-so, than the easy ones which often are not. Big wins also do not help overall as we have failed miserably at times to back up big… Read more »