The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands (Lounge) – Rising


  “Everything negative- pressure- challenges-are all an opportunity for me to rise.“

– Kobe Bryant

Like many businesses, the NRL has been under immense pressure. Supporters, members, players, officials and administration – few have been spared. There has been and, in many ways continues to be, so much uncertainty.

When will fans return to the ground?

Will all clubs survive and have the opportunity to thrive?

Will the gap between the struggling clubs and wealthy, stable and well supported clubs expand?

The answers to these questions are uncertain. But I do have much more certainty about my own club. The Parramatta Eels, the entire club, from its players, coaches, administration and supporters are in a much healthier position in June 2020 than I could ever have imagined back in the dark days of 2016. I can only think with dread how our club would have survived if the events of 2020 and the Covid pandemic had struck in 2016.

Undoubtedly, there is plenty going on behind the scenes to help stabilise our club and ensure its future financial viability. I have a strange confidence that it will be okay, and I will explain why later.


How did the players and coaches keep each other accountable during isolation? It’s now obvious that they did, but even before last Thursday I had a strange confidence that they had.


Fans In The Stand

Our club, coaching staff and players have received some plaudits in this post, but the fans should not be forgotten.

I can only sit back and admire those fans that have done what they can to continue monetary and moral support for our club and team. It was easy for my family to pledge our membership as we have not been financially impacted by Covid-19, but fans across the NRL have embraced the challenge of supporting in different ways during challenging times.

For the Eels, individuals and families have made sacrifices to pledge memberships, purchase merchandise from the club store and even send in videos and messages of support. The loyalty of Parra fans has been demonstrated, and our faith was repaid by the team last Thursday.


The Eels return to training, and the communication and connection to fans during the isolation period has been open and honest. It had integrity. No empty promises were made. I have always and will always support our club but in past decades there have been times when such integrity was not apparent to me.

We have been told that players have trained hard. Last Thursday was a fast game and naturally the players got tired, but the ability to keep going, to maintain a high pace, to stay alive in support does not happen unless a team and its players have maintained fitness. They ran hard in the first set, chased every kick to the corner with a straight line and backed up all night.

We’ve been told that our players are developing leadership skills. We saw that in spades last Thursday. Mitchell Moses controlled our attack and kept us focussed on our game plan but he let Dylan Brown shine and play his natural game. His reaction to Brown’s brilliance and skill was the most pleasing thing I saw last Thursday. The maturity of Moses is a credit to himself and his coaches.

Junior Paulo, a member of our leadership group, is extremely fit and is playing with such skill. I was so happy when he returned to the club and to watch his game develop and see him transform into a leader is such a positive. His ability to influence the young Polynesian boys coming through our club by his actions can not be quantified.

Finally, let’s acknowledge some of last week’s standouts who have come from other clubs. They have been unwanted at other clubs or were seen as bench players. Recruits such as Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Waqa Blake, Shaun Lane, Maika Sivo and of course Gutho come to mind. Clubs happily let these players go, yet BA has transformed or re-energised their careers and been able to get this group to gel, and to play exciting, tough football. He allows them to use their talents and back themselves. It’s obvious that the players are being guided by intelligent football coaches who are also obviously good people managers.

Last Thursday I saw a happy, united, well prepared and enthusiastic team take the field. I saw them rise to the occasion. The results each week won’t always be the same, but as long as we can maintain the strong sense of openness, honesty and integrity that is evident throughout the entire club we can only improve and remain not just viable, but strong.





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G’day Shelley, it’s good to see you back. Thanks for your thoughts.   I can certainly agree with what you’ve said here and support the importance you’ve placed on the character of our club being visible throughout the team, especially the integrity as you mentioned that is reflected in an ever growing sense of openness to honesty displayed in individuals. As for the squad and the club that has been built by BA since 2014. The accountability aspect permeates every area of the club from the board through every area of management, administration and facilitation, staff expectation and suitability to… Read more »


How incredibly true Rowdy. BA has been a constant since 2014 (as has Murf), and with so many changes around the club at that time, it’s now obvious what an asset Brad has been. I’ve had the privilege of watching him coach since 2014, including a few times where I’ve been able to observe his methods close up, almost like the inner sanctum footage. The big take that I had is how he has built up the players ownership over the years. The players must have that for them to be able to execute on the field. BA had the… Read more »


Thanks for the correction on BA’s Manly connect, I prefer Toove’s character and will to win that did not compromise with injustice. “There must be an investigation into this”! Fortunately quite different to that which is displayed by Dessie, who appears to sanction win at all costs including the lose or absence of truth and a deliberate pursuit of deception and harassment of authority (refs) in the execution of their on-field duty to maintain order by the enforcement of the laws of the game.


If you did t see NRL 360, there was an interesting piece of footage of Hasler’s coaching. He has the Turbo brothers executing the same play as the Stewart brothers – and it’s working.


Shelley – I think the best sign of a club having the potential for long term, sustained success is prospective representative players seeing the club as one they want to stay with or move to without having to pay overs. I look at the Bulldogs, Titans and Dragons at the moment and really do feel for their supporters. We have been there, under performing team having to pay overs to attract decent players, making it impossible to build depth and the cycle continues. We broke that cycle and I agree BA played a big role in that.   The best… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by She

I hope that the Junior Pathways systems aren’t too impacted by this year. We know there will be impacts and change, just hope it stays strong.

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