Suncorp Stadium, Thursday 28th May, 2020
Crowd – Virtual
As we round out Round 3 of the 2020 Telstra Premiership, most of the plaudits have already been delivered about the Eels powerful win over the Brisbane Broncos.
The opening first 10 minutes of the game saw a Parramatta side which has rarely, if at all, been seen. Brutal defence, blistering attack. The only question at the time was could they keep this momentum up. Its was a big, make that HUGE, YES.
Previously, when we’ve seen the Eels open a game in strong fashion, their efforts begin to dwindle and after about 50 to 60 minutes the tank is empty and the opposition just feast on points in the closing 20 to run over the Eels.
This match was different, so let’s see how it was reflected in the stats.
Let’s just start with having a look at the two Hit Up heat maps. Just let it sink in for a moment
These graphics alone show the Eels dominance against the Broncos. I have never seen a more dramatic difference in the Hit Up heat maps than this.
There was nearly a 1,000 run metre difference between the two sides. The Eels ran for 2093 metres off 221 runs with the Broncos at 1158 run metres off 130 runs. The Eels had 12 players run 100 metres or more against the Broncos 4. All the Eels forwards, bar Mahoney, ran 100 metres plus.
But let’s also give a massive accolade to Dylan Brown.
Dylan ran for 106 metres, absolutely rarely heard of for a five eighth. This in no doubt was Dylan best game in the Blue and Gold. We have seen glimpses of what he can do, and he showed it against the Broncos in spades. He ran the side beautifully around the park and it was great to see Mitch Moses step back and let Dylan lead the team. Was this a plan from the Eels coaching staff? Or was it just how the game panned out? In saying that even Moses ran for an impressive 87 metres himself.
Both our edge forwards in Lane and Matterson had terrific games. They ran hard and in most instances had opportunities to get an offload away or break the line themselves. Brad Arthur would be salivating knowing we have options on both sides of the field just as strong as each other. All I would like to see is someone just hanging off the hip of Ryan Matterson. There were a few times if he had support player next to him the Eels would have crossed a few more times.
The Eels lethal attack was strongly supported by 23 offloads to the Broncos 5. Add in 8 line breaks to 2 and you can see the field dominance the Eels had.
The Eels maintained 61% of the possession but only completed at 73% (36 completed/49 sets) I would say that the coaching staff would have liked that to be a bit higher. There were times I thought that the boys pushed it a bit too much and their patience could have been better. These are the times when we don’t need to score off every single play.
Top mentions: Clint Gutherson 249 run metres, Reagan Campbell-Gillard 194 run metres and Kane Evans 179 run metres.
We all know that the attack from the Eels was pretty much on song but it was also an absolutely superb defensive effort as well.
Not only are the Eels scoring nearly 30 points a game, they have only conceded a total of 14 points. This is the best start by a team in the NRL era (from 1998). Having only had their line crossed just twice in 3 games is nothing short of remarkable. Especially in this high paced era of rugby league.
The Eels made a total of just 243 tackles against the Broncos 386. That’s a massive difference – close to an extra 24 sets of six that the Eels enjoyed over the Broncos.
The Eels made 26 missed tackles and 12 tackles were ineffective giving them a tackle efficiency of 86%. A little low on the Eels scale.
The Eels definitely held their mantle better than the Broncos with the new six again rule. That was plain to see in the opening few minutes. That would have been something the coaching staff would have worked on over the covid break.
Reed Mahoney had a great return back from a foot injury with a team high 37 tackles.
But all in all there is not much to say about the Eels defence at the moment in just saying it has been nothing short of brilliant.
Top Mentions: Ryan Matterson 28 tackles, Marata Niukore 27 tackles.
Really not much more to say than I cannot wait till I can get out and watch this team live.
This week’s game is going to be a cracker against the Sea Eagles. But I truly believe we have the team that can put a score over our arch rivals.
Manly did play well against the Dogs, but really the Dogs didn’t throw much at them, so it will be interesting to see the Sea Eagles defence against a rolling Eels pack. The Manly side did give a few “six agains“ away in their last match which if repeated would benefit the Eels and allow them to get that roll on once again.
The Eels playing out of Bankwest will add that bit extra of incentive, if not advantage.