Ladies and gentlemen, the Eels have just won a game which, in their recent history, they would not normally win. How many of you would echo that sentiment?
Last Friday was a display of how far the team has come. Wet, slippery night conditions are not ideal for the Eels and their attacking set up. Quite frankly, the conditions played right into the Panthers strengths.
But the mighty Blue and Golds managed to win and one tiny moment and action summed up why they won and the growth of this team.
In the last ten minutes, Gutherson twice defended kicks into the in-goal with desperate Panthers players chasing and he quickly grounded the ball each time. He didn’t try to pick it up to execute a miraculous escape. The 2018-19 version of Gutherson was prone to attempting something extravagant and it did not work. This time he backed his teammates and trusted the work they had done over the off season to hold out the Panthers for one more set.
That decision shows great leadership. He trusted his team and backed them. That trust is developed over time, it cannot be achieved easily. It is gained when you recruit and retain the right people, when you have honest and forward thinking reviews that you act on. That one simple action last Friday summed up for me how far our team and club has come.
I don’t know how far Parra will go this year. Like all teams, luck will play a role but I know one thing for sure. We have the players, coaches and fan base that will do all we can to achieve the ultimate success.
The Eels young leadership group of Paulo, Moses, Matterson, Nathan Brown and Gutherson stepped up last week. They got the team back in the game and showed the way for everyone else.
I have faith Parra will continue to improve and just maybe supporters can really start to believe in that ultimate success come November. To some degree the game against the Roosters will show us how far we have come. I am confident they will stand up well. But competitions are not won in Round 6.
They say past behaviour is the best predictor for the future.
Over the extremely recent past, circa 2020, this team’s behaviour has told me that they will learn both the good and the bad that came out of the Panthers game and set about learning from it and improving. The test of that learning will come soon enough, because any team will undoubtedly have to go through the Roosters to win this premiership. This week gives us a chance to gauge where our team is at.
On Sunday we received the news that from July 1 the maximum attendance at games will be increased to 25% of Stadium capacity. However, trying to accommodate everyone who “deserves” entry into a reduced capacity ground will remain a challenging task for administrators. Like most fans I cannot wait to go back to the games but I’ll be patient.
Against the Panthers, the Eels showed us that they too are willing to be patient and work for each other. I was proud of how they played, so whether I get to cheer them on From The Stands or From My Lounge, they’ll get all of the patience and support that I can possibly give.