The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands (Lounge) – Valuable Experience

Is it possible for a supporter to gain in confidence after a loss?

I confess, I never look forward to the Roosters game as I always fear a flogging. In the previous three matches against the Eels they had racked up 21 tries. That’s a try every 12 minutes. The last Roosters match I had attended was the 2017 massacre at the SFS. What a nightmare that was!

Before Saturday night, I was hoping Parra could match them.

It was obvious from the outset that the Eels were playing an exceptionally coached and drilled team who don’t drop the ball, don’t beat themselves, and play relentlessly for 80 minutes.

Throw in some exceptionally talented footballers and you have the absolute standout team for the competition.

Say whatever you will about the Roosters, and their sombrero, or the influence they have on referees, there is no hiding the fact that they are a high quality, professional team.

Nobody likes accepting defeat or saying a loss is good enough. However, Parra took on the benchmark team and they know that if they work hard, and improve key areas, the challenge of beating the Tri-colours is not impossible. After last Saturday night, I’m convinced that it can be done. It won’t be easy, but a win is closer than it has  been in recent seasons.

Think about how much Parra’s marker defence, goal line defence, kicking game and composure in attack has improved since this time last year. I’m of no doubt that such improvement will continue. After the last three weeks the team has proven they are willing to dig in and play hard. The talent is there and now they have seen how high the bar is to win the title.


Think about Oregon, Reed, Maika and Dylan and what valuable experience they gained playing at such high intensity against such a full-strength, champion team. Each had some very good and not so good moments, but came out of the game with much more upside. Importantly each player demonstrated the desire, will, ability and commitment needed to improve.

The experience will be particularly important for Oregon. Big Oggy looked a bit overawed early in his stint, but the longer he stayed on the field, the better he performed.

Consider these numbers: 543 – 293. Those numbers represent the total NRL games played by the Roosters and Eels spines respectively.

Throw in these numbers: 8-0. This represents the total grand final appearances by the Roosters spine up against the Parra spine.

I could continue rattling off the disparity in finals and origin experience. It would all look the same. Few Eels can list big stage matches on their resumes, so a hyped, top of the table game was a crucial experience. Parra played the best at their best and almost got them. The bar is high, and though the Blue and Golds still have a way to go before they can jump it, I finally believe, not just hope, that we can.

Therefore, there’s no celebration of the defeat but rather a celebration of the opportunity that Parra gave themselves. There’s enormous learning to be taken from this game and the recent past has shown this team is very capable of learning and making improvement.

I’ll declare that the only thing Parra lost in this game was the scoreboard. It may seem like a strange take, but given that people learn best from their mistakes, those crucial Parra errors could potentially be their most influential moments of this year.

Without getting too far ahead of myself, I’m looking forward to facing the Roosters at the pointy end of the season.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been confident of saying that.


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Luke Winley

Our brains trust needs to improve. We lost it in the first half with our lack of patience on their try line. No repeat sets – just last tackle rubbish whether it be high kicks to the tallest opponent or giving it to the winger with no where to go. And to compound things after all the tackling we had to do, our halves didnt find the sidelines for a rest.

Luke Winley

Ps waqa needs a stint in reserve game. Unfortunately his tackling is not first grade standard. It has been a liability for a while.


Luke, I reckon some perspective is needed. We just played the Roosters in what was a cracking game. Yes, we need to improve to beat them next time, but they had to deliver their best to beat us. In that first half, we were asked to absorb incredible pressure, and our defensive effort was unbelievable. That sort of pressure can impact your attack. You then witnessed what the attack would do with more possession in the first 20 of the second half. i was more concerned with the defensive structure that we lost in our first defensive set after going… Read more »

Luke Winley

After our amazing defence in parts of the first half we finally got the ball with little damage on the scoreboard. I thought our halves should have recognised the need to smother posession with grubbers in goal. It doesnt matter how brave your defence is it can only hold on so long and the only way to halt the offensive is to regain the ball consecutively. Points are not priority when your only down by a small margin. I would think a glut of posession on their line is invaluable to get you back on even energy levels which is… Read more »


His defense is concerning, but you have to look at two things. First, is the person coming in better, do they offer more in attack and defense? I would say no. Second, is the problem fixable? I would say yes. He is coming back from a shoulder reconstruction and it will take him time to get back to full strength and also confidence. His defense was much better late last season, so he can defend he is just lacking confidence. As there is no Reserve grade dropping him will not give him the opportunity to work on his defense. Good… Read more »


Agree Shelley. There was a composure(experience) gap that showed up on the stat sheet, but we saw enough to know that we can compete at top level. Your restrained and adept mention of the officiating is appropriate, the 50/50’s deserted us, but the game turned on one ruck, even one run,Tupou’s surge through the middle, a standard play we covered all night.


Yep I have decided to ignore the referee as we have to rise above it and I think we have the team that can do just that. In the past we had weaknesses as a team and if the referee was poor then we had no chance. My theory on the referring is this; Ben Cummins performance was as I expected. He will not change and will not be made to change. He will also be one of the two referees selected for the preliminary finals. So if we hope to make the second last week and get past it… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden

Good write up Shelley. 1st thing I’m going to say is yes we lost but only on the score board. We won admires n respect from all in sundry. When your playing back 2 back NRL Champions you can’t be dropping ball’s in your 1st set it’s just a big no no. I’ve noticed ppl talking about Waqa n his defence. That’s fixable his to good a player to be dropped. Look I’m not going to hang myself after a loss against the NRL Champions. If anything if we are going to win this thing we should learn from our… Read more »


Ball control is important for everyone. For us we need to get the balance right, we must use the ball and that may mean we make mistakes. It is when we use it. The old rule ‘ if they are not in a better position don’t throw it’ is important for us. Sivo getting the ball stripped is an example of mistakes we need to eliminate. The difference this year is we can defend mistakes when we make them trying to promote the ball.

Longfin Eel

I do believe we could have won that game if we were more disciplined. The players will learn from that – maybe the occasion of such a massive game got to them somewhat.

The good thing is that in many patches we did not play well at all, yet we stayed with the defending premiers until we were down to 12 men. As in previous years, penalties came back to haunt us. If we can improve there and have better ball control, we will be very hard to beat.


Discipline- key word and describes us. We have so much talent and defended with discipline for the most part but when we got tired we lost it.
We need to get into a game against the Roosters earlier.


I just want a like button – there’s no comments to add to this. As a fan, this is exactly my takeaway, well said Shelley

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