The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – The Storm’s Hypocrisy

How does that saying go?

There’s a first time for everything.

I had never once watched the Eels beat the Storm live From The Stands.

Never!

I have been to Melbourne three times and watched my team score 0 points all three times – and even worse, those matches saw the Storm score 30 points and then twice notch a total in excess of 50 points.

I have watched us lose finals, grand finals and grudge matches consistently to the Storm.

To finally be in attendance, cheering From The Stands, as the Eels triumphed over Melbourne was absolutely brilliant.

Make no mistake, Parra left some points on the ground, but unlike previous weeks, they created opportunities. As an icing on the cake, the Eels communication in defence and line speed was much better. It was not only a step forward, it was a victory over the Storm. That’s a good night in my books.

I get conflicted when I watch the Storm play.

The obvious purpose of any coach is to prepare your team to win. Watching from the stands, Melbourne are brilliantly drilled and they consistently win. I would normally acknowledge that and applaud it.

But it’s hard to like them or applaud their results. To hear Bellamy complain after the game and his puppet journalists stage questions to create a headline and put pressure on referees should we meet the Storm again was laughable.

Bellamy has zero right to question any coach or opposition team when it comes to tactics employed to get a victory. His team, the team he has coached brilliantly to become the most consistent team of the last two decades, have achieved that in large part because they introduced, mastered and continue to manipulate the wrestle.

Consider the following blights on the game all introduced by the Storm:

* the grapple

* the chicken wing

* the crusher

* the cannon ball

* the rolling pin

* the head pressure points (ie Mr Smith’ ear lock)

They may not like it being pointed out, but just because it is an inconvenient truth does not make it untrue.

Success meant that other clubs followed suit. It was their way of competing with the Storm, and when such tactics caught on, the NRL had no choice but to act.

These tactics slow the play the ball, allowING the defence to set and make it hard to score.

I like my team to play tough and I hate players staying down. However I hope every team stays down whenever the Storm employ these dirty and deliberate actions. It is the only way to get it out of the game. The referees will do nothing about it unless it is highlighted.

You cannot say that the Storm are brilliantly coached and drilled and then turn around and say these tackles are pure coincidence. The end result of not calling these tackles out will be certain victory for the Storm, as they will dominate the ruck and control the speed of the game.

So instead of complaining, maybe Mr Bellamy should stop his players from ‘wrestling’ their way to victory. He can avoid any dramas by eliminating the crusher, grapple, cannon ball or the chicken wing from his team’s repertoire.

Bellamy’s hypocrisy in criticising any other coach is undeniable. He has mastered the art of manipulating the rules to achieve victory. People in glass houses, Mr Bellamy, people in glass houses.

Back to Thursday’s game, I thought Parra played with much more energy and desire. There were some poor handling errors but they were made when trying to set up or finish attacking plays.

Matto

The ball shifts were quicker and Parra did not stand as deep in attack. Mistakes were made, and the timing needs some work, but precision and execution will come as BA shifts his emphasis back onto the attack in the run home. The Eels signalled that shift as they were less predictable against the Storm.

I thought both Lane and Matterson defended really well. They made good choices as to when to slide or come up quickly. This made it much easier for those outside them, particularly Moses and Blake, to make decisions and stick the tackles.

Likewise, Moses and Dylan Brown defended really well. The Storm ran Nelson and Tino at them on the line and both stood up and either made the tackle or slowed them to allow Lane and/or Matterson time to slide and help them out.

I also want to congratulate Sivo. He attacked the bombs kicked to him and ran much harder with the ball. He deserved the criticism he got over the last few weeks, but it is always good to see players bounce back.

Our favourite Cyborg

Finally I want to single out two players – Nathan Brown and Clint Gutherson.

These blokes are the heart and soul of this team. They lead the team’s energy, they perform consistently and they have an intense desire to win.

This team does not function without Brown or Gutho. With all due respect, they may not be the ‘ best’ player in the competition in their respective positions, but what they bring to our team cannot be quantified and I would not trade them with anyone.

They are skilful, talented individuals who are natural leaders. They lead through actions. Brown secures the Eels middle defence, and takes the tough runs. Gutherson cleans up kicks, directs our defensive structures and is the link between the middles and the outside backs.

When Eels supporters acknowledge the improvement in the Eels defence, they should be directing plenty of gratitude towards these two men for the roles that they play.

Parra supporters in the stands were certainly applauding Gutho and Brown for their brilliant efforts in helping to keep the Storm scoreless on Thursday night.

Shelley

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Parra Pete

Another good read Shelley..Totally agree with you on King Gutho and Nathan Brown..wouldn’t swap either for any other player in their positions..

sixties

Brown looks relentless on match coverage. He’s next level to watch live.

!0 Year Member

Great point re influencing referees, the Storm are not stupid and knew if they lost this game there would be a 99% chance we would meet in the first week of the finals as the second and third teams on the ladder. We also know that the Storm have had our measure for a long long time. So respect to them. Back to the press conference, after I rolled out of my bed, smashed my teeth on the bedside table (after my mouth guard was pick up by Cameron and tucked into his sock, can any one forget that) then… Read more »

sixties

What a reminder that bullet point list was!

Shelley

Influencing the referee in a final was all his rant was about. Bellamy wants to win and he does not care what rules he bends or opposition coaches he throws under the bus. He has consistently won by consistently bending the rules to suit the team he puts on the park.
He is ruthless and I guess that is what makes him a great coach. So I both despise and also admire his ‘sportsmanship’ as strange as that sounds.

Achilles' Eel

This is precisely what Bellamy is doing. By crying foul now, he is seeking to influence all future encounters between the two teams. He is keen to paint the Parramatta players as the bad guys; and the media is lapping it up hoping it generates necessary revenue.

Anonymous

I agree with everything you’ve said Shelley. I think it’s disgraceful the way people are saying don’t back into the tackle blaming the victims of the crusher tackle. How about you stop coming over the top after the player is on the ground. I’m still speechless that the two Storm crusher tackles were let off but the Eels player misses a week. Sorry but the Match Review Committee are an absolute joke.

Shelley

That decisions from the match review on Thursday convinced me that they do not rewatch the entire game they simply listen to what commentators and or coaches say and look at those tackles. Reason being, if they did watch all the game over again how did they miss that late high tackle on Moses. I will admit I missed it at the game as I was watching Matterson with the break but taking out a ball player late and high is normally highly penalised. The commentators either ignored or missed it and therefore MRC had no reason to look at… Read more »

Shelley

If players cannot turn or pivot in a tackle the game will be boring, as most offloads will disappear. The game will be 5 hits ups and kick. People saying get rid of players turning there back or pivoting at the line do not actually understand the mechanics that go with offloading once you are tackled. They simply follow the outrage media without having even a second thought. Junior Paulo offloads because he can get his body side on and free his arms. But yes let’s blame the player with the ball and not the team and coach who introduced… Read more »

Anonymous

That’s exactly what I meant, that 3rd man in causes the problem. I saw the high shot on Moses at the game. I can’t believe the touchie couldn’t see it.

TolE3lts

Spot on Shelley. Bellamy cannot blame the Eels player for highligthing the crusher tackles they experienced for their inability to score a try. It is 13 v 13 players and they could not penetrate the Eels defence. They had thrown everything in their attack against the Eels but still could not get a try. People living in glass houses should stop throwing rocks. Oh and BTW, the MRC should grow some balls to stand-up against Bellamy’s tantrums.

Shelley

Apart from the offloads the Storm did not look dangerous. They will throw the same looks at us in a final, albeit with both Cameron’s. The trick to matching the Storm in my mind actually comes down to matching the forward momentum they get. If you stop the Melbourne roll on you significantly reduce the threat Munster and the fullback pose. I think it is telling that Junior and RCG only played 40 odd minutes and Brown 60. BA exposed our bench players to the Melbourne system and they stood up. Melbourne will bring back in Jessie Bromwich and Funicane,… Read more »

Wilhelmina

You’re so right Shelley, utter gamesmanship from Bellamy. Not sure he even managed to keep a straight face while doing it. He’s a master at pushing the boundaries of the rules. Funny how he wasn’t so successful at Origin level, where they let more stuff go…

One thing I was yelling about during the game was the frequency with which the tackled Storm player engaged one of the markers after playing the ball, taking them out of the defensive line. How about a crackdown on that please refs?

Shelley

The fact they continue to get away with it astounds me. It almost makes me think, despite never really believing in conspiracy or corruption l, that something else is at play. How can the refs and their coaches cannot see what every other person watching can is just unbelievable. It boggles the mind.

The rev aka Snedden

Shelley didn’t you know that the storm are sponsored by the WWE network. Last I heard that bellyache has a zoom meeting with Vince McMahon once a month to introduce new wrestling moves. On the Game it self I’m sick of reading how we played a weakened side. Like so over it I have to agree with Brad Arthur we can only play what’s in front of us. Your right Shelley there’s always a 1st time for everything. I’ve never been to a storm vs Eels Game. You can through in big junior Paulo also. Long minutes n good go… Read more »

Shelley

We need to kick better. Our long kicks were good and trapped Melbourne but our attacking kicks, especially bombs created no threat and just handed the ball over. Then again I hope BA and Mitch did not want to show their hand as to how they will deal with rushing defence on the goal line. I hope they kick in behind the line a little more and go for drop outs. Otherwise put a bomb up that lands on the line for Fergo to catch.

The rev aka Snedden

If we can’t get a six again then we should look to get a repeat set with a goal line drop out. Yes Moses n Dylan Brown need to kick much better in general play last week was horrible. Dylan Brown needs to look n pass instead of this show n go n getting tackled.
We are leaving way to many points on the field. Hopefully Brad Arthur n the coaching staff have worked on our attack this week

Wilhelmina

I’m still in shock that the tackle on Moses wasn’t picked up by the MRC. It was late/off the ball, high, and put the attacker in a very dangerous position. It feels like, if it had been the golden child (aka Ponga), the defender would’ve been sent off. If Mitch had stayed down (which he had every right to do, but I suspect he was too filled with adrenaline from fury), that may have been the outcome. Fair enough the ref missed it, but a touchie should’ve seen it, or the video ref could have called it – the replay came up… Read more »

!0 Year Member

The outrage from the media? almost muted. I like BA and the way he goes about things, but I worry he will end a being a Brian Smith and just persist with the same game plan no matter the occasion, things dont work that way. He should have raised the tackle on Moses and whined, IMHO. Gamesmanship as it has been mentioned.

Anonymous

I’m sure He has his say just not in the media , gives them what they deserve ,NOTHING

sixties

There is a process followed, which all coaches and clubs are meant to adhere to. Some choose to whine and bitch in press conferences. BA just doesn’t go down that path. It provides excuses for players. I’ve had the odd time where I wouldn’t have cared about fines, but I reckon that BA has done the right thing in never attacking ref performances.

Zero58

When Smith and Bellamy retire/leave it will be the end of an era. For many they would say it was most productive. And it was. Sadly they have introduced many defensive schemes that became a blight on the game. Those blights will sit next to their achievements. Along with two premierships removed for cheating. Sometime soon, just like the Broncos they will be somewhat humbled and looking for answers to get back their glory days. May it never happen tat they return. The arrogance of these two teams is unsurpassed since the Saint George era. That saying, the needs of… Read more »

sixties

Terrific reply!

The rev aka Snedden

Yeah same maybe they need to go to OPSM or get sponsored by them.

Maybe because Moses got up if he stayed down he might have attracted the attention of the MRC. But if he stayed down he would have been slammed like sivo has by Gordon Tallis.

So stay down you get hammered you get up n complain to the ref n the player gets off 👎 we can’t win either way.

BDon

Without the core of his team Bellamy turned up the dial on spoiling tactics, like a scientist changing the mix in the test tube. Cummins could have blown the whistle and rung the bell all night. The Olam ‘tackle’ was so late, unnecessary and intentional, Moses was watching the break upfield, unprepared, unbraced. The way he cartwheeled any injury could have occurred. Isn’t a primary role of the MRC to protect players and the spirit of the game? Massive fail, beyond belief. I reckon Niukore was applying technique to avoid crushing, Vete’s was just a dumb 3rd man, slow-it-down drop… Read more »

Shelley

The media and the bunnies. I have to laugh. The only game the Bunnies have won against a top eight team is when they played the Sharks. I dare say you could describe them as flat track bullies but of course the media would never label the Bunnies, the pride of the league, that way. We will take care of the bunnies, our forwards should roll through the middle.

sixties

I reckon you’ve nailed every observation

DDay

Shelley you highlight the off field game of influence which Bellamy is so astute at – maybe storm’s News Corp ownership is a factor. Other coaches like Sticky & Robinson play the media/NRL with similar success. It’s disappointing how regularly the media pick up their story lines and the actual game is glossed over. Any win over the storm is a gr8 win and to hold them to nil is even sweeter – it’s been 6 years since any team has achieved this benchmark. BAs is focusing on defence and it makes sense – you don’t go far in finals… Read more »

Shelley

I agree, to win finals you must be able to repeatedly turn teams away. In attack we must improve our short kicking game to get repeat sets. You won’t score in a finals game in your first set.

Stevo

Great read.

Macfarlane

I thought storms 1st half was close to perfect with their ball controller and their structures in attack and parra still led 14 nil I don’t think parra got anywhere near the credit they deserved

sixties

Having watched the total field – ie seeing players in motion, respective tactics, Storm slowing the play etc, I am in total agreement that we didn’t get the credit deserved.

Colin Hussey

Looking over the many posts here and elsewhere regarding our win against the storm, along with the recent round of losses, to me the biggest and most inciteful thing that has been said has been from BA in his presser, regarding our defence. While much of what else was said his comment regarding staying down, in response to Bellyache was also classic in the intent of the reply and against a team/coach that has pretty much perfected the slug/snail like mentality of slowing the opposition in tackles. The exit by the coach all but being shepherded out by the storms… Read more »

sixties

Well said Colin.

Anonymous

I agree with everything in this edition, except one comment relating to Gutho. is thoroughly underestimated as a fullback, which was seen in the week before last when he broke an NRL record for the most metres run in a game – 369! Despite this, he couldn’t even earn NRL.com’s ‘VB Hard Earned’ award because the index score (77) is calculated by doubling players total runs (Gutho made 34) and adding a point for every tackle, offload, decoy, support, charge down and tackle break. That’s a long and diverse list of skills. Yet to break a record in one is… Read more »

sixties

Anon, I’ve said it before and it is worth repeating. Gutho wouldn’t get a million dollars on the open market but he’s worth at least that to us.

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