Round 15 – Thursday 20th August, 2020 @ Bankwest Stadium
Final Score – Eels 14 defeat Storm 0
With these two sides sitting in the top 3, this clash would ordinarily have people salivating about a potential “game of the season“. Unfortunately, a depleted Melbourne side was always going to result in more questions than answers in the Thursday night post-mortems.
From Parra’s perspective, you can only play who is in front of you and the Eels did enough to take out the Storm.
It was not a pretty game. It did not hit any match defining crescendos – but we beat the F**KING STORM. 😊
Did the Eels take the foot off the throat early? I’m sure that coach Brad Arthur wouldn’t have been too impressed by our attack, but extremely happy that we did keep a clean sheet against the Storm.
The Storm did throw a lot at the Eels. It wasn’t through lack of trying that they couldn’t score.
The Eels goal line defence was outstanding. The young Storm halves just lacked the experience to mount any significant pressure and it was only through their edge runners that the Storm looked like scoring.
It was apparent that Craig Bellamy knew his halves didn’t have the kicking game to earn repeat sets, so instead of giving away 7 tackle sets with poor kicks into the in goal, the Storm ran it on the last. Turn overs close to the line still made Parramatta start their set on their own goal line.
This turned out to be a smart move as the Eels would need to use a lot of fuel to even make it out of their own 20. The tactic meant that Parra used up a bit of gas to get out of their territory and possibly helped to nullify the Eels attack.
I think the Eels were prepared for this running option and adjusted their defence accordingly.
This wasn’t a Storm team to take lightly. At their previous start they put the ringers through the Roosters and we all know what Craig Bellamy can do with second string first graders. So to come away with this win was a great effort and certainly no training run for the Eels. Ultimately it was also a vital two points.
Breaking It Down
Both sides shared the possession with 50% but both sides were down on completion rates with the Eels completing 33 from 45 sets (73%). The 15 errors in total for the Eels would not have made Brad Arthur a happy coach.
Brad Arthur, as well as many an Eels fan, was pulling his hair out (hang on, what hair) with some pretty dumb offloads. Patience was not on the Eels menu as many an offload went to ground when a simple tuck under the arm and straight run was the key.
For mine watching the game at ground, the Eels looked a lot better when they were playing at the line, passing just before the line. That’s when we made ground and had the Storm on the back foot. Some ball was given just too early and the Storm were prepared in defence.
Reminiscent of the Dragons heat map, the Eels again had to work hard out of their own end. The Storm did make it tough for our hit up men.
This map speaks volumes.
Look at all that red on our own goal line. As mentioned in my opener, the Storm just did not kick at all in the Eels 20 metre zone. If they couldn’t score, they would make us fight our way off our own goal line.
Again minimal set starts in our oppositions 20 metre area with not much pressure put on the Storm goal line defence.
Again Nathan Brown powered on and on and was our forward leader. Browny ran for 168 metres off 20 runs. Great effort.
Our all conquering starting props were silenced by the big Storm pack. Both Campbell-Gillard’s and Paulo’s numbers were way down with each player running 85 and 87 metres respectively.
Kane Evans had a solid stint once again off the bench with 102 run metres from 11 carries.
Our edge forwards in Ryan Matterson and Shaun Lane both had a solid night. Lane ran for a team high 174 metres from 17 carries and Matto ran for 128 metres from 11 carries.
In a little bit of a surprising game stat, Reed Mahoney had no runs and only 26 tackles. But in saying that, with this stint on the bench, I think his dummy half work was a bit better that what we have seen when he plays the full 80. His passing looked that little bit crisper with a break.
All of the back five cracked the 100 metres run mark.
Gutho again tops 150 run metres with 172 metres for the night. It was actually a good battle between him and the Storm fullback Papenhuyzen.
Maika Sivo brought a bit of form with him on the night as well with running 142 metres off 13 runs.
Our centre pairing in Jennings and Blake ran for a combined 239 metres (Jennings 133 and Blake 106).
Fergy, Fergy, Fergy. If only you stayed on your wing you would have finally got a couple meaties. Twice Moses went long with the overlap, but both times Ferguson had already come inside. Last week Fergy coming off the wing caused tries against us. This time it costs tries for us. Stay on your wing Fergy.
I thought Dylan Brown was a little quiet on the night. But looking at his figures with 96 run metres and 56 possessions sort of undoes that thought.
Mitchell Moses had another great kicking game. He kicked for 614 metres against the Storm who in total only kicked for 497 metres.
So all in all it was great to have a win over the almighty Storm and even better in keeping them scoreless.
With a healthy 12 and 3 record under their belt, the Eels look set to cement a top 4 spot.
This week’s game against the Rabbitohs will complete the Bankwest triple and it is shaping up as a cracking game.
The Rabbits blew Manly off the park leading 38 nil at half time. But did they put the cue in the rack in the second half against a much more depleted Manly side? They only won the second half 18-16.
They would not be wanting to do that against an Eels side who, as we have seen, can pile on points at any moment.
Yours in Blue and Gold