NRL Team List
Sixties and myself spoke about the possibility of zero unforced changes in the Tip Sheet last week and with Team List Tuesday hot off the presses we have had that particular hypothesis confirmed. Brad Arthur has handed a number of out of sort Eels what looks to be a final reprieve after naming Jai Field to five-eighth in place on the injured Dylan Brown in the solitary adjustment to the team that was blown off the park by the Rabbitohs in Round 16.
I don’t like the choice. I disagree with the choice. I will certainly be critical of the choice in this here blog but with all that said, I can see why the call was made. I have rattled on about it ad nauseam this year but the lack of a reserve grade competition is seriously warping these sort of selection decisions across the NRL.
Still, Waqa Blake should have been dropped for mine after last week. He might very well still end up watching the match from the stands should Brad Takairangi be called upon in a gameday gambit but I think the correct move was to outright drop Waqa on Team List Tuesday. There are compelling arguments to have followed suit with Maika Sivo and perhaps Shaun Lane but at the very minimum I think that Blake’s issues have been compounding down our right-edge for too long and we needed to do something.
To clarify my position on these roster moves, by calling out the likes of Blake, Sivo and Lane I don’t want it to be misunderstood as complete votes of no confidence in these men. At anything close to reasonable form all three stand to be crucial contributors to the team but I think each of them could use a chance to step back from the weekly grind and refresh their minds.
‘BA’ has historically empowered his men by backing them through lean runs and outside of the bizarre 2018 season they have repaid the faith so I can see why he is taking this angle. Still, as we have seen a modicum of attacking miscues spiral into a season worst drubbing over the course of the last two months it feels like staying the course is not the correct option this week.
I have laid the vast majority of the blame at the feet of the players during our recent struggles. I very much stand by that but in making this choice – which I should point out, could very well be the correct one if we do return to form – I think that Sunday’s result will be the first one that could and should be levied against the coaches.
In saying all of this, I truly hope that Arthur and his fellow coaches have made the right call. The New Zealand Warriors present a formidable opponent for the Eels this week. They have refused to roll over all season amidst the most challenging of conditions and laid out the wood on the Newcastle Knights in Round 16. Perhaps rolling out our strongest potential line-up regardless of form is the right course of action but I would be lying if I said I was happy about it.
I very much hope to be proven wrong on Sunday as the Eels roar to life and vindicate themselves and their coaches. Catch you all then!
|Parramatta Eels||New Zealand Warriors|
|1||Clinton Gutherson||1||Roger Tuivasa-Sheck|
|2||Maika Sivo||2||Adam Pompey|
|3||Michael Jennings||3||Hayze Perham|
|4||Waqa Blake||4||Peta Hiku|
|5||Blake Ferguson||5||Gerard Beale|
|6||Jai Field||6||Kodi Nikorima|
|7||Mitchell Moses||7||Chanel Harris-Tavita|
|8||Reagan Campbell-Gillard||8||Jamayne Taunoa-Brown|
|9||Reed Mahoney||9||Karl Lawton|
|10||Junior Paulo||10||Lachlan Burr|
|11||Shaun Lane||11||Jack Murchie|
|12||Ryan Matterson||12||Tohu Harris|
|13||Nathan Brown||13||Jazz Tevaga|
|14||Ray Stone||14||Wayde Egan|
|15||Marata Niukore||15||Adam Blair|
|16||Kane Evans||16||Josh Curran|
|17||Oregon Kaufusi||17||Isaiah Papali’i|
|18||Haze Dunster||18||Paul Turner|
|19||Andrew Davey||19||Tom Ale|
|20||Brad Takairangi||20||Adam Keighran|