The Panthers have defeated the Eels, but From The Stands, I was proud of my team.
Spoiler alert – unlike some supporters, I will not be burning my jersey or giving up on our chances after that game.
I don’t care what people call me and I hate losing, but I applaud the effort and I trust Parra’s capacity to improve in attack. The only thing that I insist upon is that unlike us, the players cannot feel pleased with their effort. They need to be annoyed.
The Panthers deserve congratulations on winning the minor premiership. All hostilities aside, winning 13 games+ straight in any competition, let alone a tough and physical competition like the NRL, is worthy of due recognition. They are one of our rivals and praise is well deserved.
Nonetheless, I have some questions.
If the Eels had 61% possession, 56 tackles in Penrith’s 20 and only scored 3 tries, one from a kick and two with 10 seconds to go in each half, including one from a missed knock on in the tackle before the try was scored, what would be said about our attack?
What would be said about Moses?
But of course as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning, the big post-match take from the experts was the problems with Parra’s right side defence and the team’s attack.
It’s funny, I must have missed all the tries scored down our right by the Panthers and all those wasted opportunities Moses had in the 20. I must have watched a different game.
Parra fans, please be better. Please don’t fall for Phil Gould’s delusional rantings, or the biased commentary of Michael Ennis on Fox. Support our team.
We played without our hooker and 5/8th. They are important players in any team’s attack. What team wouldn’t struggle in attack without such key players along with such limited possession? The Panthers are definitely a different proposition in attack without Koroisau. Throw in a five day turn around against the Panthers 8 day break, and the task was challenging to begin with.
Unfortunately, in this game Parra posed no threats in attack out of dummy half and this made it easy for a fresh Penrith team to rush up and their markers to chase hard. If the Eels play the Panthers in the first finals game, I hope the Riff chase hard from marker because Mahoney and Gutho will have a field day running straight through the middle just as they did before Reed went off against the Warriors.
Parra can get better. Indeed, they must be better. They have to make sure that they don’t let the Panthers, or any team, get down to the red zone early in the game because they will set up camp down there. I give credit when it is due, and if you let Cleary get down into your red zone, he will more often than not keep you there.
So, to the critics.
Commit these numbers to your memory. Their significance will become obvious shortly.
All I have heard about Parra is that they have no chance of winning a finals game because their attack is atrocious. The Eels defence was very good against the Panthers but apparently that is a minor factor when it comes to winning a big final or game against a top team.
Or is it?
I agree that the Eels need to improve in attack, but what does that improvement need to be?
How many tries do they need to score to have any chance to win?
Would Parra fans and the NRL experts be happy with scoring two tries a game and keeping their opposition to one or zero tries?
Obviously, recent games and the constant media observations answer that. Parra aren’t good enough. Moses is terrible and the outside backs are useless. The Eels can only score 2-3 tries maximum a game. The season is over.
We get it, it’s all we’ve heard.
But those numbers above – 16-10, 14-6 and 14-8 – are the scores from last year’s Preliminary finals and Grand Final. They highlight the absurdity of the commentators’ ramblings and the ease with which some “supporters” have fallen for it.
The Roosters scored a combined 4 tries in two finals games in 2019, yet they won.
Furthermore, they scored 2 tries in each of their last two games of the regular season, but won because each of their opponents could only cross the stripe once.
My point is obvious. Whilst Parra’s defence remains strong, their season is far from done and dusted.
Here’s another perspective that requires attention.
Since Rd 7, and in the 13 games up until at least the end of the regular season, the Eels spine will have played together in only 5 complete games.
Yet Parra has remained in the top four during this period, and with all of the spine back on the field, they can find 2-3 tries a game.
The Roosters have proven that a team can win a prelim or a grand final scoring two tries and defending well. In fact most often that is exactly the way finals games go.
The inclusion of Mahoney, Niukore and possibly Dylan Brown will make any return clash against the Panthers a different proposition. Give the Eels an extra day or two of preparation and something approaching 50-50 possession, and two – three tries will be more than likely.
Of course, just putting players back on the field won’t be the only solution. The Eels attack must improve and players must do their job much better.
To that end, Moses needs to straighten our attack, that is his job. Maika needs to lift his workload, especially in taking the tough yards and he must get much quicker play the balls.
Finally our bench, particularly Kane Evans, needs to respect and repay the hard work done by our starting middles by simply holding the ball and getting quickly to marker without giving away ridiculous and lazy repeat sets.
Although I think Ray Stone and Marata coming on after 30 against Penrith would have made a big difference, the team must be able to cope with injuries. Good teams do. The starters held their own and Oregon was good, but Parra lacked any counter punch.
Get behind the team, Parra fans. Don’t fall for the commentary. Do your research and call it out for what it is – inaccurate, lazy, rubbish sensationalism.
History proves that preliminary finals and Grand finals are not won by scoring 4,5 or 6 tries, they are won by the stopping the opposition scoring more than two tries. The Eels are not that far away. That might make me delusional in Mr Gould’s mind, but so be it, he has as much right to an opinion as I do.
I look forward to returning to the stands to cheer on our boys against the Broncos this Friday night.
The added bonus is that I won’t have to hear one word said by the commentators while watching.
Now that really is Parradise.