Saturday 27th March, 2021
Eels 28 defeated Sharks 4
Tries – B. Ferguson x 2, M. Sivo, R. Campbell-Gillard, R. Stone
Goals – C. Gutherson 3/5 conversions. C. Gutherson 1/1 penalty goals
With three wins from three outings, the Eels have made the best possible start to this year’s premiership. The composed and measured performance lays the platform for a formidable campaign as the season progresses.
For the majority of Saturday night’s game it was a grinding affair. Ultimately, the Sharks ran out of troops and just couldn’t hold on any longer. However, to say that the win was only achieved due to the Sharks injury toll would not do the Eels play any justice.
Indeed, the most impressive thing about this win was the manner in which Parra was able to maintain control of the reins after losing their general, Mitchell Moses. Would the Eels of recent past seasons hold such composure? It’s questionable.
Despite their own injury dramas, the Sharks refused to surrender, making Parra earn a hard fought victory. The Eels would have been pleased with that resistance. Little would have been learned from an opposition that meekly surrendered.
From a statistical perspective, the Eels just dominated.
Parra held the ball for 55% of the match. If you can get an even share of possession, or better, it’s a good foundation in any game.
Completions weren’t quite up to the standard of the previous week. The Eels completed 32 from 44 sets to record a rate of just on 75%. Brad Arthur would probably want the team to achieve better than that.
Time-wise, the Eels spent 47 and three quarter minutes in the Sharks half with nearly 24 of those minutes in the Sharks red zone.
Looking at Parra’s attack, 13 out of the 17 players cracked the 100 run metres mark. Mighty impressive indeed.
In total the Eels ran for 2081 metres against the Sharks 1264 metres. Just over one third of that (733 metres) was post contact.
Individually there were some noteworthy performances.
Clint Gutherson took hold of the game after Mitchell Moses succumbed to his head knock and ran for 272 metres, with 68 post contact metres. Throw in five tackle breaks and four goals, and it’s fair to say the skipper was in sublime form.
After being told late last year that he is no longer wanted by the Eels, Blake Ferguson gave the Eels bosses some food for thought. His power running registered 199 metres, including an impressive 92 post contact metres, 7 tackle breaks and 1 line break, along with 2 tries.
Performances like this might have the Eels recruitment and retention team reconsidering their position.
Others to shine on the attacking stats sheet included Reagan Campbell-Gillard with 154 run metres, Ray Stone with 144 run metres, and Oregon Kaufusi with 150 running metres. It was an absolutely exceptional effort from all the Eels players in attack and the tries scored by RCG and Stoney were rightly celebrated by their team mates.
Defensively the Eels were solid. Reed Mahoney led the team with 38 tackles, Nathan Brown with 30 tackles and Isaiah Papali’I with 29 tackles.
From a team perspective, Parra completed 292 tackles, with 17 missed tackles and just one try conceded. In contrast, the Sharks missed 46 tackles and conceded five tries.
All looks well within the Eels ranks and especially when measured against the heavy injury toll some teams suffered during Round 3.
Mitchell Moses was the only Parra player in the casualty ward, having succumbed to a concussion.
Moses appears certain to be named for the Tigers clash on Easter Monday, and the potential return of Ryan Matterson will only strengthen the Eels.
After recording their first win of 2021, the Tigers will be pumped and ready.
Yours in Blue and Gold