Sunday 16th May, 2021
EELS 34 defeated9 WARRIORS 18
Half time: Eels 24 – 6
Tries: R. Campbell-Gillard x 2, N. Brown, M. Sivo, R. Matterson, J. Arthur
Goals: M. Moses 4 from 5, C . Gutherson 1 from 1
Eels started the last day of the 2021 Magic Round with their own big dose of magical rugby league.
Four early tries saw the Eels shoot out to a 24 nil lead in what could have been a very embarrassing day for the New Zealand side.
But after 20 minutes what happened?
Is this a worrying trend for the Eels to get a great start but not go on with it?
Did we just shut up shop and think this was going to come easy?
Are we again not paying enough respect to the opposition?
Kudos for the Warriors and their fight back, which had a lot of fans and Brad Arthur worried about being run down. But really, should we have let them get that close?
The Warriors actually won the second half 12 – 10.
The Eels had two missed tries, though tries like the Ferguson one we have all seen given plenty of times.
But this trend of not going on with it and not putting the foot to the throat has got to be a bit worrying.
Big shout out to Jakob Arthur on a fine debut. He contributed exactly what he needed to do as he didn’t over play his hand and injected himself nicely when the opportunity was there. He’s got a cool head and wasn’t overawed by the occasion even under the focus of carrying the coach’s name. Jake looks a very smart footballer indeed. That great running try to pick up his first of what is likely to be many in the NRL was a superb way to cap his debut.
Again, like the Roosters game, the Eels dominated in every major stat.
The Eels held 59% possession, spending 43 and a half minutes in the Warriors half and 18:39 minutes in the Warriors red zone.
The completion rate was a healthy 86% with 36 sets completed from 42. In total the Eels gained 2229 metres and post contact metres were 616.
The Eels made 1503 running metres against the Warriors 1485. These numbers are a bit surprising after the Eels early onslaught.
Junior Paulo and Nathan Brown shared the top run metres with 139 metres each, closely followed by Reagan Campbell-Gillard (137) and Isaiah Papali’i (135).
Gutherson and Ferguson again were our highest running backs with 109 and 105 running metres respectively.
Kicking wise, Mitchell Moses kicked for 397 metres with some big help from Jakob Arthur who kicked for 174 metres. It might seem to be low kicking numbers for Mitch, but it actually did help him with having Jakob assisting. With less responsibility for the kicking, Mitch ran a few more times and had a bit more time to play some eyes up footy. It was good watching Mitch utilise his running game a bit more in this match.
As shown in this map, we did seem to work a lot into the Warriors danger area. But can this be attributed to our fine start?
Outside of that, the game was played a lot in the middle third of the park. After the Warriors did kick into gear, it was good to see the Eels grind out the win. However, I believe we shouldn’t have really got to that stage after the start we had.
Plenty of set starts all over the park. We did have a bit in the Warriors half that started with points but that dried up for the last three quarters of the game. This might be something that the Eels will work on during the lead up to the Manly game this weekend.
The Eels made 286 tackles with 36 missed and 18 ineffective, giving an efficiency rating of 84%.
With the Eels again not completing over 10% of their tackles, Brad Arthur will be looking to shore up the Eels defence. It would be difficult to excuse it as fatigue as the Eels were dominant in possession.
The return of Reed Mahoney moved him back to the top tackler of the day for the Eels with 41 tackles. He was helped out by Ryan Matterson with 36 tackles, RCG with 23 and Junior and Papali’i with 21 each.
The Eels conceded just two penalties all match and conceded 6 set restarts.
The error count had the Eels with 7 to the Warriors 16.
In a very good stat, the Eels had zero players on report after the high contact edict was issued for the weekend. In fact, it was the only game of the round where no one got sent to the sin bin or sent off.
It remains a concern for me that the Eels are unable to put teams to the sword after starting strongly.
The Panthers are showing what to do when you start a game strongly. They just make their opponents pay for every mistake and take advantage of every opportunity. This is what the Eels need to bring into their game, especially against a red hot Manly side.
This week will again raise the question as to whether the Eels are genuine contenders or not. They have put in strong games against both the NRL powerhouses in the Storm and Roosters and came up trumps in those games, and Manly might be another test.
Equally, Manly have been inspired by Tommy Turbo of late, but the Eels are likely to provide a greater test than some of their recent opponents. The only top side they have faced since Trbojevic’s return is the Panthers, and the Panthers really weren’t troubled by them.
It should be a cracker on Sunday and I’m looking forward to a sold out Bankwest Stadium greeting our the arch rivals.
Come on Blue and Gold Army. Lets get the boys home in what should be one of the games of the year.
Stats Player of the Week
Who else but the Big Wrecking Moustache Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
Reg’s tale of the tape
- 18 runs
- 137 running metres
- 48 Post Contact Metres
- 1 Line Break
- 2 Tackle Breaks
RCG Heat Map
A fine, dare I say ‘Magical’ performance from RCG.
Yours in Blue and Gold