The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – April 20, 2022: Round 6 With Round 2 Vibes

There was a sense of familiarity about losing a match in the final seconds. Even more so when we consider the poor play that led to the opposition’s final possession. It was a reminder that a month isn’t such a long time in the NRL.

Everything about that performance against the Tigers was horribly disjointed. But let’s start with what can or can’t be controlled.

There are things in sport that you cannot control. Injuries, the bounce of the ball, referee decisions and the mentality of your opposition are mostly out of your control. However, you have absolute control of your own attitude, willingness and preparation. From the stands, I did not like what I saw.

There was something missing and it began in our willingness to work through the middle.

Reg rolled up his sleeves until injury struck

Our identity as a team is based on our forwards. That’s not to say that we don’t have very talented backs, but they play outstandingly well when our forwards hit in behind the ruck and create second phase.

Were our forwards to blame? Were our playmakers far too quick to shift from the middle to out wide?

I suspect there was equal blame to be shared around.

Was there something wrong with our preparation?

Our play on the field looked as disjointed and confusing as the team selection. I dont envy the coaches’ job in trying to cover all the injuries, but the composition of our 17 looked a little like moving deck chairs on the Titanic.

And unfortunately our team sunk.

When the siren sounded I stood and watched the reaction from our boys.

They dropped to their knees with their hands either on their head or hitting the ground. I’m convinced our players care, they care deeply and so I won’t lay the boot in anymore.

Brown was infuriated

They knew the crowd was disappointed and realised they had let themselves down. Watching Nathan Brown throw his mouth guard in disgust as the field goal went over told me what I needed to know in that moment.

It was a terrible loss, and the boys played dumb, poorly-disciplined footy. They won’t hide from it, and they can’t if they want to take that next step.

I’ll back them to do so and it begins this week.

We venture up to Newcastle, which will be as tough as it always is for us.

The Knights will be desperate to get their season back on track. I hope to see us utilise our strengths. If we do that, our shifts will be more dangerous and our halves will have more holes to run into.

I want to see us run harder than the opposition and tackle more intently. No game in the NRL is guaranteed but the core ingredients for our victory will be composure and the re-emergence of our identity.

If that happens we will right the ship and in the long run, we need that even more than  the two competition points.


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16 thoughts on “From The Stands – April 20, 2022: Round 6 With Round 2 Vibes

  1. Johnno

    Good write up as usual. We were ill disciplined and careless at best Shelley. Our last ackle options were poor, as was our intent, took them too lightly ,Id say. Reed and Moses dont seem to be on the same page, when field goals come into contention, disjointed in lots of departments, but onward and upward. One last point, what the hell is going on in our bench selections

  2. Spark

    Good write up Shelley. I just couldn’t understand why BA put poor Penisini at wing. He did him a massive disservice as Nofa gave him an absolute bath. This can impact on a 19 year olds confidence. It’s a horses for courses game – ALL positions are specialist positions these days. Surely we have a winger in the lower grades that can play wing. BA seems absolutely determined to turn Jake into a utility rather than a specialist half.
    There were reasons for the performance and a lot of it stems from the disjointed nature of having players in unfamiliar positions.

    1. BDon

      Spark, I’m not so dark on the Penisini thing. Nofoluma stepped him once but Will held on to him, the assistance was too late close the line. Nofo has done that to most wingers.The kick from Hastings was perfect and Will already had a 2 on 1 to deal with, it even looked a 3 on 1. He ‘bombed’ 2 tries – both times the Tiges did enough to harass the last pass, 1 behind him and 1 at his neck. His work with the ball was good. Having said that, I prefer he not be moved from the centres. Marata in the middle might have snapped some of our forwards out of their lethargy.Like just run hard and stop dicking around. I reckon getting 3 penalties and a couple of 6 Agains in the first 10 minutes rendered us mentally inept.

      1. Spark

        My point is that both positions are different. The poor kid – and he is just a kid, is only getting used to the centre position at NRL level. I doubt he’s ever played wing in his junior career, definitely never at NRL level. Up against a seasoned pro like Nofa he was always going to struggle.
        At least Opacic had played at winger before and should have been selected there in the first place, I note they made the switch later in the game when the horse had bolted.
        Perham was the most likely and should have been selected as at least he has played wing before!
        But BAs selections continue to be mired in both controversy and confusion.

  3. Zero58

    The composition of our team comment tells me I am not the only one beating about this. One cannot fathom the selection process. Arthur should actually come and explain why he has headed down this path because it seems not one of us can understand his thinking.
    His cruelling the team with the bench and certainly with its rotation.
    Playing two for less than 15 minutes is a killer. He is wasting the bench and it will come back and bite the team.
    Just the same no game is easy and should we assume a win is automatic then someone is an ass.

  4. Colin Hussey

    Shelley, a fair post for mine, but I believe that a real inner search by the players is a real need.

    While, we lost and embarrassingly so, there are a few players that should hang their heads in shame, to me rather than playing they were loitering, and two of them are ones heading to new clubs end of this season.

    There were dumb decisions made by more than one player and at that point, those who made the dumb decisions are very much in the leadership group. While injuries have played a part in the teams makeup are not good, there are still players that are not doing the hard yards/work that is part of what they should be well tutored in.

    With NB tossing his mouthguard on the ground at games end, that showed to me his disgust at the finish, which should have been part of the whole team. If this is the start of a repeat of the past two seasons, then there will be empty seats galore going forward. Here was a game that celebrated 75years of the eels team, and should have been a celebration rather than a wake.

    I was born in 1947, my late dad was on the working group to get the eels into the NSWRL teams, I am gutted, and glad my late dad and godfather were not here to see the performance.

    1. Parra Matters

      The vibe wasnt good from the beginning of this game. 75 Years to celebrate Parra’s involvement in the game and all we could do for the supporters was bring out some famous old players and have them facing the corporate stand with their backs to all the paying customers in the eastern stands. It beats me why all communication is addressed facing corporate, its as if supporters dont count. Why not put our past hero’s in cars and drive them round as a bare minimum way of celebrating. We had two kids run out with coloured flares, really!!

      1. Anonymous

        Totally agree Matters go to Brooky or Newy when they have their old boys day it’s a real big deal.We fail to deliver on so many fronts.Regarding Sunday’s game we are no chance Ponga resigning plus they are on a losing streak heaven help us.What does Carty have to do to get a descent go surely he offers more than Jake or Oregon.I watched regies on Monday and Jake wasn’t in the top 4 performers.

      2. !0 Year Member

        Absolutely you hit the nail the head. It just did not feel right. We still have major issues as a club. Full stadium… Rabid fans…75 years and the old boys…. And that is what they dish out … Covering the old boys in smoke so no one could see them. Pathetic

        1. Graz

          The smoke stunt is an embarrassment. Meant then many couldn’t see start of game, as well as being choked with smoke.

      3. Steve White

        SPOT ON Parra Matters. How great was it to see those ‘Golden Oldies’ (even if on my PC the day after the game). Maybe a car risks damage to the turf?? Can’t think of any other reason!

  5. greg okladnikov

    i think that the Tigers scrum win when we had the feed with about 10mins to go and about 30m from their line was the ultimate symbol of where our “heads were at” during the game. That was just a casualness was a symbol of our game

  6. Milo

    I only saw a replay of the game, and to me we looked flat and our attitude by some looked poor.
    You cannot afford this if you want to be a top 2-4 team.
    We all thought the game would be harder than on paper, and it was, and this week is even harder. The Knights away….thats one of the toughest games, and even more so that overpaid Ponga has signed on…..
    I for one cannot understand the use of the bench nor some players in the pack; let alone Perham not starting. You need to show some faith to these guys imo, as we had a centre on the wing and while he was ok, he was out of his normal spot.

  7. Steve White

    Excellent Review Shelley. For SOME reason most of our guys (a few did a great job) played helter skelter. My question is, “How come they didn’t fix it for the second half” ? I would hope the halftime talk said, “get your heads down, 5 hitups for 15 minutes, and put some sets together”. We did it for 3 sets in first half which led to a Moses/Gutho special. AND I don’t mean forwards do the hitups, then forwards do the hard defence. EVERYONE needed to get in there and get some dirt on the jersey!

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