ROUND 6, 2022 NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP
MONDAY APRIL 18, 2022
TIGERS 21 Defeated EELS 20
No discipline. No respect for the opposition.
It doesn’t matter how you put it, Easter Monday’s effort from the Eels was just… you can add your own expletive.
Being the die hard Eels fans that we all are, we dread these games. We can fire up against the likes of the Storm and Panthers, but when it comes to the lower ranked teams we invariably struggle.
Why do the Eels appear to go out there thinking they just need to turn up to win?
From the outset you could see the Eels just wanted to score off every play. Patience was in short supply.
From dropped balls with the line wide open, to poor passing in traffic, the more Parra forced things the more they failed.
Where was attention to the basics? Where was building into the game?
Parra just wanted to play fancy footy from the outset and they put themselves out of the contest.
It should be noted that the Tigers game plan worked well in slowing down Parra’s play the ball. They didn’t care about giving away penalties or set restarts. Their mission was to stop any go forward and momentum the Eels usually mustered from quick play the balls.
Let’s examine whether the numbers tell the tale.
The Key Numbers
The Eels played with 51% possession but could only complete at 68% (27 from 40 sets). Time wise the Eels had the ball for just over 40 minutes including 15 and a quarter minutes inside the Tigers 20 metres.
Parra gained 2315 metres including 1707 running metres. Compare this with the Tigers on 1414 running metres and you can be forgiven for asking what Parra did with those 300 extra running metres.
The Eels Post Contact Metres came in at 517, with Will Penisini topping the Eels count with 61 metres.
Clint Gutherson led the backline running metres with what was also a team high 177. This was followed by Penisini with 151 running metres.
In the forwards, Regan Campbell-Gillard maintained his high standards with 172 running metres off 14 carries.
The Eels made 5 line breaks and made 10 offloads, but this never seemed to facilitate some much needed second phase football.
Defensively, there were a lot of lapses which gave the Tigers easy metres. In a disturbing trend, the Eels initial contact was poor and the Tigers beat the first and second defenders with ease on multiple occasions. Parra’s jamming left side defence also allowed two easy Tigers tries.
Our top tackler again goes to Reed Mahoney with 47 tackles. Isaiah Papali’i chimed in with 35 tackles.
Parramatta’s issues with discipline were more about timing than frequency.
Errors were made with the line open. Conversely, passes were also thrown when the situation called for the tackle to be taken.
It’s difficult to be critical of conceding only four penalties and zero restarts. However, Parra needs to guard against late tackle count infringements. This is when they need to play smart footy. Get the hands off the ball. Peel off the tackle quicker.
Strange Stat Of The Week
This stat of the week is more concerning than strange, but it definitely deserves its own spotlight.
The Eels made 336 tackles with 36 missed and 26 ineffective. This resulted in a defence effectiveness of just under 85%.
That grand total of 62 incomplete tackles against a team which was clearly struggling to score points is quite alarming. There’ll be no title coming the Eels way with such a poor defensive attitude.
Stats Player Of The Week
Honestly I wasn’t going to give one this week until I was browsing through the numbers of the game.
Ryan Matterson’s numbers stood out over all others.
Coming off the bench, Matto played 56 minutes, ran for 138 metres from 16 carries, with 41 post contact metres. Throw in two offloads and 30 tackles and it was an effort deserving of this week’s gong.
In my opinion, he’s earned a starting spot ahead of Shaun Lane.
Sometimes it’s just best to put a performance like that behind you and move ahead – in this case that means heading up the M1 to Newcastle.
There can be no excuses for a repeat of Easter Monday this week or any other week in 2022.
Yours in Blue and Gold!