ROUND 7, 2022 NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY APRIL 24, 2022
EELS 39 defeat KNIGHTS 2
McDONALD JONES STADIUM
It was a welcome return to regular viewing for the Eels as they put on a clinic against a woeful Newcastle Knights.
The Eels did everything right this week in taking down the Hunter boys. From the outset, they played with patience and control to build momentum. It was a reminder to the team that composed, power footy is their strength.
Most pleasing about the performance was Parra keeping the Knights tryless. Given the question marks about the Eels defence, it was probably the aspect that created the biggest smile for the coaching staff.
Let’s examine the numbers that defined this game.
The Key Numbers
The Eels enjoyed 57% possession, completing 34 sets out of 40 (85%).
Time wise, the Eels had 45 minutes with the ball including 14 and a half minutes inside the Knights red zone.
Parramatta gained 2543 metres in the game with 1823 running metres.
Post Contact Metres came in at 695 with Ryan Matterson topping the count with 75 metres.
Matto also led the total run metres for the Eels with 185 metres off 15 carries. Parra’s back five all ran for 100 metres plus in a very dominant backline display. Clint Gutherson posted 143 metres, closely followed by Dylan Brown with 138.
The Eels managed 7 line breaks and were able to get 10 offloads away for some effective second phase.
Run Heat Map
Parra were able to start a number of sets from their own 40 which enabled them to maintain consistently strong pressure. It makes it easier to win the grind when sets are launched from around mid field or better.
Although the Knights tried to keep Parra down deep in their own half, it just wasn’t meant to be for the Novocastrians.
A mixture of kick offs and general play kicking just couldn’t halt the Eels from gaining easy metres. It was a superb effort from Parra’s forwards in kick off returns and the backs in starting sets off general play kicks.
Set Starts Heat Map
There’s still work to be done for the Eels defence. They completed 291 tackles with 27 missed and 20 ineffective. The tackle efficiency rating improved to 86% this week but not completing 47 tackles is still not up to scratch. Furthermore, the Knights also managed 11 offloads, proving that the tackles are not being completed as they should.
Turning the focus to discipline, the Eels get a huge tick. They made 8 errors and conceded just 4 penalties.
Obscure Stat of the Week
This week’s obscure stat is a ripper. There were no set restarts given by either team. It’s doubtful that we will see that again this year.
Stat Player of the Week
Ryan Matterson again picks up the award this week. Continuing and more importantly building on his rich vein of form, Matto is becoming the super sub of 2022.
Here’s a quick overview of his contribution:
Minutes played – 38
Run Metres – 185
Carries – 15
Post Contact Metres – 75
Offloads – 2
Tackle Breaks – 4
Take in that first number of 38 minutes and consider how much he was able to achieve in less than half a game. Sensational!
Matto’s Run Map
This comprehensive victory from the Eels would have restored confidence within the team. That said, the draw turns nasty for the Eels over the next month. We will definitely see where the team is at after this four week period.
It all begins with the yearly Top End fixture, this time against the team best conditioned for the warmer conditions. The Cowboys have found a bit of form and will be a formidable opponent. Parra then takes on the Panthers away, the Roosters on Magic Weekend followed by Manly at home. It’s quite a stretch of quality teams and a fair share of travelling.
How will the team cope with this?
Time will tell.
Yours in Blue and Gold