Understandably, I haven’t really got the preview in me this week. Studying the opposition, analysing what went wrong last week, it all feels a bit of a waste of time when the result is going to come down to one thing: will the Eels show up?
The chronic failures of the Parramatta side come against underachievers, a category the Roosters may technically fall under given they were pre-season premiership favourites, but it is unlikely whatever biological trigger it is that makes a player phone it in when wearing a blue and gold jersey is set off by the Sydney Roosters. They’re top opposition and anything but a committed performance will result in back-to-back hidings for the Eels.
It’s a raw week, and the preview will reflect that. Let’s hope next week we are back to our regular programming of talking down opposing sides and talking up our premiership chances.
Date: Saturday June 18, 2022
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
Kick-off: 7:35 PM AEST
Referee: Todd Smith
Broadcast: Fox League, Kayo
Head-to-Head: Played 136, Eels 63, Roosters 68, Drawn 5
Odds: Eels $1.80 Roosters $2.00
Lines: Eels -1.5, total points 41.5
Fact: The Eels should not be favourites in this game.
Sixties Speculates (Odds quoted are NSW TAB)
Since 2009, the Eels have only won four games against the Roosters. Looking to more recent times, there have been seven matches between the two clubs over the last six seasons, with the Eels only victory coming in 2021.
That record, and the Eels last up effort, give me little confidence in tipping a Parra win.
Consequently, it’s best that Blue and Gold fans consider markets that don’t involve selecting a winner.
After wisely advising readers to keep their money in in their wallet/purse last week, I’m ready to have a crack.
“Pick your own total” appeals as a punting option.
Why? The total match points have exceeded 47 in five of the Eels last seven encounters with the Roosters.
Take total match points over 47.5 which is returning $2.80.
Happy, responsible punting everyone.
1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Will Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Isaiah Papali’i. 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Nathan Brown.
18. Tom Opacic 19. Jake Arthur 20. Bryce Cartwright 21. Ky Rodwell 22. Sean Russell.
The combination of a five-day turnaround and the team playing on a Monday means that last week’s 17 get named again, though Brad Arthur has flagged at least one change. Nathan Brown has been dropped to reserve grade after a string of underwhelming efforts, with Ky Rodwell the likely man to come in via the bench.
One big issue preventing further changes is a lack of upward pressure from the reserve grade team, particularly where we need it the most: hooker. Reed Mahoney hasn’t been anywhere near his best this year, but Mitch Rein was a train wreck in his two first grade games in 2022 and Brendan Hands, while a decent prospect, is nowhere near first grade ready. The reggies forwards are all in that “good but not great” category with nobody demanding to be picked with irresistible form.
While I’m sure fans would have liked some mass sackings to vent frustrations at last week, in the end we need to win a football game this week and can’t throw away a chance of beating the Roosters to prove a point. The players should be embarrassed, ashamed and disgusted with themselves after their effort last weekend, and if the chance to redeem themselves this week doesn’t motivate them then nothing will.
1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Nat Butcher. 14. Connor Watson 15. Drew Hutchison 16. Egan Butcher 17. Fletcher Baker.
18. Lachlan Lam 19. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 20. Paul Momirovski 21. Terrell May 22. Adam Keighran.
Luke Keary is the big question here, going from “will he retire?” talk after suffering a head knock on the weekend to being named as halfback this week. He’ll be monitored all week but Drew Hutchison is likely to be the replacement if he can’t go, with Sam Walker moving to the traditional seven role.
Victor Radley and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are notable absences, with JWH being a huge out considering how he played in the Magic Round clash. Siua Taukeiaho has improved in recent weeks in JWH’s absence, and Nat Butcher has done well at lock replacing Radley. As it stands there are two smaller men in Hutchison and Watson on the bench, but I doubt it runs out that way if Keary is good to go.
Billy Smith has forced Paul Momirovski out of the side after getting a defensive towelling last week, and Sam Verrills returns at hooker. It’s a dangerous side regardless of a few big names missing, but Keary being out would be a huge win for the Eels.
If you want a breakdown of where the Roosters are a threat and can be beaten, the preview from a few weeks ago still holds (except for the whole “it is pretty good to be an Eels fan” part), with one addition: for the love of Sterlo get in the way of Joseph Suaalii under the high ball. Block him, run into him, pressure the Roosters kickers, just don’t let him get clean shots at those cross field kicks.
Here I’m going to talk about the Eels. That loss last weekend was embarrassing, and anybody drawing a line through Parramatta as a premiership contender is well justified. Losing games like that is how teams finish in the elimination end of the finals draw, but they also cost fans and reinforce negative attitudes that leak through in the atmosphere at Parramatta Stadium.
How many times have you heard away fans chant over the home crowd when the Eels concede a try? Opposing teams, opposing fans, they always have confidence against Parramatta, and losses like that one are why. The lack of composure and the regular capitulations makes life hard for the Eels. Every week is a tough contest because every team thinks they can beat them. Look at how bad teams fold against Melbourne or Penrith under pressure. The Eels don’t get that advantage because they can always be beaten, and thus every week is a grind.
I don’t know what causes it, or how to fix it. Maybe it’s in the walls, maybe it is the coaching, maybe it is the playing group. Likely it’s a combination of everything (except perhaps the concrete of the stadium, which I doubt is actually cursed). The team needs somebody who cares enough to rip in behind the posts and take the team by the scruff of the neck when they see things slipping. They need to be better prepared so they don’t roll onto the field in games they should win and play like trash. Our captains aren’t doing that job, but who would replace them? Mitchell Moses is the obvious name, but I wouldn’t be handing him leadership of anything after his pathetic half-effort trying to score against the Bulldogs, the clearest sign I’ve seen of a player giving up on a football field in some time.
A big effort against the Roosters and most will be forgiven, but the team will have to hear it all again once the “soft” part of the draw rocks around. The Warriors, the Tigers, they’ll see these games as a chance for a win if they just dig in and play hard footy. Until the Eels can regularly bury those teams even when playing effortball, as they damn well should based on talent, the narrative will continue.
The good news is our remaining draw only contains three “soft” games, the rest are against finals contenders. Still, if we finish fifth and end up facing the Cowboys in North Queensland in a second week elimination game (or worse, Melbourne in Melbourne), these losses will be to blame. Good sporting teams, and the Eels over the last four years have been a good sporting team, shouldn’t make their fans hate them. You’re one in a million, Parramatta.
This one you’ll either be on the edge of your seat for 80 minutes, or you can turn the TV off and take your dog for a walk after 20 minutes. Last year the “bad Eels” run lasted a month, so things might get worse before they get better, though about the only way things can get worse than last week is if Junior Paulo takes a crap on my seat at CommBank Stadium before the game. Then we still lose by 30.
I’m not making a prediction here, because I don’t have any faith in this team right now and I just want to wait and see. Last week hurt. It was the kind of loss that costs you fans, young and old. It was the kind of loss you don’t make up for the next week, even if you put on a commanding win. It will take years for the Eels to prove they aren’t that team anymore, to condition fans to expect wins when they should win, to stop their hearts sinking and the stadium going quiet because they go down 6-0.
The Eels of last week are the exact opposite of the type of team I want to support. The path to becoming that team won’t end until the Provan-Summons sits in the trophy cabinet, but it starts with a good win on Saturday night. Make me believe again.
Go you Eels!
Prediction: A game of football will be played
Man of the Match: The best player on the field
Well Gol, I am not sure what to say. Your confidence is a reflection of Parra’s effort. Sky high one week, rock bottom the next.
I had that feeling the Bulldogs would turn it on and it unfortunately proved true.
This week it’s a bit like dumb and dumber when he turns up on a micro scooter. He redeemed himself. That’s my thought, Parra will redeem themselves.
Score – no thanks
I am happy just for a win.
Watch standing up Gol,only a fool would sit in that seat. Keary, Hadley and JWH are big outs, but Tedesco, Suuali and Walker can punish slackness. In the second round last year, the Roosters were incredibly bad for 20 minutes but we matched them, got worse, got thrashed. Please lads, not again.
If JWH is out that’s a big plus. He usually dominates our whole pack like their a bunch of under 10s.
Totally agree with the sentiments shared in this one. Who knows what’s going to happen.
Annoyingly these losses to sub-par teams are going to be the difference between finishing in a spot on the ladder that gives us a good chance to win the premiership vs just having any chance to win. The joys of supporting Parra, hey?
Wow! the preview in reverse or so it seems. I am actually not surprised in regards to Nathan Brown as to his future as he has certainly lost his power runs and demon tackles, there’s little doubt in my mind that his battering ram style of attacking the opposition runners and coping the same from the opposition has pretty much busted his body. His decline was sadly really on show last week against the dogs. I hope he gets a spot elsewhere and can pick up his old game plays again. –Elsewhere I think. Predictions. One of the teams will… Read more »
I share your pessimism Gol. I think our on field leadership is pathetic. Maybe Hodgson can do an Edge for us next year but this year there seems no option. Junior has been quiet in football terms and leadership. Gutho has stalled badly and falling out of the sky. All the good fullbacks have speed. Gutho does not and where he replaced speed with effort that is no longer enough. His defensive reads have been awry and rarely makes much ground from the back. I am happy to see Rodwell get a go. He was a bright spot in the… Read more »
The only thing certain about this game is RCG for first try scorer.
Points will be scored and one team should win this…..I hope our team plays as a team, and that any perceived issues have been aired as last week makes me somewhat nervous.
I think our spine have not been consistent in terms of playing and leading the team and not playing to the we should. NFI who wins…
Do we know if any of our big hairy chested forwards have developed a set of balls since Monday? That was reminiscent of a GF in the 70s when Terry Fearnley was coaching. No other team in the competition would let their halves get belted like that and do nothing. Absolutely gutless.