The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – August 28, 2022: Time To Level The Playing Field

There was so much to like about our game against the Broncos.

Parra’s forwards were brutal, yet skilful.

Gutherson’s support play returned to the elite level we know and love.

Sivo’s involvement was first class. He wasn’t just a weapon in the red zone, he was a workhorse taking the ugly runs coming out of trouble.


And what about the magical chemistry between Moses and Brown and their clever kicking game!

But above all else it was the outcome that I loved most of all, because the victory has set up a game that I have waited years to see. It’s a game that I was so desperate to happen that I willingly supported the Roosters against the Storm as if they were my team.

This Thursday we’ll be watching a huge game, a season defining game, a game that if won gives Parra a genuine chance in the finals.

And best of all this clash with the Storm is at our home – CommBank Stadium. Bring it on!

Some of the biggest clashes against Melbourne, notably the finals series matches, have not been kind to our Eels.

In a number of those games we have stood up, gone toe to toe, only to fall agonisingly short after game changing decisions have not fallen our way. But all of those big games have been away from home, either in Melbourne or Brisbane.

This Thursday, the Storm come to our ground for a top 4 shoot out, and whilst I fully appreciate and understand the difficulties of attending a game on a Thursday night, the Blue and Gold Army needs to do everything possible to turn up in big numbers.

We need to fill those stands and get behind our boys. We need to level out the playing field.

Reminder time

That means reminding the officials that they need to apply the rules evenly. We can do this by vigorously using our collective voices every time the Storm use an illegal elbow or employ wrestling tactics to slow us down.

My reasoning is simple. There are times when our code feels like anything but fair. 

This last round alone, the MRC charged RCG for dangerous contact for using his elbow while in possession in a three man tackle. Yet somehow the same MRC failed to charge Cameron Munster who, in what looked like a fit of rage, forcefully drove  his elbow and forearm into Sam Walker’s face/ neck area.

There seems to be no logic. RCG’s case involved accidental contact made during play. Munster used what looked like deliberate, forceful contact after the completion of a tackle. Yet RCG is the one charged.

I have zero faith in the MRC. They have made far more than a couple of mistakes, and one particular bloke from the Storm is leading a charmed life.

Remember this!
(Image credit Channel 9)

Which gives us more than enough reason for our voices to be heard during the game against our foe from down south.

There are no prizes for guessing what tactics we are likely to see, and the Storm-friendly media will be unlikely to call them out.

But we can make the live action very different. It’s our turf!

We have it in our power to put the pressure on the match officials. We can let our team know that we are supporting them. We must aim to create an atmosphere that drives Parra to greater heights.

Come Friday morning, make sure that you need a recovery session as much as the players do. Go to work tired and exhausted with a voice that sounds like Darren Locker after he’s gargled with mustard paste. When that coarse whisper struggles out of your mouth, know that your voice was heard the night before by our players, the opposition and the officials.

I cannot wait to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to CommBank stadium Thursday afternoon. I’ve waited years to play the Storm in a critical home game.

Bring on the drive, bring on the game, bring on the nerves.

I can’t wait to see you all there.


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22 thoughts on “From The Stands – August 28, 2022: Time To Level The Playing Field

  1. Spark

    Whilst it was good in theory to have ex players in the MRC, I’m pretty sure that the NRL now realise that it was the wrong way to go. Even the reduction of penalty for Tamau for being a good bloke was totally amateur hour and I’m almost certain that if we want to move forward we need to get professional officials back on the committee. There are lots of good ex referees out there like Matt Checkin and Gav Badger who could do the job. In saying that – we also need to dump that imbecile cross eyed chairman Luke Patten. If you are driving standards and you start with Patten as chairman, is it any wonder that it’s a complete balls up ?

        1. Mick

          Where will Patten end up after this season, surely he has had enough chances to prove himself. Last season he was in charge of the bunker, stuffed that up so he gets promoted to head of the MRC, only in the NRL.

  2. Shaun

    I’ll be there and fully intend to be a wreck at work the next morning. Whilst Parra has had the wood on Melbourne recently beating them to gain fourth spot will be sweet revenge given the history. Bring it on!

  3. Susan

    Thanks Shelley. We were having the very same conversation in our household yesterday about the ridiculous (and infuriating) inconsistency shown in the RCG & Munster examples you cited. Can’t wait to get out to Parra on Thursday night but I’m nervous as hell!

    1. Shelley

      The MRC/ NRL cannot consistently make errors of judgement that favour certain teams and players and then turn around and expect the average fan who invests both time and money into their teams to sit by and accept it. They have no one to blame but themselves for the negative commentary they get.

      But that makes this Thursday even more special. If we win, Melbourne miss the four. No home prelim final for Melbourne. The NRL will hate that.

      Come on boys. We will get no favours from the officials but I truely believe we have the team to roll the Storm.

  4. Jarrad

    Bring it on Shelley! I myself will be attending, the first Eels game this year too. Every time I’ve gone to see the Eels play they’ve always won so I hope that doesn’t change now!

  5. Clive

    The Storm are a protected species, have been since their inclusion.
    The problem with playing the Storm in big games is that if the scores are tight they inevitably get a couple of big calls go their way.

    The final in Melbourne in 2017 was some of the worst officiating I have ever seen and it happens often enough that it can’t be a coincidence.

    1. Shelley

      I think the importance of the Melbourne TV market takes incidents that should be black and white and makes them grey. Consider not only incidents on the field but off it as well – Such as the weak punishment handed to NAS after his Bali incident or the NRL letting Melbourne players invest in a privately owned betting company started by a Storm owner. I am sure I am not the only one who at times questions the motivation behind how decisions and punishment have been handed down that impact the Storm.

      The length to which the NRL goes to protect and gloss over the way Melbourne play and tactics they use to win at all cost is alarming.

      It might take a while but eventually this current NRL administration will get what it deserves. It only takes one whistleblower.

  6. HamSammich

    The MRC are toothless and spineless. JWH just received his 5th fine for the season whilst NAS has received his 4th. It isn’t as of these 2 are having an off year in terms of suspensions, they are known for illegal plays, neither should be playing for the rest of the year. Unfortunately PVL gave into the likes of Voss, Johns, and Gould when they were saying big name players don’t deserve to miss big games.

    1. Shelley

      Both players play for a club owned or bankrolled by billionaires. Whatever fine they paid to the NRL would have come back to them with interest. Both JWH and NAS are doing exactly what their coaches and clubs want them to do, intimidate the opposition and if necessary hurt them illegally. They know from recent history all that will happen is a fine or an excuse will be made by the NRL that sorry we missed it but we will do better next time.

      I have not forgetten the deliberate elbow by Kaufusi that could have ended Matterson’s career that was punished weakly by the MRC. But at least they admitted the mistake and of course since then they have punished severely players who have used elbows to drive down into a players face while on the ground. If only! The NRL will wait until a players career is ended by this thuggery or worse and then we will have a magic round crack down again.

      Graham Annesley will defend it by saying the MRC is independent. Rubbish! The people on the MRC do not work for nothing. They are paid by the NRL and oversee a process developed and approved by the NRL. This mess and unevenness ( bias) is entirely the fault of the NRL and Graham Annesley as head of the Football Department. The buck stops with him.

      1. Sayad

        I’m sure Cameron Munster‘s grubby elbow Will gap a run on NRL 360 tomorrow night with his manager as the host. The conflict is ridiculous. Don’t often agree with brandy but he is 100% correct about the storm and the grubby tactics

  7. BDon

    Tks Shelley. Well said. Will be a massive night at CommBank.The Storm competed hard v Roosters, will be interesting to see if they can maintain that level, important for the home crowd we start well and not play them into the right mood.
    Not necessarily a Storm or Roosters issue but what is going on with HIA? We got done by a Panther’s con job last year, trainer illegally stopping a game. As tight finals games approach, trainers are waiting til their team is under pressure before calling for HIA assessment. What happened to the protocol that if a trainer invokes HIA, the player must retire for 15 minutes?
    Theyre stopping games and players are staying on the park.NRL where are you?

    1. Shelley

      Yep Robbie Farah’s brother, the on field trainer at South’s is the worst by far. It is so bloody obvious and the only time one of his players fails the onfield HIA is when it is a front rower who needs a rest. The Rabbitohs thrive when a game is stop/ start because they are a team based almost entirely around set moves, moves that we can’t read or stop. They are not as fit as other top teams and if the game flows from end to end they suffer.

      But as usual the NRL will put their head in the sand until some poor team is defeated in a finals game because of this and then they will change the rule. They will not do a thing unless they are forced to. They especially will not upset the pride of the league.

      I love my Eels and respect the skills of all players and officials who play this game at the highest level but I dislike immensely the NRL because they have zero integrity. To me it is a sport I love, but I fear to Vlandy’s and co it is a play thing to big note themselves and win favours in the corporate world.
      Thank god I have my Eels to follow because I would lost to league without them.

  8. Milo

    Superb piece again Shelley, well done.
    I concur 100% and the NRL have become a political case for me. V’Landys has not been good imo and he again is a puppet for all things popular and there is no consistency again.
    I go back to 2006 semi final Shelley when Nathan Cayless copped a pectoral injury in the semi. J Taylor i think was coach after Smithy left and we scraped in. Melb got away with the chicken wing tackle then and it cost us a semi in my view.
    The NRL have never ever eradicated Bellamy’s wrestling tackling tactics and every second team has copied this.
    When i saw Annesley give his pathetic excuse the other week about NAS and Melb I gave up. It was pathetic and this from a guy i used to respect.
    This is where I feel BA and the coaches have not instilled in Parra to stick up on the field for each other, and i am happy to be wrong but we seem to simply ‘cop the antics’ of others without standing up physically. This is where i feel we need a Beau Scott in our team. I go back to when we D Pay and Co.
    Anyway, lets just win this week pls!! I detest Melb and like many have good reason to.

    1. Poppa

      Ah! Beau Scott…..wouldn’t that be great.

      I wanted to comment on your last report Shelley (got caught up) for the wonderful passion you have for your Eels, they are my Eels to, but I see them a little differently to you. Maybe your glasses have a bit more Rose in them… harm there, just about every lady in our family manages’ to sneak a Rose somewhere in their name.
      That said I can’t help but feel inspired by your undying loyalty.
      I hope everything you wish for comes true for both of us…..Lol

      If not, the passion will always be there, and it will never wane regardless. Is your middle name Rose by any chance?

  9. pete

    Great read Shelley.
    Storm and Roosters are protected species. They are allowed to get away with grubby acts too often.
    I can’t wait until we beat them.
    Go Eels!!

  10. Mick

    I have a funny feeling that we are the ones who cop the MRC’s prior incompetence, I can see one or two of our players copping suspensions.

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