The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – March 13, 2023: Early Season Footy Shouldn’t Be So Complicated

Last Friday felt a little like Groundhog Day.

Playing the Sharks in the early rounds and being so close but not close enough. Looking for someone to blame. Feels familiar doesn’t it?

Despite Friday’s result we should still excited by the potential growth that lies in the months ahead for the likes of Hopgood, Doorey and Murchie. These players will end up being very good buys that will strengthen our squad once others return.

I’m also encouraged when Will Penisini is given good early ball, although I wish it was something that we utilised even more.

Will Penisini

Despite some of those positive signs, and the obvious effort, the loss was both unfortunate and frustrating. From the stands it looked like there was very little patience or a willingness to grind out a win.

Essentially the Eels are making the task of winning games more complex than it should be. It was there for all to see against the Sharks.

Every time the Eels started to gain momentum, they made rash decisions that were then compounded by errors in individual defensive reads or techniques. It was handing opportunities to the Sharks to regain momentum.

The Sharks won as they historically have won most games; they stayed in the fight and took those opportunities.

What about our team? What is the ideal “Parra footy”?

Traditionally this team plays at its best when they dominate through the middle, build pressure, get momentum through offloads and then shift the ball wide with runners giving options to the playmakers. 

Hopgood’s offloads are perfect Parra footy

While I have seen glimpses of this, it feels like the team has forgotten its identity.

Passes are forced, putting the outside men into impossible positions with very little room. Wrong kicking options are taken, and shifts from one side of the field to the other happen without anyone hitting holes.

Perhaps the team is still endeavouring to get on the same page.

The next three weeks will be tough, but we are making our task more difficult when early season football should be really simple.

As far as the Eels are concerned, winning against any opponent at this time of the year should be the simple process of hold the ball, make effective tackles and kick and chase well. In most games, such percentage football will reap dividends.

Of course, doing the contrary has its consequences. Playing without patience, taking wrong options, and handing the ball over to our next three opponents will not improve the results.

There was one play last Friday night that I want to put the spotlight on.

When Gutheson threw the intercept you could have forgiven players for dropping heads. It was a momentum killer. But one of our leaders, Moses, chased down Mulitano and demonstrated a desire we need to see over the coming weeks. The Sharks scored on the next tackle, but that shouldn’t detract from the effort of our halfback.

Mitch Moses

More importantly, this was one of our leaders standing up when it was needed. Now it’s time for all of them to do it together.

We need Gutherson, Junior and Moses to take control of this team. We need them to demand that the team adheres to their structures, and to focus on maintaining momentum once they gain it.

This also requires them to be disciplined themselves and make the right choices. Most of all, the team needs to stay united and that must be driven by the leaders.

If the Eels play smart, disciplined footy over the coming weeks they’ll take something out of them. The unity and trust gained could make this team. Conversely, a lack of it could also destroy them.

It is time for the Eels to get back to their style of footy, and that means having as much commitment to victory as Moses showed in his chase down of Multitano.

The Sea Eagles will be tough opponents, but the outcome remains in Parra’s hands.

And it’s not that complicated.


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6 thoughts on “From The Stands – March 13, 2023: Early Season Footy Shouldn’t Be So Complicated

  1. Gazeel

    The biggest disappointment for me is the dumb defensive decisions they can’t count numbers & it’s been the same for years now. Watching live it’s so noticeable especially at a scrum the opposition has 4 players on 1 side of scrum & our blokes can’t look up & adjust or can’t count. The problem is I haven’t seen much difference at training. It never seems to get addressed. Defence is mainly about attitude

  2. Anonymous

    Agree 110% Shelley paulo gillard hopgood and doorey up the middle with hodgo sniffing around the ball carrier waiting for the ofload thats what got us to the gf last year why change it is it because of barret and our new attacking style if it is it dosnt suit parra

  3. BDon

    Tks Shelley, yes get the basics right, our spine was better overall but there were really dumb decisions/errors . Our backs made 11 of the 16 errors. Give the ball away 16 times and a bottom team will even make a game of it. Just an aside, how many times have I seen Simonsson out jumped in the corner cross kick? Can’t he just punch it away if he senses danger…like get an attitude ‘these turkeys ain’t gonna score’. Watch that one again..he should have been able to offer some sort of spoil. (I know it’s easy from the lounge but I have played the game and respect all participants).

  4. Mick

    The issue was defence. Five tries will win most matches. As good as Hopgood is the ruck defence from him is mixed and both weeks has cost us points. Not blaming him for the loss but ruck defence is key. The balance of the team without Lane is just not there but it will come. Moses was brilliant, Brown was excellent as were the bigs. Felt for the backs as their defence out wide was poor and it clear it was because of the reshuffle. No need to panic, it will improve.

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