Parramatta Eels 30
Manly Sea Eagles 34
If the Parramatta Eels are in games until the last play when they are playing badly, imagine how good it is going to be when they play well? The Eels are giving the ball away like it’s free sausage samples at a supermarket, yet have lost to three contenders by a combined 12 points. Good things are around the corner once they get the basics right.
I liked how we wore the best punches Manly could throw in the first half, they were hitting with venom and doing a classic Brad Arthur frontloading of effort. The Eels absorbed all of that, admittedly conceding two tries, then the moment the Sea Eagles got tired, they hit back. The last ten minutes were an absolute circus show but the combination of fatigue and injuries meant we could score at will against the Manly defence in those closing stages. It’s nice to be the team finishing stronger, it’s a shame we’re also the team finishing stupider.
There were so many “we could have won this one if” moments here that I can’t even focus on one to be most annoyed about. Bailey Simonsson gifting a try on the 40/20 attempt stands out, but that’s likely because Simonsson is about as popular as gastro in the Gol household right now. We continue to gift tries to the opposition, showing no respect for possession, and it is infuriating.
If teams reflect the mentality of their coach then I worry for how Brad Arthur manages to navigate so many stairs to get up to the coaches box each week. His team is dumb. Like wearing their pants on their head, backwards, level dumb. Hopgood throwing that terrible offload. Hodgson ruining a defensive stand by clearing the ruck with a leapfrog of the tackled player. Murchie with two backbreaking errors. Waqa Blake, generally.
The worst part of this loss? We have to deal with another week of “0-5”. The talking heads might even get their stats boffins to start looking at how many teams made the finals with that kind of start and we’ll be hearing about that too. It’s round three. We’re not playing well, but it won’t take much to turn these close losses into wins. We’re 3-0 and premiership heavyweights if a couple of bad forward pass calls go our way or we don’t throw a couple of intercepts. If our draw had been Tigers, Titans, Knights we’d be cruising. Just relax.
Five tries in 12 minutes, what an absolute circus. Those closing stages were unlike anything I’ve seen on a football field. Otherwise it was a game where the X-factor balance fell the way of our opponents: Josh Schuster putting in a miracle chip with a perfect bounce, tries off of intercepts and a mistake trying to stop a 40/20. Meanwhile on our side Will Penisini is gifted an opportunity and muffs it. Just that kind of game. For the numbers inclined:
Possession: Eels 51%, Sea Eagles 49%
Completions: Eels 25/39 (64%), Sea Eagles 28/40 (70%)
Running metres: Eels 1,864, Sea Eagles 1,667
Line breaks: Eels 6, Sea Eagles 3
Average set distance: Eels 47.8m, Sea Eagles 41.7m
Average PTB speed: Eels 3.47s, Sea Eagles 3.14s
Offloads: Eels 19, Sea Eagles 7
Errors: Eels 14, Sea Eagles 14
Penalties: Eels 7, Sea Eagles 7
Sure he made a couple of errors, but two tries and a massive trysaver on Christian Tuipulotu is enough for me to give MVP to our captain, our king, Clint Gutherson. He wasn’t perfect, but nobody can say they were. Tonight you da MVP, king.
1 – Fullback
Three different times Clint Gutherson dragged his Parramatta Eels back into the contest, and three times the Eels managed to give it away. That first try was a beauty in understanding your opponent and exploiting their over-commitment, while the second was a display of pure strength. He went one for three on trysavers but without the King, this one could have been anything.
2 – Left Wing
A two try night usually deserves more than a B-, but Maika Sivo did go one for four on tackle attempts and just about any winger in the comp finishes the chances created for him. What tonight needed was some tough ruck work and a bit of X-factor, and fans aren’t chanting this man’s name because they love his tackle two running.
Brad Arthur really needs to take the dairy out of Maika’s diet, because he’s terrible with a milk.
3 – Right Centre
If rating our backline by their ability to play Panther-ball, Will Penisini is the only one you’d feed. Nobody in the team is getting praise for their defence when we get 34 put on us, so that just leaves us with Penisini going “foal taking its first steps” with a bouncing ball in the in-goal. You need to ice those chances, and his inability to capitalise on an opportunistic play sums up the lack of X-factor in the Eels side right now.
4 – Left Centre
Those quick hands to put Sivo in sum up the current Waqa Blake Experience; you are overjoyed that he made a basic centre play. He does that last week and maybe the papers have to pull Ray Price out of containment for a quote or two about hating Manly instead of living off “0-5”. Blake just isn’t doing much well right now; his carries out of our own half are terrible, running without power and being dominated in tackles. Manly were able to belt him in defence like they were Eels fans unloading their frustrations. He’s one of the biggest defensive liabilities in the competition and his lead boots effort on Olakau’atu’s try was another one of those “moments”. I want off this ride.
19 – Right Wing
At least when Blake Ferguson did dumb things you could look back on some great tries and hard first tackle runs and think “well there is some good to him”. Bailey Simonsson’s 40/20 knockback to nobody was a coach killer, and considering he’d already copped a bake from BA at halftime Bailey might still have his thumb out on Warringah Road, looking for a ride home. I’d keep driving.
6 – Five Eighth
While “that” play-the-ball was a real Ralph Wiggum moment, the Parramatta Eels continue to be Dylan Brown’s team as much as Mitch Moses’. He’s touching the ball more, passing more and running more, and occasionally pulling off some magic, like that offload in the Hodgson try. It wasn’t a standout game for Dylan, but he’s growing into his role.
7 – Halfback
That ball for Sivo was an absolute peach, but my favourite Mitchell Moses moment was a kick with about ten to go in the first half, which even the commentary team managed to acknowledge began the late shift in momentum. He finally managed to stop a try with his ability to be taken out by lead runners, but overall we need more from him in these games. This is three weeks where the Eels needed an elite player to stand up and take the game by the horns, and only once against the Sharks did Mitchell Moses look like being that guy.
I suppose I have to mention his goalkicking, to avoid a baking in the comments at the least. I’m not going to hold sideline misses against him, but he definitely has “that” spot where perhaps we should start running the ball wider in the in-goal rather than making him kick 15m wide of the right upright. Luke Burt had the same issue back in the day, but we need every advantage we can get right now and kicking at 57% after 3 weeks is the opposite of advantage.
8 – Front Row
The Manly forwards came out in defence like they had green skin and anger issues, but Reagan Campbell-Gillard just cracked his neck and made the “bring it on” motion with his hand. He was denied back-to-back tryscoring weeks because referees don’t understand momentum, and while his numbers weren’t eye-popping, plenty of other forward packs wilt under the defensive pressure Manly applied, the Eels absorbed it and were back in the game by halftime.
9 – Hooker
I love a slow old man cracking through the line as much as anybody, and then the show and go was a thing of beauty that made me check the garage for my footy boots to give a career one last crack. The level of mould growing on the old boots was such that I sent them off to a lab for study as an unidentified organism.
I liked Josh Hodgson getting out of dummy half a bit before passing as a counter to the Manly line speed, and while he didn’t get an ideal result from his early grubber the play was definitely on. I didn’t like the three penalties, especially the heartbreaker that ruined what was shaping as a strong defensive stand because he decided to clear the tackle via leapfrog. Old heads should know better.
10 – Front Row
Junior Paulo’s passing game was on in this one, a nice indication that maybe the Eels won’t just keep trying to run through a brick wall when presented with defensive pressure. That’s a welcome change. Other than that, the captain was fine, playing a near ridiculous 66 minutes and slogging hard the whole way.
11 – Second Row
Carty did as Carty does, throwing some offloads, missing some tackles but playing 80 minutes and getting through a lot of tough work (leading the Eels forwards in runs). Like Junior he’s doing a fair bit of distributing and I’m very curious to see what his role will be when Ryan Matterson and Shaun Lane return. Considering what the bench has been doing, he has to remain in the side.
12 – Second Row
That line for his try was a peach, but generally Matt Doorey just isn’t doing enough with his time on the field. He’s not taking a lot of runs and easing pressure on his other big men and he’s not making a lot of tackles (though missing far too many, 14 makes, 4 misses here). He’s the line running battering ram in this back row, and he’s not doing enough of it.
13 – Lock
While there is precedent for gods creating duds (see bittermelon, polio and rugby union) it was still disappointing to see the J’maine Event deliver a bit of a stinker. The offload was bad; sure it’d help if his teammates were pushing up on the best offloader of the competition through three weeks, but I don’t blame them for not expecting it inside our own 20. Brad Arthur tried to give him a more reasonable workload, but all it did was take away his passing game and nullify his offload, while he still missed just as many tackles. That rake penalty was another “pants on head” Eels moment in a game full of them.
14 – Interchange
If you’d told me Jirah Momoisea did not get on the field in this game, I’d have no evidence to prove you wrong.
15 – Interchange
Jack Murchie’s third game in Blue & Gold was a shocker. I tempted fate with all the Oregon Kaufusi jokes and sure enough, Murchie was responsible for two killer knock-ons and a penalty, more than negating the good of his work carrying the ball. I don’t like to give bad grades to guys who end games with their nose smeared across their face, but I also don’t like interchange forwards dropping the ball.
16 – Interchange
Wiremu Greig was very busy in his short stint, but it was most notable for Josh Aloiai belting him around like he was wearing a rainbow jersey. As an impact prop coming on late you’d hope he’d be the one doing the belting.
17 – Interchange
Nothing special from Big Mak here, but I asked our bench guys to play their short stints in turbo mode, and Makahesi Makatoa cracked through 11 runs and made 13 tackles in his 27 minutes. Can’t blame a guy for doing what I asked.
As a fan, the worst kind of team to support is a gutless one, one that capitulates at the first sign of trouble. There are absolutely no worries about the Parramatta Eels on that front, they took a beating early then showed some real guts to fight back into the game. Unfortunately the next worst kind of team to support is a dumb one, and it was dumb football and stupid mistakes that ultimately cost the Eels here.
It’s not going to be a fun fortnight ahead. This was the most winnable game of the three, and now Penrith at home and Sydney away awaits us. We’ll jump significant underdogs in both and be looking down the barrel of a winless first month of the competition. I explained in the preview why I don’t think this is the end of the world, but you try telling a fanbase that called for the coach that just took us to a grand final to be sacked after losing a trial that things are going to be okay even if we start with five straight losses. Try telling the bookies too: the Eels premiership odds drifted from $21 to $31 because of the Manly loss. The Dolphins are currently $26 to win the comp. The Eels might be playing dumb, but rugby league can be a pretty dumb sport sometimes.
I’m tuning out. I don’t care about what Paul Kent or Phil Rothfield think on a good day, I certainly don’t need to hear it this week. I’d suggest you do the same. The only cure is going to be Parramatta playing some good footy, and they won’t get that chance until next Thursday night.
Until then, stay slippery Eels fans.
Stats and images provided by NRL / Eels media
Thanks Gol. Only you and the TCT podcast after a loss can make my week better. You guys are the true MVPs
Great grades and commentary
Thanks for the effort Gol, I share your pain with a loss but particularly where the reasons are so obvious. You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding a dumb team, we must be, as BA said they spent all off season doing D and have learnt absolutely nothing! Unlike you I have joined the ‘sack BA brigade’ for one very valid reason. Its because our D has been poor for 10 years now and BA has yet to fix it, until our D is fixed we’ll win nothing. Sorry but 10 years has been long enough to realise something… Read more »
You are bang on, Glenn. When more people begin to finally realise this, the better. In my job, I want the best in myself and my staff. I expect growth in myself and my staff. We learn from our mistakes and don’t repeat them, putting in place systems to prevent from being in a situation where we can’t succeed. I’m personally a bit blown away at how this dumb team received B’s across the majority. With a 2nd successive ~60% completion rate, the most errors, the 4th worst comlpetion rate, the 4th most ineffective tackles and the equal 2nd handling… Read more »
Well you said BA worked on D during off-season and they learnt nothing and then you sack sack BA because he’s doing nothing. Isn’t that a contradiction of things in your comment
I’m not going to defend our defence this season so far but saying we’ve been poor for 10 years is massive revisionism. We had the 4th best defence in 2021, 3rd in 2020, and even last year we had a better defensive record post-Origin than the Panthers and Cowboys, who were known as good defensive sides last season.
The good defensive years did still have one glaring problem and it was our edges. Any time who could expose it did.
Yeah, but you could argue that was down to the six agains rule that probably benefited us as much as anyone. We were able out possess most teams, not the same as actually great defence.
Still long way to go and plenty of room for Improvement, good players coming back and centres seem to be problem at moment. Defence needs a shake up too but 3 rounds in I believe we have plenty of Improvement ahead not panic stations yet
If you listen to the supporters on the Facebook group some already given up and want to sack half the team and the coach and take half his staff with him but as I said long way to go
Well said mate
You should not be afraid of running the stats on poor starts to the season. I did and in the NRL era the Eels going into the Manly game were the 8th team to have made the GF the previous year and started the next 0-2. All previous teams doing so still made the finals, indeed the Eels would not be alone going to 0-4 or 0-5 and still making the finals. I think the main worry is not really the start itself. It’s the poor defense. Eels finished 9th ranked defense in 2022. Surely it’s reasonable to have expected… Read more »
The problem is that we have to condense our line because our middle defence is as porous as a fruit basket.
Good stuff as always.
It’s certainly not season over at this stage, but we also need to be honest. Our opponents have been just as poor and also have had players out, so its not just room for the Eels to improve while other teams stand still. We will need to win something like 16-18 of our remaining 23 games to hit top 4, which is a daunting prospect.
Good news, the Panthers and Chooks are very beatable. Hopefully they can get these bone head moments out of the game and turn it around.
Moses set up two tries, saved a try, did a great tackle on Turbo, ran the ball plenty and his kicking game was solid minus the goalkicking; so I would say that he stood up plenty.
Yes he did. Perhaps we expect too much from him. He does not play well under pressure and his kicking stats show that. That extra two points or a field goal puts the whole team in a better position mentally.
I don’t know why his goalkicking and field goals are his major problems. The rest of his game doesn’t seem affected by pressure. Even while time was becoming a problem he was still playing strong in general play. I think that we either need to get a new goalkicker or he needs to get cracking on that department.
I agree with the comments made about Moses, he should have been an A and the negative is his goal kicking….. My discussion on his goal kicking is that it is technical to the point he is not really a normal style around the corner and he his left with a much more precise requirement when he strikes the ball. When he is on he strikes it beautifully but the margin for error creeps in with the shorter range shots and he has a tendancy to shank them marginally. I would have a talk to a very good golfer who… Read more »
This is unbelievable crap. That’s like saying you should talk to someone about psychological problems.
If the Wallabies manage to defy the odds and win this year’s World Cup, Bernard Foley’s handicap could turn out to be Australia’s biggest asset. With goalkicking likely to be a decisive factor in clutch games, the margin between winning and losing could all come down to the accuracy of Foley’s right boot. The “Iceman” has done it all before, but with the World Cup just months away, he’s practising harder than ever, but not on the football field. Instead, he’s labouring away on the golf course, hoping that if he can perfect his swing on the fairways, it’ll translate… Read more »
Prometheus would make a knowledgeable decision here. Send Moses to the Tigers and they could pay for his golf lessons.
I think Prometheus would be pretty disappointed he had someone with no humility quoting his ignorance. Rather than being a smart arse , you should challenge yourself for some personal improvement.
That’s like saying you should talk to someone about psychological problems
Seems sound advice to me.
Seriously is that the best a bio mechanics devotee can come up with. Pretty bloody dull if you ask me. By the way I didn’t know Prometheus was ignorant.
He was to golf dumbass, the fact that you are a Dinosaur and closer to his time span is no excuse for your ignorance and what is a biomechanics devotee, its not a religion dopey.
Prom Mitch is already an accomplished golfer. However we are never too old to learn.
I think his technique does need tweaking over the kicking tee at the moment.
Tks Gol 100% with everything (Points of Pedantry: Hopgood was nearer the 40, a known offloader,3 minutes to go, we switched off the play. Dylan Brown was fighting for a quick play the ball with the marker who suddenly disengaged, stepped backwards just at the moment I reckon Dylan was going theatric for the penalty, instead he was dramatising with no one and lost balance. Both plays looked so inept but in sync with the night’s vibe).
I think RCG pulled Hodgson back over the Manly player.
Maybe you are correct. But I did not see it that way in the run of play. Will have to look at the game again
Yeah..the guy got up quickly with Hodgson on his back, if Hodgson rolled to the side straight away, OK but he got caught mid air, legless and RCG grabbed him and pulled him forward. I reckon if you timed it, it didn’t slow the play any more than another 100 times in the game, Ref was technically right but hair trigger, nit picking.
I agree with just about everything that being said here and what was said in instant reaction with the one exception. I think people are being a bit harsh on Wiremu Greig. To come on cold with 10 to go, he got hit hard in his first hit up but he took it on the chin, didn’t drop the ball or make a mistake getting up to play it and was very busy for the rest of his 10 mins run on the field.
IM I agree with your comments on Woody. As soon as he got on the field he was hit hard by two big Manly forwards.
I have said on here before that I would like to see him get 20+ minutes on the field bridging half time.
Giving him more minutes will give him the chance to get some confidence and get into the game. I looked at his short minutes last week and he got through a lot of work.
Agreed John, I’d like to see more of him before and after half time. BA doesn’t seem to have the faith but he needs a go. Heck he kept Oregon for such a role and Greig to me could be v good. I keep watching Tui K who Parra had yrs ago and we let him go….and Bellamy has him playing simple footy….
Something I’ve noticed about Greig, in the ruck after he is tackled we usually make good ground, He is never around enough for me to study his positional play and technique in defence. Maybe anyone who watches NSW Cup could comment.
Under fatigue he can get lead boots in his lateral movement and arm grab, at least last season. Not sure he’s played enough minutes this year to find out if it is still a problem.
I have heard this comment before about him planting his feet and getting caught out by lateral movement.
This is why I am suggesting giving him time either side of half time.
Lol, JE…..I suspect that may have gone over a few heads as well.
Nobody, should be too judgemental. Wiremu has played a handful of minutes in 3 games. It’s not his fault he got smashed. But he got up and laughed it off! He deserves more minutes. We are NOT developing players when they sit on the bench! If we showed a bit more faith last year we could have been less gassed out in the GF and in a better position now.
Yes coach too busy looking for props when he has them under his nose
It seems if coach don’t like you fugedaboud playing nrl
I like the balanced analysis in the games that perhaps we should/could have won. We cannot take any game for granted but this is a fair comment:
‘If our draw had been Tigers, Titans, Knights we’d be cruising. Just relax.’
Still there is some pressure associated with being behind in the ladder.
As always. Thank you. Martin
Two things that I have noticed in the first three rounds;
a) Doorey and Hodgson are often on their back or beside the play-the-ball leaving large gaps up the middle.
b) Our try scorers aren’t making any effort to improve MM’s conversion angle. Their first thoughts are celebration and looking at the big screen.
Pretty much agree with the grades.
Almost a carbon copy of last week’s; completions, errors and missed tackles. We had a few more dumber plays this week. Simmonson brain fart. Why not dive on the ball? I bet the coach didn’t coach that. (BTW Garrick knocked that on. No try). Reg should have been awarded that try…and Gutho soft attempt on Garrick for 1st try…Suddenly, a comfortable win!
If we get our defence sorted we will be smashing them on the scoreboard. But it’s all about attitude and we are lacking at the moment. Fix it!!
There is one stat that to me shows me the problem that is our team at the moment. Making tackles, holding the ball are all effort areas. So is putting yourself into the spot to take tough runs. When you add up run metres you will see that Will Penisini has more run metres as compared with the combined effort from Waqa and Bailey. All three are outside backs and in the modern game an important role for an outside back is to get the set started well.These runs are there for them but they don’t put themselves in a… Read more »
I think our back 5 have the lowest run meters of any team. I think we had 3 hit ups from the back 5. Waqa always takes the easy runs and he got easily out jumped by Olakuatu for that try…He lacks what BA calls “want”. And why not because doesn’t matter what happens he will never face accountability and is onntop dollar. When I used to play he would be referred to as a ‘CAT’. Sorry for that but it’s what players like that were called.
Hayze Perham killing it (although against the Tigers) we could have kept him and released Waqa??
We re-sign N Brown and then tell him hes no longer needed and released him during injury and suspension crisis.
Moses not signed – distraction
BA announced on eve of must win game – distraction just the timing is way off.
Recruitment, Recruitment, Recruitment we just cannot get it right!
Spot on Pete. Perham has played well in all 3 games for the Dogs but I can understand why Parra let him go. He wasn’t going to play full back for us and that appears to be his position. Mahoney by the way has also been outstanding. Those who think he is a “speed hump” in defence need to see the tackle he put on Douheii late in the game. His creativity around the ruck has been all class. He should have been a priority to re-sign. We hesitated and Gould pounced. Same with Ice although when he was getting… Read more »
So true Joe.
On Perham, we had him playing wing and he was OK no worse than Simmonsonor Waqa. But if we Did release Waqa and put Gutho at centre and Perham could have been a good fullback and saved the club a bit of money 💰 as well?
Just seems nobody in Recruitment is thinking outside the box..or thinking for that matter.
Nobody knows what went on dehind the scenes with Nathan Brown.
The comments currently being released by the media is what Nathan Brown is saying. There is always two sides to any disagreement.
What is clear is that Browny’s form had gone off the boil. He didn’t exactly go out of his way to make the club change their minds after being told he would not be re-signed at the end of his contract.
It was suggested to me from someone close to the club, That the reason Nathan Brown was released was due to medical staff believing his body would not stand up to playing and training at the levels required. That’s why he was offered the chance to find another club so soon after the start of the season. To be honest, that has basically been the case, when he regained some sort of fitness , he was selected for the GF. Think he has had the last 2 off seasons required major surgery on injuries, and his style of play and… Read more »
Derek that is clearly the best explanation I have heard so far. Anyway it is a better explanation than blaming Brad. Or was it Jake?
John , Ray Hadley has make two distinct claims. One about Mahoney and the other about Brown ( the issue with Jake)
Ray was asked if they were true and he stated that the club or the coach could sue him if they truly believed it was false.
Ray may have his own agendas but if the the situation didn’t play out like Ray has stated, then that’s a great stain on BAs reputation.
What did Hadley say about Mahoney?
Obviously you believe Ray. However just because the club does not go after Ray and sue him does not necessarily mean that Ray is correct.
There are many reasons why the club would not go after Ray. Hadley has many enemies. The Eels are just one.
Rays problems with the Eels began with the demise of his friend the Emperor at the club.
John, yes his form was down.
He got plucked from reserve grade for the GF and he was completely ineffective.
Takes 2 to tango and he wasn’t able.
Our recruitment could have handled it better and N Brown could have played better.
Can’t disagree with any of the grades
This season so far is frustrating as hell when you see performances of the storm and sharks the week after beating us you have to question where we really are at.
I honestly believe our forwards get beating up too often and we don’t get enough meters from our backs.
I don’t give us any shot next week but stranger things have happened
Thanks Gol and we’ll done. What is hurting is that we have not seemed to improve in patience and defence at times in some key areas. And let’s be honest the edge / outside backs defence has been poor for a few yrs and it’s on Brad to take ownership of this besides the players and ultimately make some changes to the roster. Our side making dumb errors is almost unforgivable to watch and I can’t believe these players want so much money at times from the game yet make schoolboy errors. We keep hearing their professional players…. Defence wins… Read more »
I respect 60s training reports. And his enthusiasm. I’ll be honest here however and say right now I think perhaps got it wrong in regards to these recruits. All have major flaws in their game. Hodgson looks old,Moimesea and Murchie seem ineffective. Doorey and Hopgood have had good moments but their defense is below par.
Bryce has outplayed all of then. Yes its early days and I won’t judge completely untill rnd 10
Hopgood made more tackles and same missed tackles (2) as Junior and Reg.His only real blemishes in prior games we’re getting stepped by Harry Grant and Matt Moylan, 2 of the most elusive runners in NRL, and I reckon there were circumstances around each of those. If his defence is below par, then we’ve got real problems across our entire pack.
Yes, there is nothing wrong with Hoppy’s defense and frankly Cartwright is a big part of the problem, he positions himself behind the tackled player in such away that he is invariably not in a marker position. Stats are very misleading…..the ironical thing is our tacking techniques are poor with the exception of the halves which is ironical in itself. Moses has taught himself or someone has,to be able to tackle, the rest of them could/should find out who from….our defensive coach if there is such a role needs to go back to schoolboy techniques. I cannot believe how many… Read more »
When Mitch first came to the club they hired a consultant who was a specialist in tackling techniques.
From memory he taught Mitch to get in front of the attacking player. His defence has been very good since then and he made an outstanding hit on one of the Storm (I think) forwards last year
His defense like Doorey needs work