“I’m glad I did that!” Have you ever thought that to yourself?
Straight after full time on Friday night I messaged Sixties about how happy I was to have made the long trip to Allianz Stadium.
And why wouldn’t I have been overjoyed by what I had witnessed?
Our Eels did exactly what I hoped they would they would do: staying unified and having a red hot crack. Those are two aspects in a game that are 100% within the control of individual players and the team as a whole.
Like many thousands of other supporters I was extremely proud of not just the result, but also the resolve within the group. Truthfully, I was more hopeful that certain of victory.
So with the dust having settled, I want to focus on the controlled effort on display from the Eels.
The big contributor in controlled effort was Junior Paulo who served up an amazing 73 minutes of game time. Big metres, amazing post contact stats, and a huge “follow me into battle” mentality.
There was also the effort by Dylan Brown to chase what appeared to be a heavy kick, and turning it into a match securing play. If he didn’t get there in time, it wouldn’t have surprised a single person. But he did and it spoke volumes about the team’s mindset.
And let’s not forget the cumulative effects of other moments. There was Josh Hodgson’s kick pressure which forced to errant kicks, including a momentum changing effort that allowed the Eels to begin their second half charge. Throw in Will Penisini and Bailey Simonsson covering the Bunnies’ famous sweep plays on either side of the ruck or Wiremu Greig setting the tone by taking two hit ups in the opening set. There were efforts like this all over the park.
Last week, BA rightfully called out inconsistencies in the match officiating. However, he obviously steered away from that in the match preparation. The unified team effort was evidence that the message to the players was all about taking care of the areas that they could control. Every player deserves praise for sticking to that plan.
Without question, Mitch and Dylan stepped up and deserved the focus and credit that came their way post match. But that type of performance and result is never achieved on the back of just a couple of players. It proved that this is a determined team who won’t roll over and who genuinely wants success.
And so to this week. I cannot wait to go back to CommBank Stadium. It has been an age since my family has been able to watch the Eels at home, with away games and early match starts this season impacting our opportunity to attend as many matches as we normally do each year.
But, there will also be a first for my family this weekend.
We will be cheering for a player running around in a Manly jersey. You see, from when he was an Eels ball boy, through to his time in Parra’s elite pathways and finally the senior grades, Jake Arthur has always shown how much he cares about our club.
With Mitch and Dylan locking in long term deals at Parra, Jake has taken the only option to maximise his immediate chances of playing first grade. He leaves as a talented young player on the cusp of a long career.
So, best wishes Jake. You have already given great service to the Blue and Gold family and I’m sure you’ll return one day. My family will always support you. Do well young man, show your talent and shine.
Yes. Those two plays from Hodgo were vintage…..😁……. Hoping he has come good like we all want him too
Well said Shelley. The Eels have had a late season fade the past few years (expect for last year). Maybe the early season jitters will turn into a solid end to the year and place in the finals. And yes, I also will be supporting JA as well. I hope he eventually finds his place in the NRL.
Beautifully written Shelley and I wish like you the best for Jake. I believe the move has been orchestrated for his benefit and I am glad that no longer Jake can be criticised from within with the inevitable biases. Whether I believe how good a footballer Jake maybe or not be is now irrelevant as it no longer effects the mechanisations of the team. Even BA has admitted he can be a “Dad” again and not his coach. Unfortunately I have seen too many disasters with father’s coaching their kids, when it comes to elite levels it is very rarely… Read more »
In many ways I am sad to see Jake leave the eels, but! in the end it is/was inevitable owing to the halves players in front of him, not fussed though regarding the signing at Manly but at least it probably gives him good breathing room from the wonderful eels supporters – sic. In fact I believe the eels boo supporters were not real eels supporters at all, who would boo an up & coming player who had the misfortune of being the son of the eels coach? In saying that, the coach should not be blamed for Jakes leaving… Read more »
The problem with our stadium…. The acoustics are so brilliant that even a few people in unison makes the sound reverberate. The was no one around me booing but it was loud 📢. Just a few cretinous nitwits