Crash and Burn

2021 deja vu. That familiar feeling is back. That feeling in the gut that the premiership quest is once again over.

35 years since the club’s fourth premiership, it is set to enter a 36th year. The loss to the Rabbitohs doesn’t end the season. The Eels will play finals. But that should be the base for the club, not the goal.

Eight years since Brad Arthur took over and the club is in its best position since the Brian Smith years but he is not the man to take us any further.

There is no doubt the players try their absolute guts out every week. To see Reed Mahoney crying due to injury was tough. He gives his everything each match.

Talent is not the problem.

Commitment is not the problem.

There’s a mental block there the club can’t break through at the moment. When the pressure is applied, the resilience isn’t there to step up.

They are not, as I wrote last year, mentality monsters.

The club has improved an incredible amount these past few years.

Where we once didn’t have a single State of Origin player, we now have four and it should have been five.

We’ve become a top four threat and seen as thereabouts come September.

But the club has to be looking for more than that.

I like Brad Arthur. He’s an Eels man through and through. There is no question of his commitment to the club and that commitment was a breath of fresh air following Stephen Kearney and Ricky Stuart.

But sentimentality shouldn’t be involved in this decision.

It’s the second year in a row the side has crashed and burned at the back end of the season.

It will likely be the third consecutive year they don’t get through the second week of the finals.

It looks like Brad is an above average coach. His win percentage is above 50%. He’d be an ideal coach for a club looking to rebuild and compete every week.

He’s a perfect bridging coach. Need to become a top four competitor? Brad will get you there.

But Parramatta is beyond that stage now. We don’t want to just compete.

These past three weeks have hurt. They’re not the performances that we expect, they’re not the performances we accept and they’re not the performances we were putting in at the start of the year.

If you want to know what these performances are doing to the supporter base, here’s what my dad was doing tonight.

A born Eels man, went to the 1976 grand final, he switched off at half time. He knew what was coming and he couldn’t bear to watch it again.

Eels fans have been patient. They have the longest current drought in the NRL.

I am not here to keep hearing, “just wait a little longer,” when nothing is changing.

It’d be different if we had a massive injury list, or we were just getting outplayed by the absolute best.

But it’s against teams we should be beating that we’re struggling.

We’re heading for the same result as 2019 and 2020.

It’s not good enough, and in a proper sporting organisation it shouldn’t be good enough.

I don’t think now is the time to gamble on a rookie coach. We need to find someone with experience, who can take this side to the next level.

Thank you BA for your service, but it’s time to go.

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  • I think the best thing for us is to finish 6th or so with no real expectation and to throw the conservative play book out the window. We can't out Melbourne Melbourne we've proven that. Time to be a dark horse. 

    I would be picking Marata in the centres and giving Cartwright big minutes. Pick a big mobile side with points in us 

    • Good call I'd be on that train of thought also.

      Fergos back

      Lussick for Mahoney.

      Nuikore man I love that guys energy off the bench.

      Problem is we haven't another starting prop that's thee issue right now we have to get our middle 1/3 back in  order.Our go fowards taken a hit.

      What do you do with Dylan Brown he's a passenger right now.For me I have to have both of my halves on the ball the majority of the set now wheather is early shifts and playing a long side I don't no but MM & DB need to been on the ball more.

      • Give Dylan some freedom. He is being contained by the coach. Look at his first season. All the talent to be a top half. Moses and Brown to combine. Let the kid play. 

        • Totally agree.

          our season has gone off the rails so far out that it actually strangely puts us in a better position than last year I reckon.

          Surely Arthur can see it's time to throw the high percentage 'front loaded effort ' bullshit out the window and time to play a little footy. He must not think he can go on after this year if we bow out again with a whimper 

        • Off the bench and allowed to roam like Will Smith could make Dylan brown the attacking spark we need.  As utility he would have that freedom

        • How what does give him some freedom mean.

        • Nope, Dylan Brown simply has never had the vision, ability to lead or game sense to be a good number 6. 

          BA made the comment on numerous occasions he wants Dylan to go out and play his natural game, play what he see,s. I now think Brad and Dylan know he is nothing special under Brad's style or coaching plan 

          I also think Dylan and Will were forgotten about when JA was promoted.

      • No doubt BAs thinking of slipping Jake into the front row, either as prop or hooker.

    • I agree.  Go with side bit more like start of year.  Nikure at centre was our strongest games.  Papalii in place of Matterson and put Carty on the left side 2nd row.  With BA game plan of chase the collision Matterson isn't cutting it any more as he appears scared of concussion and isn't running as hard as he used to when he punched through gaps and found offloads.

      Something dramatic has to happen to spark the side.  Maybe even start with Will Smith and bring Dylan brown as a utility.  With his speed off the mark and strong running, I could see him causing trouble through the middle of the ruck late in each half especially off a quick play the ball.

      Also switch Sivo and Blake in attack more often.  Sivo can create by offloading in traffic which Waqa can not do.  The defence wouldn't want to allow Sivo much room so could open up for Carty to attack.  It would be a lethal edge for attack with these simple tweaks.

  • This team desperately needs a different voice, BA has to be sacked this week. 

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