Eels set defensive milestone

If defence wins premierships the Eels have started 2020 on the right foot, setting a new defensive milestone for the NRL era.

With just two tries conceded through three games and 14 points in total, the Eels are the most frugal team after three games in the NRL era.

Parramatta have never before conceded so few points in their first three games with their previous best of 18 coming back in 1993 - the last time they won their first three games of a season.

The last team to concede fewer than points through three rounds was the Bulldogs back in 1989 with just eight points. This year's Raiders have equalled the previous best mark of 18, set by the 1999 Sharks.
 

It is worth noting that two of Parramatta's three opponents so far this season, Canterbury and Titans, have struggled to score points in general. However, last Thursday's opponents, Brisbane, had scored 50 points in their opening two wins.

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While the eye-catching Eels also lead the NRL for points scored after three rounds with 88, it's the defence players are more proud of.

"If you want to be a top four team you have to be one of the best defensive teams," said centre Michael Jennings.

"We've been working really hard and our systems are working really well … It's better to save a try than score a try.

"The top teams have the best defensive structures. We want to pride out game based on defence. We can score tries, we have the talent but if we can be up with the top teams in our defence we can go a long way in the comp."

Back-rower Shaun Lane said it felt as though the team had turned over a new leaf defensively this year – though cautioned the challenge would get tougher against Manly this weekend.

"If you look at how we played last year and the whole identity of this team, whenever we play a good game it all comes off the back of a good defensive effort and being tough and one of the most intimidating defensive teams in the league," Lane said.

"We really pride ourselves on doing that and being consistent with doing that each week. That's going to be the difference between us winning more games this year and giving it a good crack rather than making up the places in the top eight."
 

Young playmaker Dylan Brown has been an important cog in the Eels' defence.

The teenage playmaker would usually be a target but with help from Lane, Brown has ensured the Eels' left edge has not leaked points.

 

"Everyone can attack but defence is something we pride ourselves on," Brown said.

"For us to defend and we only have two tries against us in the last three rounds ... is pretty pleasing.

"Defence is an attitude thing, we just love it. We feel like everyone can defend in our team, it's not just the boys in the middle."

Brown's overall game is coming along in leaps and bounds, with the 19-year-old shouldering more of the playmaking responsibility from senior half Mitch Moses in the Broncos game.

Lane credited Brown's development since overcoming a back injury last year.

"I felt we were improving a lot towards the end of last year, Dylan obviously had that back injury where he sat out the middle portion of the season so we missed development of that combo for a  while but towards the back end of the year. It got better and we've had a full preseason to work on everything," Lane said.

"Dylan is maturing a lot as a player and growing each day and each session; he's only going to get better and it's up to me to help his development and be alongside him and let him create whatever he creates and try and take advantage of that.

"He's quite confident in himself but he's also such a nice kid and selfless, sometimes I think he's struggled to be as demanding as what is required of him sometimes.

"He's only young, that’s what happens with young blokes, they're a bit indecisive sometimes but we're all around Dylan and know he has the full ability to be a start at this level, you can see that confidence grow each game and he's stepping up and demanding the ball without hesitation and taking on the line and you can really see it in the way he's running and attacking with the ball."

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  • Our defence will get it's first real test against a strong side on Saturday. Let's see how well it holds up then. We won our last game against them last year, but they were missing Tommy Turbo who is the real threat.

    About Dylan...
    I've watched all our games this year 3 times over, and his defence is better than his attack. I don't think I've seen him miss a tackle yet. If there's a line break, he's there. He was the one that chased down Staggs when he made his line break against Sivo on Thursday.

    Moses deserves a bit of credit for the improvement in his defensive attitude as well. He's started to be quite effective compared to what it was when he arrived. Sure, he will miss a couple, but if he does miss, he stays involved and doesn't give up on it.

    • Agree however, Moses has been defending very well for twelve months now.

      I can recall noticing a vast improvement in his D about this time last year. Should be a great game on Saturday.

    • Why do eels fans and players always go off early ? It always happens when Parra win a few games against sub standard opposition then when they play a top side they fail , it'd almost as if eels fans like to jinx themselves.

       

      The last time the eels played a top side they were humiliated in all facets of game do before fans star blowing prematurely wait as see how they go against a side like manly and then judge of the team has genuinely improved . 

      • Agreed, we have played 3 games 2 months apart. Its more hyped up media - lets do well against Manly, Easts, Canberra and co and by well i mean have strong defence. Lets be honest - we have played the Titans, C'bury and the Broncs. Yes the defence has been good but its hardly a story at this stage.

      • The Broncos beat the Cowboys in round one and Souths in round two. If you’re saying the Broncos are sub standard then so are the Cowboys and Souths.

        • Sluggy if you mean me, i am saying we have played 3 games against those teams. I never mentioned Brisbane being sub class, merely that the media hype us up and to be counted as contenders we need to be strong against the others i mentioned. 

          • Mitch I was replying to franks comment abut Eels only beat sub standard teams. 

            • Ok Sluggy no worries. Hope you are well.

              • I’m very well thanks yesterday I almost got an erection

                • Good work mate. In todays weather that would be a decent feat

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