Most impressive and disappointing: Trial week 2 v Gold Coast

Finally, the off-season is technically officially over. Cricket season passed, tennis season passed, Christmas, New years all gone, now to the game they play in heaven. My word was it shivers down my spine watching the game yesterday, making me realise how much i missed it. Parramatta are back and played well overall. Again, the issue with trials is you cannot gauge too much as sometimes teams can show their worth in trials while others show nothing and come out of nowhere and perform or vice versa. That is why i lean towards judging the players at this stage. Our starters had rust, we scored some good tries though luck involved, most if not all premierships are won by luck. Again, since it was pre-season i will not do stats, that will be back for Round 1 v Canterbury.


Most Impressive: 

Bryce Cartwright: This is weird since he had 8 missed tackles, but he was that good overall you did not notice the missed tackles. I feared Cartwright may fall of a tad since he has his contract now, but seems he is getting back to where he left off and played aggressive. That is an area credited to BA, making Carty play tougher.

J'Maine Hopgood: 226 metres, 31 tackles with 1 miss. Even for a trial those stats are insane. When you watch him you think "where is the hype?" But it is the 1% he does off the ball that elevates him. Also, his defence has improved. He looks leaner and more mobile which will help him in the middle.

Sean Russell: Going to nickname him "He-Man" after seeing the size of his arms. Makes his 2022 self look like a twig. I didn't see how he could get that big. He also seems to be handling the change of weight very well. Apart from one defensive error allowing too much room, Russell was great. He had tough runs, hardworking and defensively one on one he was really good with tough hits. He just seems to be a good well rounded player. He finished the game at Centre and compared to last year where he was pushed off by palms, he is now stronger in his defensive efforts. He could make a very good Centre eventually.

Will Penisini: He looks primed for a big year alongside Rusty. Looked more comfortable and confident in his ability, plus even more so seemed to be comfortable with the space around him. What i mean is he dragged the attack towards the sideline yet did not panic and made space to get an offload or to make metres back inside. Just wish he would develop a great scooting game like Justin Hodges, it would start our sets even better.

Morgan Harper: I would lean towards starting him Round 1 over Simonsson. Defence and attacking wise he looked calmer. For Sivo, who has had defensive issues, having a Centre that is more defensive is better at this stage. Harper, oddly enough, is better and more comfortable defending. Harper had 6 runs for 68 metres. More than 11 metres per run which is really good. He is bigger too. But we have seen Sivo perform better with defensive Centres like Opacic and Jennings. Harper could be that.

Most Disappointing:

Joey Lussick: Could be rust, could be me being harsh but Lussick looked off to me. His passing from dummy half was off and a tad slow, defensively seemed off the pace keeping up in the middle. When Hands came on to replace him we ran a bit better. I spent all off-season stating though i feel both Hookers are similar in ability with different positives and negatives that level them out. I also said Lussick will start as he is more experienced and trusted by BA. But seeing how Hands has been used this pre-season it seems BA has been very pleased with how he has improved and honestly i would start him over Lussick. 

Matterson Injury: Seems he could miss round 1 and it is a shame. I was theorising that he was just not used but upon seeing those at the game say he was hobbling, i retract it and say it is a shame as for some reason he needed to fight for his spot. Not saying Matterson should be given a spot, but his form over the years should show he is the best bench forward we have. Our bench forwards are going to come in underdone, If Matto is out too it weakens us. It is a shame as he would have gotten big minutes yesterday.

Tuilagi fitness: Tuilagi was good, do not get me wrong, but he is nowhere near ready to be an 80min back-rower. At this stage i know i am nitpicking.

Edge defence: Yeah, speed got us bady one the edge. Jamming in with cover around the back type of defence can work but Gold Coast got a little deeper making it harder for the cover to get into space and speed took up space faster. It has been a problem since BA started. Hell it was a problem before BA, seems to be a club thing. But Gold Coast worked us out, a better club will do it and make it more impactful.


Ok that is it, it was great to have the game back, the game gods play. Overall we looked good, even Junior Paulo looked to have a point to prove. Cannot wait for Round 1, but i also feel necassary for myself to put in what i think the Round 1 team will be to round out pre-season

1. Gutherson

2. Dunster

3. Penisini

4. Harper

5. Russell

6. Brown

7. Moses

8. RCG

9. Lussick

10. Paulo

11. Lane

12. Cartwright

13. Hopgood

14. Hands

15. Greig

16. Ofahengaue

17. Tuilagi

18. Asi

19. Lumelume

20. Ogden

21. Makatoa

22. Talagi

Simonsson and Matto will more likely be out with injuries and Sivo with suspension.

Enjoy your week and Vegas. God bless Parramatta.

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      • The Truth hurts Franky, it's been hurting us fans since 1986.

  • You are being harsh with Lussick. The team was slick early and that was when he was on the field. It was also very humid. The big concern is depth same as last year. If we get another injurt or suspension while Sivo is out we are in a bit of trouble.

  • I think Paulo looks more mobile this year he's definitely dropped some kegs.

    The ball movement once they get the fast play the ball and off load is good to see aswell it means we are going to be harder to defend.

    Fowards passing to fowards beautiful thing to see the Paulo to RCG try beautiful straight through the front door.

    Attacking short sides and seeing both halves floating at 1st reciever either side of the ruck is something I've wanted to see for years.I've always thought this the more our halves are on the ball the better we look.I hope it becomes the norm we just look a hell of alot better in attack.

    Defensively around the ruck we still need to be tighter I thought when Hands came on in his first set he went back to back to back on efforts out of marker this is what we need from our markers and I'd also like to see RCG and Paulo own the A defender position either side of the ruck.Much like the Riff prop duo do I think that's the start we need to improve defensively.

    The unforced errors and timing of runners and passes needs to be tidied up.

    I think the coach will be pretty pleased after that I thought we were plenty physical enough and when Paulo came on the empitous continued.Long may it continue.

  • Mostly good things from that trial.but still som concerns.

    Our backs are nothing to write home about, our hookers are definitely mid tier and our defence is still shit.

    Other than that, not to bad at all.

  • I think Lussick is just a little slow due to being over in the Super League which is a little slower but will come good. It will be a good battle between him and hands which is what we want. It seems we finally have a number of people pushing for spots and competition between them is what will drive them to achieve something. Knowing you won't get dropped isn't whats needed.

    I think it will be BA's last season as head coach if the Eels get off to a slow start and even if they end up finishing slow. He has the team he has chosen, has been here for 12 years and it's now of never. I think he has been great for the club but you can't be an "Almost there" for ever in the top grade and eventually you have to be a "Did it". I hope he can do it but the Eels can't pass up on Bennett if he is available because we keep waiting on the "Almost there" coach. 

    • Unfortunately I think BA will never get the arse he's untouchable 

  • I think its a bit nit picky on Lussick and Tualagi. The only real negative in this game was Sivo.

    • I said nit picking for Tuilagi. Not nit picking on Lussick, i did not think he was good on Sunday. Hopefully it was a bit of rust and getting to speed with the players but i felt he was average in both attack and defence. We looked better with Hands at 9.

  • Overall the most impressive part of the win was the interchanging and passing from one side to the other which ended in a great try to Hopgood. Scintillating stuff that would open up any defence.

    Try of the preseason by a margin IMO 

    Other than that, I didn't take too much away from the match individually, I think a lot are under done and you can't read too much into the form based on a trial.

    Worrying signs though with Sivo banned for 3 weeks and few injuries already creeping in.

  • One thing about Lussick compared to Hands on the weekend. That was Lussick's first trial, Hands' second. Could just be a bit of rust.

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