R10 v The Roosters: Taming the Chooks

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History suggests this is as big, or an even bigger challenge, for the Eels than our wins over the Panthers and the Storm; the scalps of the two biggest Tyson-Fury like heavyweight champions.

For one, there is a fourteen-year hoodoo. And we have only won 1 from the last 6 games.

A wet, rainy Magic Round also presents the first Suncorp-meet for both teams. Both teams had impressive rebound victories, after demoralizing losses the week before in round eight, and will be hunting back-to-back victories to rebalance the ship with some much-needed consistency after stalling the engine a few times in 2022.

But during King Arthur’s reign, the Eels have struggled against the chooks like no other team.

Also, it’s Tedesco’s 100th game for the Roosters (190th NRL game). That small slice of history will mean something to them.

 

Teams

Magic Round: Sunday, 4.05pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Eels:

Clinton Gutherson 2. Hayze Perham 3. Will Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Nathan Brown
Bench: 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Bryce Cartwright
Reserves: 18. Wiremu Greig 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Mitch Rein 21. Sean Russell 22. Samuel Loizou 23. Elie El Zakhem 24. Brendan Hands
Coach: Brad Arthur

Changes: No changes

Roosters:

James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Connor Watson 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley
Bench: 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Nat Butcher 17. Daniel Suluka-Fifita
Reserves: 18. Lachlan Lam 19. Naufahu Whyte 20. Ben Marschke 21. Ben Thomas 22. Kevin Naiqama 23. Adam Keighran 24. Tukupa Hau Tapuha
Coach: Trent Robinson

Changes: Sam Verrills, Lindsay Collins out
Connor Watson, Daniel Suluka-Fifita in


Ref: Adam Gee (2011 to now) has never officiated between these two as the on-field ref. Both teams are a bit scratchy under him; both have only won 2 of the last 5 with him blowing the whistle; but the Roosters have the slight edge under him (winning 65.2% to 57.7%)

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Since Arthur’s 2014 reign the Eels have only won 3 from 10 against the Roosters - that is worse than our record over any other team.

14 years

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The Eels v the Roosters have not won outside of Parramatta for 14 years. All four wins over the last 14 years against the Roosters have been at Parramatta. Home, sweet home. Continuing this rich tradition, the Eels lost the last meet 0-28 at Mackay (R20, 2021, with Jake at 7).

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The last time we beat the Roosters outside of Parramatta Stadium was when we won the Jack Gibson Cup in 2008 (Round 22) at Allianz Stadium.

 

Suncorp

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As the first meet here met here, this could be the perfect time to break the fourteen-year hoodoo. After all, we have a better recent record here.

We have won the last three straight, and 4 of the last 5 including a round 24 win over the Storm 22-10 who had all their Origin stars (no excuses). The Roosters have a spottier record winning only 5 of the last 10 here, without recording back-to-back wins for over eight years (since R3, 2014). 

 

Stats

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The Roosters have been below expectations this year and their attack been clunky before the 44-16 demolition of the Titans (before Tedesco stepped in with three tries), and their left-edge has almost kept up with their famed right edge attack this year.

Left-winger Daniel Tupou keeps rocking, seemingly year after year. He has scored 10 tries in 12 games against the Eels and is a handful.10478784094?profile=RESIZE_710x

Expect a Roosters’ aerial raid for either of their giant slender-men; Suaalli (right wing) and Tupou (left wing).

Last week their famed right-edged (2nd best) was starting to click with Tedesco wrecking havoc. Expect him to be everywhere, and Manu is in career-best form.

Earlier this week, sage Opaic revealed the key (at 1:03) to stopping Tedesco and the white-hot Manu: “Tackle him”.

Last Century: Half-Time Factor strikes again

Notably, our run since 2019 (winning 49 of 76, at 64.5%) is the best three-year run in over twenty years since 1999-2001 (winning 51 of 76, at 67.5%). 

Despite this, we have are frontrunners when ahead at the break (winning 40 of 42, 95.2%); winning most when it's a draw at half-time like last week (6 of 8, 75%), but win very few when behind at the break (6 of 32, 18.8%).

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However, the Eels have definitely beaten the Roosters coming from behind at half-time - in the last century. Good times.

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It was at least as recently as round 14, 1988 (but if you find another one between 1988-1997 let me know). Back then, the Eels were behind 0-2 at the break but went on to win 12-8. Eels' greats Sterling was captain, and Steve Ella was kicking goals (2/5). Notably, in that year the Roosters only won 4 games all year.

However, our half-time woes are not all doom and gloom.

We have won one game away from home when behind at half-time in the last seven years. The scene of the crime was at Suncorp of all places v the Broncos (coming back from 0-16 to win 24-16, R1, 2021). There was also one other win from behind at TIO Stadium v the Raiders (coming back from 12-16 to win 22-16, R15, 2019). Every other win from behind in this period has been at Commbank (or either Pirtek or Parra Stadium).

 

Bottom Line

Ryan Matterson said it all, "We want to achieve consistency."

The Eels are consistently the inconsistent champions of the world. 

We have an uncapped potential, shown by beating two heavyweight champions away this year. We showed mental toughness, and a pride in our defence then. The discipline to remain in the fight, stay focused, intense, and defend our line under fire. But, as I asked earlier in the week what’s next? Everyone wants to win, but is a battle-hardened, hard-boiled discipline -  Lombardi’s “perfect will”, the "Will To Chase Perfection relentlessly and in the process catching excellency" - consistently there?

Many Eels’ fans, soaked in realism, know a soft-bellied follow-up display could be just around the corner. And so, despite being the least-penalized team in the competition (Storm are the second, Roosters sixth for least penalized) this isn’t the micro-levelled discipline I am referring to. It’s a discipline to stay on the ball, with or without the ball. This on-off culture we have had, it’s an expression of a “gap” in that discipline; that is likely to spill from some gaps off-field as much as on-field.

The Roosters won’t want to let Tedesco down. The Chooks see themselves as history-makers, leaving a legacy, even if they do fail at times. If there is any doubt about this, just listen to Politis and Robinson speak at the Jack Gibson award nights. They won’t be satisfied being a top-four team. There’s even talk of Sombrero working overtime to get Munster in to fix the problem of being competitive but not the best right now.

They will be up for this.

They will be in our faces, hustling, bustling, and in our faces with plenty of aerial raids. It will be a heated forward clash and battle of the spine. It will take similar will and courage we saw last week against the might of the Panthers. Not just to tame the Chooks, but to tame our own demons.

 

 

 

Gus on Six-Tackles predicts the Roosters will prevail over the Eels over the Roosters (at 1:16:45) despite noting the Eels were impressive last week and didn't over-celebrate the win.

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Replies

  • Roosters will be psyched up for this one and we will have to be in the same mindset as last week

    I think the intensity Panthers started the game last week helped us with a good reality check of where we need to be mentally. A good start by the  Roosters hopefully may do the same thing for is again. I think our competitive balance is set by the opposition based on previous games.

    I really like how a very young Sam Walker is developing.I hope wet weather doesn't affect the spectacle.

    • Agree, TAD. I suspect this game will be tougher than we want. 

      We won't like the Roosters trying to spoil our newfound consistent-week-to-week-mental-toughness victory parade. They're meant to be off this year.

  • HOE nice blog again thank you. However  this game will not be played on Roosters home ground as both teams are playing away , so both away and home game records should be ignored . Parra to win!! 

    • Thanks, Driza. Hope you're right mate! 

      Either way, we would smash a 14-year hoodoo against the Chooks - winning outside Parramatta.

      If we win. If we change our MO: consistently inconsistent.

  • Another great bloog hoe, thanks mate, great read.

    Always worried about the roosters, i was at our roosters victory at parra last year, was a sweet win, just about every time ive watched eels v roosters live, the roosters get up.

    We really need to show some consistancy here and win, if we dont its one step forward, two steps back.

    Im expecting us to do that and get a good victory here, eels by 14

     

    • Thanks Snake, appreciate your goodwill mate. Surprised how many are tipping the Eels. This game is dangerous. Roosters have a lot to prove.

      If the Eels don't play with the same courage and soul like last week, I can see a loss (lost 5 of last 6 v Chooks). I can't tip the Eels until we start showing more mental toughness (discipline and focus) week-to-week, more often.

      Daz should be back from his wing-suit flying adventure next week (hopefully); Dean Potter is an inspiration. Not many people know this but he's a bit of a Harley daredevil. I keep telling him us ol' middle-aged fellas need to act our age.

      • I heard Daz donned his military kit and is fighting with the heros of the Azov division of the Ukraine army, defending the steelworks in Maripol, ive never been prouder.

        Daz comes from a long line of decorated Azov fighters in his family.

        Please be safe Daz, Slava Ukraini!

         

        • Hahaa. Snake, Daz has confirmed via Starlink satellite he's under the pump (but for security's sake would not confirm nor deny his exact location in the secret underground tunnels of the Maripol Steelworks). 

          • Exclusive pic of Daz in Maripol

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            Daz, those tatts look a big right leaning lol

        • Snake, I'm not sure anyone should trust me with a gun. But glad you're proud of me anyway. 

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