I wanted to talk about something that's been on my mind as we edge closer to the new season. We're talking defence, specifically the outside back rushing in defence strategy we've clung to like a safety blanket. It's had its moments, sure, but let's be real—this tactic is starting to show its age, especially with the way the game's evolving. And that brings us to the big question: Is Brad Arthur ready to adapt?

Let's talk about why it's crucial, especially for us. Our outside defence has been a bit of a sore spot, hasn't it? And in today's game, with halves that can spot a weakness from a mile off and exploit it before you can blink, we can't afford to give them any chances. Sliding defence could be the game-changer we need, reducing those opportunities for the opposition and giving us a fighting chance to control the game on our terms.

I'm not saying it'll be easy. Changing up a core strategy like this takes guts, hard work, and a whole lot of practice. But think about the payoff. Imagine our Eels, moving like a well-oiled machine, shutting down attacks left, right, and centre with a defence that's as fluid as it is formidable. And let's face it, when you look at last year's grand-finalists, the Panthers and the Broncos, it's clear that sliding defence isn't just a trend—it's a proven formula for success. These teams have made defence an art form, turning their backlines into impenetrable walls that adapt and shift with the flow of the game.

On the flip side, take a look at the teams stubbornly sticking to the rushing in defence— such as us, the Storm, and the Roosters, who have all seen a decline in performance last season. The game's evolved, and these tactics that once gave us the edge are now leaving us exposed, especially against halves that can read and react faster than ever before.

It's a stark reminder that what worked in the past won't necessarily cut it in the future. The Panthers and the Broncos aren't just getting lucky; they're showing us that a sliding defence can offer the flexibility and resilience needed to counter the modern offensive playbook. It's a lesson we need to take to heart if we want to keep up, let alone lead the pack.

So, as we look ahead to the season, the challenge for Brad Arthur and the team is clear. It's about being brave enough to rethink our approach, to learn from the successes of the teams at the top, and to commit to a defence strategy that's fit for the dynamic, fast-paced game rugby league has become.

If we can make this shift, who knows? We might just find ourselves setting the benchmark instead of trying to catch up. But if we stick to our rushing-in defence, it’s hard to see a bright season ahead. This stubborn approach might not just cost us on the field; it could also be the downfall of Brad Arthur's coaching. The game's moved on, and so should the Eels!


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  • Our defence has been average for ten years.

    • Yep, and sadly below average before that.

  • I have mentioned it before, Joel Caine on Get Em' Onside mentioned in 2022 before making the GF Parramatta on average finished 7th in defence. The winners of the comp have had a defence 2nd or above, NQ the outlier with 3rd. Our attack has been superb over the years but defence never been a strength which is weird considering our head coach is defence orientated. Usually the side of the ball of the head coach is the better factor of the team, not always but most of the time.

    • LB don't get stuck on the idea we have to finish top 2 in defence to win the title. 

      Cronulla only had the 4th best defence, infact we conceded 80 less points than the Sharks during the regular season 

      The Cowboys only had the 5th best D.  NQ had a good run for 3-4 years but they were never going to have the best defence. Their pack was too big. While we have a couple props over 120kg and a few more around the 115 mark forget top 2 defence. Yes we need to improve our defence but just as much fine tune our attack where Moses and Dyl are dictating games like Thurston and Morgan did in 2015

      What a lot of people fail to recognise is that good defence is more about personnel than it is about structure. Ciraldo is teaching the same structures at Canterbury that he taught at Penrith. 

      In 2016 we had the 2nd best D because of the players we had. We had Mannah Alvaro DeGois and Peats(before we lost him) working hard in the middle, we had a.bit of aggression with Mau and Scott and we had Jennings ans Semi out wide. 

      One of our biggest downfall in defence is we allow too fast a play the ball. We need to push the limits, pull their legs forward and spin them around, sleep on them, if we give away 2 or 3 extra penalties a game it's worth it. By playing too clean we gift the opposition timeand if they have time then we get rushed

      • We have of late too much been up and down in our defence average it has cost us. Moses and Brown do their job in attack, our attack is not an issue as we have shown we can match point for point. It is keeping the points down of course that is an issue. 

        Play the ball speed has been a frustrating issue for a long time, both too fast in defence and too slow in attack. Though it seems to be a continued method within the way we play.

        • No doubt Moses and Brown do their job but they have the ability to take it to the next level where they're influencing every game they play in, if not both then at least one of them

  • It's puzzling because we seem to defend good in patches of a season then come back to the pack.We don't have an answer week in week out with regards to defensive consistency.Our edges consistently get exposed when we lose the ruck.This is where it has to start inside out.Another thing is we are very poor at identifying when danger players are floating in the middle the little guys with leg speed ie your Walsh Paps types wheather this is down to fatigue I'm not sure but we don't adapt well when these little guys get in around the ruck and create havoc and this just carries on out to the edge once the middles been exposed it's anyones guess on the edge.

    When you look at Panthers defensively there middle very rarely gets broken down you have the JFH Moses Leota  Mitch Kenny types that tie up there middle it's for the most part always connected.That's key for the edges and what we are missing.Panthers are connected both sides of the ruck.It's the reason why they are what they are defensive consistency no one in the comp is close and it's the reason why they'll always been in the equation to win it.13-14 points a game against is almost unheard of in an era where rules and the ruck have been created to make the game quick.

    Parra have always had trouble defending certain teams as far as I can remember.

    Storm they always used to give us fits.

    Souths same as above they just have certain players that used to kill us.

    Right now GC Roosters and the Broncs play a certain way that hurt us and we really struggle against.Roosters and Broncs especially we just have to win these games through the middle.GC just have the ball movement and speed that we really struggle with even when we are ahead it feels like they can score from anywhere.With Roosters and Broncs if they equal out physicality there structure and there strike players on the front foot kill us.

    God knows why we can beat the Panthers like we do we just seem to be up for them everytime we play them.Defensively we are a different outfit to it makes no farken sense.

    This domain may be for sale!
    • God knows, but Arthur doesn't 

      • Yep baldy has SFA idea Chief.

  • Was watching a replay of a game last year v the titans and replaying when the titans made a break and every time it seemed like Junior was caught out not moving up and players in the middle were compressing to cover the hole he left and our edges got exposed or they made a run through the middle where he should have been.

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