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This week, Mary Kaye looks back on the "what ifs" of our narrow loss at Brookvale Oval, and her standout players in Blue and Gold. Remember you can find more of her work on Ladies Who League!

It was a beautiful afternoon at Brookvale Oval, one of Sydney's most traditional and respected suburban home grounds, when a fierce NRL rivalry was played out - the Manly Sea Eagles took on our Parramatta Eels.

After an epic 80 minutes, when the full time siren sounded, it was the Sea Eagles who were victorious 22-18 after Steve Matai scored with just 53 seconds to go, shattering the hopes all Eels fans, players and any NRL fan who found themselves cheering for the underdog.

There will be a lot of focus this week by Parramatta fans on 'ifs' and 'buts'. I imagine it will go something like this:

·       what if we had been successful in all our attempts at goal?

·       but didn't you see the play of the balls which led to two of Manly's tries, the markers weren't square!!

·       what if the refereeing had been more favourable towards Parramatta?

·       what if Jarryd Hayne had worn his lucky boots?

We could spend the rest of the week focusing on what might have been at Brookvale on the weekend, or we can take a step back and take immense pride in the performance of our boys on Sunday afternoon and look ahead to our clash against the Panthers.

Following a hard loss to the Roosters the week before, a different Eels team took the field on Sunday afternoon.

There were some tremendous individual performances. Highlights for me included Semi Radradra's try, which brought back memories of Eric Grothe Senior, his strength and his ability to beat several players in his run to the try line.

I was delighted to see Peatsy back on field - not only did he bring immense enthusiasm to the team, but he made over 35 staggering tackles and made his presence known until the final whistle. He has made a massive difference to our team.

I also found myself cheering every time Peni Terepo took a hit up, he is certainly a welcome addition to our forward pack.

Against Manly, our boys proved to us that they are no longer the same team that has taken back to back wooden spoons. Despite being 10-0 down at halftime, we showed tremendous resolve to get ourselves back into the game, despite the heartbreak in the final minute.

While in the 2014 season, near enough isn't good enough, I think Parramatta fans can take a lot out of that performance and that we can look forward to watching our team improve throughout this year. We have some very exciting players in our squad this year and they are only going to get better as the year goes on.

The game against the Panthers this Saturday becomes very important. We have had a tough draw for the first three rounds of the competition and the Panthers will not go down easily.

However, we will be back at Fortress Parramatta this weekend and as the Blue and Gold Army flag raises before the game, I hope you'll all be there to cheer our boys home. If we perform like we did against Manly, I can't wait to watch!

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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