This week, our Ladies Who League columnist Mary Kaye talks Eels, Bulldogs, defence, and why she was peat-rified in Round 13! Remember you can always find more of her work on ladieswholeague.com.
We all know how the old saying goes, 'what a difference a day makes'. For the Parramatta Eels last Friday night the saying perhaps needed to be altered to 'what a difference a week and one player makes'.
The impact that Jarryd Hayne had on Friday night was tremendous. This speaks volumes about his ability as a player but also how much his leadership skills have developed. Since becoming co-captain Jarryd has improved remarkably and this year we have truly seen him shine in terms of his leadership capabilities. It is a pleasure to watch.
I was very nervous coming into this game. You might even say I was 'peat-rified'. The loss of Peatsy earlier in the week was a massive blow and I was unsure as to how the team would cope. I have never been so happy to be proved wrong and it is a credit to the team as to how they were able to adapt.
Our win on Friday night gives us seven wins in total for this year - the most number of wins in a season for us since 2011. The Parramatta Eels are well on the road to redemption.
In a similar vein to other performances this year, our last 10 minutes showed tremendous courage and resilience to hold off the Cowboys attack. Last year we would have found a way to lose. This year we made sure that we found a way to win.
It also brings me so much joy to see our home stadium being recognised as the fortress that it is. We remain unbeaten at Pirtek Stadium this year and this is the statistic that has probably brought the most joy to fans this year.
But now, onto this weekend, one of my favourite games of the year. The Bulldogs are possibly our biggest and most long-standing rivals in the competition.
When teams like the Bulldogs and the Eels do well, rugby league does well. Similar to us, the Bulldogs boast one of the largest and most vocal supporter groups in the NRL. When our clubs are playing well the masses turn out to watch.
I am expecting a massive crowd on Sunday - the NRL have made some adjustments to ticket prices and it is going to be a sunny, Sunday afternoon. Perfect conditions for an afternoon at the football.
The Bulldogs are on fire this year but will be missing some quality with Morris, Reynolds, Hodkinson and Tolman either out with injury or missing because of State of Origin. Their forward pack, even without Tolman will be something to contend with and the Eels will need to be committed in defence to make sure that we can contain their muscle up front.
It will be a big test for us without Hayne, Hopoate and Tonga, but I am confident that we can stand up.
We all know that our record at ANZ Stadium is abysmal. I'm hoping that after this Sunday I'll be able to stand up and sing 'ding dong the witch is dead'.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Isaac De Gois to our club.