This week, our Ladies Who League columnist Mary Kaye looks at the game that was against the Bulldogs, and the signs it gives us for the Eels' future. Remember you can find more of her work at Ladieswholeague.com.
Going into the game last weekend, there were some damning statistics about our Eels. We had only won four of our last 29 games without Jarryd Hayne, we had lost 14 in a row at ANZ Stadium and we had also lost 24 of our past 25 away matches.
Ding dong, the witch is dead!
I always enjoy beating the Bulldogs. They are one of our most traditional rivals. This rivalry stretches back to before I was born. Despite not being around for the 'golden era', I still know all about the mid-80's, those Grand Finals and Parramatta royalty like Steve 'Zip Zip' Ella, Eric 'Guru' Grothe, Bob 'Bear' O'Reilly, Gentleman Mick Cronin and Ray 'Perpetual Motion' Price. This rivalry continues today, just with different Parramatta and Bulldogs heroes.
On Sunday the Eels had a couple of heroes.
The surprise packet was certainly Chris 'wow' Sandow - it was a masterstroke by Super Coach Arthur to play Chrissy at fullback and bring Luke Kelly into the squad at number 7. Chrissy's enthusiasm on field was infectious and I enjoyed watching him slice through the Bulldogs defence multiple times (he perhaps needs to spend some time this week practicing goal kicking with Luke Burt, though).
Another hero on Sunday was Pauli Pauli (so good you have to say it twice!). Every time I watch this young man play, I have to remember that he is only 19 years of age. I am so pleased he is an Eel and I am so excited about the journey he is about to take us on as he continues to develop as a footballer.
Special mention also to Isaac De Gois who started his career as an Eel as a winner. He was also a stand out on Sunday and his experience certainly assisted us in getting over the line.
People will point out that the Bulldogs were missing some quality on the paddock that day including Morris, Tolman, Hodgkinson and Reynolds. However, the Eels were also missing some quality, with Hayne, Peats, Hopoate and Lussick unavailable for the clash. So while the Bulldogs might have had some of the spark taken out of their attack, Parramatta certainly responded in defence.
We now sit at 7th on the ladder, with only 2 teams ahead of us based on points. More importantly though, we can be extremely proud of our performance on Sunday and take away some key messages.
Not only can we win without Jarryd, not only can we win away from home, but we can also win at ANZ Stadium. These will be all important lessons towards the end of the season.
Just finally - I hope you are all enjoying, as much as I am, the selfie that the boys take in the sheds after a win. Every time I see one of these selfies I immediately think of a Drake song - "started from the bottom now we here". That lyric seems to be a perfect way of describing how our team has evolved over the last couple of months and it makes a great twitter hash tag.
This weekend will be a big game - hopefully we can weather the Storm. To those who will be attending, make sure to wear your blue and gold with pride!