Ladies Who League: Round 20

This week, our Ladies Who League columnist, Mary Kaye talks about an Eels young gun, and one of her favourites. Remember you can find more of her work on ladieswholeague.com!

Congratulations to the 16,125 fans who braved the extreme cold on Friday night not only to see our Parramatta Eels battle it out against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but more importantly to stand and unite as one and 'Rise for Alex'.

It was a weekend that all NRL supporters should be very proud of. Together we managed to donate over $1.1 million dollars to the RiseForAlex round, with the NRL donating $1 for the more than 140,000 fans which attended the round. Well done to everyone involved.

For the Parramatta Eels, it may have been a disappointing result against a strong South Sydney Rabbitohs side, but despite the loss, there were a couple of things which stood out for me.

I can't go any further without mentioning Tepai Moeroa (if anyone can think of an appropriate nickname for him, please let me know). Tepai made his first grade debut for us against the Warriors and scored his first try in top-grade against the Rabbitohs.

I have been genuinely impressed by Tepai. In his first two games I have been especially impressed by his commitment in defence and 'never give up' attitude. I'm not surprised at his blistering start though, he is clearly channelling the great Nathan 'Hindy' Hindmarsh with that haircut. I look forward to watching his development, hopefully for many years to come.

Tepai has said this week that his instructions from Brad Arthur were simple - 'protect Chris Sandow like he's [your] little brother'. Tepai was absolutely committed to this instruction and it shows a strong sense of respect for his team mates.

It's also no secret that I am a big David 'Gowie' Gower fan, but over the past couple of weeks he has been one of our strongest and most consistent performers. He has developed a cult following at the Eels and has really added strength and grit to our forward pack.

While many Eels fans will be disappointed following the loss, I still look back over how we have performed this year with great pride and looking forward, with excitement for the last rounds of the competition and most importantly for 2015.

I'm not the sort of person who likes to make excuses, but any football team performs at its best when it has its best team on the field. For Parramatta, our best team includes the likes of Nathan Peats, Manu Ma'u and Will Hopoate. These three men have left holes in key positions, which have been admirably filled by some of our younger players, who will be better for the experience. With these three back next year, the future certainly looks bright.

This weekend we are on the road again as we face the Gold Coast Titans. Each week we move closer to the business end of the season. It's usually at this time that I remember how few games we have left and make a commitment just to enjoy watching the Eels play - I'll certainly miss them come October.

To all our fans in Queensland - enjoy the game and make sure you cheer loudly on behalf of all the Sydneysiders!