This week, Mary Kaye looks back at a bruising Round 2 and shares her thoughts on the Eels of 2015 so far. You can find more of her work at ladieswholeague.com
The ANZ Stadium hoodoo strikes again ... or should I say the curse of Friday the 13th?
Last Friday night was not our night. I would go so far as to say that we were downright unlucky with a lack of possession, a tonne of defence and some significant injuries eventually taking their toll as we went down 32-12 to the Bulldogs as ANZ Stadium.
It was a brave performance, though, and one that showed the strength of character our team possesses this year.
In the first 10 minutes of the game, our Parramatta Eels defended 7 sets of six on our own line. This was the result of four penalties, a goal-line drop out and two scrum feeds in 10 minutes. It was a mammoth effort, which eventually led to points for the Bulldogs. From then … Lady Luck forgot about us.
It was shattering to watch Parramatta player after Parramatta player succumb to injury. First to come off was Anthony Watmough, followed by Chris Sandow, Semi Radradra and Beau Champion. Tepai Moeroa put in a mighty effort, competing for almost 80 minutes with a shoulder injury. Tepai showed no sense of self-preservation during this game and was one of our most effective players. He showed tremendous bravery to continue to play in spite of his injury.
So many injuries meant that Parramatta was playing without a full bench and it really took its toll. Despite this, we were competitive for almost the entire game. Just before half time, the stats tell us that the Eels had made three line breaks and had run almost as many metres as the Bulldogs forwards. This is massive in a situation where Parramatta had already had to make 40 more tackles than our opposition.
The score line made the result look a lot worse than it was. Really, it was only due to very late tries to Brett Morris and Curtis Rona that the score line blew out. For the Rona try, we were literally a man down, as Champion fell to the ground, finally succumbing to an ACL injury. This was a result that we can be proud of.
Despite the disappointment of the loss, my biggest concern coming into this game was consistency. Traditionally, Parramatta win in Round 1 and then lose in Round 2. Most of you will remember our performance against the Roosters in Round 2 last year (although for some of you, it might be a performance you would rather forget).
We needed to come out and show that we are capable of playing consistent football and we did just that. We showed that Parramatta is a force to be reckoned with, even without Jarryd Hayne, and that Parramatta do pose a threat this year - this is exciting.
We have a big game against the Warriors this weekend. I am hoping the Eels can show similar courage, bravery and the steely resolve they displayed during the Bulldogs game. Hopefully we can also come away with the 2 points as well.
To all the Parramatta Eels suffering injury at the moment, I wish you all the best for a very speedy recovery. The fans are thinking of you.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Kieran Foran to the Eels. It has been a long time since I have seen such tremendous excitement about a new signing. I look forward to his first photograph in the Blue and Gold (hopefully with his mate Anthony Watmough).