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Stat To Fix: Parramatta Eels back three have room to improve

There are probably a few different stats you could pick that need some attention for the blue and golds, but for the sake of long-suffering Eels fans we've gone for one which not only was a big let-down in 2018 but also could very well be dramatically improved in 2019.

The Eels were a distant last for total metres from the back three in 2018. A rotating cast including Josh Hoffman, Bevan French, George Jennings, Will Smith, Clint Gutherson, Jarryd Hayne, Kirisome Auva'a and occasionally Corey Norman combined for 7746 metres from the back three (which only includes games the above players played at fullback and wing).

By contrast, premiers the Roosters dominated this stat with 12,655 in the same number of games – a tick under 5km of extra yardage from the backfield.

The next-best three teams were also top-eight sides in the Warriors (10,409m), Dragons (9394m) and Panthers (9387m).

The Eels were 400 metres shy of the team with the second-fewest run-metres from the back three, Brisbane (8127m), who got good mileage out of Corey Oates but have a fullback in Darius Boyd not renowned for a big yardage game.

The Eels clearly suffered through the departure of the previous season's big set-starter, Semi Radradra, as well as a delayed start to the year for fullback Gutherson as he overcame a knee reconstruction.

But the best news for the club on this front is the recruitment of Roosters winger Blake Ferguson, who formed a devastating back three with fellow metre-eaters Dan Tupou and James Tedesco at Bondi last season.

If he can produce anything close to his season-best 203 metres per game in his switch to the Eels they will at least be able to start their sets off in more positive fashion in 2019.

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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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