hey Puss, i would rather look at it in a different way.
we have been the hunted all season and this didn’t change last night, what changed last night was how re respond as a team to adversity at some point during a game.
Last night showed we needed to learn how we do this much better, if the send off had come 2 minutes before half time, i feel we would have handled it so much better
sadly it even happened but it happened when eels were lifting and a long way from half time. We simply reacted poorly and there are plenty in our team who will learn from that
The half time break gave Cleary a chance to chat with the team, and so much so we won the second half which says more about them than us.
I touched on how they would try the Cronulla/Melbourne tactic of trying to blow us away early and that was their game plan and we responded poorly.
Some of our players stood up and others went missing like Jennings albeit hurt was terrible and Staines , who is asking for a release and we should let him go today.
Too doesn’t look right and our forwards have just lost their way and need to get the mongrel back and not expect others to do the hard work.
Cleary will be gone for a while and Luai looks like he is out for a while as well…the upside is we played some games without them and had wins, so would expect us to revert back to normal efforts and with Cleary and Luai both being out, will hopefully make them both fitter and fresher for the finals campaign.
maybe just maybe we was a further reality check and will allow Cleary to reset and refocus the team, we may have just been going through the motions and the loss will allow Cleary to ram home the fact every game has to be played on its merit and just turning up doesn’t ensure a win, despite how good we think we are.
There is a lot to unpack from last nights game for the team as a group and as individuals, losses can be a good thing as long as you take the learnings from it
The test before the squad now is how we as a group and those as individuals respond.
Looking at the stats earlier, we are 5/5 without Cleary this year. In 2 of those games we were also without Luai.
While this situation isn’t ideal, I feel we will be able to handle it, although our lead on top may shrink a bit.
With the disappointment of last night behind me, I will now look at the good points;
Was that Leota’s first ever try assist? I love his combination with Martin.
Api tackled everything last night, and tried his heart out. He was severely fatigued yet kept going. We missed Kenny.
I can’t praise Edwards enough. Even when trying to hard to lift the team, and had his short dropout go out on the full, he bounced back and gave 150%.
Make no doubt about it, Parra came to play. Yet even with the calamity of the first half, we re-grouped and won the second with 12 men. This says so much about the team.
Last time we lost to the Eels, we went on to punish teams. Hopefully we will use this as motivation to go all the way.
Team selection over the coming weeks will be interesting. O’Sullivan will obviously be first choice for half, but who partners him at 5/8 is the question.
Im not sold on Salmon at 5/8, he will do in a pinch like last night, but I see him more a centre/ 2nd rower.
Falls is still injured, though did a good job when he played earlier this year.
It slim pickings after those 2, we would be looking at players out of position such as Luke or even Turava (development squad). I thought of Puru but I don’t think he is in the development squad till next year.
Maybe just put the 7 on Yeo, play Huth in the 13 , with O’Sullivan at 6?
Assuming the Cowboys win this week… we will be 6 points ahead with 5 rounds to go.
We have the Raiders, Storm, Rabbitohs, Warriors and Cowboys. we only need to win two of those (and keep our for and against up) and lock in the Minor Premiership.
Cleary has been hit with a Grade 3 charge of which will see him mis 5 weeks. Laui is out for another 5 weeks (possibly less depending on recovery). Crichton will be back next week most likely (goal kicking). Kurt Falls should be available soon after recovery from some bruising. With the exception of the halves we will be at full strength in the forwards and backs.
I am pretty confident we will be able to win 2-3 games in the last 5. The benefit is the halves will have a nice break and be fresh for the finals.
I thought Salmon did well. It would have been a monster job to do. 12 men, thrown into the halves. He was probably one of the best performers out there last night.
If Kurt Falls is still unavailable next week (there is every change he may play) I would have O’Sullivan in the 7 and Salmon in the 6. I’m not a fan of putting Yeo in the halves, keeping him were he is at lock is where he is the most damaging.
The refereeing in general was poor (not arguing the send off) and really cost us early.
The touchy (Kasey Badger) calls Tago offside after we bundle them into touch, next set they score their 2nd try, then it goes to crap from there.
In the 2nd half mind you, Sorro’s no try for miniscule separation is seen but the ball goes back to Parra for the error. Below is a screen shot of the play the ball for that play, tell me they are on side…
Don’t start me on the Storm game, spear tackle, aggressive elbow and an eye gouge (the video ref actually called it that) with players ONLY being put on report. NAS was involved in the spear and the elbow…WHAT THE @#$ is with that !!!
The worst part @Kevin is that I seen worse awarded. I really think Scotty’s try was a real 50/50 call, not that it would have won us the game, but it showed that we were the better team in the second half.
Parra fans would have you believe that they had ‘Put the cue in the rack’, but they looked spent towards the end of the game, and despite the Panthers down to 12 men for 50+ minutes, they looked dangerous and gave them a real shake winning the second half bout 6-4.
We’ve been revelling in some golden years, but this game brought us back to earth. I can’t remember a half of footy when virtually everything went wrong. The gods were dead set against us – two 40/20 kicks, the Cleary dismissal, the penalty count, the Parramatta offloads, the persistent bounce-of-the-ball, loose passes, and later the Sorenson disallowed try. In the face of that, the second half fightback was not only a true grit performance, but it bodes well for the next match. Is Falls fit and ready to go? There don’t seem to be any up-and-coming star halves, probably because any that are decent wouldn’t see much of an NRL future sitting behind the incumbents and would be looking elsewhere.
The Mahoney try on the runaround with Paulo came a minute after NC’s send-off and the pass from dummy half was forward, which put Paulo into the line early, enabling the try to be scored. Big point in the game.
As others have said, not much went right for us, and really proud of the boys for their 2nd half effort - they kept going until the very end!