A win at last! A win at last! Thank the lord a win at last!
While one win at once does not eradicate the darkness of the six losses that preceded it, the sky does seem a little brighter after Parramatta’s 44-10 victory over Manly than it did before it. Season 2018 has been an unmitigated disaster for the Eels for the first month and a half but on Sunday at the Olympic Stadium we were reminded again why expectations were so high when the new year kicked off.
It was halfway through our main session and something just clicked.
They had a gut full of each other and just ripped in. We had some staff that wanted to pull it up because it was getting very competitive but it was exactly what we needed and we need to make sure we keep it.
Brad Arthur – Post Game
Media reports indicated it had been a fiery week on the training track with teammates needing to be separated from each other as they looked for the answer to their woes. From the opening whistle it looked as though the Eels were happy to have a new target for their aggression as they took out their misery on a Manly team seemingly unprepared for the onslaught waiting for them.
Coach Brad Arthur was ruthless at the selection table, with star recruit Kane Evans and Co-Captain Beau Scott both left out of the 17, and the team on the paddock displayed equal levels of it too as they dismantled the answerless Sea-Eagles. The Eels did as they wanted in the first half as they set up camp in the Manly half and gleefully went about reversing the attacking woes that had plagued them all season.
To be in the game there and only eight-nil down with about 10 minutes to go to halftime was a good effort.
Trent Barrett – Post Match
After scoring double figures just twice and 46 points in total in round six, it was perhaps no surprise that it took some time against Manly to click into gear. While fans may have been impatient as the Eels spent most of the first half deep in attack without reward, but with Mitch Moses rediscovering some of his 2017 form it was only a matter of time. After breaching Manly’s line just once in the first half hour, the next twenty minutes were simply scintillating as Parramatta blew the game apart with 22 unanswered points.
Throughout the period we were again reminded why Moses was being mentioned as a potential Blues number seven at the start of the year as he tormented the Manly defence. After setting up the Eels first try for Manu Ma’u, he opened the flood gates in sending George Jennings over in the 34th before setting up the other Jennings brother, Michael, with a pinpoint chip kick that stretched the Eels lead out to 28 points. He put the exclamation mark on a golden afternoon with his fourth try assist when after taking the line on, he found himself in space and sent Clint Gutherson over for a try that prompted unbridled emotion given it was the co-captain’s first try since returning from injury.
The one lowlight on an afternoon in which the team dominated almost every statistical measurement was the reinjuring of Jarryd Hayne’s hip flexor. The two-time Dally M Medallist’s afternoon was limited to just 30 minutes as a result and another extended stretch on the sideline might await him.
The fourth placed Wests Tigers now await the Eels in Round Eight fresh off a disappointing defeat to Newcastle. While the Eels have shocked everyone with their disappointing start to the year, the Tigers ladder climbing ways have been equally surprising. It will present a stern test but if they can replicate their efforts from the Manly game, after waiting six weeks for win number one, win number two might be just one week away.
Parramatta 44 (Ma’u, G.Jennings, Pritchard, Norman, M. Jennings, Edwards, Gutherson tries, Moses 8 goals) def Manly 10 (Parker, Uate try, Cherry-Evans goal)
Match Officials: Chris Sutton, Jon Stone.
Official Crowd: 11,069 at ANZ Stadium.