Parramatta Eels 2017 season review

Eddie Otto Roar Guru

By Eddie Otto, Eddie Otto is a Roar Guru

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    The Eels headed into 2017 fresh off the salary cap controversy which cost the club 12 competition points and a finals berth.

    With the departure of high-profile signing Kieran Foran, Brad Arthur would be charged with re-motivating a team that played some good football in 2016, without the reward of playing finals, despite winning 13 games.

    Overall it was a memorable season for Eels fan with the side making the finals for the first time since 2009.

    Season Finish – 4th, exited second round of Finals (Regular Season – 16 Wins, 8 Losses, 496 Points For, 457 Points Against)

    Season Ranking 9/10 – I think Parramatta did an outstanding job this season to finish in 4th spot, despite going out in straight sets in the finals. They played a hard-nosed, physical brand of football, which was extremely competitive and effective most weeks.

    The side also contained plenty of strike power, and could rack up big scores when they were on song, with their halves combination of Corey Norman and Mitch Moses flourishing as the season went on, and Big Semi Radradra causing havoc on the flanks.

    All in all, it was the first time the Blue and Gold had finished in the finals since 2009, and there looks to finally be some stability around the club off the field, which should allow the players to focus on football and perhaps take the next step in the future.

    Mitchell Moses Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    Coach Rating 9/10 (Brad Arthur) – For me, Brad Arthur was the Coach of the Year in 2017, fractionally ahead of Paul Green and Craig Bellamy.

    Arthur has always been a highly respected coach during his few seasons at the Eels, but it was important to get that monkey off the back and make it into the finals. I thought he did an outstanding job last season, keeping the players focussed amid all the chaos and distractions the club found itself in off the field.

    This year, I thought he got the best out of his team that, whilst a strong roster, didn’t contain a heap of superstars. It’s clear he is a very popular coach with the players as The Eels were always competitive and their body language was very demonstrative in games.

    Best Win – Round 21 – Parramatta Eels 28 Brisbane Broncos 14 @ ANZ Stadium – I thought this game was the Eels’ best performance of the season, as it came at a crucial time in the season against a Premiership contender.

    Also, the fact they were 12-0 down, inside 10 minutes against a side with a strong defensive resolve, showed the quality of this victory. This was one of the games of the season in terms of the speed of the game, and the Eels went toe to toe with a contender and ended up finishing all over the top of them.

    Worst Loss – Round 10 – Sydney Roosters 48 Parramatta Eels 10 @ Allianz Stadium – This was the only game I could find all year where the Eels were not competitive.

    Whilst there was no shame in going down to the Roosters, I thought this was probably the only game this year in which the Eels did not compete in the collisions or defend their line with pride. The Roosters ran in a number of long range tries and had a field day out wide, as the normally stout Eels defence was ripped to shreds.

    Best Player – Semi Radradra – The flying Fijian winger is the best winger in the game, when on song, and he was back to his damaging best in 2017. It’s going to be a big loss for the Eels next season as, not only have they lost a try scoring machine, but Radradra’s barnstorming runs were responsible for getting the Eels on the front foot early in their sets, and was a weapon at both ends of the field.

    Semi Radradra Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League 2017

    (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

    Most Disappointing Player – Josh Hoffman – I gave thought to Tim Mannah given he looks punch drunk as a footballer, but Mannah is honest and is a heart and soul type player.

    Overall I have to say Josh Hoffman was the most disappointing player given he only managed 13 games and averaged under 90 running metres per game. With Radradra leaving he really needs to step up next season.

    2018 Prospects – On the positive side, Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses will have a full pre-season together to fully work on that combination which looked very promising in the back end of the season.

    However, they do have a few ageing players like Jennings, Mannah and Scott in the twilight of their careers, so I’m not convinced this side will necessarily get better in 2017. They will also need to try and plug the significant hole left by Semi Radradra. Could go either way, but if I were to stick my neck out I would say they could well go backwards given the high bar they set this year.

    There have been upsets aplenty in the World Cup so far, so be sure to check out our expert tips and predictions for South Korea vs Sweden, Belgium vs Panama and England vs Tunisia and get the good oil on who to tip tonight.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • Roar Rookie

      October 19th 2017 @ 8:35am
      David Brown said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      Really impressed how they seemed to relish the physical stuff and they have real weapons in Radradra, Jennings and French. Unlike the author of this piece (and to be fair most people) I just don’t get all the hype surrounding Moses and especially Norman. They seems to drift in and out of matches and some of Norman’s 5th tackle options were just woeful.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 19th 2017 @ 9:00am
        Matthew Pearce said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        I’m the same, I’m apparently one of the few Broncs fans who isn’t that torn up about Norman having left. And no respect for Moses, the way he carried on to get out of the Tigers. I’d expect that kind of behaviour from a five year old.

        They’re a great niggling team. It’s annoying when you’re playing them, and some of their players take it too far, but if it works, good luck to them. Radrada’s loss is pretty massive, I have to try and find someone I actually like in the side again. French seems like a good kid?

        What I don’t get is how they not only got off scot-free from the public, the season after they cheated the cap, but then got promoted as one of the “fairytales-to-be”. Simply because they were inept enough to finish last while cheating the cap. They should’ve been followed by the same witch-hunt that still goes after Melbourne, not to mention teams that haven’t actually been caught over the cap.

        • Roar Guru

          October 19th 2017 @ 12:15pm
          Nat said | October 19th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          I tend to agree with most written here. At the Broncos (keeping in mind his age) Norman seemed like he had the skills but just a 1/2 second slow in making plays – or NRL level is that much quicker. He’s good and may be very very good in years to come if he has/gains a JT-like commitment to improving his game.

          It’s a funny irony about the cap rorting by Parra. Everyone condemned the board and the players were unscathed. In Melbourne however…

          • Roar Rookie

            October 19th 2017 @ 12:42pm
            Matthew Pearce said | October 19th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

            He could, but I just don’t get that feeling from him. Could just be me though.

            It’s one of those funny things that happens heaps – blokes leave clubs because they want to play a different position, then after a couple of years that spot’s opened right up again. Why is it that some players don’t seem to want to wait those extra couple of years?

            I’m guessing the discrepancies in the reactions were because Parra did miserably in that time. I can’t quite understand that myself though, especially since they ended up better off this year from it. Does that count as profiteering?

            • October 20th 2017 @ 12:40pm
              BleakCity said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

              People only see what they want to see or remember what they want to remember. I can’t recall a media witchhunt like last year since the super league war. Let’s be clear what Melb did was outrageous, arrogant and beyond anything any club has done. The Eels (who were under the cap in 2016) got caught for TPA’s that were either not registered or illegal and were subsequently added to their 2016 cap (and 2017). All these players have since left.

              When the Bronco’s got caught they simply sacked Gee and told the NRL “he’s no longer here so your can’t speak with him” and the NRL said umm OK. In Parra’s case Seward sought out his former mentor to help set up their TPA’s so they could “play with the big boys”. The irony is that same mentor then became judge, jury & executor.

              The Titans got caught doing exactly what the Eels did but (smartly) confessed so got off scott free.The only reason the Eels got hammered was the old board kept denying.

              But of course will all pretend that what the Eels tried to do (very poorly) doesn’t happen at the majority of clubs (especially those that regularly make the finals and magically have 3-4 times the rep players).

              I’m still waiting for someone to explain exactly how a LEGAL Tpa comes into being under the NRL rules?

              • Roar Rookie

                October 20th 2017 @ 1:12pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

                “People only see or remember what they want to”. Oh, the irony.

                If you’re confused as to what Parramatta did, here’s a quick recap: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-09/parramatta-eels-salary-cap-sanctions-ratified/7582924

                Broncos got caught? You got any evidence that they were guilty? Gee’s departure is not evidence, contrary to what your confirmation bias says.

                Melbourne’s conduct was larger-scale than anything else, yes, and they got appropriately punished. And they continue to be hounded to this day, seven years after the punishment occurred. Eels got one year and then everyone paraded them round as one of the ‘feel-good’ stories of the year.

                When the Titans were caught breaching the cap they were fined and docked competition points, in what universe is that scot-free? You also forgot to mention that the Eels avoided being docked points for 2015 indiscretions.

                Ah, the magic “the better teams are obviously rorting the cap!”. Haven’t heard that one before. It’s sad and pathetic.

                If you think last year was the biggest witch hunt since the SL war, you might want to revisit that opening statement of yours.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                Alex L said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                The fact Gee departed, and then refused to co-operate with the NRL ensuring himself what amounts to a life ban from involvement with the game pretty much confirms something shifty was going on at the Broncos; cap related or otherwise.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 20th 2017 @ 2:13pm
                William Dalton Davis said | October 20th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                It’s entirely possible Gee embezzled that money for himself and refused to be interviewed by the NRL in fear of being persecuted further by the law.

                The only facts surrounding the whole incident are that Gee took money from the leagues club that was paid back after an independent accountant brought the issue to the clubs attention who then reported the issue to the NRL. Gee then left and refused to be interviewed by the nrl. You can draw many a bow from that.

              • Roar Guru

                October 20th 2017 @ 1:37pm
                The Barry said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                You really don’t know how a legal TPA comes into being?

                The NRL rules are exceptionally simple and straightforward. Clubs can source TPA sponsors and introduce TPAs to players. They can’t however be part of any negotiations or guarantee any TPA deal. Players can source their own TPAs independent of the clubs.

                The rules allow an incredibly broad range of third party deals that can be legally struck.

                To break the rules an administrator has to be either galatically stupid or deliberately rorting the system.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 20th 2017 @ 2:04pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 20th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Doesn’t matter how “shifty” it looks, that’s not evidence, nor does it objectively imply causality. Only your confirmation bias says so.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 7:38am
        Jeffrey Dun said | October 20th 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

        Agree with your comments about Moses and Norman.

        Take their last match, for example – when the game was on the line their halves created absolutely nothing.

    • October 19th 2017 @ 8:52am
      souvalis said | October 19th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Agree with most of this Eddie..but doubt if you can get away with doing an article reviewing this club for ‘17 and not mention Nathan Brown.Absolutely tireless,carried that pack this year,body took a pounding..very much a Gallen clone…pretty clear winner of club player of the year for mine..

      • October 19th 2017 @ 9:37am
        Rugby Realist said | October 19th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Agree – Brown and Gutherson were the revelations of the year and should have received the most focus.

        • October 19th 2017 @ 10:19am
          souvalis said | October 19th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          For sure Gutho was the main attacking threat,tore it apart..

    • Roar Rookie

      October 19th 2017 @ 10:12am
      William Dalton Davis said | October 19th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      This is all well and good. But the real story is that Brisbane finally have not one, but TWO Sunday arvo games at Suncorp. Plus a Sunday evening match. Brings a tear to my old eyes ?

    • October 19th 2017 @ 10:44am
      Paul said | October 19th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      I reckon your right, Eddie that Parra will go backwards next year. They’ve made no moves to replace players and losing Radradra will hurt them immensely. Sure Moses and Norman will have the off season together but other clubs will have the same time to work out tactics and putting pressure on either guy seems to make their games fall apart.

      Their playing roster looks thin and old – I reckon they’ll maybe make the 8. Hope they do something about Kenny Edwards. Some of the stuff he got away with should have resulted in suspensions for mine.

    • October 19th 2017 @ 3:19pm
      KingCowboy said | October 19th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

      The future is very bright for the Eels. They are going to rival the Donkeys as the biggest club in the NRL once their new stadium opens!

    • Roar Guru

      October 19th 2017 @ 3:50pm
      The Barry said | October 19th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

      I thought (as mentioned above) Brown and Gutherson were their best,

      They play a great brand of footy. They’re tough in the middle and play attacking stuff. I “hate” the Eels but really enjoy watching this team play.

      I think you’re a bit hard on Mannah. He was good to very good throughout the year and better than he’s been in a while. He’s not fancy there’s no carry on, he just gets on with it.

      Norman went off the boil a bit in the last 1-2 months of the comp bit unlike the lads above I really rate him. His kicking game around the park is good but he’s at his best when he’s got the ball in hand inside the oppositions 20. I love the way he carries the ball out in front in two hands. He can pass or step either way and can kick off either foot. He also gets the ball from hand to foot lightning quick and at the line.

      I think when he’s on song he’s the most dangerous half in that part of the field in the comp. Still has problems with consistency and yet to play out a full dominant season.

      Radradra was hot and cold this year – I didn’t think he was close to their best – but there’s games he basically wins on his own. He’ll be hard to replace.

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