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The Roar



The changing social behaviours of Covid #645: Respecting the Eels

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16th July, 2020

In an unprecedented global event that has shocked the world to its core, Parra aren’t crap.

The rise of the powerhouse is one of the most staggering developments of 2020, one that has puzzled the world’s keenest minds from medical scientists to multi-bet fiends.

Naturally, such a phenomenon has provoked deep philosophical questions. Can society assimilate with this ‘new normal’? Or is this just a temporary event we can ride out with hand-washing and Kenny Edwards cramp?

And if not, can the human race reverse decades of entrenched perception and value Parramatta for something other than rigged elections, Kieran Foran, and cheating the salary cap by $1m but still running last?

So far, it would seem not. Witnessing Brad Arthur’s team consistently performing has generated plenty of suspicion among the public, with many convinced it’s either a government conspiracy or 1986.

But while it may be instinct to dismiss the club’s resurgence as a false alarm, this would be foolish. Like some mainstream media outlets are desperate for you to believe, this is not some minor ailment or tactic to rig the US election.

Mitchell Moses celebrating.

Mitchell Moses and the Eels celebrate. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Early testing indicates the happy days are back at Parramatta. The team sits handsomely on top of the table, their affairs are in order, and most impressively, they just finished the last instalment of Anthony Watmough’s contract.


Brad Arthur has engineered a side with stability and composure, and a heap of other attributes that are totally un-Parra. He has the balance of his squad spot-on, with the team working hard for each other, but not so hard that it’s too hard for Ryan Matterson.

But of greatest alarm is their off-field game. Once partial to a back page-front page, their crises now amount to nothing more than biohazard breaches, which Shaun Lane agreed to cease SnapChatting last year.

The team has won handsomely, won busted, and won without stalwarts like Mitchell Moses or a bickering board, leading to the club casting off its traditional strategy and allowing a coach to complete a full term.

The Eels can even win unfashionably tough, as evidenced by the gritty 10-4 win over the Knights. It was a triumph that didn’t earn the credit of other demolition jobs due to its workmanlike virtues, and because it was overshadowed by Ray Warren meeting Snoop Dogg.

Even Jai Field has stepped up impressively to fill the injured boots of Moses, doing so without impeding control of second fiddle halfback, Junior Paulo. This now gives the club a record three Next Peter Sterlings, with Dylan Brown temporarily relegated as the Next Mitchell Moses.

It’s all incredibly stable for Parramatta, hence the confusion. While logic says they’ve been building towards this, we must remember this club has made the semi-finals less times than it’s been under investigation by the Integrity Unit.

Michael Jennings of the Eels.

(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


Such the drought, Parramatta’s last premiership in 1986 remains largely imperceptible to the club’s new wave of fans. That’s because it was a lifetime ago, plus this generation can’t make out anything not in HD.

Since there has been preliminary finals, streaks and even 2009 when they were officially the last side remaining yet still came home empty handed. Yet despite declarations of a new dawn, the club has always managed to suppress a second wave.

Complementing this, the Eels have produced a litany of egregious brouhahas that have traumatised their own and titillated opposition fans like a bawdy college movie, with crises ranging from commercial malfeasance to wooden spoons and Chris Sandow.

Will coronavirus herald the elimination of Parramatta’s failures, much in the way the pandemic has buried other customs like handshakes, hugs and rugby? Science says it will be largely determined by critical biological factors, like Maika Sivo’s thighs.

Next week in our series of evolving social behaviours, respecting Penrith and Nick Kyrgios.