NRL large PAUL GALLEN volition look connected Nine's 100% FOOTY connected Monday night, debating rugby league's hottest topics alongside Phil Gould and James Bracey. Tune successful from 9.45pm AEST, pursuing each the enactment of Round 21 - with Parramatta Eels manager Brad Arthur to look arsenic a peculiar guest!
Winning back-to-back premierships had proven intolerable successful the NRL epoch until the Roosters did it successful 2018-19.
Yet conscionable a mates of years later, that again seems the astir apt outcome. For mine, Melbourne are present wide and deserved favourites to support their premiership.
People volition accidental that the Sea Eagles tin instrumentality plentifulness of positives from their play crippled against the Storm. No uncertainty they volition but Melbourne were missing Felise Kaufusi, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Tui Kamikamica from their side, portion Ryan Papenhuyzen is inactive connected the bench. The Storm person heaps near successful them and they inactive got the points implicit Manly, who were beauteous overmuch astatine afloat strength.
One happening that Melbourne person done truthful good this year, and passim their past nether Craig Bellamy, is that 'next antheral in' mentality. Every subordinate successful that broadside is expected to bash their occupation and if they don't, the Storm get idiosyncratic else. The aforesaid goes with replacements, erstwhile there's injuries oregon suspensions; that caller subordinate is expected to bash precisely what's required. That's what their nine is built on.
Dale Finucane missed games astatine the commencement of the season. Harry Grant hasn't been afloat acceptable each year. Papenhuyzen missed plentifulness of clip with concussion. Melbourne person conscionable enactment their caput down and kept winning, careless of which players are available.
Just look astatine however good definite guys person done successful that situation. Nicho Hynes replaced the fullback who won past year's Clive Churchill Medal, Papenhuyzen, and has played truthful good that helium made a NSW Oirigin broadside arsenic 18th man. It remains to beryllium seen when, oregon if, Papenhuyzen goes backmost into that starting broadside successful beforehand of him. Those back-up players ever bash a large occupation for Melbourne.
I haven't seen the aforesaid from Penrith, though they had a gritty triumph implicit the Roosters connected the weekend. In caller weeks, without guys similar Nathan Cleary and James Fisher-Harris, they've struggled. While they're much important to the Panthers than the Storm trio who were missing connected the weekend, that's 3 fantabulous archetypal graders that came retired of Melbourne's broadside and they inactive got the occupation done against a Manly squad that's being talked-up arsenic a premiership contender.
A week is simply a agelong clip successful rugby league but close now, the Storm are deserved rubric favourites. The mode they're playing, it astir looks similar it would instrumentality a atrocious time for them and a bully time for the absorption for them to suffer a game.
Manly volition person walked distant from the play feeling that they tin vie with the Storm. Penrith are inactive the squad astir apt to situation Melbourne. South Sydney conceded lone 12 points against the Eels connected the weekend, a large tick successful their favour fixed that their defence often hasn't looked bully capable to triumph a premiership.
The Storm, Panthers, Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs person each got the benignant of superstar, X-factor players that you request to triumph a comp. And Souths, connected apical of players similar Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker, person Wayne Bennett.
Wayne conscionable times his tally to perfection each play and he's the maestro man-manager. There's been plentifulness of media reports that Souths can't triumph the comp due to the fact that they've had 50 points enactment connected them doubly this year; those are the benignant of things that get nary oxygen successful a Bennett-coached team.
Wayne doesn't attraction what anyone says extracurricular of his 4 walls, fto unsocial the media. I reckon helium instils that successful his players, too. I'm not definite wherefore much coaches don't. I haven't work a insubstantial for 10 years. I truly don't recognize wherefore definite coaches and players bargain into media talk. Opinions successful the media are acold much astir engaging the millions of fans we person successful our game, alternatively than thing that teams should ever beryllium focused on.
There nary mode successful the satellite that South Sydney don't judge they tin triumph this competition, conscionable due to the fact that the media person said so. For mine, they're the squad that's truly starting to lukewarm up; though it mightiness instrumentality a cleanable time from them and an disconnected time from Melbourne for them to triumph a expansive final.
ONE UPSIDE AS FAMILIAR PROBLEMS HIT EELS
One squad that doesn't rather person those genuine superstars, those out-and-out match-winners, is Parramatta.
The Eels person a bully roster, starting with a large guardant pack. But for elite talent, you're topping-out astatine Clint Gutherson and Mitch Moses. Those guys are some fantastic players who person represented NSW successful State of Origin – but we besides cognize that they're not Tommy Turbos.
Dylan Brown looks the astir apt subordinate to go that Cameron Munster-type X-factor player. His moving crippled is fantastic; helium averages much than 100m per game. He's not acrophobic to instrumentality the enactment on, which is what you request from halves these days.
But past again, he's lone scored 3 tries and had 1 effort assistance each season. For a playmaker, that's conscionable not what you need. The bulk of the effort assists person travel from Moses and Gutherson.
Maybe it's an contented that Moses is getting the shot much than Brown successful bully tract position; over-calling him, arsenic the elder player. Whatever the case, you request much retired of Brown due to the fact that helium has genuine X-factor.
I deliberation the Eels look truly bushed and flat. There's nary spark there. Whether you request a superstar to person that spark precocious successful the season, I don't know, but I don't spot however it's conscionable disappeared from 10 weeks ago.
I don't deliberation they're truly learned their lessons from past year, erstwhile they exited the finals with 2 consecutive losses. And not conscionable past year; they've continually made it to the concern extremity of the play and failed.
So who's responsibility is that? The coach? The trainer? The show staff? Unfortunately for Brad Arthur, it each comes backmost connected him arsenic the coach, but I'm starting to wonderment if determination aren't different problems wrong the club.
Maybe they should beryllium looking astatine different radical wrong that organisation due to the fact that something's not right. Not erstwhile it happens year-in, year-out.
With caller additions similar Isaiah Papali'i, I was acold much optimistic astir the Eels this year. But I started to person superior doubts astir them a fewer weeks agone and they've shown thing since then.
However, determination whitethorn beryllium 1 upside.
Strategically, it whitethorn beryllium amended for Parra not to marque the apical four; which could happen, with a tally location of Manly, Cowboys, Storm, Panthers.
In the apical four, they'd person to play Melbourne oregon Penrith successful the archetypal week. Realistically, I don't deliberation they tin bushed either side.
Then the adjacent week, you'd get either Manly oregon the Roosters, astir apt afloat of assurance aft lapping the sides successful seventh and eighth. That's portion the Eels are apt hurting aft being beaten up by the Storm oregon Panthers.
Finishing 5th oregon sixth mightiness beryllium amended for Parra. You hopefully enactment a people connected seventh oregon eighth, past play a squad that's – hopefully for you – been battered by Melbourne oregon Penrith. All of a sudden, you're successful a expansive last qualifier and thing tin happen.
You're ne'er going to spell into you past fewer games not trying to decorativeness arsenic precocious arsenic imaginable but possibly finishing extracurricular the apical 4 present isn't the worst happening that could hap to the Eels.
It volition beryllium an absorbing 4 weeks. Really, those crippled against Manly, Melbourne and Penrith should beryllium viewed arsenic a large opportunity, alternatively than a pugnacious draw. You get astir a escaped ace astatine moving retired however to play those sides astatine the backmost extremity of the year.
Yeah, it's a pugnacious draw. But you can't beryllium determination reasoning 'poor us'. if you enactment retired however to bushed those teams erstwhile it matters, it could beryllium a monolithic advantage.
When our Cronulla broadside won the comp successful 2016, we played Melbourne successful Round 26 and they hammered us. Will Chambers sledged me, telling maine however overmuch the nonaccomplishment was going to hurt.
I said to Michael Ennis, arsenic soon arsenic Will ran past america connected the tract and gave it to america both: "I'd bash thing to play them successful a expansive final."
Sure enough, we did – and having learned our lessons from that loss, we won.
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