This weekend, Parramatta fans will hold their breath one more time as we find ourselves testing a new halfback combination for the 2014 season.
When the Eels take on the Warriors this Sunday, Luke Kelly and Corey Norman will run out in front of the Parramatta Eels faithful in the number 6 and number 7 jersey.
Talk to any Eels fan and they will try to convince you that our number 7 jersey is cursed. Ever since Sterlo retired, Parramatta just haven’t been able to get it quite right in the halves. There have been some moments of magic… but they have been fleeting (remember Jason Taylor in 2001 and Tim Smith in 2005?).
Over the years Parramatta’s issue has been their lack of attacking prowess in attacking positions. Parramatta have lacked a play maker which has been able to take control of the game and just know what to do and when to do it. It’s why men like Jeff Robson always copped such tremendous criticism. Jeff Robson was never going to be a leading play maker. Once he moved to the Sharks and had Todd Carney as a partner in the halves, the pressure was taken off him to take the game by the scruff of the neck and he was able to do what he does best – play the role of a supporting half back.
Parramatta need a playmaker.
There has been a lot of talk this week about Luke Kelly and how he must be feeling coming into this weekend’s clash. According to an article by @proshenks in the SMH today, Luke is ‘unfazed’ by his starting position this weekend and simply wants to thank Brad Arthur for his belief in the youngster with a good performance.
As Parramatta fans I think we need to remember that this is Round 1 of a long season ahead. Whilst we are desperate for success, once again because we are starting the year with a new coach we are again starting from the beginning. We cannot expect a team with so many fresh recruits like Will Hopoate and Corey Norman to play like an established team. It is going to take a while for our combinations to begin to understand how to work together and for the results to show the effort the team has put in during the off season.
Luke Kelly also needs to be seen as what he is – the starting number 7 for the weekend. I don’t want him to be seen as Parramatta’s new saviour or to be called ‘the next Sterlo’… whatever his performance is like tonight. I’m looking forward to watching Luke play and hope that all Parramatta fans keep a steady head.
Hopefully this weekend marks the start of an exciting season for Parramatta.
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