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2014 Season Review: Parramatta Eels

Parramatta Eels
Position: 10th
Record (W-L-D): 12-12
Top Pointscorer: Chris Sandow 111
Top Tryscorer: Jarryd Hayne: 20

Summary
In 2014 the Parramatta Eels went within a whisker of making the finals for the first time since 2009. Jarryd Hayne recaptured his best form, crossing for 20 tries, just ahead of crowd-favourite Semi Radradra who scored 19.They opened 2014 with a 36-16 victory over the New Zealand Warriors and throughout the year showed us glimpses of what they are capable of with commanding victories over the St George Illawarra Dragons in round 10 (won 36-0) and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in round 21 (won 32-12).Unfortunately there were also times when they were the ones on the receiving end of a thrashing, going down 56-4 to the Sydney Roosters in round 2 and being hammered 38-12 by the Penrith Panthers in round 12. In the end a disastrous last two matches where they were flogged by the Knights 42-12 and then lost to Canberra 33-20, ultimately cost them a top 8 spot.

The Good
Jarryd Hayne returned to his best in 2014, and then went even further to set the competition alight for much of the year. On the wing, Semi Radradra proved a real surprise packet, crossing for 19 tries in 24 matches. They regularly played in front of healthy home crowds and attracted an average of 18,788 to Pirtek Stadium in 2014. The occasionally inconsistent Chris Sandow was good more times than he was bad and he formed a solid combination with five eighth Corey Norman. The emergence of a crop of young forwards such as Pauli Pauli, Junior Paulo and Tepai Moeroa was also a positive for the club.

The Bad
There was still a large gap between their best performances and their worst performances. On 5 times they managed to score at least 30 points, but conceded at least 30 points on 8 occasions. In rounds 25 and 26 they lost to the Newcastle Knights 42-12 and the Canberra Raiders 33-20, results which ultimately cost them a spot in the finals.Big name recruit Nathan Peats was touted as the answer to their problems at hooker but lasted just 10 games before a knee injury ended his season.

The Future: 2015
They have signed Beau Champion from the South Sydney Rabbitohs but he’s managed just 10 games over the last 2 seasons. Isaac De Gois was solid at hooker when he arrived mid-season from the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and he will most likely come off the bench in 2015. Shannan McPherson played 94 games for the Rabbitohs between 2005-2011 and Cody Nelson joins them from the Gold Coast Titans. Brad Arthur has done a wonderful job with the Eels and their next step is to develop more consistency in their game, so they are not on the receiving end of heavy losses when they have an off game. They may not be ready to challenge for a top 4 spot next year but they will be ready to play finals again in 2015 after going so close this year.

University of Wollongong alumni and aspiring journalist.

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