Record (W-L-D): 9-15-0
Top Pointscorer: Semi Radradra 96
Top Tryscorer: Semi Radradra 24
Parramatta struggled with off field dramas as life began without NFL bound Jarryd Hayne. Another disappointing season for the western Sydney club as they finished in twelfth spot on the National Rugby League ladder.
A daunting draw awaited the Eels but Brad Arthur’s men coped well to put wins on Manly and defending premiers South Sydney within the first month of the season. They will be smarting at beating rivals Penrith Panthers twice. The match at Pepper Stadium was highlighted with a double to competition leading try scorer Semi Radradra. Their “home” win in Darwin was dour with Radradra’s second half propelling the Eels to victory. Parramatta also completed the double on Manly with their win at Brookvale ending the Sea Eagles hopes of playing finals footy. One of their best wins of the season was at AAMI Park where they scored a 26-22 victory over the Storm.
It could be said distractions off field contributed to poor on-field results. In May the club was facing a fine of $500,000AU for salary cap breaches between 2010 and mid 2013. At the same time Steve Sharp was re-elected as Eels chairman during a bloody election campaign. It was another troubled year for Chris Sandow with his struggles to play regular top grade football coming to a head with the Eels parting ways with the halfback moving to Super League.
What Eels fans will be most frustrated about is wasted opportunities after getting into a match winning position. Two games come to mind that both were decided in golden point. They allowed a wounded New Zealand Warriors to come from twelve points down at half time and draw level at thirteen all at full time with Bodene Thompson scoring the winner. In the final round against Canberra they looked certain for victory before Edrick Lee scored right on full time to level scores. Josh Hodgson scoring the winner four minutes into golden point. An infamous loss to North Queensland 36-30 in June after leading 30-6 with 27 minutes remaining will long stick in the heads of hearty supporters. A reversal of these results could have seen the Eels equal with eighth placed Dragons.
It’s no surprise that Semi Radradra was Parramatta’s most effective player in 2015 with a club record twenty-four tries, beating Steve Ella’s mark set in 1982. He also was the first player since 1954 to scored two or more tries in five consecutive matches. Corey Norman and Reece Robinson also deserve recognition for having strong, consistent seasons.
Along with Sandow’s departure for the club, Beau Champion has retired after 107 appearances in the National Rugby League over eleven seasons. Darcy Lussick returns to Brookvale after 53 matches in three seasons with the Eels.
There’s hope for Parramatta fans with the prized recruitment of Keiran Foran. At one stage there was a fear that Foran would follow the same path as Daly Cherry-Evans and stay at Manly despite being contracted elsewhere. Michael Gordon looked certain to join mid-season if it wasn’t for the Sharks blocking the move, he will be on board for the start of 2016. Blues Origin forward Beau Scott transfers from the Knights for family reasons. James Hasson, Cameron King and Rory O’Brien will be hoping that Parramatta will provide them with regular first grade football.
With Foran on board there will be high expectations of the Eels moving up the ladder. Arthur will be hoping for more consistency from his squad if they are to end a finals drought that goes back to 2009.