Eels victorious in sloppy affair
With such an exciting attacking team like the Tigers and a team with strike power the calibre of the Eels it would have been a fair assumption that it’d be a high-scoring, fast-paced affair between these two teams but instead the game turned out different to what the expectations might have been.
The first half of the game was still played at a frenetic pace but it was also dominated by clumsy errors and turning over possession constantly with both sides committing 7 errors in the first half. Both teams came out in the second half looking much improved but the deadlock was only broken when a short ball from Kieran Foran at the 20m mark, found a rampaging Junior Paulo who only just managed to keep a few fingertips on the ball as he grounded it for the game’s only try.
Tedesco’s defence State of Origin quality
A lot of praise and highlight reels have revolved around James Tedesco’s incredible offensive capabilities but on Monday afternoon he also demonstrated some impressive defensive abilities which would certainly have NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley on notice.
The first was an amazing low tackle inches from the try-line, one on one against Semi Radradra who rarely comes up short of the line with only one man to beat. His next effort was holding up a charging Michael Jennings near the posts with Tedesco skilfully wrapping up the ball in the tackle and turning Jennings over in the tackle to prevent him from getting the ball down. It was a defensive effort rarely seen in a Tigers side of late and the type of plays that’ll have Tedesco’s name listed in Jersey No.1 come the first State of Origin game.
Jason Taylor’s unusual coaching tactics
Jason Taylor continued to employ some unorthodox tactics by starting Dene Halatau at Hooker and shifting Robbie Farah to the bench whilst also leaving Manaia Cherrington there. Taylor’s logic of having 2 hookers on the interchange bench was for Farah to ease his way back into first grade after missing a fair amount of game time and for Cherrington to be used for a little spark if they needed it.
While the logic wasn’t entirely without merit it left the Tigers with only 2 forwards on the bench and after Tim Grant went down around the 20 minute mark it stretched the Tigers a little thin for forward depth. They still managed to keep the Eels to one try but perhaps they could of benefited from having a fresh forward at key points of the game.
Eels building defensive wall
The Parramatta Eels have discovered a new resolve in defence this season. By keeping a high-scoring team like the Tigers from scoring a single point, they now finds themselves with the best defensive record in the comp after 4 rounds with only 39 points conceded against them.
It’s a statistic that will have coach Brad Arthur pleased as the Eels season last year was characterised by 2nd half fade-outs and teams mounting late comebacks to win games. It’s still a long season ahead but experienced new recruits like Michael Gordon, Kieran Foran and Beau Scott seem to have rallied the team into a cohesive defensive unit and have Eels fans feeling a little less concerned when they jump out to leads.
IN THE SHEDS
Manu Ma’u was placed on report for a crusher tackle on Josh Aloiai. Loading from prior offences means Ma’u will miss two games with an early guilty plea.
Kyle Lovett was placed on report for a high tackle but wasn’t charged.
Tim Grant- Grant failed a concussion test and wasn’t allowed back onto the field. Should be right to go next week but will likely be monitored as a pre-caution.
Tim Mannah- Mannah suffered a shoulder injury 11 minutes into the game. He will have scans this week but Brad Arthur is hopeful he’ll be right to play the next game.
Danny Wicks- Wicks suffered a potential fractured cheekbone as he copped a stray elbow from team-mate Beau Scott. He came out of the sheds in the 2nd half with a badly swollen cheek and will also have scans to determine the extent of the damage.
PARRAMATTA EELS- 8
Tries: Junior Paulo (55m)
Goals: Michael Gordon 2/2
WESTS TIGERS- 0