Both sides came in hot after victories but only Parramatta turned up in a match that either exposed serious issues for the Dragons, was just a one-off failure, or are Parramatta on track for a great season.
Point 1: To win the Game, you must hold the Ball.
St George dropped their heads after 6 seconds and their shoulder hit the floor after just 38 as a dropped ball from the kick-off by Russell Packer was run in through a defensive line that was still on the bus. The half time score showed 18 to 6 but the reality was the Eels ran in four tries that was comparable to watching a hit out between the reserve grade and seniors in the pre-season. Errors were constant and critical preventing the Dragons from progressing the ball or putting the Eels under any pressure. Training this week will not be with balls soaked in soapy water because conditions were not the issue.
Point 2: Are Parramatta the real deal?
Slick passes, solid defence, size and speed were on show, but were the opponents playing poorly or were the Eels simply that dominant. The Dragons were dropping the ball, they were giving away rather silly penalties and they were forced into errors in judgement and poor decision making. Was this fully due to the Eels or was this caused by issues between the ears of the Dragons players. I think that it was a very good performance from Parramatta that was made to look excellent by a poor showing by the Dragons.
Point 3: Home Field Advantage is not a factor.
This weekend featured the usual round of eight games, however only two of the home sides managed to take home the points. The roar of the crowd may get a couple of whistles for off-sides, holding down or a shady hit, but the influence of all but the most vocal crowds has been nullified by the improved communication by the referees and by those referees having both the hierarchy in the field decision making process. Hopefully they will continue to improve so that even the Broncos opponents get a fair chance.
Point 4: Four tries to Semi Radradra.
The Eels were on song and no one can complete a try like the Semi. The first Eel to do so since Hayne, I am sure he would have like to line up on him next weekend but the plane is grounded. He is showing the form that made every opponent concerned about both his size and skill, coupled with a solid finishing ability will be one of the first tasks looked at by the coaching staff as soon as the Eels appear on their schedule.
Parramatta Eels 34
St George Dragons 16