Well Built Squads: Both the Eels and Bulldogs have the forwards to go deep into September in 2016, their forward packs are among the most brutal and more importantly disciplined in the NRL. The battle up front on Friday night was very much at Origin intensity at times during Friday night’s match. Both of these clubs have the weapons up front to contest finals football late in 2016.
Mental Lapse: The Bulldogs have produced some of the most exciting sequences of play in the first two months of this year’s competition, however too often they have been plagued by mental lapses that have cost them dearly. Friday night was again no different as the two Parramatta first half tries came from simple defensive lapses. Not wrapping up the ball close to the line and not committing to the ri9ght man. This is a part of the game that the big three – Broncos, Cowboys and Storm – excel at. Their commitment for the full 80 minutes make them incredible difficult to beat – something the Bulldogs need to work on to cement some consistency.
Tough as Nails: No amount of adversity seems to phase the Eels in 2016. The looming salary cap breach penalty, the loss of their star half to personal issues and a nonexistent bench for the last 25 minutes of Friday nights clash with the Bulldogs as a result of multiple injuries. The mental toughness that Brad Arthur has instilled in his team would have many other coaches of some (unmentioned) NRL squad green with envy. Over the last few weeks some first grade football teams have dishes up performances that were nothing short of appalling. The Eels on Friday night could be forgiven for having an off night against the Bulldogs with all the contributing factors – however the culture and willingness that the Eels of 2016 are producing is something to stand and applaud.
Semitrailer: There has been a lot of press this week around the selection of Semi Radradra in the Kangaroos squad, some positive, some negative. All was on display in Friday night football as Semi showed why he is currently amongst, if not the, best winger in the competition currently. His explosive runs, brutal defence and excellent reads in defence off the ball have him at the pinnacle of his powers. The Kiwis will have their hands full next Friday night!
FROM THE SHEDS
Eels: Michael Gordon (quad), Tim Mannah (Shoulder), Danny Wicks (concussion)
Bulldogs: Josh Jackson (concussion), Josh Reynolds (concussion)
Parramatta Eels 20
Tries: B. Takairangi (17), C. Gutherson (40), C. Norman (49), V. Toutai (54)
Goals: M. Gordon (18), C. Gutherson (50)
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 12
Tries: C. Rona (4), J. Morris (30)
Goals: K. Holland (6), K. Holland (31)