It was a sorry season for the Parramatta Eels as they collected the wooden spoon for the first time since 2013.
2018 Club Record
Competition Points: 14 (16th placed)
2018 Player Achievements
Ken Thornett Medal: Daniel Alvaro
Most Tries: Jarryd Hayne (10)
Most Points: Mitchell Moses (106)
2018 is a season that the Parramatta Eels will want to wipe from the history books. After such an encouraging finish to the previous season, the expectations were high that this team could bring premiership glory to the club for the first time since 1986.
Parramatta dropped the ball in their opening game against Penrith with Mitchell Moses being sent to the sin-bin, changing the momentum of the game. Second week at Lottoland caused the most damage, with Eels fans wondering if their team trained during the off-season to combat the Sydney heat. Back-to-back wins against Manly and the Wests Tigers gave the club some hope they could avoid the spoon eight weeks into the 2018 season. Wins in round 21 and round 22 against the Titans and Dragons saw the club move up one spot on the ladder, before three straight losses ended any chance of avoiding the spoon.
This year saw the return of Parramatta’s favourite son in Jarryd Hayne. It was his first season with the Blue and Gold since 2014 where he embarked on a career in the National Football League with the San Francisco 49ers. It would prove to be a frustrating season for Hayne in playing fifteen matches, leaving it until round 22 against the St George-Illawarra Dragons to return to his devastating best.
The man who gave the Eels hope at the end of 2017 was Clint Gutherson. After almost nine months out of the game, Gutherson returned in the side’s loss in Canberra. However a week later, he scored one try as the Parramatta club recorded their first win in 2018 with a 44-10 smashing of Manly. Brad Arthur couldn’t settle on a regular position in the side for Gutho, combined with having no momentum due to no off-season, the influence of the talented back was nowhere to be seen. Maybe a proper off-season will benefit his game in 2019.
There was debate late in the season whether Brad Arthur’s tenure as Eels coach should come to an end after five seasons at the club. If results don’t improve for the club early in 2019, there will be a case for management to move and terminate his contract. Benefit of the doubt should remain in play until the Eels return to their renovated home, Western Sydney Stadium next year. This should see an improvement in results after two seasons having a ‘home away from home’ at ANZ Stadium.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season
When Parramatta were on-song during 2018, Mitchell Moses was at the forefront of their success. One game that comes to mind was the Eels first win in round seven where he was best on field as the Eels thrashed Manly 44-10. However, discipline was an issue which kicked off straight in round 1 when he let his side down after being sin-binned at Penrith. A few later and it happened again at Brookvale where the Eels crumbled in the heat, beaten 0-54. You would hope that with over 100 games in the National Rugby League clocked up late this season that Moses will mature as a football player in 2019 and have a more dominant season.
2019 GAINS AND LOSSES
Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters), Shaun Lane (Manly Sea Eagles), Junior Paulo (Canberra Raiders).
Kirisome Ava’a (retired), Kenny Edwards (Catalans Dragons), Suaia Matagi (Huddersfield Giants), Beau Scott (retired), Cameron King (released), Tony Williams (released).