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2022 SEASON REVIEW: Parramatta Eels

Nathan Smith reviews the 2022 Season of the Parramatta Eels where they finished fourth on the ladder and were Grand Final runners-up.

Stats

Wins: 16
Losses: 8
Most Tries: Clint Gutherson (15)
Most Points: Mitch Moses (220)
Club Player of the Year: Shaun Lane

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Eels Fall One Short In Their Best Season Since 2009

Following a third successive semi-final defeat in 2021, there was plenty of pressure on Brad Arthur regarding his ability to push the Eels further. This would be the main storyline surrounding the Eels coming into the 2022 season.

The regular season was an up-and-down affair, with the Eels consistency a huge question. At their best, they looked to be world beaters, having taken down premiership favourites such as the Panthers and Storm. At their worst, they found themselves on the receiving end of losses to lowly ranked teams such as the Tigers.

A heavy round 19 defeat to the Broncos at home sparked a concern the Eels could very well even miss the top eight. However, the Eels would ultimately only lose one more game of the regular season. Most importantly, they found their way into the fourth position in a last-round victory against the Storm. It was the Eels’ best finish to a season since 2020.

The Eels finals series was their most successful since 2009. They would find their way to a preliminary final against the Cowboys, which saw them find a way to win against all odds. That would see them face arch-rivals, the Panthers, in the first-ever grand final between the two sides. Unfortunately, they were unable to break a 36-year title drought against a fresh and rested Panthers side that produced a match-winning first 40 minutes.

On the whole, the Eels’ season was one win away from being their best since 1986 and can’t be knocked. Furthermore, they continued a top-eight streak that dates to round one of 2019, a level of consistency they’d missed for a large part of the 2010s.

Viliami Penisini continued to rise in prominence. As one of a growing host of Eels juniors finding themselves in first grade, he has become the face of the Eels’ future.

Perhaps the biggest shining light was that 2022 would be Dylan Brown’s breakout year. After a few years in first grade, he found his way, with his running game largely improved. It’s easy to forget at times that Brown is only 22, and as such, still has plenty of improvement before he reaches the peak of his powers.

Though a host of players departed the club at the season’s end, Brad Arthur has typically signed blokes looking for a chance at value. Beyond this, there is a core of players locked in for years to come, which means that though the Eels couldn’t get the job done in 2022, there’s every chance they’ll be up there in the eight fighting it out for years to come.

NothingButLeague Eels Player of 2022: Mitch Moses (21)

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Matches: 26
Tries: 7
Try Assists: 28
Points: 220
Kick Metres: 11,181
Tackle Bursts: 51

Other Points: 16 Clint Gutherson; 15 Dylan Brown; 12 Isaiah Papali’i; 8 Reed Mahoney; 7 Shaun Lane; 3 Junior Paulo; 2 Ryan Matterson.

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NRL Season Review

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