While Brutus and co gave Julius Cesar an Ides of March still talked about to this day, it could be argued it was a walk in the park compared to the one the Eels and their fans endured on Sunday at Lottoland. After looking every inch a premiership contender 30 minutes into their round one encounter with the Panthers, in the 130 minutes of play that have followed they have conceded 80 unanswered points and in the process gave up bragging rights to two of their bitterest rivals.
Having coughed up a big lead against the Panthers in Round One, it was expected that the Eels would come out breathing fire against Manly. Instead, they produced a performance about as good as this writer felt watching the game on a Sunday afternoon following a weekend celebrating my bucks party far too enthusiastically.
In oppressive conditions at Brookvale, Manly ruthlessly crushed an insipid Parramatta team from kick-off until the final siren finally brought an end to the painful series of events. After 80 minutes of carnage the Eels line had been breached nine times as they suffered their biggest ever loss to their most loathed opponents.
Parra Post Mortem usually attempts to identify positives no matter the sea of negatives, but after having had to endure each of the 80 minutes that the Eels dished up on Sunday, we aren’t going to bother this time. Having set the competition alight in the back half of 2017, the blue and golds have dished up a straight sets finals exit and an horrific start to the new year. While nothing can ever be taken for granted, with excitement levels heightened by the run to the finals last year, Eels fans deserved much more from their team than what they have been delivered.
We did not have a go.
Brad Arthur – Post Game
Brad Arthur, not one to mince his words nor a man prone to waste them either, was in no mood for sugar coating in his post match press conference, suggesting that Eels fans had “every right to be disappointed”. He did however suggest that the path forward needed to be paved with the pain and humiliation of the capitulation. ”We’re all hurting. We’re embarrassed but we need to make sure we do something about it. Our attitude wasn’t great. You don’t play like that if you come ready to play.’
”We’re all hurting. We’re embarrassed but we need to make sure we do something about it. Our attitude wasn’t great. You don’t play like that if you come ready to play.”
Brad Arthur – Post Game
”It needs to [linger], they need to feel the hurt,” he told the assembled press corps. ”We need to show more respect for ourselves. We need to show more respect for our club and our fans.” As honest and raw as Arthur was in the aftermath of his teams insipid display, the extent of the defeat will most likely see the Eels faithful still demanding more.
Manly 54 (Cherry-Evans, Koroisau, Fonau-Blake, Sironen, Croker, Trboojevic, Sironen, Perrett, Taufua Tries, Cherry Evans 9 Goals)
def Parramatta 0
Match Officials: Matt Cecchin, Alan Shortall.
Sideline Officials: Chris Sutton, Chris Butler.
Official Crowd: 10,502 at Lottoland.