The Parramatta Eels underwent a complete turnaround from their 2018 wooden spoon season to finishing a respectable 5th in 2019.
One of the keys to the Eels success last season was evidently through their team’s attack.
The Eels finished the regular season having scored 533 points sitting third, only behind the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters.
This statistic was bolstered through the work of the NRL’s 2019 top try scorer in Maika Sivo, while counterparts Blake Ferguson and Michael Jennings also finished inside the top 30.
Halfback Mitchell Moses also emulated the team’s performance, having his best season throughout his six-year career.
Moses led the competition in try assists (25) and was able to take home the Dally M Halfback of the Year award edging out rivals Daly Cherry-Evans and Chad Townsend.
Parramatta’s 2019 first choice hooker, Reed Mahony was also effective as he topped the league in tackles made and was recently apart of the Maroons 2020 squad.
Both Dylan Brown and Clinton Gutherson had respectable seasons and are looking to build in 2020 with the help of Andrew Johns being added to the Parramatta coaching staff.
Of the NRL’s sixteen teams, fifteen of them are all predicted to have a changed spine from their 2019 season with the Eels being the only team to go unchanged.
Parramatta’s forward pack of Nathan brown, Shaun Lane, Junior Paulo and Kane Evans all played effective parts to their team’s ability to monster the opposition through the middle of the field.
They’ve now added extra weapons to their already durable forward pack in Ryan Matterson (Tigers) and Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Panthers) who are both looking for team success.
The 2019 season also saw the Parramatta faithful rewarded with a fortress in what is Bankwest Stadium, where the Eels were victorious in eight out of ten matches.
But heading into the 2020 season, many queries surrounding the Eels still remain.
The extension given to Head Coach Brad Arthur saw some fans question the move as through his seven-year career he’s taken home two wooden spoons along with regular-season finishes of 14th, 12th and 10th and has managed to only have one finals series win to his name.
2020 will also see the Eels ‘Home’ Stadium being shared with the likes of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers and the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Closing the gap on the NRL’s true competitors will also remain a problem as when faced with top eight teams, the Eels only found themselves winners in five out of 11 games.
Through the Eels four regular-season matches against the Roosters, Raiders (2) and the Storm, their points differential was a substantial negative 81.
Winning by six points second time around against the Raiders in round 15, Parramatta only went on to play the Storm again in the finals seeing them go down 32-0.
History is also against Parramatta as we saw the Eels plummet from a 4th place 2017 season, to a bottom of the pile last place in 2018.
Although the Eels 2019 season was viewed as a successful one, there are still some areas where they need to improve in order for them to go one better in 2020.
This current Eels squad is arguably their most complete squad since the early 2000s with the depth and talent to be an effective team.
There are many positives to this Eels team, but they’re matched with some hefty negatives.
I have the Eels comfortably finishing amongst the top six but ultimately going down in the first few weeks of the finals.