Parramatta Eels

Parramatta’s off-season will be best remembered for the exit of Jarryd Hayne. The press conference would have wide ranging effects on the club.

The move left the Eels without a first choice number one, although there was plenty of excitement over the move of Will Hopoate into the custodian role.

Anthony Watmough joined the club, which would add another leader, and plenty of aggression and experience to the pack.

There was plenty expected of this Eels side, which contained attacking stars Semi Radradra, Chris Sandow and Nathan Peats.

Season Highlight: 42-12 win (Round One) over Manly

There was plenty of optimism at the club following a full off-season under Brad Arthur, and the signing of Manly superstar Anthony Watmough.

Even the most dedicated Eels fan wouldn’t have expected the 30 point drubbing their side handed out to Manly, in front of a huge home crowd on opening night.

It was the perfect start to a new season.

Unfortunately it would not last, but for that one night, the Eels were world beaters. The way they smashed Manly all over the park was a joy to watch for those wearing blue and gold.

Season Lowlight: Contract Dramas

Fans of the club were ecstatic to hear the news that Kieran Foran would be joining the club. They then had to hold their breath as contract dramas threatened to destroy the move.

It then looked as though their fullback troubles would come to an end with the mid-season shift of Michael Gordon, only for the deal to fall through.

Now the Eels are locked in a court battle with NSW outside back Will Hopoate, which could spill over well into the off-season.

I won’t go into the troubles at board level suffered at Parra, but they really need to get their contract procedures set to avoid this mess in the future.

Hopoate signed a huge money contract that may or may not be honoured. Considering the salary cap dramas, the outcome of this case could severely affect the Eels going forward.

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Star Player: Semi Radradra

It’s unusual that a winger could star for a club, given their limited involvement out wide, but Radradra was the star of the show, once again topping the try scoring charts.

His brilliance went far beyond his incredible 24 tries, as his carries to work the Eels out of trouble were worth their weight in gold.

Try scoring has never been a problem for the monster winger, however other aspects of his game continued to improve in 2015.

Semi was rightfully awarded the winger of the year award at the Dally M’s, and really developed into the all-round winger this season.

With Foran and Gordon coming to the club, he should become even more dangerous in 2016.

Most Disappointing Player: Chris Sandow

This was a two horse race, although the departed Sandow pipped Anthony Watmough at the post.

Sandow, who is rumoured to be on over half a million dollars a season, jumped between NSW cup and first grade throughout 2015.

He was even shifted to fullback in a failed attempt to regain the form that saw the Eels throw big money at the talented half.

Although he did produce the odd brilliant game, it only added to the frustration of Eels fans, who needed their halfback to find consistency.

He was released from his contract and now plays in the English Super League.

Future Star: Tepai Moeroa

The Eels have plenty of young guns in their ranks, but none are more imposing than 20 year-old hulk Tepai Moeroa.

At almost two metres tall, and tipping the scales at over 110kgs, there is no reason Moeroa cannot improve on his bright start at NRL level. He certainly has the physical attributes.

His talents are such that he has was chosen to represent the PM’s XI against PNG, as well as earning a spot in the NSW emerging squad.

He will be mentored by the likes of Watmough and Scott in the years going forward, so all the ingredients are there for Moeroa to become a superstar.

Best Signing For 2016: Kieran Foran

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The Eels needed a genuine world class superstar to help guide them into a new era, and in Foran they have signed just that.

There will be a mountain of pressure of the New Zealand international, but he has proven in the past he can handle almost anything, including tremendous media scrutiny.

His halves partnership with either Corey Norman or Luke Kelly (although Mitch Cornish may also be an option) will go a long way to deciding how the Eels travel next season.

How will Foran perform without his Sea Eagle supporting cast? The presence of good friends Watmough and Arthur should ease the transaction, which is a plus for the Parra club.

Outlook:

Despite off-field troubles, the Eels have managed to recruit well for 2016 and beyond. Marquee signing Foran is joined by the likes of Michael Gordon, Beau Scott and the yet to be confirmed signing of Clinton Gutherson.

Throughout 2015 the Eels struggled to find a regular number one, a role that former NSW representative Michael Gordon will fill next season.

Anthony Watmough needs to improve on his disappointing 2015. His partnership in the back row with the likes of Beau Scott, will go a long way to building momentum for their side.

Foran’s addition is obviously key, and should see the Eels improve in a big way on their recent form.

Season Grading: D+

Despite finishing 12th on the table, the reality is the Eels finished just one win off bottom spot, and six points outside the eight.

Their problems were plentiful, both on and off-field, but when it came down to it, they simply lost too many close games.

The over reliance on Semi Radradra for metres, line breaks and tries scored, needs to be eased next season, although as mentioned, there are plenty of attacking options on their way.

Nine wins in a season is not enough for any side, but considering the loss of Hayne, the stop-start form of their big money halfback and the continued troubles in head office, it could have been worse.

26 COMMENTS

  1. I think they have the right coach and getting Foran is a big gain. Parra will only get better with the new structure but they do need to sort out the crazy situation with Will Hoppa’…
    One thing BA has done for them which will be a bonus with reduced interchange is seeing how fit the forwards are. . . They will push for a top 8 finish.

  2. Next year we’ll be a Good side. Not only do we have a strong starting 17 but we have Incredible depth. #EELS16 #FinallyFinalsFootyForParra

  3. Well…. If they stop giving up in games and play for 80mins they can WIN games. Drop players like Paulo, Hoppa, and have strong ball runners. If they can have an injury free they may actually make the 8 next year.. (LOL)

    • That’s our bench thats letting us down, we’re gonna be dropping or getting rid of Jo Paulo, Hoppa, Sandow, Pauli, Terepo, De Gois. And replace them with guys like Folau, Edwards, Foran, Scott. Much healthier line up and we’ve signed some good depth like Cameron King, Rory O’brien etc

  4. Parra need to create a new culture, I think they have wasted there money on Scott who was making 60 meters a game this season which is pretty poor. I can’t see them in the 8 next year, they need 2 more good backs IMO, a strike centre and another good winger and a big meter eater in the back row.

    12th next year

    • Besides your opinion on us making the top 8, you’re spot on.

      We need a gun centre and winger
      Need to sort out our board issues (not a chance in hell)
      Should not have signed Scott but I think we can push for an 8, not really threat the premiership but it is good to make the 8.

    • Wing and centres are sorted Fariamo on the wing and Folau V Gutherson for centres. Theres gonna be a great culture around the club next year because nearly Every spot has competition if not all

      FB: Gordon, French, Moss
      WG: Semi, Fariamo, Lavaka, Morgan
      CTR: Taka, Folau, Toutai,
      5/8-HB: Foran, Norman, Kelly, Cornish
      Prop: Mannah, Wicks, Paulo, Alvaro, O’Brien, Terepo, Pauli
      HK: Peats, King, De Gois, Pritchard
      2nd Row/Lock: Watmough, Gower, Ma’u, Scott, Edwards, Paulo, Moeroa, Hasson, Tanginoa, Ualesi

  5. We have the best depth in league imo we have 36 players who if they play FG they won’t be horrible except Seffa and Kelly. I think top 8 is a 50/50 chance if we go the way I think we will we can make it as high as 5th. But the danger is losing crucial games again and coming 11th. Eels and Wenty team in 2016.
    1. Gordon ( Moss )
    2. Radradra ( Lavaka )
    3. Takairangi ( Toutai )
    4. Gutherson ( Folau )
    5. Faraimo ( Morgan )
    6. Norman ( Kelly )
    7. Foran ( Cornish )
    8. Paulo ( O’Brien )
    9. Peats ( Pritchard )
    10. Mannah ( Terepo )
    11. Ma’u ( Edwards )
    12. Scott ( Pauli )
    13. Watmough ( Nelson )
    ———————————
    14. Wicks ( King )
    15. Moeroa ( Ualesi )
    16. Alvaro ( Hasson )
    17. Gower ( Twal )

    French, Fuimaono and Davis can play RMC until there is injuries. Hoppa will not be here next year as is Seffa hopefully. You know you have good depth when Hasson who played on the bench regularly for manly at NRL level is on the bench at a reserve grade team. I think wenty will possibly win the comp next year.

  6. Like the WT, our seasons are not yet over. These contracts need to be sorted. Taupau and Robbie for us, Hoppa for the Eels.

  7. 1. Gordan
    2. Semi
    3. Taka
    4. Hoppa
    5. Gutherson
    6. Foran
    7. Norman

    Actually such a good backline. Even tho hoppa is most likely to leave and no one really wants him he would still make starting.

    • A lot of options. With a season at 5/8 Norman’s ball playing is hugely improved, not enough to play at half thougah and not good enough to force Foran into playing on the other channel + you want Foran playing on the side of the field he plays with most comfort.

      If it was up to me:

      1. Norman
      2. Semi
      3. Takarangi
      4. Gutherson
      5. Gordon
      6. Foran
      7. Kelly or Cornish

      That is solid, I’m jealous

  8. The Eels aren’t as bad a side as it seems. They have a pretty decent backline and it will be better with Gordon and Foran joining. Theit forward pack is good too, but I don’t think they will make the 8 until they piss off the halfwits in the boardroom who are stuffing the club around. They need a winning culture and then they can win a premiership.

  9. Bottom half of the 8 would be counted as a par performance.
    The back line has never been eels problem, it was forward power – consistency through the whole game not just 60 minutes was where it lacked.
    I don’t agree with those who bag Scott’s signing – not sure that he was signed as a metre eater, but rather a defensive backrower to stiffen up the edge defence. When you got Junior, Mannah and Wicks gaining yards, with Chocs edge running (hopefully he is not past his best), Peatsy creativity out of dummy half – you don’t really need another metre eater.
    We got smashed in d last year and it was always on the edge, Scott will stiffen that up and show the young lads how it needs to done. Tepai and Scott will make a good back row combo imho.
    If they can sort out the d next year, it will be a much better year than 2015. Scoring points was never the real problem.

    • 2016 lineup

      1. Gordon
      2. Semi
      3. Folau (if no Hoppa)
      4. Taka
      5. Burrito
      6. Foran
      7. Norman
      8. Junior
      9. Peats
      10 Mannah
      11. Scott
      12. Moeroa
      13. Choc

      14. Gower
      15. Wicks
      16. Edwards
      17. Pauli

      • Ma’u? He is definitely in starting 13 Tepai will be on the bench. Hoppa won’t be staying and Gutherson is better than Folau. I think Alvaro will get the nod above Pauli he was sensational in the last few weeks.

        • Damn! Forgot our best forward. Unforgiveable. Def in the starting 13, get rid of choc then.
          Pauli has the potential to be a very devastating player, considering his size, speed and agility. If he doesn’t put in, then def swap him with Alvaro.

    • Great point about Scott Billy people who thought we bought Scott here as a meter eater are way off its an adition of expereince and as you mention fix that cavenous hole that was manned by Morgan and Sandow on the right side.

      For me much like the Watmough signing it ads the mental toughness also that our young guys haven’t had to watch and follow.Guys like Scott & Watmough are seasoned professionals all these younger teams need guys like this.

  10. I’m sorry I stopped reading after seeing the season highlight of smacking manly 42-12
    Now I can go to work happy

  11. That’s a solid team billy, except I’d like to see Folou get some more game time, on the wing, before we play him in the centres, and I agree with eels4thewin, we need Ma’u, and we won’t keep Hopoate. Now it’s a bit out there, but what about Scott in the centre (no 4, with Taka’s at 3, as Semi and Taka’s seem to combine well) and Ma’u in 11?

    • hey eels, not sure about folau on the wing, to me he isn’t quick enough and can be too slow to cover for his inside man, whereas burrito is an out and out winger and could be v good in the coming years, that’s why I would put Folau in centres to use his size and power and burrito on the wing.
      Don’t know how I missed Manu – he should be one of the first picked each and every week, his combo on the edge with norman, taka and semi can be the best in the comp.

  12. 2016

    1: B French
    2: S Radradra
    3: C Gutherson
    4: B Takairangi
    5: M Gordon
    6: K Foran (c)
    7: C Norman
    8: D Wicks
    9: N Peats
    10: T Mannah (vc)
    11: M Mau
    12: B Scott
    13: A Watmough

    14: Jr Paulo
    15: P Pauli
    16: T Moeroa
    17: D Gower
    18: K Edwards

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