And that will come in the form of Harry Grant when he comes back. Brandon Smith is a great nine, but Grant just gives them a little bit of wizardry around the jolt they’ve got so used to over the years.
Mitchell Moses smashes this off the sideline in the rain and the Eels take a 6-0 lead in a far more exciting competition than I’d suspected given the efforts of the first round and the weather. Great NRL game so far and dare I say the rain slowed things down a fraction which I enjoy.
And they deserve it considering how they started this match. It’s Maika Sivo climbing over George Jennings to scramble into the corner and give the eels a head start after 23 minutes.
Christian Welch prepares it with a big carry – what a player he has become – and the storm got it behind the line. Reagan Campbell-Gillard gets out deep to get the kick right on his line when the pursuers arrived. Great effort in driving rain. Still no goal after 15 minutes but Melbourne may just be starting to win that slog in the middle of the park. Now a big chance for the storm as Blake Ferguson is forced to put him in touch. But the eels have questioned this … and it’s a disgusting challenge from the winger. Dear oh dear.
They look different than they did last week and have improved their game a lot. Both teams have excellent handling of the ball up to this point, but the eels gain only marginally the center at this stage. Parramatta is working hard on her half right now and just as I write this, the first mistake comes when the eels quickly turn him to the left and Ryan Matterson cannot handle the hard pass. Still 0-0.
Some shots from the eels, Reed Mahoney, who was the best of his side last week, are causing problems. Even after five minutes, no one has dropped the ball, which is to be commended.
It doesn’t cheat, it’s smart. They did it against the south and they have already done it against the eels. Long the kick, send the chasers up, then happily admit a set restart to set their line. It’s a shocking rule and now Parramatta is doing the same thing. Coaches who find the gap extremely wide and referees have to whistle and punish the teams early on. No score yet on Bankwest.
Nobody seems sure, but it didn’t work out too well last week. We will see. Shaun Lane was on the right instead of his usual left last week and seemed to be really struggling. It didn’t seem to help much on defense either, so it probably has to do with the halves in Brown and Moses, and it was apparently driven by the players. Anyway, if they do something wrong tonight they will be severely punished.
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