The Parramatta Eels have booked a place in the 2009 NRL Grand Final with a hard fought 22-12 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The game started terribly for the Bulldogs with Luke Patten leaving the field with concussion from an accidental knee and it seemed from there Bulldogs were dropping like flies!
David Stagg, Ben Hannant and Bronson Goodwin all come out of early tackles looking dusty and it would have been enough for other teams to crumble. What followed for the Bulldogs however was a truely gutsy performance that the club and its fans should be proud of.
The Eels form from the previous two months carries right into the semi final. They played well, but the Bulldogs never gave up.
Fui Fui Moi Moi was once again devastating but it was the Eels backs who did the damage, capatlising on defensive problems in a wounded Bulldogs side.
There has been talk about Jamal Idris and his reading in defense in the last few weeks. During the regular season it was not too much of a problem, however in this game Idris was targeted and he was no helped by a couple of facts.
Firstly, Brett Kimmorley was brave making a comeback and he played well in attack. In defense though he really did look under done. Kimmorley defense one inside of Idris and makes a lot of defensive calls on his behalf, so with Kimmorley being thrown around by the opposition, it went on to break down the Bulldogs attack on that side of the field.
The other problem was on the outside of Idris. Hazem El Masri was moved to fullback to over the injured Luke Pattern and Yileen Gordon was brought on an moved to the wing.
The combination saw the right side of the Bulldogs defense being targeted all night, and with a lot of results.
Parramatta played well thought, they were good up the middle of the field, their halves were fantastic and once again Jarryd Hayne was incredible.
Hayne will have a nervous wait however as he was put on report for using knee’s in the tackle in trying to save a try. In his defense, his knee’s were not angled straight into the tackle, he did not use his feet at all, and hey, who’s the brave judiciary that is going to rub the 21 year old superstar Dally M medal winner out of the Grand Final?
Nathan Cayless is going to struggle to make the Grand Final with a torn hamstring. He does have a long 9 days to get right, but it will be touch and go.
Last of all I have to say this…
I didn’t like the way Parramatta celebrated winning this game. Yes, it was a great win, but doing a lap of honour, getting family members onto the field and into the dressing sheds, general celebrating…..they have not won anything yet!
in 1990 Penrith celebrated just making the Grand Final, they even had a parade through Penrith. They lost. In 1991, they made their second straight Grand Final and none of the team gave a peep because they learned a tough lesson, celebrating before you have won the Grand Final is a cardinal sin.
Hopefully Parramatta’s more experienced players and coaching staff sorts that out immediately. Their opponent in the Grand Final will have so much experience, they have both been there and done that.
Parramatta need the right mind set if they are actually going to win this competition.
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