Like most teams that miss the NRL Finals series, consistency was the Achilles heel of the Parramatta Eels.
After making last years Grand Final, the Eels had big hopes in 2010. They had lost a few players in the off season but they felt they had more than squared the ledger with the additions of News South Wales State Of Origin forward Justin Poore, and former Origin center Timana Tahu.
As the season kicked off the Eels were one of the favorites to take out the title, but it was clear from early on that a number of problems were going to hold the team back. Despite the media pumping up Parramatta’s supposed run home, the Eels were simply to erratic and had too few players they could really reply on to play good consistent football.
With that in mind you would have thought the Eels 2011 player recruitment would be focused on getting players that would give much needed consistency to a lineup that is without question full of talent.
The Eels re-signed often injured winger Eric Grothe junior, who I honestly think is not a player of first grade standard. In fact in defense, Grothe is the biggest liability in defense of any winger in the game.
The club then went out and signed Cowboys forward Carl Webb, who has had a terrible season on the worst team in the competition in 2010. Webb has struggled for years with consistency and battled his weight and general attitude problems. There is no doubt he has talent, but like many player before him he simply has never hooked it all up.
Now today comes news that the Eels have signed Reni Maitua.
Maitua is currently coming to the end of a two year drugs ban, having been banned while a member of the Cronulla Sharks. His time at the Sharks should have signaled the end of his career, it was that poor.
Keep in mind the Eels have signed or re-signed these players after looking to spend $500,000+ on a Rugby Union player with legal issues!
Pressure has been on Daniel Anderson this season because the Eels simply have fallen well below expectation. I think some of that pressure was unwarranted, I feel that many of the players the club has put their faith in simply have not delivered.
Justin Poore’s signing has been a complete disaster, he barely makes the first grade side each week. Timana Tahu, in between his mid season breakdown, has been a liability in defense and has done very little in attack.
Jarryd Hayne has had a season that summed up that of the entire team, glimpses of brilliance in between long stretches of nothing.
The club managed to let go of Krisnan Inu, who is a bumbling mess of a player, and Feleti Mateo, who is over weight, makes stupid mistakes and has pissed and moaned about wanting to stay so he can add to the three decent career games he has played for the club, but none of that matters while these players have been replaced by others with their own major issues.
Paul Osborne has been given a pretty good ride in the media over his tenure as the Eels CEO, however he and coach Daniel Anderson both have to take responsibility for a recruitment drive that is starting to look like a complete disaster.
Eels fans are looking for more from their side in 2011, however by shuffling erratic performers around with other teams, and taking on issues no club needs, the Eels look set for more disappointment next season.
If that does turn out to be the case, both Anderson and Osborne could be looking for new clubs of their own this time next year.