We could point fingers when it comes to assigning blame for the horror that is the reality of the Parramatta Eels’ campaign during the Telstra 2018 NRL Premiership competition, but it would serve no true purpose and we would need more fingers, so instead, we report on the fallout from the bad results that have the Eels in line for a spoon of wood that almost resulted in one of the game’s best walking away from football.
That would be Mitchell Moses, who did not have to part any seas, simply find the motivation to show up for work.
Parramatta was fancied at the outset of the season, but their apparent inability to win even one game outside their temporary Stadium Australia ground is not the sort of thing that inspires player and supporter motivation.
The holders of four premierships, none since 1986 and five runners-up and five minor premierships will need a miracle to avoid their 14th spoon.
Losing is tough on a player’s psyche. In the lower grades, they develop an appetite for winning, but when they get to first grade play, they find themselves surrounded by junior champions. In Moses’ case, not even four difficult seasons with Wests Tigers could harden his distaste for losing.
“There’s been times when I’ve been completely over footy,” Moses admitted this week. “I think because of the effort, the effort we put in every week with the boys. If you came to our training you wouldn’t think that we’re coming last. We train the house down every week and every day, we don’t give an excuse to Brad (Arthur) to say you’re training s*** so that’s why it is on the field.”
It takes 80 minutes of complete focus to win games in the NRL, where parity is well established, but the Eels have shown an uncanny ability to hit pause at the worst possible moments and see games slip away, never to return.