They say the best form of defence is attack, a theory the Raiders took literally yesterday in their seven-try drubbing of the lowly Eels.
After facing their irate fans at a club meeting during the week, Parramatta was under a lot of pressure to win in the capital. However, despite an early try, they were never in it as the Raiders ripped them apart with a superb attacking display.
Jarryd Hayne, NSW’s 22nd best fullback, was in his usual form – that is to say, I am not sure he was playing. I thought I caught a glimpse of him catching a bomb at one stage but the next thing I knew Josh Dugan had the footy so I can’t really be sure Hayne was there.
Chris Sandow was promoted from the Parramatta Tavern side into the starting line-up and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Unfortunately, he couldn’t grab Jack Wighton with either hand as the Raiders centre ran right through him on the way to scoring the victory-sealing try.
Dugan was at his devastating best, bamboozling the Eels with his footwork time after time. Blake Ferguson had a field day as well, looking likely to score with every touch. The Eels were so resigned to the fact Ferguson would score that in the second half they decided to kick directly to him.
Parramatta now has just one win from ten games, and most betting agencies have them at $6.90 against the bye next week.
In other news: The NSW State of Origin team was announced last night, with coach, Ricky Stuart, opting for a mix of talented and overrated players.
It what is probably the most out of form duo of all time, Hayne will be combining with Penrith’s Michael Jennings in the Blues' backline. Hayne’s poor form has been well documented but at least he has been playing badly for his club’s first grade team (whether they should be in the first grade is a different argument). Jennings, on the other hand, can’t even make the starting seventeen at the second-worst club in the competition. He is so out of form that there are rumours even his prolific drinking has slowed down.
How those two will help stop Queensland’s gun backline is beyond me. Sure, Hodges will suffer a season-ending injury at some stage during the match but that still leaves two of the worst defenders in the NRL (and its reserve competition) to handle arguably the best attacking Origin players ever.
The thought of this might be enough to send an unstable man like Jennings over the edge but, luckily, he has Todd Carney in the side to keep him on the straight and narrow.