Blog with Hoops: How Brown’s switch unlocked Eels’ biggest strength and put NRL on notice

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The Parramatta Eels win over premiers Penrith on the Panthers home turf confirms this blue and gold outfit is in the best possible shape to end the NRL’s longest premiership drought.

Ding, dong, there’s never going to be a better opportunity for the witch to be dead.

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No wonder Parramatta coach Brad Arthur told the Eels playing group it’s his proudest achievement as their coach in the aftermath of ending Penrith’s 12-match winning run at the foot of the mountains.

There’s been some cracking games over the opening nine rounds of the season but you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than Friday night’s blockbuster.

The return of Dylan Brown to his correct position at five-eighth unlocked the Eels attack and put the rest of the competition on notice about the resolve this side now possesses when it comes to meeting the benchmark teams in the competition.

With Brown challenging the opposition as a genuine attacking threat through his greatest strength of running the football, the Eels attack now has so much variety in terms of their key position options.

Sure people will argue Parramatta were beaten by Wests Tigers and rolled by the Cowboys but to upstage the Panthers at home and the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne shows the progress the Eels have made over the course of the last 18 months.


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This game had all the intensity and twists and turns of a semi-final and when the blowtorch was really applied, the Eels found the necessary answers.

Cronulla’s performance against the Warriors also lays to rest the notion the competition is only a two horse race between premiers Penrith and the all-powerful Melbourne Storm.

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To survive 63 minutes reduced to 12 players and throw in another 10-minutes reduced to 11 when Jesse Ramien was sin binned in the second half speaks volumes for what Craig Fitzgibbon is building in the Shire.

The resolve Cronulla showed to hold their nerve and then finish over the top of the Warriors in the second half was a stoic performance.

What were your likes or dislikes from another cracking round of rugby league?

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