There are few fan bases that have been waiting for Premiership glory quite like the Parramatta Eels fans. After the loyal Sharks supporters got to bask in the glory of their maiden success last year, could we see another long wait brought to a stunning conclusion?
Could Parramatta Eels win the 2017 Premiership?
Ok, the odds aren’t in their favour. Touting anyone other than the Storm to win the title already feels like a waste of breath, with the Melbourne juggernaut seemingly on a one-way path to the Provan Summons trophy. But might it be the entertaining Eels, their first finals opponent, who could cause an upset eight years after their Grand Final meeting?
Someone will have to be the team that causes the upset, so why not the Eels? Why not a team with a burgeoning halves pairing in the spectacular Corey Norman and the growing Mitchell Moses? Why not a side that has the impact and go forward of a Tim Mannah, a Manu Ma’u or a Nathan Brown?
The Eels look like one of the few sides capable of upsetting the rhythm and dynamic structure that the Storm have used to such effect all season while a wave of public sentiment could help them get the job done.
A quick walk down Church Street Parramatta right now is almost like going through a time portal to the mid-1980s.
Peter Wynn’s score must be doing a roaring trade, because it looks like the whole suburb is decked out in the latest blue and gold apparel. The kids are kicking footballs around the park replicating Clint Gutherson, Bevan French or even Will Smith, who has stepped in at the back as a safe option when both Gutherson and French went down injured.
Could Moses lead the people?
When Moses first switched to Parramatta from the Tigers, there were plenty of questions about his defensive work ethic and his ability to fight through adversity.
Since then, he has grown an arm and a leg.
Moses looks the complete partner to Norman that the Eels so desperately needed. He’s added the perfect mix of controlled kicking and structure with ball in hand to help propel his new side into the top four.
Mitchell Moses could be the man to hand-deliver the patient people of Parramatta a historic Premiership trophy.
Grit in the middle
The Storm have carved out a niche as the best team in the league on the back of Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, but the famous trio are given their creative freedom due to a forward pack led by Jesse and Ken Bromwich, as well as Jordan McLean, Tohu Harris and Dale Finucane.
The Eels, meanwhile, are capable of going toe-to-toe with anyone in the middle of the park.
Brown has the tenacity and grit required to get stuck into any opposition pack while he’s supported perfectly by grizzled veteran Mannah, Manu Ma’u and Daniel Alvaro.
Can they do it?
The Eels finished the regular season in fourth place, some eight points behind the dominant Storm.
Nobody has gotten close to Melbourne on the field this year and they rightfully hold the mantle of Premiership favourites, but the trophy is not won on paper.
Sometimes a finals series is decided by a swell of emotion which drags the players, the coaching staff and an entire club along with it.
They have plenty of talent, they have plenty of raw emotion and a potential title provides another motivation.
The Storm may have all the cards in their hands, but there’s no reason the Eels can’t throw a spanner in the works and ride the wave all the way to their first Premiership since 1986.
Can the Eels win the 2017 Premiership? Let us know in the comments below.
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