Why Eels fans are the George Costanzas of NRL until title drought is eventually broken

Parramatta followers are nervous. Properly, extra so than normal. They’re the George Costanzas of the NRL.

It’s not that they concern success like George questioning if his pilot episode would turn out to be profitable, it’s simply that they don’t know what to do when all the things seems to be going proper.

And the Easter Monday loss to the Wests Tigers has triggered lots of them into believing the world is crumbling round them once more. For a few of them, it’s despatched them again to their protected place of pondering it’s not going to occur once more this yr so don’t get your hopes up.

In the case of difficult premiers Penrith for this yr’s title, it appeared after the primary 5 rounds to just about be a two-horse race between Melbourne and the Eels. Cronulla have improved, the Roosters and Rabbitohs appear to have regressed and Manly’s finals destiny nonetheless finally hinges on Tom Trbojevic’s availability.

After making the playoffs in 4 of the previous 5 seasons – reaching the semi-final stage on every event, the Eels are primed to compete in 2022. 

The Eels seemed like they have been on a public vacation on Easter Monday however regardless of the loss they’re nonetheless 4-2, only a win behind the second-placed Storm and yet another behind the unbeaten Panthers. In a parallel universe, Parra may be with out defeat – Cronulla beat them by two with a last-minute attempt in Spherical 2 and the Tigers waited till the final second to sink them by a solitary level.

They’ve upset the Storm in Melbourne and their key gamers are harm free heading into Sunday’s journey to Newcastle. 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 03: Dylan Brown of the Eels celebrates with his team mates after scoring a try during the round four NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons at CommBank Stadium, on April 03, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photograph by Mark Kolbe/Getty Pictures)

So what’s there to fret about? Why have lots of their followers gone into Easter meltdown faster than chocolate eggs within the solar?

Ask any goal observer and they’ll let you know Parramatta are real contenders. 

Put the identical query to an Eels fan they usually begin to attain for a blue and gold trinket of some description which they preserve at arm’s size in case somebody says to them that phrase they hate probably the most: “This could be their year.”

The mere point out of the title drought stretching again to 1986 is sufficient to ship Eels followers right into a frenzy.

Cronulla followers was triggered by the identical phenomenon after a tick below half a century for his or her first title however since 2016, they’ve been impervious to the slings and arrows as a way of calm has engulfed them that solely a premiership trophy can deliver.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 03: Parramatta supporters cheer during the round four NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons at CommBank Stadium, on April 03, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photograph by Mark Kolbe/Getty Pictures)

Dragons followers from each side of the three way partnership skilled the same feeling previous to 2010 though you’ll be able to see they’re beginning to turn out to be agitated once more as their present drought has entered double figures and doesn’t appear like ending any time quickly with Anthony Griffin on the helm.

Eels followers can positively lay declare to probably the most tortured fan base within the NRL. Solely the Titans and Warriors amongst energetic golf equipment have a vacant trophy cupboard. 

For any Gold Coast diehard who has lived and breathed their various states since 1988, any time they handle to final a couple of consecutive years with out discuss of a reputation change or chapter is sufficient to preserve them sane. 

Warriors supporters have made the grand remaining twice since their membership’s admission into the massive league in 1995 and likewise appear stunned when the workforce does nicely moderately than count on success.

For Eels followers, the glory days of 4 titles from 1981-86 are nonetheless recent within the reminiscence as a result of no one lets them overlook about it. And it additionally doesn’t assist that a number of members of that workforce love nothing greater than to reply a journo’s name to remind the present mob how good they have been.

No less than they don’t have the longest drought in Australian skilled sport – St Kilda, who haven’t lifted a trophy since their solely VFL/AFL flag in 1966, can lay declare to that undesirable title after the Melbourne Demons ended their 57-year stretch of distress final season.

Max Gawn

Max Gawn shares the premiership trophy with Dees followers. (Photograph by Paul Kane/Getty Pictures)

Eels coach Brad Arthur is conscious about the burden of historical past however in his personal blunt means, doesn’t appear notably bothered by it. He’s the type of coach that will be simply as anxious about getting his workforce to grand remaining success regardless of the ghosts or glories of the previous.

This season, because the membership celebrates its seventy fifth anniversary, is Parra’s greatest shot on the crown for the reason that trifecta of heartaches unfold throughout the primary decade of the twenty first century – the record-breaking aspect of 2001 which went lacking on grand remaining evening towards Newcastle, the minor premiers of 2005 who capitulated within the preliminary remaining or the Cinderella aspect of 2009 which was overwhelmed within the decider however discovered the next yr that the opposition was taking part in with accomplice cash.

With halfback Mitchell Moses in career-best kind and receiving further help this season from five-eighth Dylan Brown, it takes the strain of the opposite members of their backbone – fullback Clint Gutherson and hooker Reed Mahoney – to pressure their hand in assault.

Brown recorded his seventh attempt help towards the Tigers – that’s already his highest season tally and we’re solely 1 / 4 of the best way by the schedule.

Gutherson is a lot better as a tireless help participant whereas Mahoney is a workaholic tackler with darting skills out of dummy half.

The Eels are higher when Moses is the focus of the assault however not the be-all and end-all who could be focused by opposing defences. Brown’s fast growth this yr is giving Moses extra time and area, and he’s consuming them each up.

As a lot as Arthur and membership officers deny it, there’s additionally a way of now or by no means about Parramatta’s 2022 marketing campaign with Mahoney, Isaiah Papali’i, Marate Niukore, Oregon Kaufusi and Ray Stone heading elsewhere subsequent season.

After 35 years of falling brief, Eels followers will fortunately have their premiership window banged shut subsequent yr if they’ll lastly get their arms on the trophy this time round.

They’ll fortunately turn out to be Frank Costanza and take premiership serenity now even when it means extra drought madness later.

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