They say if you’re going through hell, then keep going. For the Eels, this hell just keeps on going. And going. And going.
Beelzebub’s fire continues to burn hot at the club even after the laundry list of misdemeanors committed last year by administration and players alike. With the salary cap blowout and Corey Normans dramas now forgiven sins, eyes now turn to the inferno on the horizon. With Vai Toutai now part of the Eels witness protection program (I hear he is housed somewhere in the under construction Parra Stadium), Peni Terepo on thin ice for his secret DUI and Radradra confirming a future defection to Union, the heat will be on the team to succeed. Adding Kirisome Auva’a to the 2017 squad shows that Brad Arthur just wants to see the world burn.
That said, do not draw a line through the Eels season. For a team which lost 12 competition points due to salary cap penalties in 2016, they still beat the Roosters who, in comparison to the Eels woes, had a hair in their soup to the Eels salmonella.
History shows teams who suffer great adversity generally come out the other side and succeed (Note the Storms 2012 premiership post their own salary cap penalties and the Sharks recent “Drug free” premiership). With pace in the back line supplied by Bevan French, Jennings, Radradra and Josh Hoffman, and steel up front in Beau Scott, Moeroa and Ma’u, they have a good balance all around the park. If the Gutherson experiment is a success and Corey Norman stays off the Canadian Club cans, then Eels fans can expect to see their team in the finals this year.
The devil is in the detail for the Eels, with experience and talent across the park, off field distractions seem to be the only thing standing in the clubs way for a finals birth this season.
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