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26 Apr 2018 12:09
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  •   Home > News > Sports

    Questions start in halves for Parramatta

    Parramatta are getting an extra eight plays per match inside the opposition's 20-metre zone compared with last year, but still have the worst attacking record.

    A misfiring halves pairing and the loss of Semi Radradra on the wing shape as the biggest issues that matter at Parramatta in 2018.

    An in-depth analysis of the Eels' winless opening six rounds of the NRL season - their worst start since 1991 - shows Parramatta are down in almost every key statistics category on 2017, according to Fox Sports Stats.

    But nowhere is it so drastic than close to the line, where the Eels are having eight more play-the-balls per game in the red-zone, but averaging more than 12 points less each match.

    With Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman struggling to get results out of an injury-riddled backline, the Eels are converting just one in every 28.3 play-the-balls inside the opposition 20-metre zone to tries this year.

    For context, the next worst team are North Queensland at 20.5, while Parramatta took just 13.8 plays to cross the strike from within the same zone last year.

    Effectively, it means the Eels need almost three more sets to cross the stripe than when they reached last year's semi-finals.

    Across the board Parramatta are down on almost every key statistic from last year, ranked last in points for and tries scored, linebreaks, as well as third last in points conceded.

    Tackle busts, offloads, penalties, completion rates, metres made and metres conceded have all taken a hit, with the Eels ranking well outside the top eight in each.

    They have slightly improved on missed tackles and line dropouts forced - where they rank third - but being able to do anything with the ball on those repeat sets has been an issue.

    But former NSW and Eels playmaker Brett Finch said it wasn't just the halves to blame.

    "The bloke I reckon who has tried harder than anyone else on the field is their No.7 (Moses), and he is the one who has to answer what is wrong," Finch said.

    "He's busted his backside trying so hard. There are 13 people on the field, obviously the halfback is an important role and it comes with so many responsibilities.

    "But there are so many things that have got to fall in place for them to do their job. There's a lot more wrong than just the halves out there."

    On numbers alone, the output of Parramatta's forwards is largely consistent with where they were last year, but the loss of Radradra in the backs and his ability to create something out of nothing in his 22 tries in 2017 can't be understated.

    The star winger broke three tackles a match and accounted for a quarter of Parramatta's linebreaks last season with 27.

    No Eels back is on track to make even half as many this year.


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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