Foran's perfect start...
National Rugby League Premiership
By W D Nicolson - March 19, 2016
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Yep, somehow - the Eels have rebounded from looking punchless in Round 1 to beat the Cowboys and Bulldogs in successive weeks... and one Kieran Foran has been there for both victories - on sort of one leg.
In last night's 20-6 win at ANZ Stadium he ran the ball with more confidence and the Dogs handed him metres down Parramatta's right edge as they waited and waited and waited for him to pass... then Corey Norman called the ball to the left on the back of Foran's run and Semi Radradra terrorised the Chase Stanley-Sam Perrett combination thereafter.
While both of Semi's tries came up the middle - Parra always looked threatening going left and though Foran plays on the right - his presence on the field is clearly beyond the stats sheet.
So are Parramatta playoff-bound?
Course not, in that you can't say that any team starting 2-1 is in a 24 game season, but knocking off the defending Premiers and then a team that had looked pretty good starting 2-0 in the Dogs - is a pretty good turnaround from the Round 1 origami impression against Brisbane.
Foran may be playing in the #7 but he's just a fantastic five-eighth. And though Norman is playing in the #6 - he's doing far more of the halfback duties than his partner.
It's a good match of talents and the Eels may not be as bad as I thought they could be entering the season (and after Round 1) but let's not pop the champagne just yet Parra fans.
As for the Bulldogs... well they still rely far too heavily on momentum going down the field off the back of their ball-playing props to score points. In fact they had enough chances inside the 20m zone last night to win the game but Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds didn't seize the moment at any stage... the fact Josh Morris and Curtis Rona (by far Canterbury's most dangerous attacking edge) saw practically no ball in that zone or in the second half at all - shows how much Mbye and Reynolds rely on the Graham-Kasiano-Tolman trio to create room/chances out wide.
They simply didn't produce what you need out of your halves inside the attacking 20m zone - especially when you get quite a few chances.
There was one play in particular in the first half that stood out - Tony Williams ran over Kieran Foran and powered down-field. Mbye was standing on his left next to the dummy half with Parra's right edge shot to bits and Morris/Rona in great position down the short side next to him - but there he was, standing still and pointing to the right... wanting someone else to make something happen.
Yes I realise that's an isolated incident and heck, of course it ain't easy out there vs where I was sitting in the stands at the end of the field - but for all the accolades the young man has received in two weeks - if the Dogs score off that play it's 6-all late in the first half...
And I haven't even mentioned what happened in the 2nd Half...
Sure - Mbye is a runner at this stage of his career but he's got two weapons outside Williams on his side of the field that he massively underused last night and the Dogs barely looked like scoring as a result.
Over to you kid.
And finally on the 2-0 Kieran Foran... they've got the Tigers on Easter Monday at ANZ with a long turnaround so Parra going 3-1 after the first month isn't a pipe dream after all!