Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
This was it.... I had finally reached the point.... others had hit it before me.... others were still to realise it but that was it for me....
I felt alone, unloved and hopeless. They had broken my heart yet again. The month of October is bad but when your side is not in the finals the month of September is excruciating.
What was worse....losing 4 straight qualifiers and then a grand final or not even looking in the hunt??Didn't matter to me as I deserve their love and they had betrayed me. Like somebody scorned I attacked the typewriter with frenzy...I wanted blood...the blood of the coach.
I stuck by him when St George supporters would rail into me that Parramatta would not win a flag with him at the helm. Living in Brisbane you always have to defend the coach against the legend of the "Spin Doctor". St George can't play because Smith can't coach they'd say. I fought for him, this was my coach and team they slandered.
But deep down I wondered if they were right??
My jersey is still on the roof testament to the disgust of another defeat....he had run his race?.enough was enough...it was time for a letter to the club...my club...would they cancel my membership??
Bugger it, I was fed up?
02 August 2004
The Board of Directors Parramatta Leagues Club
I am writing this letter to you as a fan of the club for 25 years and a financial member of the Parramatta District Rugby League Club for 5 years.
This letter is to convey my disappointment in the clubs? slide from once contenders and record breakers to one point off last at the time of this letter.
How we have reached this point is such a short time?
I was rapt when Brian Smith was brought to the club in 1997 and impressed by his professionalism. The way he turned around the club was remarkable. Our lower grades had realised nothing worse than semi final appearance since 1997.
That being said, I am bewildered how we arrived at this point in 2004. I acknowledge that injuries have well and truly played their part, particularly when gauged against the relatively injury free year of 2001 and success as measured within that context.
I am somewhat concerned by the clubs? player retention policy that has seen some puzzling, to say the least, player departures over the past few years. I think I do not need to go into detail about who those players are but it needs to be mentioned that some have gone on to prosper at their new clubs and have even been rewarded with representative honours. Our retention policy brought, in my opinion, players that were not up to the quality of the players we have let go in past years. Individual examples would be too lengthy for me to go into here but I think you see what I?m getting at.
I am bemused by the tactical team selections that happen every week. As a fan that follows their progress on a daily basis, I find it hard to keep up with team selections for every game. There is no continuity, no structure and appears teams appear to be selected rather haphazardly with no consistency.
It is my opinion that Brian Smith and his coaching staffs? time is up at Parramatta. There appears to be a lack of fresh ideas that culminate into poor options and subsequent substandard performances, there appears to be a lack of self-belief and direction when the players take the field, their general demeanour is lazy, sloppy and tired.
Parramatta should be consistently vying for the premiership each and every year. That can only be attained by regularly appearing in the finals as the Roosters and Broncos seem to do year after year.
I strongly urge the board to consider ALL coaching staff positions for 2005 and beyond. Failure to do will promote further substandard results that are, sadly, well and truly a reality in 2004.
Yours faithfully, Matthew Bell PDRLC Member Blue and Gold Army Member
Footnote: Needless to say there was no extraordinary meeting of the PDRLC Board of Directors called to address my letter in particular and they still accepted my membership fees so I guess they still love me because I sure as hell love them!!!
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