Were we dumb to believe in the underperforming Eels once again?

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Eels players react following a Raiders try during the Round 19 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders at CBus Stadium, on July 22, 2021. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
The Eels' confidence is low following a heavy loss to the Roosters. Source: AAP Image

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur used the word "dumb" seven times in two minutes in explaining his side's poor performance in the disastrous 28-0 loss to the Roosters on Thursday night.

But perhaps it's the rest of us who are the real dummies.

Why do we expect so much from Parramatta when history tells us it is a club that over promises and under delivers?

Let's get one thing straight – the Eels ruled the 80s on the back of one of the best club sides we've ever seen.

Fans genuflect when the names Cronin, Sterling, Price, Grothe, Ella and Kenny are rattled off.

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But dare to look either side of that decade and it makes for bleak viewing.

The Eels have been in the competition since 1947, collecting 14 wooden spoons and winning just four premierships in 75 years.

The blue and golds took almost 30 years to make their first decider in 1976, going down to Manly, and backed it up with another losing grand final appearance a year later against the Dragons.

Ray Price celebrates winning the Panasonic Cup with Parramatta in 1986. Photo by Philip Wayne Lock/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
The Eels, with players of the calibre of Ray Price (pictured), dominated the 1980s competitions. Photo by Philip Wayne Lock/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

The 90s disappeared with few shots being fired and there were losing grand final efforts to book-end the first decade of the 2000s.

There have been finals campaigns that have come to nothing in the past decade and that, my friends, is pretty much it.

One stellar decade stands out in a sea of mediocrity, punctuated by the occasional promise of something special.

Yet we continue to be spoon-fed this narrative the Eels are a re-emerging force on the verge of bringing back the glory days.

Parramatta will make this year's top eight courtesy of some good early season form, but there is not much confidence Brad Arthur's men will last beyond the first week or two of the finals.

Perhaps the 80s is the best it's ever going to get for the Eels.

And we're the dumb ones for thinking otherwise.

Buyer beware — Bulldogs acquire more damaged goods

Legendary league official Ken Arthurson remembers a young club CEO ringing him years ago and asking his advice on signing a talented but troublesome player.

"Son, don’t buy other another club's problem," Arko counselled.

The CEO thanked him for the advice, said he'd take it on board, hung up and then dialled John Hopoate's number to offer him a deal.

This week the Bulldogs added Paul Vaughan to their roster, picking up another club's damaged goods in the hope a change of club brings about a change in attitude and maturity.

If it wasn't them, some other desperate would have snapped him up.

Ditto Tevita Pangai Jnr.

Talking of desperates, Wests Tigers are courting Curtis Scott.

Scott's had more off-field dramas than most but, hey, the Tigers are short on centres, especially after losing James Roberts, another wayward talent, to a quarantine breach.

Even the Roosters, a stand-up sort of club, were rumoured to be eyeing Manly's Jorge Taufua, who has off-field form, before arriving at the less explosive but reliable Dale Copley.

They say one man's meat is another man's poison.

In the rugby league world, it's the other way around.

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

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