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Reni Maitua is the outcast who became Eels co-captain

Discussion in 'Parramatta Eels' started by Joely01, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Joely01

    Joely01 Bench

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    http://m.dailytelegraph.com.au/spor...-eels-co-captain/story-e6frexq0-1226583845306

    SITTING here, in the Parramatta boardroom, Reni Maitua is candidly unwrapping his recent life before you, searching for the words that explain what becoming captain of his club means to him.

    Coach Ricky Stuart commissioned psychological profiling to help unearth the men who will lead the Eels this season, but right now Maitua is less concerned about his head and more so his heart.

    In 2011, Parramatta cast him a lifeline after he'd serving a two-year suspension for testing positive to a banned substance, which Maitua later attributed to recreational substances.

    He now joins fullback Jarryd Hayne as co-captain on the field, with prop Tim Mannah serving as club captain above them.

    In a game that celebrates stories of redemption like few others, Maitua's is surely the Mother of All Redemption Stories.

    "It wasn't until last night that it hit me; when I thought about the last couple of years and where my life was and where it is now," the 30-year-old explains.

    "It makes me a bit emotional ... There was a turning point in my life about 12 months into the suspension when I thought: How do I want to be remembered?

    "The previous 12 months was how I was going to be remembered, and that was not the person I was - and certainly not the way I was brought up.

    "Mum (Lyn) and Dad (Danny) have been the best parents to me, and the way they raised me was nowhere near the person I had become.

    "I see how happy they are now, and it breaks my heart a little bit. In a good way."

    Regardless of what the lounge room halfbacks might say about the Eels after their heavy trial loss to the Tigers last weekend, Stuart is acutely aware he is rebuilding Rome from the ground up.

    He employed leading sports psychologist Jonah Oliver during the off-season to profile each of his players, to ensure he found the right men to lead them.

    "You don't just pick the person everyone wants," the coach says. "There are a few steps in the process."

    Despite all the off-season speculation about his possible selection, it wasn't until a fortnight ago that Maitua knew within himself that wanted the job, which has its own strange symmetry because when he was banned he was playing for Cronulla when Stuart was coach.

    "Not in a million years," Maitua says softly when you ask him if he ever thought he'd captain. "Not any club, no way. People would see it as a risk, given my history, but I'm a different person.

    "I look at my past now and think: What an idiot! I get a bit annoyed, like a fan, when players get in trouble. When you are in the bubble itself, your ego makes you think you can do whatever you want. Now, everything is in perspective."

    Mannah has seemingly had that his entire life, his maturity earmarking him as captain of the Eels from his junior days at Guildford, through Australian Schoolboys and the Junior Kangaroos.

    Stuart sees Mannah and instantly thinks of Peter Wynn, the lanky backrower from the 1980s who is fundamental in keeping the players from the club's glory years glued together.

    Mannah's leadership was there for all to see only a month ago when his brother Jonny lost his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma at 23. While it crushed everyone around him, it was his Tim who kept everyone together.

    "That's when I saw Timmy step up," says Stuart. "I saw amazing leadership in Tim Mannah through the toughest time of his life. I saw some extraordinary ability in his character."

    Says Tim: "Jon wasn't my brother, he was my best mate. We'd played together since we were kids. He was a huge part of my life, so he will definitely be on my mind this season.

    "But in terms of footy, the leaders I've had - like Nathan Cayless and Nathan Hindmarsh - taught me to focus on what's happening on the field."

    In only his 25th year of life, but about to enter is eighth season of first grade, Hayne is realising the true impact of what he does.

    "I realise now that what I do influences the team," Hayne says. "I've got a lot of experience ... but I'm still figuring it out."

    As his fellow captains could tell him, it's something that never ends.
     
  2. Joely01

    Joely01 Bench

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    Well done to Reni, has really turned his life around for the better.
     
  3. EELMAN JACK

    EELMAN JACK Juniors

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    i wish him well and i believe he will not let the team down.
     
  4. bartman

    bartman Immortal

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    Well done to Reni.

    So in the past two years Reni's been turning his life around, growing up etc... but we had quotes from Willie Tonga yesterday admitting he'd got caught up in some old scenes off-field and let himself go last year :-?. Doesn't say a lot for the man-management of the guy in charge last season, hopefully Ricky can keep the group focussed and always improving.
     
  5. Gronk

    Gronk Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry but I don't get the Reni hate in other threads.

    To me he puts in 100% and is our only non-rookie backrower worth feeding.
     
  6. Joely01

    Joely01 Bench

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    I agree gronk, he made a few half breaks yesterday and would be looking around for an offload but no support.
     
  7. oldmancraigy

    oldmancraigy Coach

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    You guys are kidding yourselves?

    He won't hit it up to get us out of trouble. Will only attack on the left edge if the defence is retreating.
    He gives away more penalties than any other Eel, just lies on top of the bloke he tackles and simply won't move.
    He doesn't "put in" defensively. The other blokes are busting their humps making 30 tackles, and Reni finishes with 15 in 80 minutes...

    Then 2 out of 3 games he drops the ball twice or tries to force an offload that just isn't on.
    He'll run the ball really well 1 game in 5, but there's way more to first grade footy than 1 good running game out of every 5 attempts....
     
  8. oldmancraigy

    oldmancraigy Coach

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  9. Jake the snake

    Jake the snake Coach

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    Agree
     
  10. Daneel

    Daneel Bench

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    When he does put in 100% we look like a different team. Unfortunately those performances are far and few between.
     
  11. oldmancraigy

    oldmancraigy Coach

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    Agreed.
     
  12. parra-matters

    parra-matters Coach

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    if only he had some support when he ran, there were times when he looked to offload are sucking in a couple of defenders and there was no one there.
     
  13. Djay

    Djay Juniors

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    His not an 80 minute player, that's the problem....

    Our backrow is without a doubt the most in-experienced and due that is the weakest in the comp.

    He is having to play 80 mins week in week out due to the fact the others are either completely retarted (Ryan and Smith) and the other 2 (Tanginoa and Terepo) are still very ripe.
     
  14. Eelementary

    Eelementary Post Whore

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    I don't think Maitua has been that bad. His errors have mostly been due to either trying too hard (such as forcing a bad offload), or because he's buggered (he's not an 80 minute player).

    And why all the hate for Ryan? I have never rated him, either - but he was good yesterday. Ran it hard and tackled his guts out. Nothing special, but much better than others that have donned the Blue and Gold in recent memory...
     
  15. Suitman

    Suitman Post Whore

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    Maybe not.
    But, as a club captain, he's hardly been the inspiration that the club needs to lift us out of the shit that we have become. Yesterday, in the deep, dark depths of desperation, he'd be the sort of player that I reckon we'd be looking for to put on that big hit, or be behind the try line yelling at players to lift. To be there encouraging the young blokes that Ricky is giving a chance in the NRL, to lift their game and hurt the opposition, or to slow the play the ball down, and who should be, leading by example.
    Pou is right.
    This club, and our players are f**king soft.
    IMO, he's just turning up and earning a paycheque. As are so many others.

    Suity
     
  16. Eelementary

    Eelementary Post Whore

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    I agree - he's not a great captain.

    But we're willing to cut some slack to Jarryd, seeing as he's learning the ropes - why not extend that same courtesy to Reni?

    He has been inconsistent and a poor leader - I can't argue that. And I agree that he should be doing more.

    But overall, his play has been OK, I think. He has missed a few tackles and dropped a few balls, but it's not from lack of trying. He looks dangerous running the ball - more so than pretty much anyone else of our back-rowers (except young Tanginoa).

    But just on slowing the play-the-ball down, I think they're scared to do it. Looking at their body language every time we get penalised for it, it seems to me they are petrified of giving away a penalty because they don't have the self-belief to defend a set 20 or 30 metres out of their own line. And so they don't even try. A good example is Matt Ryan - he made a beautiful one-on-one tackle yesterday, he stayed on top of the ball-carrier a bit too long (a bullshit penalty, IMO, but I digress) and never pulled that sort of enthusiasm in a tackle again. He tackled all day and ran all day, but he didn't look to physically impose himself again after that.

    I'm not sure how we can fix this, but ti definitely seems to me as though the team's confidence in themselves and the referees is in tatters.
     
  17. Maroubra Eel

    Maroubra Eel Coach

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    It's going to take time for Stuart to clean out all these bludgers. Why did we sign them?
     
  18. Haynzy

    Haynzy First Grade

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    The reason for cutting Jarryd slack over Reni is that you can see that Jarryd is making an effort whereas if you didn't know and someone told you Reni was captain you'd think they were lying.
     
  19. Eelementary

    Eelementary Post Whore

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    True. And I do think Jarryd is doing a good job.

    But how about Tim Mannah? And please do not misunderstand - he has been simply phenomenal and inspirational, but he hasn't really revved the boys up or stuff like that (from what I have seen, anyway).

    I think all three captains should be cut some slack, as they are all learning. Some are revelling in it, like Jarryd, and some are getting used to it at a slower rate, like Reni.
     
  20. byrner

    byrner Juniors

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    How bout he stops giving away stupid penaltys
     

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