What a strange game.
After 7 or 8 minutes we're 12 - 0 up, and in the best possible way - two tries scored from the sort of pre-planned attacking plays we've been short of all season.
And then it fell apart, rest of game is 40 - 6 to the Eels, with the margin boosted by some handling errors when we had the Eels' line at our mercy. Have to make some allowance for the bad weather - don't know what it looked like on the telly, but it was raining pretty much all the time, and heavily on occasions. Good to see 11,100 diehards turned up at Mt Smart despite the bad weather - I was prepared for a very small crowd, but it held up well considering the downpour and the dead rubber game. Maybe lots of dads got tickets as Fathers' Day prezzies...
Our porous defence on the edges didn't help, and we missed Solomone Kata, but the result was not all down to our own faults, though: that Eels outfit is a class act, especially the back line, with some serious pace. They'll be a handful next year, and would have been serious contenders this year but for the pay cap rort and the points disallowed.
Sad way for Thomas Leuluai to go out, who was getting stronger and stronger as the season wound up. Full marks yet again to Simon Mannering.
And so to 2017. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
back, an off-season hire of some snarling line-bending brute of a prop, Shaun fully fit - who knows?