Maika Sivo on the charge for the Eels. Picture: AAP
Maika Sivo on the charge for the Eels. Picture: AAP

Sivo gives Parra’s long-suffering fans cause to believe

So what odds would you have given Parramatta to ever find another Fijian capable of becoming NRL top tryscorer?

Probably the same, we're guessing, as Manly getting themselves a set of brothers to rival the Stewart boys.

Or Benji Marshall lighting up Leichhardt Oval six years after disappearing to Super Rugby. Yet here we are.

Funny game, rugby league.

Despite starting the year more anonymous than a wrong number, Eels winger Maika Sivo not only wakes today at the top of the heap when it comes to most NRL tries with 15, but a fair representation of the Slipperies' 2019 finals hopes.

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For as it was with Sivo not so long ago, nobody really expects the Blue and Golds to do much of anything come September. Sure, Parramatta will likely get there.

But as for them finally winning the joint's first premiership since way back in 1986?

Um, no.

At least not after what they've shown for large chunks of this season.

Or again in this one against St George Illawarra, where they failed to find any second-half points outside a penalty goal.

Yet for Eels fans wanting a reason to believe - and, geez, they've been wanting for a while - you cannot help but point them to the increasing hope shown not only by Sivo, but rookie No.6 Dylan Brown, hooker Reed Mahoney, even new arrival Waqa Blake.

Speaking in Channel 9 commentary on Sunday afternoon, eighth Immortal Andrew Johns heaped praise on Brown, who he insisted "could be anything".

"We've had a lot of superstars retire recently, guys like (Johnathan) Thurston and co.," Johns said.

"But this young man, he could be anything … absolutely anything."

And Sivo?

Well, his 15th NRL try was a cracker given it included not one, but two crossfield bombs from Mitchell Moses, plus four passes in between.

Which, no matter where the Eels finish up this year, is a wonderful yarn.

Remembering that, back in March, when everyone was comparing the 25-year-old to Semi Radradra, it had more to do with them both hailing from the same Pacific island than Sivo actually earning that same gong his countryman set in 2015. But with five rounds to play, this fella from the village of Momi is doing it anyway.


Rugby league great Andrew Johns heaped praise on Eels young gun Dylan Brown. Picture: AAP
Rugby league great Andrew Johns heaped praise on Eels young gun Dylan Brown. Picture: AAP


Which is no small thing when you consider Sivo once had to hike all the way into town - then seek out a house which had a TV - if he wanted to watch his favourite player, Benji Marshall, produce his trademark step.

Oh, and only after providing the owner with a fee - usually around 50c.

"He's done really well," coach Brad Arthur said afterwards about the winger, who also whacked Dragons' No.6 Gareth Widdop on one occasion, and monstered opposite Jason Saab into touch.

"And today, I thought he was good defensively.

"He's been good with the ball but there have been a couple of things there defensively we wanted to work on. And the good thing is he does what you want him to do."

Which right now, for Eels fans, is enough to give hope.