The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 9 at Cronulla

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 20

 Cronulla Sharks 22

The Good:
We only lost by 2.
The Bad:
We only lost by 2.

If you missed the game, skip over everything from our first try until the final 10 minutes. Tonight the script dictated we get thoroughly beaten for the middle 70 minutes by the Sharks reserve grade side, only for the final 10 to demonstrate what should have happened across 80. For the vast majority of the game we didn’t complete, we missed tackles, we kicked poorly, we gave away penalties and until the final 10 minutes, we looked pretty lifeless in attack. It was a car crash of a game.

It would have been very much against the run of play if we managed to pull that one out of the fire, but coming back to within 2 is better than getting beaten by 18.

Throughout much of the game, we looked devoid of defensive ideas every time the Sharks ran the ball on the last tackle. What a weird thing not to be good at.

We just cannot seem to get a win over the Sharks.

This might make me unpopular, but I think the final 10 minutes was more a case of the Sharks dropping off (and the Eels seizing that opportunity) than it was the Eels flicking a switch on their own. Still at the very least, such a close scoreline gives you something to work with for next week (although we’re running dangerously short on next weeks).

If you’re looking for a little ray of sunshine, the Panthers started 2-7 last year before making the 2017 Finals.

Light a candle and put it in the window, Eels fans; it’s getting desperate and it’s only May.

In more pleasing news, this post is sponsored by the good people at:

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It’s win, win – buy yourself a fancy looking Indigenous jersey and support the work of The Cumberland Throw.

Tell ’em Mitch sent you – I’m pretty certain it won’t make the slightest difference.

The MVP:


This game was a pretty weird one to watch; like a game of two halves where the second 40 was squeezed into the last 10. Still, a few players (Gennings, Tepai, French) maintained the rage throughout. However for the second week in a row, no one raged like the original Monster Mash. Manu’s 14 runs, 137 metres, tackle break and 33 tackles is another solid showing from a man very much maligned in the opening weeks of 2018. Admittedly tonight’s game would never be worthy of pool room status, but welcome back nonetheless, you animal.

PS – Due to the weird to and fro nature of tonight’s game, this has been a weird one to grade. You should probably prepare yourself to strongly disagree with me as a result.

1- Clint Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

The Captain King cops his first loss of his reign, but his passion and pursuit of the unlikely victory never wavered. A massive 15 runs for 169 metres, 2 tackle breaks and a line break assist for Clinton tonight, and hopefully more of these individual stats to come in future weeks.

2- Bevan French

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Bevan went full circus mode in scoring our first try, juggling a pass, spinning through an attempted tackle and then somersaulting his way towards the tryline; good poise, 8.5.

Overall I thought Bevan showed plenty of class, making 2 linebreaks, 61 metres, breaking through 3 tackles and getting across the line on 3 occasions (the first a try, the second a dubious forward pass call and the third millimetres from being a spectacular four pointer). The Bevan Comeback tour marches on.

3- Michael Jennings

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Jet chased the Corey grubber like a greyhound after a motorised rabbit, and his 8 runs for 83 metres, 2 tackle break attacking game was a solid contribution to the Eels’ collective close call in Cronulla. Still his defensive reads (normally such a strong point for Jenko) in the first half were pretty poor.

4- Brad Takairangi

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

In the modern game, ideally a centre has the quickness and agility to punish rushing defences, being able to put on a quick step either in or away from a charging defender. This is probably Taka’s greatest weakness, as his defence (13 tackles with only one miss) and running game (9 for 77 metres) still very much hold up. It’s not ideal, but he’s doing a job for us keeping Auva’a’s brain explosions out of first grade until Jarryd returns.

5- George Jennings

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Just forget his two errors for a minute. Gennings had 18 runs for 176 metres, 2 tackle breaks, 17 tackles (without a miss) in an almost Semi-like performance. Me want more George.

6- Corey Norman

Five-Eighth, Parramatta Eels

Even though we were poor, even though our game management and kicking was gutter-esque for the first 70 minutes, Corey actually managed to have a pretty good individual game with 7 runs, 64 metres, 3 tackle breaks, 19 tackles, 254 kicking metres and a try assist. Still, our recipe for victory involves possession and building pressure, and that was absent for basically the entire night.

I’m going to file this tweet under “Things we didn’t do for the first 70 minutes“.

To be clear, this isn’t a Corey alone issue, I mean stat wise he did play pretty well. Still Normy is one of three guys (with Moses and Gutho) who have the greatest say in our game plan, and when it starts to fall apart, each need to be a bit keener to grab the wheel and right the ship.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

In the other 70 minutes, Mitch didn’t take the line on and played like cabbage. Not only were Moses’ defensive statistics damning (with 5 missed tackles and a further 2 ineffective), his attacking game read like a boring, spineless, B grade horror movie (1 run for 3 metres). To be clear, I did thoroughly enjoy his second run (for 13 metres) which ended up in an 80th minute try, but as I said above we need less chaos and more calm across 80.

Bonus point for the Moylan taunt, and I don’t blame him for missing the kick, we never should have been in that position.

8- Daniel Alvaro

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Daniel Alvaro – Copy, paste. Although the tackle numbers are great (48 with only 1 miss!), the attacking stats (9 runs for 76 metres) are less than ideal.

Seems to be the same story every week for Polar Bear, and it’s much easier to stomach when we win. Just put him in the middle and let him work.

9- Kaysa Pritchard

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Kaysa’s game tonight felt like a bad second date – I just sat there wondering where the magic of last weekend went.

10- Suaia Matagi

Prop, Parramatta Eels


11- Manu Ma’u

Back Row, Parramatta Eels

Not just his attack, but a couple of really great shots in defence tonight, too. With that said, he did miss 3 tackles.

In other news, I don’t really know how else to say this, but I have reason to believe that Manu Ma’u is actually a cannibal.

12- Tepai Moroea

Back Row, Parramatta Eels

YES TEPAI. The edge running maniac returns, racking up 118 metres from his 13 runs. Get him out of the middle BA, get him wider and watch him thrive. More or Less also threw his hat in the ring for 36 tackles without a miss and went very close to snatching the MVP off his edge back row partner.

13- Peni Terepo

Lock, Parramatta Eels

Peni Terepo made 40 tackles tonight (missing only 2), and had zero errors; so that’s a pass mark in itself for the Butcher. Terepo’s attacking game (9 runs for 82 metres) screams “reliable back up”.


14- Will Smith

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Oh, William; that 43rd minute dummy half mistake cut me up, and the ever so slightly forward pass to Bevan French 10 minutes later rubbed salt into the wound. Tonight’s game was more Wild Wild West than it was Bad Boys or I Am Legend.

15- Kenny Edwards

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I had my head down for a lot of the second half so I admittedly didn’t notice a lot of Kenny out there tonight. I know it took him a while before he made it onto the park, and didn’t actually play in the first 40. Nonetheless in his 35-ish minute stint, the stats tell me he ran for 82 metres from 8 attempts, only made 9 tackles (missing 2) and had a tackle break. Not a bad day’s work.

16- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Nice hustle for the last try David, but the penalty around the 60th minute mark was a bit of a back breaker. The good Dr Gower nonetheless posted some terrific running numbers, going 90 metres from only 8 runs, breaking 2 tackles and getting through 34 tackles of his own. He certainly doesn’t play like a 37 year old, which is great news as he’s only 32.

17- Tim Mannah (c)

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Another vintage performance from Mannah II: Super Sub. Just the 11 runs, 115 metres, 35 tackles and a HIA for Bench Big Cheese. If you’re still blaming him for our losses and he’s blocked you on Twitter, you probably deserve it.


Team Grade

Parramatta Eels

Round 9 was a disappointing collective performance, even if the individual statistics were more than solid and even with the score ending up so close. We can’t be a backs to the wall sort of team every week, particularly in regards to our discipline and defensive intensity.

Knowing what we all knew before kick off regarding the Sharks’ injury toll, I’m still a bit confused as to how we lost that game.

I’m sure I’m not alone in calling it for the Eels – if we don’t beat the Bulldogs next week you can put a line through us for Season 2018.

Let it not be so.

See you then, sports fans.


Go you Eels,



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Can’t argue with those marks the last 5 mins made me angrier then the 1st 70 why can’t we play like that all game.

I drove down from the central coast and back for that game and boy it was brutal to watch.

The season is on life support now and serious questions have to be asked on how we got into this position i won’t express my unpopular views on BAs future but a shift in the clubs culture and structures is needed or its another 10 years till we play finals footy.


Hi gang, Didn’t post for 2 weeks while we were winning. Enjoyed it thoroughly while it lasted! Really am at a loss as to how a performance like that can happen, I agree that the Sharks seemed to switch off – I thought that BA may have planned a late run with Keeping Kenny back and Kaysa off for awhile. There was indeed a late run, but too little too late unfortunately. Matagi should give way for Vave – He’s a bigger body and may be worthwhile as a metre eater if He can hold his own defensively. Although I’ve… Read more »


Vave probably wont play this year hes on the outer and hasnt had a great season for wenty


Only got to see the first 35mins before I had to rush to work, so I won’t Ruan Sims any gradings.. all I will say is if someone wants Matagi pre-June 30 i’d let him go. I said earlier this week he is only good for 1 game decent game a month (manly), followed by a poor game (tigers) and then a terrible game (seems I am Nostradamus). I hope next week he won’t be picked, but if he does, he’ll be slightly better than terrible but still rubbish… that’ll build into his turn for a decent game, which i… Read more »


I read an article with Vave admitting he’d had a poor off-season. I had hoped he may have been playing abit more strongly in the lower grades now – that seems not to be the case. While I’m not sure what we lose by swapping him for Matagi anyway ? Assuming Vave is out of the mix…. Brown comes straight in for terepo at 13 and terepo starts in place of Matagi. That’s what I think will happen. Here’s something; I did notice on the Wenty team sheet Niukore seemed to be starting in the front row – perhaps BA… Read more »


If Marata does not get a chance soon he would surely be looking elsewhere. It’s time to look at him and maybe one other from ISP. I know we lost in wenty but surely its time…..

Colin Hussey

Milo, the old adage about change and what are the criteria’s is often the greatest vexed question in regard to when, and for what reason. Sometimes the value of change just for the sake of it will often mean that its not a good thing. However, when things are not working as they are now, especially when you know that those who are involved are better than they are showing, then change for the sake of it is not the final option but, abjectly necessary. To me, I believe that we have reached the necessary point of being abjectly needed,… Read more »


Col i had to re-read your post as it was v thorough. To me we need some new blood into the team and not just change for the sake of it. I thought when we played Manly we did too if that makes sense as Manly were not mentally in the game and wests seem to have hit a hurdle; having said that at times our team seems mentally to have an issue either discipline wise and or just rolling up the sleeves; also our directions from the halves needs to be looked into. Just my view from here on… Read more »

John Eel

I think that they have the game plan the problem is the lack of discipline to follow it.

I agree it is time to move some on. Problem is how do you replace them. I do not know the players to come and go but it needs to happen.

I do know one thing I have never been a fan of Matangi and never will. Having said that the problem is more than him

Colin Hussey

Milo, The view from up here in the lower Hunter doesn’t look any better, probably more foggy.


Seems like a pea souper Col….


Play an 80 min hooker……therefore Mitch 4 fwds on bench and one who can pass from DH.


Besides Sixties, Kenny has a decent pass and could fill in IMO


In terms of scott i believe a decision on his future will be made in a few weeks leaning towards imminent retirement


Everything that is good, bad and frustrating about our team all wrapped up in one game. Yes our discipline was poor and attacking decisions very poor at times but I knew that game was over after the Sharks first two sets. For any team to work, especially our forward pack without Brown, the starting props need to go forward, be able to stop go forward by dominating some tackles and at least one needs to be that damaging runner. Alvaro and Mannah offer our team so much each week. I could go through every player and offer some criticism but… Read more »

The Captain

I agree with your assessment of Matagi Shelley. He definitely needs to go. But I also don’t think it’s fair to use him as the sole scapegoat. We have a field of Props in our squad and go forward (and stopping opposition go forward) has been an issue for us all season. Both Mannah and Alvaro are typically solid players, but it’s still hard for me to justify the both of them. Looking at, say, the Dragons prop rotation, I’m honestly not sure if any of our props on the field the last few weeks would crack that side. Our… Read more »

The Captain

Poor discipline and poor kicking leading to no posession and gassed defence. It seems to be the script of the year for us. 2 months in and it’s still more of the same. This was a side we beat if we just control the ball and finish sets. And we did neither. Having Gutho on the field rallying the troops is a breath of fresh air but we need some others to step up and show this same attitude. The fact that we can do what we did in the last 10 (and yes I agree the Sharks clocked off)… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Mitch, what was the reason for Kaysa to come off? I have read some reports elsewhere and they indicated that he only got 20 minutes and Smith the remaining. Given you rate both as a C but you give Kaysa a + as well tells me that in a game of 20 minutes he outperformed his replacement for more than twice the game time. Did he succumb to that leg injury that had him limping end of last weeks match? A few questions, apologies. So more questions, and that is the problem not seeing or listening to the game I… Read more »


Captain i agree with most of this – but i look at Norman and someone who’s been with us for a while and i know this is not his fault – entirely. He has to show some leadership in the halves and while his game was ok, i expect him to be consistent each match, with Moses. I also agree that Smith is not suited to hooker against big packs like Cronulla. Our fwds seem to have not improved as a unit and do not seem to be consistent. Errors / discipline and completions are inconsistent. It’s very disappointing and… Read more »


*Parramatta were disgraceful for all but the last 8 minutes.
* Cronulla clocked off after 50 minutes and chose not to take risks.
* parra totally dominated in the forwards yet again.
* sharks without gallan bukuya lewis graham and dugan 5 guns.
We didn’t deserve to win

Season over.
Hope ba will promote his first ever exclusively coached junior ever..
Alvaro in 15 and French in 16 were the last forward & back promotions .


Not an easy watch. Pinged twice in the first few minutes, usually a bad sign for us, false hope from the Bevan French try, then errors, penalties and bad kicking game. Only 40% possession in first half when game slipped away.
Was I seeing things or did the Sharks score the same try 3 times?…by playing fast, deep and creating more attackers, we were lucky Wade Graham disappeared.
Yep, hard one to grade Mitch. Pritchard’s C+ probably a better one than Moses’ who just didn’t fire behind a pack struggling to compete with Cronulla’s second stringers.


Terepo C – by my ratings.
His ill discipline cost the team dearly. It doesn’t matta how hard he runs the ball when he coughs up this stuff.
I was yelling at the tv, get off him ffs Peni! It left us on the back foot from the start of the game and led to Sharks first try and gave them all the momentum.
I’m not sure Timmy has the faith or backing of the playing group right now. We seemed to slide downwards when he came on.
Next year, next year…


That was 2 of us yelling..he lingered a second too long then Fifita scrambled him by fighting hard to get up. Peni, the pocket ref loves to get into the action. Next set penalty on own line, next set Sharks score. Story of our life.

Big Derek

The old adage that backs in footy hang out with real footballers ( forwards) certainly haunt our team. Add to that size does matter and we covered the first 70 minutes of the game. To be honest we were bullied as Fifita dominated the ruck, as did his support act , Sharks backs then played off the front foot with space after quick play the balls. We lack the props that force the defence back to allow a decent back row of Tepai, Mau and Brown to push the edge. TRex was a massive loss, who would have thought that… Read more »


I class myself as an optimistic supporter. Not quite in the sixties class, but very positive about our team and our chances each year. On our TCT season prediction blog, I tipped us to be minor premiers and I thought we had a very easy draw. It was a serious prediction. After 9 rounds, everyone would have to concede we are an average football team at best. Perhaps that is a stretch. Many players have gone backwards this year which much be a tremendous frustration for them and the coaching staff. I am thankful there are a lot of one… Read more »

The Captain

I just wonder where we go with recruitment. It amazes me the team that the Dragons have assembled. They’ve newly bought a lot of great players while managing to retain a lot of great players. Just look at how ravaged they’re going to be by Origin. And they’re one of the clubs who don’t have the Roosters/Broncos salary cap magic. Surely there were thoughts that having a pack of our size was throwing all eggs in one basket and yet Kane Evans was the recruitment answer. We lost Semi with his endless try scoring ability and the recruitment answer was… Read more »


If screw it up then heads will have to role.


A disappointing result. Although I agree with the sentiment that the Sharks fell asleep towards the end, it would be lovely if the team played with the same intensity as the last 10 mins for the whole game. For me, Tepai and Gower were the best. Tepai seemed to break tackles frequently every time he ran the ball. I’d really like to see Moses throw the short ball to him more often close to the opposition’s goal line. I remember this being a great combination in the past, be we seldom see it now. I would also not be against… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Tyler, not a lot to disagree with but I would ask the question in the games that King has played this year, in the NRL and ISP, how many kicks has he produced in each game?


I don,t like an approach to penalise players poor performances–my preference is to mentor them into some acceptable form–I like an approach to reward good performances. I don,t know much about the calibre of our players in the lower grades but think it is time to look to rewarding some of those guys who are legit candidates for first grade.—- who knows —we may come across some players who may introduce something different and maybe a better fit.

Colin Hussey

Tad, I understand where you are coming from, but. If we were back in older days when a fair proportion of players contracts had the win lose draw component in payments, then they have the incentive to win, you win you get more in your pocket. Today players are paid pretty good money when all is said and done. What’s the minimum amount that an NRL player can get? Think its around $90k close to $1700.00 a week, how many general run of the mill jobs pay that much a week? When you then go to the higher paid players… Read more »


Yes Colin some sportsman get well paid compared to other workers– In Europe soccer some players earn a million $ a game–same as USA—-crazy world. I think the way you treat players who have lost form or have lost the full commitment requires more of a tailor made response– Some may need some mentoring to get their mojo others may respond better to stronger response like relegation–What ever the way coaching staff manage players in this situation should have a motivation to find what triggers them to respond by empowering them to succeed . Sometimes the way you manage players… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Maybe there should be a change of tactics. Pick the slackers in the team and have all the others boot them in the butte with steel capped work boots with each one delivering the same number of kicks that the opposition scored overall, not the margin.
Of course it would have to be tactical kicks though.

King Arthur

You have to be joking right? How are they getting such high ratings when they were so poor over 70 mins of the game? You are pretty much judging them based on 10 mins of the game, when they didn’t go to sleep. Very biased opinion.


Mitch, I don’t watch replays of the games later, only judge on what I see first up so can get it totally wrong, but Cronulla’s tries looked like training tries to me, maybe the last one was a bit less perfect, but basically they were the same try. By the time the ball got out near M Jennings territory, you could see we were in trouble…pass, catch and score. Not trying to degrade the Sharks’ build up, but they also seemed to be created in less than half the field,in fact each one was in the bank within about a… Read more »

Colin Hussey

So, for 15 minutes which comprised of 10 at the beginning of the game and 5 at the end, we were ok as far as attack went, that’s less than a quarter of the game that any sort of attack worked, the last 5 being luck against a tired side. Wonderful stuff? Not. Only consolation, if there is any that it seems that the defence while not being great was not too bad, well I have no other way to say it. While the season is not totally shot, I don’t think there are many rounds left that we have… Read more »

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