The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 12 at Brisbane

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 10

 Brisbane Broncos 18

The Good:
Man, remember when Post Game Grades were happy go lucky, full of fun times and laughter kinda read? After this many losses I feel like I’m trying to write jokes for a eulogy.

In many ways, tonight was just a continuation of everything that’s already gone wrong in 2018. We just have an incredible knack to drop the ball or end up on the wrong side of a 50/50 call at the most inopportune times. At least we didn’t get any more injuries.

However, you cannot tell me the players didn’t bust their guts trying to get a win.

Sixties messaged me at full time and was able to concisely nail what I was thinking:

That sort of effort will win you more games than it’ll lose.

So before you tell me the players don’t care, before you tell me they are not responding to Arthur’s coaching, take a look at how shattered they all were at full time tonight and then check some of our hit up stats in the notes below.

We tried hard, but unfortunately trying hard doesn’t always win games of football.

The Bad:
This is blunt, but we need to face up to the fact that we are not executing very well. At all. We are coming last in attack across the NRL, and standard backline plays are fooling absolutely no one. That Jennings line, the Corey cut out, the second phase play, the scoots from dummy half? That’s Parra backing themselves; but that sort of confidence is just so tough to have consistently when you’re 2-10.

If you’ve been reading Grades for a while you’ll know I detest ref bashing, and I do not think fans are turning away in drives as a result of questionable calls. I think the Bunker generally gets calls right (despite the occasional howler), and outside of a couple of referees I think the vast majority do a good job under incredible pressure. But tonight, I think the balance was a bit off, and it did not favour the away team. To be clear, I know Norman’s pass was forward and Taka did step in front of Jordan Kahu. David Gower’s knock on was 50/50, as was the first Jennings no try. So I don’t actually mind the calls the refs are making, I just don’t think the Broncos conceded penalties in the same fashion as we did. That’s all I’ll say, I’m sure they’ll be plenty of comments below who take it a couple of steps further. However, please just keep it relatively civil as my mother reads these posts.

Hey Mum.

X-Factor:
Shout out to all the people reminding me we’ve only won two games; thanks for that. It’s disappointing soul crushing as a passionate Eels fan, but the players haven’t given up. Rather than abuse them, maybe as fans we should do our best to admire their heart in the face of obvious adversity. We know the execution is off, we know we’re not where we want to, expected or should be. We get it. But don’t tell me they don’t care, not after tonight’s game.

Just quickly, I thought it was the right play to take the 2 when we were down by 8, and I thought we should have taken it again when we were down by 8 a second time. Don’t @ me.

I don’t know what was happening with Anthony Milford’s kicking game tonight, but his gifting us two 7 tackle sets was very much appreciated. With that said, we lost the game so I’m sure he’s not losing sleep.

Ok so we lost again, but in more pleasing news, this post is sponsored by the good people at:

Welcome to this week’s Post Game Eels Deal. This round all readers of TCT can get absolutely anything for 20% off, site wide. TCT readers also get free shipping on all orders over $100. Just be sure to use the code ‘take20off’ at the Checkout. 

It’s win, win – treat yourself a huge discount on something nice; whether that be a polo, the new Indigenous jersey or a NSW Blues 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:

 

Despite yet another loss, this is actually a difficult decision. This is like choosing my favourite child (it’s my middle son Cooper, by the way).

Your mates Manu and Peni Terepo both once again had stellar games, but it was Alvaro’s crazy work rate on both sides of the ball that gave him the nod over the other two candidates for MVP this week.

You the MVP Polar Bear, you the real MVP.

Edit – At one point I did give this award to Ma’u, but was alerted to his poor miss for the Roberts try (I was putting my son to bed at that moment and didn’t want to see a replay). Manu still had a great game, but Alvaro edges him as a result of said moment. Whoever lets Manu know, let him down easy.

1- Corey Norman

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Yeah, I blurted this out on Tuesday and I’ll say it again – I liked the swapping move if it keeps Corey’s price up (assuming the rumours are true) and it gives one of our halves complete control. With that said, it unsettles me to think that our best kicking options and all our almost try assists came from Corey’s hand. We need more from Mitch (see below), and I was kinda hoping Corey would look disinterested tonight. He didn’t.

His 15 runs (only 6 of these were kick returns), 167 metres, 4 tackle breaks were pretty on song. I’d be willing to give the swap another week at least.

Ugh, this feels like it’s going to get messy.

2- Bevan French

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Good early scoot from a Taka offload and a great bootlaces tackle on the ever dangerous James Roberts, but was unfortunately outjumped by super rookie Jamayne Isaako for the Broncos opener.

Bevan responded to last week’s tongue lashing from the fan base with a much more involved 10 runs for 108 metres, a tackle break and, well, 3 tackles. At least he didn’t miss any of them.

I’d still like to see him take on some tired forward towards the back end of each half. Something to spark us.

In conclusion, a much better game; please consider this par from now on Mr French.

3- Michael Jennings

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

So the other Jet (as opposed to Jimmy the Jet Roberts) had a team season high 9 tackle breaks (those are crazy numbers) to go with his 12 runs for 126 metres and 20 tackles across the 80 minutes. Those alone are pretty great stats, Jenko. Actually they’re great stats.

But …

A sin binning and an (unfortunate) drop over the try line doesn’t make for a great first half, nor does a second drop over the other try line later in the night, or his 2 conceded penalties. One of those “statistics doesn’t show the quality of the game” games, tonight from Michael.

You could argue his binning cost us a Broncos try, and his two drops costs us two of our own. That’s 12 points (not counting conversions) left out on the field for no good reason, or 8 if you give him the benefit of the doubt on one of those tries. I feel for you, but just don’t allow it to be stripped, Mike.

Jenko’s game in a nutshell.

4- Brad Takairangi

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Taka has found himself as a quasi winger, taking those first and second carries after a kick reception, seemingly in Bevan French’s place. A tenacious 11 runs for 113 metres, 2 tackle breaks and a clean sheet 11 tackles without a miss is the statistical equivalent of a wholesome night out with a nice girl.

Still Bradley, if I see you kick the ball whilst crabbing across the field one more time, I swear to the sweet heavens I will … well, to be honest I won’t do anything because you are like 6 foot 4. I will probably just resort to writing a strongly worded tweet.

Consider yourself warned, gigantic footballer.

5- George Jennings

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

An intercept certainly has its way of padding even the lamest of stats, but George’s game high 204 metres and 2 tackle breaks from his 13 carries is a terrific day at the office, however you slice it.

6- Clint Gutherson (c)

Five-Eighth, Parramatta Eels

This cuts me up to say this, and it might be a case of his ridiculously high standards, but I thought Gutho was pretty quiet tonight. I don’t think I’ll ever fault his effort, or his statistical output (10 for 122m, 3 tackle breaks and 19 tackles), but he just didn’t spark the team like we know he can.

I should probably cut the bloke some slack; he and his knee are not actually expected to be really 100% until the start of 2019. And he does have a terrific head of hair.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

I guess it’s a low bar when you’re the worst attacking team in the comp, but I thought our attack looked alright tonight, certainly better than it did last week.

With that said, Mitch had both a good short kicking game to force a drop out when we were down a man, and a terrible tendency to bomb the ball for almost no reason or recallable result. There was also that mistimed 3rd tackle kick in our first set in the second half, combined with a couple of other head scratchers.

Seems some are back to searching for that week in, week out consistency from Mitch, but at the moment I’m much more interested in how well he can read a game for a full 80 minutes. Just kick it to the corners for starters, mate.

Your name might be Moses, but Eels fans aren’t going to put up with a full 40 years of wandering in the desert, so you best figure it out soon, my son.

8- Daniel Alvaro

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Another starting prop for the Eels goes off for a HIA – drink.

Some great attacking charges early in the second half from The Polar Express and his end of game stats are pretty ridiculous from a bloke I’ve recently criticised for not producing running stats. A slap-in-my-face 128 running metres from only 11 carries, a tackle break and his run of the mill (stupefying) 48 tackles from the starting prop (with only 2 misses). Shut up Danny Boy, that’s crazy.

9- Cameron King

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Kingy tried hard when he was out there, but he wasn’t really out there enough.

10- Sioaia Vave

Prop, Parramatta Eels

This bloke has so much bulk they only stock him at Costco. Viva la Vave had a powerful 6 runs for 77 metres, had 2 tackle breaks and made 15 tackles without a miss. He also had the Eels’ only line break. A good effort from the big fella.

11- Manu Ma’u

Back Row, Parramatta Eels

Manu Ma’u went off for 16 runs, 172 running metres, a tackle break and 34 tackles, but did miss a crucial tackle for the James Roberts try.

Here’s one for the scrapbook:

Manu is scary and sometimes works in mysterious ways. All I’m saying is that last week Manu winked at me and now my wife has the flu; you do the math.

12- Tepai Moroea

Back Row, Parramatta Eels

Great cover tackle to knock the ball free from Kodi Nikorima’s grasp in the 25th minute. A very solid 9 runs for 90 metres, a tackle break, 41 tackles and no HIAs is the good; it’s just the 4 missed tackles that need to come down. Still, a much better showing from More or Less.

13- Peni Terepo

Lock, Parramatta Eels

It’s easy to pick on the bloke for the dropped ball,

Yeah, we were going well, we were building pressure … and then Peni dropped it ..“, it’s the low hanging fruit in The Butcher’s game. But I tell you what, he is thriving in every other department over the past month.

Another cracker statistically with 12 runs, 139 metres, 5 tackle busts and 33 tackles. That (above) was also his only error. I think he’s getting better with age, or something.

My heart is black, except for Peni Terepo. He lights up my life.

Interchange

14- Will Smith

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Will Smith is a great back up dummy half, but rely on him too much and those accidental forward passes become all too common; as do the team high 5 missed tackles. To be clear, I’m very glad he’s our 14, but I think all and sundry (including the man himself) will agree he should never be our 9.

15- Suaia Matagi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Let me be clear, his stats were great. Matagi had 9 runs for a whopping 112 metres, 3 tackle breaks, and 16 tackles. Still, I can’t help but remember that early second half moment when we were building nicely only for The Bear to be the one to drop it cold. Team wide, these mistakes cannot keep happening, whether we are expecting the ball or not. Rocks, meet diamonds.

16- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Take your apple a day, but you won’t keep this doctor away. The good Dr Gower had 14 runs for 128 metres, a tackle break and 29 tackles this evening. More than we could ask for or expect from a veteran bench forward; he is very much doing the job for us during a shocking run of injuries.

17- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Had a terrific first hit up, but still working his way into NRL match fitness. In almost identical figures to last week (4 for 38 metres, 12 tackles), Hakuna Marata this week contributed 4 runs for 34 metres, and 12 tackles. Spooky.

I’m not sure what the plan is for the big unit, but I hope it involves more minutes when his body is up to it; I like the look of his game.

 

I figure it’s easier to enjoy reading Post Game Grades if you simply lower your standards.

 

All we can do now is give the same effort (ideally better execution) in Round 13.

It’s back to ANZ next week as we take on the Newcastle Knights. See you then, sports fans.

 

Go you Eels,

Mitch.

 

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Photos courtesy of the Parramatta Eels. Stats courtesy of Champion Data.

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Disco Lad
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Disco Lad

Everything is such a mess so I’ll leave all that for the back of my brain for the coming months but all I know is Matagi needs to go. Been saying that since his one good game this year against Manly and after that game I said don’t be fooled by him turning up he will let you down 9 times out of 10. Also what’s everyones thoughts on French? We need him in the middle worrying tired defence but even then he can never just go forward and take the line on hopefully he’ll get over that. If Norman… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Matagi,s contract and parra career finishe end this season so yeah, french ,ive always said the game has to find french because he dosent go looking for it and i think the salmon will be in the water very soon .

Cappy
Guest
Cappy

Mitch off topic can you explain why Bernie makes a big deal in changing our jerseys and we have already given up on the yellow striped away jersey not worn since rd 2.
I’ve never known a jersey to be on the scrap heap so soon why would eel fans consider buying this when Bernie who wanted it has ditched it by April.
It’s quite embarrassing after his big speech about identity in November at the jersey launch.

Hearndo
Guest
Hearndo

I can’t understand how Moses’s kicking game was so amazing this time last year, particularly his long kicking game, but be so frustrating this year.
Kick to the corners. Chase hard and collectively. Build pressure. Repeat.

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

Brother it’s called confidence if you don’t have it anything n everything will n does go wrong in so many ways. I think it’s time we say good bye to Norman n say hello salmon. N shift gutherson back to fullback. N if French wants to sook then bye French. Bring in Hoffman until we get a new winger hooker n another prop. I’m hearing we are chasing sue n not the lady sue from the tigers. From what I’m told his not happy with the amount of game time his getting at Ivan’s bus depot. His the kid at… Read more »

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

Can’t fault anyone’s effort tonight but nobody can tell me that BA has told Moses, just bomb the crap out of them, or told Norms to just lob it to the fullback. Aaaaagghh.
We were 2 dropped balls away from a win tonight. Or 2 better efforts by the refs. Or 7-8 better kicks.
I’m still looking forward to going to the Knights game.

JonBoy
Guest
JonBoy

I have to agree. I am absolutely dumbfounded by our kicking game!!! I’ve been to Saleyards and watched Corey practice floaters. Mitch has it in his repottoiure (sic) so why…I plead, why are we still persisting with end over end and mid field bombs.

DDay
Guest
DDay

An improved effort and for greater minutes, a step forward and closer to the next win. The tries conceded were relatively soft and agree Mitch we had little luck with the 50/50 calls. We should have Hayne back next week and that may help the attack – an injection of Hayne belief in the backline and maybe some of his magic might be the little lift required (remembering the cut-out ball to the winger against Manly sparked the team to a rare win in 2018). The Eels are good chance for a win against the Knights if they can build… Read more »

West Coast Eel
Guest
West Coast Eel

It’s just not our year. Very frustrating. We are never gonna get the 50/50 calls when we sit at the bottom of the ladder. We had a go last night. We play like that for the rest of the year and we’ll win more than we lose. That will at least get us off the bottom of the ladder, which is all we can hope for now.

Kual Pent
Guest
Kual Pent

Nothing makes me yell at the tele more then when moses gets the ball on the 5th tackle and bombs it 🤬

yaya
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yaya

My biggest criticism all year has been that our forwards weren’t “laying a platform” for our halves to perform. Last night all of our big boys did a great job. The view I have now is that our biggest problem is actually lacking creativity in the opposition 20. Who’s shoulders does that fall on? For me the halves aren’t creating opportunities. Even during prior games when oppositions have made mistakes and gifted us territory when our forwards were struggling we couldn’t capitalise. I think to some extent BA takes some blame for this too. No doubt in my mind BA… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

His tactics set us up for four trys all of which were bombed , no blame there!

A.B.
Guest

I have to agree with nearly everything said above and I actually liked the way we were playing. e.g. not so many dumb penalties, forwards having a real go, tackle breaks and running hard from the backs, relatively good defence for the majority of the game. I actually think our forwards have been unfairly criticised in the past as for long periods of games we camp in the opposition’s 20 and come up with nothing. Not the forwards fault but a severe lack of creativity, execution and purpose from our halves. Yes the forwards may not be dominating other teams… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Mitch overall I pretty much agree with all you said here, but for me while we deserve much better results than we are achieving, and we all see things differently I am of the belief that there is still a need for some changes in the team. Norms had a better game than most of his others this year, but in some respects wasted at the back, we need him to get back to his abilities in line kicking especially the 40/20 ones. Moses needs to be told if he wants to continue as the dominant half then he has… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Agree with your choice of word transition and i think we are very very close. 2019 cap and crap nearly fixed bar jennings , thats normy gone =$. Beau gone =$ jennings last stone around ba,s neck and fullspeed then colin , been hampered for 5seasons cleaing up everyones mistakes , might add odd 1 of his own .

Longfin Eel
Guest
Longfin Eel

Do you think Norman is playing fullback temporarily to get his mojo back? I didn’t get to see the whole game, but from what I saw he looked like a 5/8 playing fullback, which is a good thing for him. He is first and foremost a fullback and likely feels more comfortable there, hence the reason for the shift to work on aspects of his game. I reckon he will play there another couple of games then shift back to 5/8. Thoughts?

BDon
Guest
BDon

As they say, we re just not winning the big moments: 1) can’t believe the bunker couldn’t see a deliberate push to the back of the ball for Jennings near-try. Hard to justify’ loose carry/in the normal course of a tackle’ when the tacklers hand got it so perfect. 2)Morris to Morris v Bulldogs was a shorter pass but no different to Norman to French. Norman’s pass was dead set flat leaving his hands. 3)Manu Mau pushed across, stayed in the hunt after a strong set by Broncs forwards but went for a high grab and got palmed. He looked… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

I think that Mitchels game last night was one of his worst for this season and Corey’s one of his best. For Corey it was almost as though he was auditioning for a new club.

Have to disagree with you Mitch (second time in 2 weeks) over the Jennings no try. It was played at by the Broncos defender so should have been play on, so therefore a try.

Hope he keeps the spine the same again next week, worked OK should work better second time around. Also Mitch can only improve on that lot.

Big Derek
Guest
Big Derek

I think the C given to both hookers is far too generous, neither them or Kaysa are good NRL standard and it is becoming glaringly apparent that it is a position that has so much influence on the game, and they basically have none. Poor passes, little speed of play, no recognition when to run and no kicking game make tackling their only contribution. It’s critical that the club gets a 9 for next season, very difficult to see improvement with what we have. They wouldn’t make NRL at any other club, the forwards did well last night and still… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Big Derek… I would like to see Mahoney given a shot, thing is like Marata he is still ISP quality, he certainly needs to continue to show his quality, Marata needs more time in the top side and he will improve, that means being selected and playing longer minutes. Regarding Kaysa, He first game back in the 9 spot we lost, then he was in the teams we won, he gives much more to the team than King, King when he took over last year after his injury showed some good stuff, sadly to me he has lost it this… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

9 is our achilles heel ,weve got good fill ins ,kaysa ,smith etc but no leader , how i miss degoiss

Tad
Guest
Tad

I thought we played well despite a few stuff ups–most teams have those –its part of the game–Bad luck was a big factor. Tepai and Alvaro probably played their best games I have seen them play. The significant changes with Gutho and Norman worked well and will improve a lot as the y adapt to new positional changes. Where do we go for growth? Use your own unique talent but study and learn from the masters 1 Love French very dangerous–For him to get to his full potential as a fullback I would like to see him study the masters.… Read more »

Parramatta Tragic
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Parramatta Tragic

“I figure it’s easier to enjoy reading Post Game Grades if you simply lower your standards.” Also an excellent recipe for marriage. The great Warren Buffet was once asked at a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, a random question “what should I look for in a marriage partner?” The great man thought for a minute and replied “marry a woman who has low expectations”. That said, maybe we find a way to get French into playing dummy half in attack so he can scoot out at will. I think that would make him and us very dangerous indeed. He would need… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

PT, I like that idea with French, even if he did not go to DH he could be seen just browsing near the play rather than staying on the wing, he has the fleet feet to make a bust and score, initial and long run speed is something he does have.
If he does the unexpected could be great.

Big Pete
Guest
Big Pete

The team are playing their hearts out however some of the members are not pulling their weight.. We need to support the ball player with passing options, kicking for position not just up in the air and finally plan what we are going to do once we get into their 10 mtr zone.
Sorry but I thought he could do anything with a ball last season but now know Mitch Moses must improve his game and complete more tackles.

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

Good write up Mitch. I agree with you on there ratings except gower his should be an A I think he is doing a outstanding job coming off the bench. I think parra should give him another 1 yr contract. N I don’t mean just to play for Wenty. Gennings …is it me or is G Jennings faster then Michael. The bronco’s players gave up the chase at the 50metre line. Like who stops chasing with 50 metres to go. The polar bear. The commentary team gave him huge raps mainly joey johns. I have to agree every time he… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Rev. Agree, Gower really is a key part of the playing group, he should be in the team somewhere even when we get some back from injuries, IM,Humble,O he is also worth another contract as well. I was also surprised at Gennings speed, even Roberts gave up on him, I commented on this somewhere above also and for me why is he and Bev not getting the ball, much criticism of Bev not going in but this try from George show if you stay in your right spot you can score. RE Alvaro I do not understand why he has… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Rev, Colin I like your. Comments, Gower is one that I wrote off last year. Thought he had given his best but he has been good in every game he has played this year. Have to say he may be worth another contract next year if he is willing. This however is on the proviso that others are let go. Still need to leave room for some newbys like Stone. In 2016 he had a great year and since I have been a fan of Peni Terepo. Last year he was a bit ordinary but this year he looks fit… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

John, I agree and believe Gower may go round again, I doubt he will take a top spot and players like Stone will be the future, thing that Gower offers is real reliability, a perfect back up player when situations call for, and like we are in now. Players like him provide very good and affordable insurance in case of injury’s