The Cumberland Throw

Match Day Discussion – Eels vs Knights (Round 13)

Date: Saturday 2nd June
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick Off: 7:35pm
Head Referee: Chris Sutton
Assistant Referee: Gavin Reynolds
Head-to-head: Played 49, Parramatta 21, Knights 27, Drawn 1
Odds: Eels $1.50 Knights $2:65
Broadcast: Foxtel from 7:30pm

Last Four Encounters:
1. Knights 29 def Eels 10, ANZ – Round 23, 2017
2. Eels 20 def Knights 18, Hunter Stadium – Round 12, 2016
3. Eels 28 def Knights 22, Hunter Stadium – Round 7, 2015
4. Knights 42 def Eels 12, Hunter Stadium – Round 25, 2014

The Warm Up:

Two teams which promised so much this season clash for the first time since their pre-season encounter in Maitland. That day, the Eels seemed to herald a big year ahead as they demolished the strongest squad that the Knights had assembled for years.

Although the Knights enjoyed a promising start to the season, the loss of Mitchell Pearce to a long term injury has seen them slip to four successive losses.

The Eels themselves have had little to crow about in a season which has seen them discover new and unwanted ways to lose matches.

Parra were very competitive in their last up loss to the Broncos and had they converted a number of chances, should have walked away with victory. Of course, they didn’t take those chances, so they didn’t win.

The Eels have a significant injury toll, but you can’t help but feel that failure to beat an under-strength Knights would be a significant low in an already poor season.

Newcastle will be looking to do more than just put the ball in Ponga’s hands and hope he creates something (sound familiar Eels fans?).

Parra needs Moses to re-discover his kicking mojo and his skill at reading defensive line numbers.

Having a Punt:

This week’s value bet is for the Parramatta Eels at -1.5 with over 43.5 total match points paying $4.25 via TAB Sportsbet.
The first try favourites are listed below:
Eels: Bevan French & Josh Hoffman $10
Knights: Ken Sio & Shaun Kenny-Dowall $11

Feed Your Footy Brain:

Despite securing three more victories than the Eels, the Knights have a far worse differential – the worst in the league at -132.

The Eels sit in 16th place in attack and have a chance to lift their try tally against the team with the poorest defence in the NRL.


After a string of strong performances in the fullback role for Wenty, Josh Hoffman has earned a recall to the wing – the spot he held down at the start of the season.

It’s a return to the NRL for the Hoff.

The injury to Corey Norman has Bevan French taking up the custodian job that he enjoys so much. Hopefully this will see French far more involved in the match.

Hoffman is likely to carry the ball far more often than French has in recent weeks. His pace is no match for French (few can compare to Bevan) but his experience should stand him in good stead.

The Hoff had some mixed fortunes to begin the year, but he’s been one of Wenty’s best in the last month.

Danger man:

The bleeding obvious (and uninspired) call would be to nominate Kalyn Ponga then provide a link to his attacking showreel.

Instead, I’ll highlight Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

The enigmatic three-quarter is arguably a game breaker for both teams.

Most NRL supporters would acknowledge that the Kiwi International has the capacity to produce the odd error or seven.

Likewise, his height, gait and pace make him a dangerous proposition with the ball in hand. He is especially threatening when chasing attacking kicks, be it via a clean catch or a tap down.

Let’s hope SKD has one of those “special” performances against the Eels.

Team Lists

Eels: 1 Bevan French, 2 Josh Hoffman, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Clint Gutherson (c), 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Siosaia Vave, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Peni Terepo
Interchange: 14 Will Smith, 15 Suaia Matagi, 16 David Gower, 17 Marata Niukore
Reserves: 18 Nathan Brown, 19 Kirisome Auva’a, 20 Jaeman Salmon, 21 Kane Evans

Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Cory Denniss, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Jack Cogger, 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Mitchell Barnett, 13 Aidan Guerra (c)
Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 18 Josh King
Reserves: 18 Luke Yates, 19 Brent Naden, 20 Nicholas Meaney, 21 Patrick Mata’utia

Clint Gutherson vs Connor Watson

This is basically a match of the quality utility backs.

Connor Watson shifted to the Knights after being unable to lock down a spot in the star studded Roosters backline.

Watson’s game is comparable to Gutherson’s via his support play and confident running. Though he’s yet to own a position with the Knights, he’s already taking on a “Mr Fix-it” title at his new club. In this match he can be expected to defer the organisational role to Cogger, which should free him to do what he does best – run the ball.

Just for a change, Gutho features…

Clint Gutherson is arguably the best fullback at the Eels and his captaincy was well suited to that role. However, the combination of Moses and Norman has outright failed to fire in 2018, so over to Gutho to provide the balance in the halves that BA is looking for. It’s not a big attacking stretch to switch from fullback to running five-eighth, but the defensive workload is bound to have its impact.

Gutho was solid if not spectacular against the Broncos. Given this was his first match in the halves since his injury, there was still plenty to admire. Expect his performance to go up a notch this week.

And The Winner Is:

Even with their own injury worries, the Eels look to be much stronger on paper than the Knights. The possible inclusion of Nathan Brown makes them an even stronger proposition.

However, the Eels sit last for a reason – and that reason is their consistent failure to execute on match day.

Based on the listed teams, it’s a comfortable win to the Eels.

Based on 2018 form it’s a toss of the coin.

I’m tipping the Eels in a surprisingly high scoring affair – 38 to 16.

Man of the Match – Mitch Moses

Eels forever!


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HintoThe rev aka SneddensixtiesCappyAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Need a strong start; limit errors and penalties and we will be in this one. Complete at 80%. Like the halves and spine and this could be one we keep…..maybe.


I’m just glad Brownie is (hopefully) back.


My heart says eels but my head can see ponga single handedly tearing us to shreds. Please give us a win boys I’m sick of reliving our losses in my head all weekend

Colin Hussey
Colin Hussey

60’s, gee this is a tough game to call. All things being equal the eels should win, but the knights like the eels are desperate, a win for us retains that very slim hope of a run to the finals, but the knights will want to spoil it have some players that can do just that. Given that they have ex eels players in Sio, & early lost young eel in Bruhrer they can add some spice to the game, likewise SKD can also make some strong gains on the wing and has often been a problem player for the… Read more »

West Coast Eel
West Coast Eel

Hope you’re right with your prediction Sixties. I’d take a win by one.

John Eel
John Eel

The Knights leaked 48 points last week, if we get beaten on Saturday night no amount of spin is going to soften the pain.

Hopefully Browny is right to play even if it is from the bench. Looking forward to see how Bevan goes in his favourite spot at FB.

Stand by for MM to return to form with a MOM performance.

Trouser Eel
Trouser Eel

Build and sustain pressure. We don’t have to score on every set. If we keep that in mind, we’ll smash ’em. Parra by 18

John Eel
John Eel

Patience has been missing most of the season. That was how they built the big score against Manly. Lots of repeat sets and not trying to score off every play.


Brilliant analysis Sixties. We should win as you say, but I have more disappointing memories against the Newcastle Knights than I care to recall. I would add one statistic that you’ve not mentioned and that is we have not beaten the Knights at ANZ. At least it is a far shorter drive home from there if we lost than it would be if the game were played in Newcastle. So, based on that and the fact that I think we will win and agree that Mitch will be man of the match. I’m going to the game to watch our… Read more »

John Eel
John Eel

What is it with Newcastle that we have so much trouble beating them. Their wins are out of proportion to their ability,

Colin Hussey
Colin Hussey

John, I think all teams have a bogey team, often more than one and for some reason the knights seem to lift against the eels. Looking at the game results that 60’s has put up we are even in the wins/loss arena against the kinghts last four matches, thing is that when the knights have beaten us they have been by wider margins.

3 players for the knights will really give us problems Ponga, Sio and SDK. meaning our backs have to really hold them out. SDK could actually be the hardest.

John Eel
John Eel

Colin it is not just recently they have had the wood it is historically. Look at 2001 and Rd 21 last year, bazaar.

The thing about SDK is that he has a lot of errors in his game and that is what needs to be exploited. He is also carrying injury

Colin Hussey
Colin Hussey

Mate, I was primarily looking at the recent lis that 60’s put up. I doubt any eels supporter of the time can ever forget the 2001 GF. The eels were blown away in the first half, thing was they lifted in the 2nd half but fell short. To me if the team can use that game as something to instil the winning influence by saying that this years games from now on are like that second half and come out firing for the whole match. Each of our players especially the backs must have a Ncle players name as a… Read more »

John Eel
John Eel

2001 another master class in coaching by BS


Knights to win I’m afraid. I have no faith in the eels this season.

The rev aka Snedden
The rev aka Snedden

Sixties good write up.
I’m tipping the eels by 14.
Mom Michael Jennings BBF from last weeks shocker.

MM needs to start running at the line when there forwards get tired. We know what he can do but I think MM has forgotten what he can do.

If brown comes back I hope matuagi gets dropped.

Sixties any news on us chasing Brock lamb. That’s the news going around. Once we move Norman on.
Lamb / Moses combo would work well if you ask me.