The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 14 vs Cowboys

  Parramatta Eels 20

 North Queensland Cowboys 14

The Good:
More like Darwon, amirite? Ok, ok don’t stop reading but we had lost 9 of our last 12 against the Cowboys, and as both an Eels and Blues fan Johnathan Thurston has haunted my dreams for many years. It just feels so good to get a win, not only this season, not only in Darwin but over the haunting hoodoo of the North Queensland Cowboys. How sweet.*

* – sweetness measured relative to the context of Season 2018.

As an added bonus, throughout much of tonight I thought we looked both engaged and energetic, two words out of place describing the Eels game last week.

Regardless of what happened in this game, Season 2018 has been and will remain an utter train wreck of a season, but at least we’ll be able to stomach all those NRL shows, segments, podcasts and water cooler conversations this week. No matter how bad it gets, assuming you can escape a game injury free, a win always feels good.

Hey, a 3-11 record is much better than a 2-11 record, and miles better than a 2-12 record. Get happy.

The Bad:
Well, that last four minutes was pretty rubbish, particularly Jarryd’s miss on that Tuala guy souring his otherwise excellent game. I guess with a team like the 2018 Eels, getting the win AND a lesson in concentration could in fact be a benefit.

The 71% completion rates (15 errors) is also less than ideal, although apparently the ball was unusually slippery up there tonight.

This game would have easily taken out the gold medal at the Near Try Olympics. Between Te Maire Martin’s forward pass, Michael Jennings’ dropped ball, Johnathan Thurston’s two forward passes, Justin O’Neil’s dropped ball and Josh Hoffman’s arm grab to deny Kyle Feldt a second time, this game was the Rugby League equivalent of my high school dating record; repeatedly so close but no cigar. I shudder to think what would have happened if a few of those near misses were converted … and in the game tonight, too.

Speaking of near missing conversions, what the hell happened on that first attempt Gutho? Don’t answer that, you’re probably not even reading this.

This has nothing to do with anything, but for some strange reason Brad Arthur watched the second half head on from the cheap seats. Hey, whatever works, coach.

And yes, we won, so you should definitely celebrate with an icy cold Coca Cola and a discounted purchase of sporting merchandise from the good people at:

In this week’s Post Game Eels Deal all readers of TCT can get themselves an Eels Men’s Heritage Jersey (normally $170) for only $99. That is crazy value. Clink on the link, enter the code ‘TCT’ and buy yourself a great jersey for a cracking price. Click it below.

Bernie Gurr discussed in our interview the possibility that this jersey might even become our regular away jersey. Getting it for $99 is ridiculous value, so get on it. Note – I’m told some sizes might need to wait a week for shipping. But good things, those who wait etc.

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

The MVP:


Browny was good, Gennings slightly better; but tonight the MVP goes to the two try, two time, carry-over-welcome-back-champ Jarryd Hayne in a terrific return to form.

All aboard.

1- Bevan French

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Now that he’s had another shot at fullback that’s lasted for more than 3 minutes, I can safely say I thought Bevan was pretty good tonight. I was particularly impressed with that classy offload for Jarryd early in the second half, and it’s always good seeing his over the top, head fake dummy employed in a Rugby League game.

As a fullback Bevan’s never really struggled with the high ball, and when the chances are there his speed gives him the capacity for an outstanding supporting game; I just think for Bev it’s a matter of bringing it all together with a consistently threatening running game. French Fries had an impressive 6 runs for 69 metres, but if you minus kick returns, only 3 runs for 30 of those metres were in general play. He also had one of those Bevan French moments where a larger frame would probably have avoided his getting rolled back into the in goal area. Still, if that’s the worst thing he did tonight (2 missed tackles was also on the podium), then you’d have to say he did more than alright.

2- Josh Hoffman

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Sure he was beaten for Kyle Feldt’s first try, but he denied the same man a certain four pointer in the second half. One in each column; that’s even stevens for the Hoff.

3- Michael Jennings

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

I gave Jenko an F last week, and as I mentioned above he then goes ahead and adds the third notch to his blatantly blown tries belt. In some ways he recovered by scoring the match winner (yes, I am aware of how bitter that sentence sounds) but unless he’s considering emulating Jarryd’s foray into the NFL, he’s gotta learn to put the ball down over the line.

Luckily his defensive quality returned this week, with the Jennings boys turning in some pretty solid efforts tonight. The extent to which that was the Jennings boys and not the Cowboys’ inept attack remains to be seen.

4- Jarryd Hayne

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Feels like the first game we’ve actually seen Jarryd play comfortable Rugby League again, and boy it felt good. The Prodigal Son has returned. Again.

Jazz made a huge difference to the team’s collective performance tonight, not only scoring his first try (again) in Blue & Gold, but also in doing the little things right, like putting Coote off to allow the Eels to steal a try early in the second.

Jarryd Hayne had 14 runs, 130 metres, a line break, 3 tackle busts and two very nice tries. Despite what I may or may not have said about him in the past, it feels so good to have him back.

5- George Jennings

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Gennings got down and dirty on his Top End themed birthday party with 22 freakin hit ups, 176 running metres, 8 tackle busts and a nasty ass try tonight. In fact he had twice as many tackle busts as he made tackles (4); that stat is more quirky than it is actually meaningful.

You know what I’d like for my birthday? The Eels to re-sign George Jennings.

6- Clint Gutherson (c)

Five-Eighth, Parramatta Eels

The King threw an absolutely cracking ball for George Jennings’ try to open the second half, one any established half would be proud of. Sure, he made a late error as the Eels repelled the Cows set after set, but it also illustrated his willingness to be active in the play. Keen for the King to run the ball more, with only 6 for 59 metres tonight, but the 2 try assists are an excellent result for our ever improving half.

7- Corey Norman

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Corey needed a big game to block out some of the negative press he’s recently received. To be honest with two kicks out on the full, another kick into the back of retreating Cowboy and 4 overall errors (including an unfortunately timed drop after a Gennings half break out of our end), it’s probably more true to say the Eels won in spite of Corey, rather than because of him. To Normy’s credit he did put up the bomb that Hayne caught for his second try, and although his 5 runs led to 2 tackle breaks, they only somehow resulted in 21 running metres in total. I guess you could argue he’s trying, but it’s just not clicking for him at the moment. He was also probably still better than Johnathan Thurston tonight, so that’s something.

8- Daniel Alvaro

Prop, Parramatta Eels

A quieter offensive game from Polar Bear (11 runs for 79 metres, albeit with 2 tackle breaks) was once again offset by a monster 40 tackles in D.

9- Cameron King

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

More important than anything Kingy did on the park tonight (1 run, 18 tackles) is this poignant question:

Side note:

Hey Cameron.

10- Peni Terepo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

You know I like 11 runs for 100 metres, 3 tackle breaks and 28 tackles as much as the next bloke, but …

Stop the drop, Peni. Stop the drop.

17- Marata Niukore

Back Row, Parramatta Eels

Hukuna Marata!

Although this isn’t surprising being his first NRL start, I thought tonight was the first time Marata looked legitimately comfortable as an NRL player. Tonight he was more than just a good prospect, or a potential talent, to me it seems that tonight was the night he showed he really belonged on the big stage. It wasn’t just the 59 minutes, the 10 hit ups for 102 metres, or the 25 tackles. It was more so his diving on loose balls, his consistently good outside in lines and his willingness in defence.

This won’t be the best game Crunch ever plays, but tonight Niukore did everything possible to help us miss Manu Ma’u a little less. Kudos, big fella.

12- Brad Takairangi

Back Row, Parramatta Eels

Bradley destroyed Johnathan Thurston’s will to live early in the second half, and for that, we can all be thankful. Again, I thought his workrate was excellent (10 runs, 93 metres, 3 tackle breaks and 24 tackles) and you could see him targeting JT all night; it was beautiful.

PS – How about that ridiculous offside penalty from the kick off with 40 seconds to go?! What a time to be alive.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

Listen, and understand. That terminator Nathan Brown is out there. He can’t be bargained with. He can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. – Kyle Reese, The Terminator (1984).

Tying Gennings with a team high 22 hit ups, Cyborg got through 172 metres himself, along with a stupefying 46 tackles. It seems Nathan’s making up for lost time with another out of this world performance.


14- Reed Mahoney

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Fatigue induced mistakes aside, that’s a pretty cracking great debut from the young bloke.

I was as surprised as anyone BA gave him 52 minutes out there, but the 20 year old prodigy did not disappoint with great ruck service, 36 tackles and 3 probing runs from dummy half for 26 metres.

With all that said, it’s a little off putting how much this photo looks like Clint Gutherson and his biggest fan on “Dress As Your Hero” Day at your local high school.

Welcome to the NRL, Reed “Cash” Mahoney.

15- Tim Mannah (c)

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

It blows my mind that people are still clambering to call for Tim Mannah’s retirement; do you people even league? Just the 3 tackle breaks, 9 runs, 84 metres and 29 tackles without a miss tonight. That’s a vintage game off the bench from Big Daddy.

16- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Gowie got through 9 runs, 82 metres of yardage, 2 tackle breaks and 24 tackles. You done good, David. You done good.

18- Siosaia Vave

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Siosaia had 9 runs for 70 metres and 11 tackles. That’s as about as exciting as it got before he was put on report for a cannonball style tackle. End scene.

A little something to celebrate over the long weekend, and a nice boost before our one and only 5 day turnaround in Season 2018.

See you Thursday night at ANZ Stadium, sport fans.

Go you Eels,



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

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Gem KM
Gem KM

Nice one Mitch. I know Corey was average tonight but his effort was good, which was what was missing a couple of weeks ago. If anything, he tried his hand a little too much, but that probably happens when you’re low on confidence. Hopefully the win is a good thing not just for him but everyone. It was ugly as hell but a win is a win and against as side that was just as desperate not to lose as us, we’ll take it I reckon. Super impressed with the “thick little fella” (thanks Gaz) on debut and glad he… Read more »

John Eel
John Eel

Having endured such a wretched year any win is worth celebrating as a fan. I think it will help the players also. Having said that the heomoraging of those two try’s at the end was disappointing. Apart from the great play (for the most part) from JH was the good debut from Mahoney, I thought he was good. I am not sure all the players were on the same page when he put the kick up but it showed confidence. I also thought Gutho was better tonight as well. I think that the find of the season for us is… Read more »


George Jennings is almost on par with Guth and Brown for me. Happy with his performances pretty much every week. Crucial we resign him.

One thing I did notice on the broadcast was BA ripping into Hoffman after the match. Looked furious I’m guessing over the last tackle attempt from he and bev

The rev aka Snedden
The rev aka Snedden

Good to see I was right in my mom award … Something told me he (hayne) was in for a big game. I need to watch the game b4 I agree or disagree with ratings sixties. I didn’t watch the game as I was with my cancer stricken mother in hospital.



The Cows did an Eels on the Eels (ref calls and all), the frustrating part was that we did our best at times to match them, but stayed in the match.Maybe blame it on the humid conditions. We rarely had to defend repeat sets and Mahoney, Gutherson and Takairangi all pressured JT enough to blunt him, although he did create 4or 5 good chances. Other than the last 3 minutes, my ‘oh no’ moment was when we went to 14-4 with 20 minutes to go and proceeded to error up in 3 consecutive sets. Composure would have seen us put… Read more »


I agree with all the grades. In truth I wanted to see effort, pride and some determination. The fact Norman looked annoyed when he made mistakes is much better then what we witnessed in the Warriors game. I personally thought Brown was MVP, he is so aggressive in defense. I am also becoming convinced that Jarryd genuinely cares about Parra, he showed lots of effort and encouragement last night. As good as Brown and Jarryd played Bevan gave me the most joy. To see him smile and look like he was having fun and talking in defense was a far… Read more »


I reckon you’ve found the title for your post this week Shelley – the vibe!


Well marked Mitch. How you were able to split the 3 Amegos is a credit to your scholastic pugilism. You certainly show all the hallmarks of an accomplished “school teacher”. Which brings me to an equally puzzling tag I received recently when I gave a colleague my hand written prep notes for a report/proposal I was in the process of. His response? “You write like a girl”! I wasn’t sure how to take that, “Teach”! I was not surprised though, to see the team perform with such confidence last night, in-spite of the many forced and unforced team and positional… Read more »


To write like a girl is a compliment – their handwriting is always more legible!
A teacher needs to be able to find a way of assessing.
Tim and Jarryd share something that is also important – their passion for the Eels jersey.


Lots of positives mostly Reed and the teams defense up untill the final 5 mins. It was a bludger of a game by 2 bottom of the table teams but a win is a win


I’m pretty sure nobody is oblivious to the number of errors. We agree there Offside, take the win any day and look to take confidence from it.