The Cumberland Throw

Roster Ruminations – Parra Player Predictions

What will the Parramatta 2019 roster look like? Will it be different enough or strong enough to drive the Eels from cellar dwellers to top 8 contenders?

The next few months should clarify which players have been retained, who’s been released and the names of the younger players elevated into the top squad. We can be patient and wait for the announcements or team list profiles to appear on the official website, but where’s the fun in that?

Therefore, I’m going to throw my hat into the ring to examine the decisions around the 35 player roster for next season. Because most NRL squads like to keep a roster spot up their sleeve for a mid season signing, I’m not going to list a 36th player. Please note that I’m including the possible rookie contract players in this list, given that the NRL is considering a change to the NRL eligibility of these players.

But here’s the problem. There will be 38 players named below, and I’m suggesting that up to six more names could be added. It doesn’t add up.

Newly Contracted (7 roster positions)

Paulo, Lane, Ferguson, Sivo
I have no names (though there are rumours on social media), but I’m tipping a further three potential signings. I’d suggest this could be two forwards and a back.

update – Andrew Davey reportedly added – back rower Townsville Blackhawks

Elevated Players including rookies (9 – 15 roster positions)

My Definites – Kaufusi, Mahoney, Salmon, Stone, D. Brown, Utoikamanu, Dunster, Fainga’a, Parry

My Possibles – Afualo, Dresler, Schneider + up to 3 others

Contracted NRL players (17 players)

Alvaro, N. Brown, Evans, French, Gutherson, Hoffman, M. Jennings, Leleisiuao , Mannah, Ma’u, Moeroa, Moses, Niukore, Norman, Smith, Takairangi, Terepo

Likely to Extend But Unconfirmed (4 players)

Gower, Hayne, G. Jennings, Pritchard

Unknown

D. Aukafolau (2017 Rookie)

Gowie is a fine mentor for younger players.

I’m very confident that Gower, Hayne, Jennings and Pritchard will have a deal sorted or announced in the near future. There are also some question marks surrounding the final number of elevated players. I think we can lock in somewhere between 9 and 15 players, but this will be dependent on what happens with the contracted players.

I have not listed any player still without a contract for 2019 – they might be negotiating an extension, but there has been little mail suggesting this to be likely.

Given my confidence that at least 9 young players will be elevated into the top squad, I’d suggest that a minimum of six names will disappear from the lists above. Even if I remove the three rookie contract possibles along with Aukafolau, it still leaves the likelihood that two contracted players might be released.

I’ve gone on record with my belief that the Eels cannot enter the 2019 season with both Moses and Norman in the halves. That could be a likely roster change.

The question then remains whether they consider the size of the contract, the depth in the position, or the quality of the individual when deciding on other potential releases. If the club chases a marquee signing, this could impact the decision to either free up cap space or shed excess players in a position.

Looking at the roster from another perspective might help with finalising the squad. Accordingly, here’s a depth chart to shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of positions.

Forwards
Middle – Paulo, Utoikamanu, Alvaro, N .Brown, Mannah, Terepo, Evans, Gower, Dresler (possible rookie) plus likely signing
Middle/Edge – Lane, Kaufusi, Moeroa
Edge – Ma’u, Niukore, Takairangi, Stone, Fainga’a, plus likely signing
Dummy Half – Mahoney, Pritchard, Schneider (possible rookie)

Backs
Back 3 – Hayne, Ferguson, French, G. Jennings, Hoffman, Sivo, Leleisiuao, Parry, Dunster (Aukafolau?)
Centres – Gutherson, M. Jennings, Afualo (possible rookie) plus likely signing
Halves – Moses, Norman, Salmon, Smith, D. Brown

 

Who backs up Mahoney?

Analysing possible roster changes from this perspective, it looks as if the Eels are short on specialist centres (though some back three players are possible selections) and dummy halves. They could recruit in these areas.

Conversely, Parra seem to have the back three positions well covered and might look to clear roster space there. Rumours that French is on the move have circulated on social media and Hoffman is approaching the end of his career. Perhaps one of these two might not be with the Eels in 2019.

In a market which has been relatively scant in free-agent players, the Eels have picked up some decent signings. However, they should not be finished with their roster just yet. I’ve tipped three more players will be added but another impact forward must be a priority. If none become available then we need to blood Utoikamanu early in the season.

How patient are you feeling Eels fans? Are you champing at the bit to hear more signing news? The NRL finals will rightly be the focus of attention over the next three weeks, but out in the golden west, I can’t help but feel that interesting if not challenging decisions are being made.

I suspect all will be known before November 1. Incredibly, that’s not that far away!

 

Eels forever!

 

Sixties

 

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John Eel
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John Eel

Sixties you have included Afualo as a possible centre but not D Aukafolau, I find that interesting. However I have always thought that he may be destined to be an edge forward. Middles in my opinion would be definitely light on especially given that Vave is no longer wanted. My view is that they have something in mind to let Vave go. I would like to see Utoikamanu get some time in NRL next year but to rely on him for big periods is a concern. Whilst this may seem contradictory to what I said above I am surprised that… Read more »

Hamsammich
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Hamsammich

Dane played 2 or 3 ISP games at edge forward at the end of the season. Played better than he did at centre.

John Eel
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John Eel

Thanks Ham.

John Eel
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John Eel

Two more points Sixties. Firstly Tony Williams. early indications were that he may get an extension, is this still on the cards. Also I thought that Hoffman was off contract for 2019. Obviously not true.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Thought provoking post Sixties. I wonder re Gower staying but in saying that he is a player who would not let the side down, age is wearying him a little I think. From my perspective looking through the names, I’m afraid that if some contracted players are to be let go, its a tossed coin between Norms and Moses, Moses has shown signs of Sandow this year with his showings and wanting things his way as against the team concept, Norms, has been very inconsistent as well, but if he went would mean the eels would have to outlay more… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

If MM is pushed out his contract will need to be covered for two years as opposed to one for Norman.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

John, think you fill find that his 3 year deal included last year when he arrived, along with 2018 & 2019.

John Eel
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John Eel

I thought he was signed to 2020. I will defer to your broader knowledge on the matter. I have already got Hoffman wrong

Blue n Gold Fanatic
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Blue n Gold Fanatic

All ways a great read.
Can you confirm.
I am hearing Dressler maybe out due to his knee and requires more surgery.
Not great for the kid if true. That would be 3rd Acl in 3 years if correct..!

Jeronimo
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Jeronimo

Steve Dresler had huge wraps on him two years back but seems to have been surpassed by Kaufasi and Utoik in the talent talk. Does he have any distinguishing features over the two aforementioned?

Also, what happened to Faainga? He was near unstoppable last year but a year older and hardly rated a mention all year. I know he was injured but does anyone seriously see him challenging for a first grade spot over a Matata or Tepai?

The rev aka Snedden.
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The rev aka Snedden.

Sixties rumour doing the rounds is that Liam knight has had a meeting with BA last week. Also rumours that you might know of is kapow coming to eels. From what I’ve read on social media is that his already a done deal just waiting on manly to give him the release. The same with David glammer his not happy with the pay that the bulldogs are paying him n looking to get out of that contract. Not sure on any backs apart from siko n ferguson. Maybe feki to play wing. On reignings I hope we lock up gennings… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

Rumour that I have heard is that St George are looking at Gennings. If true it will drive his price up.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Afualo no chance imo ,not nrl quality

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Instead of making assumptions maybe have some communication with the club. To often on this site i read articles and biased opinions. I am all for an opinion, But i like to be informed on facts. I can inform you some information is right, But other information is incorrect. We all have favorite players at the club but all information should be transparent where we can all make informed decisions on factual evidence as opposed to hearsay or your personal opinion. No matter what people think the club has plans for certain players whether individuals like others players in the… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Ok, thank you for this. So articles based on biased views?
That’s your view bud; i find it more accurate and less biased with rubbish than another parra site; but each to their own.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Anon, everyone has opinions and at this stage of things its all pretty well speculation, unless of course what some are saying have associations with the club and privy to behind the scenes information. The only people that have an idea about who will be signed and who goes are those actually involved in the clubs workings, and at this stage that would be the coach who would have a list of those he wants to stay and who to go, likely also those involved in the player development as well, along with the finances of the club and the… Read more »

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

Please remove this dribble comment from Anonymous. The article indicates it is speculation right from the get-go. If someone isn’t interested in reading an opinion piece, they just need to move on.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Dont read it then mate , actually this site is pretty damm acurate and informed unlike others, anyway as i said if you dont like it dont read it .are you trying to convince us or yourself your a footy guru.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Of course you are right, Sixties needed to make an appointment with the big guns(Gurr, Arthur) and ask them who they were promoting and who they would let go. Silly Sixties not thinking of that!

rayt
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rayt

🤡

Milo
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Milo

Interesting discussion Sixties; and i too hoped Trex may be getting a year extension but maybe we have someone else to come in?
I think we need the dummy half situation as in one more depth and halves sorted asap, or BA and team will be in for a tough season beginning with a lot of added pressure.
With some of those young kids we need a couple of hard heads in the run on team, and maybe one or two of them are new signings.
No news from here in the UK mate, except politics and The Sun Pg 3 lasses.

John Eel
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John Eel

Milo I like your point about the hard heads. Club needs experience and hard heads. All the teams in the top 8 have that. Can’t get there with a team of kids

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Maybe he may get an offer but perhaps it may depend on the rumoured big name signings if they become fact.

John Eel
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John Eel

Colin may also depend on how he recovers from his second ACL operation. It is going to take a lot of hard work on T Rex’s part. Will depend on his commitment and desire.

Pete
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Pete

Hooker and second prop are definites. The halves is the tricky part. Moses and Norman have been disappointing that goes without saying. Rather than moving them on and contributing to their salaries I would bring in a halves coach to sort it out and bring Salmon and Edwards up to speed. I still think that Norman and Moses can work well together but something needs to be done come 1st Nov.

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

Pete, you’ve summed up perfectly my feelings. I think there must be something behind the hot & cold performances of our 6 & 7. Some specialist coaching, and consistent service from a 9 could be all we need. Some big boggers to get some protection and movement should deal the deal.

Longfin Eel
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Longfin Eel

It actually seems this year that Moses and Norman were not given clear direction of what their roles were. They are both talented players and have shown in the past that they can play together, but they need to commit to what their role is. I agree also that some specialist halves training is imperative – at least to sort their roles out.

Fletch
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Fletch

Just throwing this out there… As Gutherson’s preferred position would be considered as FB, but it looks like he’ll have to play Centre given our roster, would it be worth considering if he could give Dummy Half a crack? This may bolster a lacking position. He needs to get his hands on the ball more. He is an effective playmaker and runner, if not entirely a halves player. As Hooker he would touch the ball more than anyone, could he add an extra dimension as a running Dummy Half? I guess the question would be could he handle the physicality… Read more »

Hamsammich
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Hamsammich

I suspect that Mahoney will be the starting dummy half and we’ll look to play him 80 minutes most weeks. Gutherson is then too good to only play 20 or so minutes as a utility.

Fletch
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Fletch

Oh I agree he needs more game time than a typical utility, just throwing it out there as a way to add depth. Cash should be our #1 Dummy Half but I think, with the right prep, Guth could fill in there effectively if needed. Injuries have bitten us on the ass too much this year to be able to rely on one person for a position.

Pete
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Pete

Thanks Sixties, very keen interest in 2019 by all I am certain. Thanks for filling us in on the up and comers. I’m really positive about the Young guns coming through. I agree with your assessment of signings needed. Although, I really can’t see our 2018 lack of points scored changing much with the halves we have. If we don’t get any signings/movement in the halves I would look at; 1 Hayne 7 Norman 6 Salmon 9 Mahoney and use Moses off the bench for spark. I would train this substituting with Norman/Moses and make sure we have 3 or… Read more »

Jimmy Corbo
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Your TCT Foreign Correspondent (self appointed) can confirm Gowie has one more year. He is staying at the same hotel as me in Disneyland and I ran into him this morning. He is a real Gentleman and you really hope he does stay at the club in some capacity post his footy career. I didn’t ask about any other players, he was very generous with his time and was kind enough to wish my kids a great day at Disney so I thought thought it best to leave it at that rather than compromising him by asking questions on rumours… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

While I am happy that Gowie is going to stay, and yes I believe he could add to the club after he finished playing, much like Steve Edge did with the general aspects of the club, This brings me to the retirement of Beau Scott, I am not, and was not overtly happy with the appointment of David Kidwell to the defence coaching role, and while he was hard in his playing days, I can’t say he’s been a great success in an assistant coaching role elsewhere. If we wanted a defensive coach, then I would suggest the Scott could… Read more »

Offside
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Offside

Scott had alreacy secured a job away from football whilst he was still playing so i don’t think he was a option

Clive
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Clive

Nice write up mate and it certainly throws up plenty of food for thought. Obviously our halves and front row have been a major issue this year and at least we have added Junior to the squad but someone like Taupau would be a huge signing. In my opinion Norman needs to be the one moved on. At his age he should be at the top of his game and yet he is still a very inconsistent performer. The issue with that is I think Moses needs an experienced game manager as his halves partner to help him take his… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

I think that they have been there before with Tim Sheens but the money wasn’t enough and he went to England

Big Derek
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Big Derek

At the end of the day the suggested roster definitely lacks the hard edge and size that is needed to compete with the top 4 or top 6. As everyone has suggested there is a compelling need for another big middle forward and an experienced 9. Bernie continues to say that there is no one avaiable, as the self appointed head of everything that is not good enough. The spotlight is firmly on the CEO after a lacklustre period under his leadership, he needs to deliver something other than carefully worded statements. That even goes to the coverage of the… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

🔪🔪🔪🔪

Big Derek
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Big Derek

Well Anon, you have the same response as usual, maybe you can elaborate on what you mean ?

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

BD, what 9’s are available? Ok, there is Segeyaro, Luke and Koroisau, perhaps a couple of others that really are no better than we have. Realistically both Segeyaro and Luke are similar types of players, different ages though, with Sege hot and cold, some spark at times but if he is good, how come he’s still off contract with Sharks? Luke has more brain snaps than we have seen with a couple of other players, his performance against Penrith last week was terrible, besides that he wants to stay over the ditch, which is good for me. Koroisau, is perhaps… Read more »

Big Derek
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Big Derek

My issue with the 9, is that Kaysa seems not to be the answer to working alongside our hookers that are still learning and have great promise. I would be looking for someone like sayMitch Rein, experienced and capable. Hard to think that apart from enthusiasm what Kaysa offers , his service has been below par andMahoney offers much more around the play the ball.
Others will possibly disagree, but that’s how I see the situation currently, we need someone there who is not at the club to assist .

Ray
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Ray

U your spot on

BDon
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BDon

Tks sixties for hoisting us up into the helicopter. Like most others, I cant quite spot the holy grail just yet. The spine has to be resolved. The top teams have their key playmakers hard wired into the team structure, the Storm have been a bit disrupted but Slater, Munster and Smith can probably carry a rookie 7. Penrith losing Wallace has jolted their spine. I like Mahoney’s potential, his game will grow as confidence grows. I noticed he got traffic his way already so his durability will be tested. If by some off season magic Michael Jennings could rediscover… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

I totally agree with you BDon re MJ, he needs a big year, if for no other reason than redeeming himself, we know how he can play, but he’s slipped down the ladder a fair bit, so he needs to start his climb again without getting stuck on a low rung again.

Shelley
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Shelley

The eventual squad will be interesting to say the least. I know one thing, if the Norman- Moses situation, conflict or combination is not fixed or mended however that may be, not much will change. I don’t really know the solution because in truth I don’t really know what the problem was but it must be addressed with honesty and quickly. I also don’t know enough about the young kids to say if we have enough depth in front row and outside backs, particularly centre. I always have to laugh when supporters from all teams act like fixing list problems… Read more »

Metal Stud
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Metal Stud

Hi Sixties, long time reader first timer writer…. As many have said here I think our concern areas are front row and hooker. I think our edges, back 3 and centres have the depth we can work with. Halves are a problem but I think will stay and need to pull their fingers out fast and do need a hard head halves coach to help. Front Row/ Middle: With Brown, Gower, Moeroa and Stone(and a few others) covering the lock forward position its our genuine front row that concerns me. At this stage I see 5 first grade standard front… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Good comments Stud

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Shaun lane ?

John Eel
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John Eel

Anon do you see Shaun Lane as a Middle Forward?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Heard he likes the idea ,(his)

John Eel
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John Eel

Interesting, I saw him as an Edge forward. Something to look forward to.

Metal Stud
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Metal Stud

Shaun Lane is a great ‘option’ for the middle and would do well there……however he is still young and relatively mobile and think he can be at his most dangerous for us on the right edge running at halves, creating offloads and god willing scoring tries.

Again it’s ‘genuine’ front row we are lacking.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Is there any benefit at looking at young players from other clubs, especially 21 year old props and forwards at the expense of some of those in our back yard?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Thanks sixties, that is what I believe as well, for many of us its a no win situation with many wanting to bring this player in and that player, each in the late teens/early 20’s if that fails, or one of our jnrs heads outside they complain about that especially if that player does well. While I am unable to get down to games or training these days, I do try to read NSWRL match reviews both of ISP, Flegg and others, some with video clips gives some idea of the quality players we have, also reports on here by… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Think this is why weve lost good young up and comers in the past by blocking pathways then someone else offers them a door so naturally they take it , last couple of seasons it seems to me ba has been trying to escalate the junior pathways in an effort to find and promote our best before others steal them , taken couple of seasons to bring it about but end 2018 plus 2019 it looks like hes getting there, mahoney ,salmon , stone , kafusi , next brown ,parry ,stefano and others , getting back to our roots !!

MattL
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MattL

I agree that we really need a Klemmer or Tapau type prop added.
Not only because our props are a little light on aggression, but because their go forward would really unleash & regain the best of Nathan Brown on the 2nd or 3rd hit up.

Jetta
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Jetta

Has Sivo been bought as a genuine winger option or is he a ‘wait and see’ development player?

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

A couple of thoughts on Norms and Moses along with Bev. With the review approaching completion, and reading in a media release that all the players have been interviewed by the review people along with other football staff, what would have a certainty in the questions would have been to do with the form of Norms and Moses, especially the constant reports of them not getting along, and the lack of combination, especially after season 2017 how they pretty well gelled, while it is unlikely that there would be any publication of any of the Q&A’s from both sides, how… Read more »