Happy birthday to us!
On Christmas Eve, 2015, The Cumberland Throw was launched. Three years down the track we’re still punching away – and proudly so.
Given the existing fan forums and Facebook sites, it’s never been our intention to compete with other supporter platforms. I firmly believe that we’ve succeeded in providing an additional avenue for Eels news and opinions. From Junior Reps to NRL, TCT covers the Parramatta club with original content designed to inform fellow supporters.
And what a season we picked for our launch! It began with the excitement of a new Stadium reaching the planning stage. Chris and I were part of the focus group discussing ideas for Stadium inclusions. This is the second of the reports back to Eels supporters.
The turmoil of 2016 was unlike any seen in the history of the Eels. With the points penalty handed down to the club; the sanctions against Directors and Club Executives; the loss of key players such as Paulo, Peats and Foran; and the suspension of Corey Norman; every week seemed to bring its own dramas.
With Chris Losco leading the way, TCT had to take a political stand on the off-field issues. Chris became the face of the Eels fans during this time with his proposal for the current Board to stand down and for merit selection for a new Board to be the pathway to better governance.
Yet on the field there was cause to celebrate. The thirteen victories would have secured a finals position were it not for the points penalty. The roster was decimated, with Robson and Gutherson finishing the season as the halves, yet the team found unity in the face of adversity.
It was expected that 2017 would be a re-building year, but not even losing in-form fullback Gutherson for the back-end of the season could prevent a Top 4 finish. The loss to the Storm in Week 1 of the finals was both inspiring and gut-wrenching. More on that later.
We did see an Eels team feature on Grand Final Day 2017 as the Parramatta NYC team looked to take home the trophy in the competition’s final year. We were there to capture the drama via Forty’s incredible live blog.
So to this past 2018 season. Shelley moved from reader to author as she joined Clint, Colmac and Nathan as featured writers on TCT. Imagine having 2018 as your first season of writing posts!
On the Eels front, Jarryd Hayne put excitement into the pre-season by returning to the Eels on a greatly reduced contract.
Mitch earned Nostradamus status with everyone in his Watchlist series nailing an NRL debut. It makes his 2019 series compulsory reading
Unfortunately, there could never be a more diabolical season to host an Eels supporter site. I’ll be honest – it’s not easy reporting on week after week of losses. It’s hard for any supporter to admit that their team deserved the Wooden Spoon – but we did.
When the much publicised review was announced, Clint was already composing his analysis of where the review would go.
My highlight of the Cumberland Throw over the last three years?
I could easily list any of our interviews – past legends, Tim Mannah, current coaches and staff – imagine having the opportunity to meet such people and ask questions that you’ve always wanted to ask. And yes, the best stories are always off the record!!!
This may sound strange, but forced to narrow it down, I’d nominate the week of the Melbourne Storm final as a highlight. I rarely write training reports during the season, and I didn’t that week, but the team trained brilliantly – they were pumped. We travelled down to Melbourne for the game, enjoyed some beers with a horde of Eels fans at a pub near the ground, then watched Parra give it their all only to have every crucial call go against them. Proud – but gutted.
The Cumberland Throw has introduced us to many of you in person. Whether you’ve caught up with us at the games, at the club, or at training it’s been wonderful to make new mates.
I’d also like to extend my personal thanks to all of my fellow Cumberland Throw founders and contributors. May there be many more years of working together.
Importantly, thank you to our readers – whether you reply regularly, occasionally or just prefer to read – we know you are as passionate about the Eels as we are. We recently cracked the million visitors mark – quite remarkable for a site that doesn’t publish a new post every day of the year. Such support is greatly appreciated.
I recently expressed our gratitude for the support that the Eels players and staff give The Cumberland Throw. We certainly wouldn’t be able to provide some of our insights without that support.
Finally, what can be expected in 2019?
The first 8 weeks of pre-season training reports are hinting at a changing of the guard. And Colmac has used this Stat Attack post to highlight an important KPI that the Eels will probably need to address.
In 2019,TCT will again provide our unique coverage of all things Eels. The club have emphasised their unity from Junior Reps to NRL. Of course we’ll provide previews, interviews, reviews, analysis, opinions – and we’ll be there for all grades – bigger and better.
And personally, I wouldn’t mind writing about a few more successes next year!