The Cumberland Throw

Live Blog – Jersey Flegg Round 1 vs Canterbury Bulldogs

Team List


1. Sione Fonua (c)

2. Taufa Afu

3. Tuimavave Afualo

4. JP Nohra

5. William Kei

6. Nick Tilburg

7. Bailey Biondi-Odo

8. James Porter

9. Kyle Schneider

10. Aistasi James

11. Charbel Tasipale

12. Arron Shelford

13. Jesse Cronin (c)


14. Joey Small

15. Bruce Ward

16. Vea Tapatoutai

17. Harry Duggan

18. Jack Jordan


Late Mail


Oregon Kaufusi has taken a place in the starting team while it looks like William Kei has dropped out of the backline. Not sure on the full extent of the changes though, sorry.


The Jersey Flegg kicks off in grand style for the Eels as they face one of their traditional rivals in the Bulldogs in a curtain-raiser to the prime-time NRL fixture. The Eels proved to be competitive, although not dominant, throughout the preseason trials so just how they perform today will be fascinating. Stay tuned for all the updates and big plays from 1:45PM.


First Half


My apologies for the belated start to the updates, beefed up security at the entry gates delayed my entry. The Eels were up 4-0 by the time I took my seat.

Parramatta Eels lead 4-0

Parramatta were on the attack as I booted up the blog with Johnny Fonua grubbering ahead on the last. The Dogs cleaned up the kick with ease and work out of their red zone. Duelling errors from both teams now but the Eels come out on top, somewhat fortuitously, when a Jesse Cronin inside pass is intercepted by a marker but a penalty comes for a late hit. Scratch that, the Eels lose the ball on the first tackle.

The scrappy to-and-fro continues as the Dogs get their first real attacking opportunity on the back of a ruck penalty. The Eels are immediately tested down their right edge but some quick hands from their replacement winger bats down a potential try-assisting pass. A fresh set for the Dogs though…but they throw zero at the Eels are caught running the ball on the last.

Oh dear this is just awful footy at the moment. Parramatta produce another unforced error coming out of their half. Canterbury will get another shot here as they set up for a scrum 10m into Parramatta’s half. A penalty quickly follows from the scrum win as the Eels are caught infringing inside the 10m mark. The Dogs immediately turn it over only to have Parramatta then turn possession back over on the next play…this is next level poor play.

John Fonua swoops to the left edge to clean up a grubber kick and get back into the field of play – only to concede a penalty for an incorrect play-the-ball. This is unreal. Of course Canterbury finally take advantage of the disgusting flow of possession to cross next to the posts.


Try scored by the Canterbury Bulldogs. Conversion successful.

Bulldogs lead 6-4

27min gone


The Eels are at risk of actually completing a set after defending the kick off set from the Dogs. Oh lawdy, I typed that a tackle too early as a stupid offload on the penultimate tackle robs Parramatta of a chance at an attacking kick from 30m out. Naturally a penalty is conceded on the next tackle as well so the Dogs go from defending their own line to pushing into Parra’s red zone. They attack down their right edge and are turned away, forcing them to kick back to the posts on the last. It is a grubber kick and Fonua gets tangled up on the posts. He somehow recovers in time to field the ball and pass to Afualo who then links up with his winger. Only green pastures ahead as the Eels unleash the most daring of rispostes…but the last pass was called forwards! Oh no! That looked line ball but the referee was perfectly positioned for the call there.

Ouch, that proves damn costly as well. The Eels are ripped open by a 10m surge from the Canterbury dummy half as he slashes in behind the ruck and catches flat-footed forwards out to crash over.


Try scored by the Canterbury Bulldogs. Conversion successful.

Bulldogs lead 12-4

32min gone


Eyyyyyy, finally something comes up for the Eels! They earn a penalty in their next possession and a booming t as Aitasi carries the ball. Touch finger puts them 7m into Canterbury’s half for the tap restart. They work from the left edge to the middle. Tasipale crashes into the defensive line down the right edge and then it looks like Fonua earns a penalty as he steams into the defence to the right of the posts.

Hahaha, it is just that sort of day. The Eels spin it to their left edge where Bailey Biondi-Odo loops a long cutout pass to Fonua. The fullback does well to bring it in but is immediately cut in half by a great shooting tackle and he loses the ball. That is probably the one error that is excusable thus far. Unfortunately the Dogs swoop in on the loose ball and race 90m to open up their lead even further – despite a spirited chase from Biondi-Odo.


Try scored by the Canterbury Bulldogs. Conversion successful.

Bulldogs lead 18-4

37min gone


And now an error form the Dogs on their second tackle. A late chance for the Eels to get back into this messy affair with a couple of minutes on the clock. Outside-inside pass early on down our right edge but the Dogs defend it easily. Oh my that looks like a poor call from the referee. Parramatta spread it right to their winger in the #20 and he pushes an offload back infield with three defenders draped over him to Nick Tilburg who scoops it up on the half volley to dive over and score. Without hesitation the referee rules it went forwards, despite my protestations, and given he had the best angle I guess I have to defer to him.

Clarification, #20 is Michael Cheer.

That will pretty much do us for the first half, an absolute bludger for the Eels in the season opening half.


First Half

Canterbury Bulldogs 18 lead the Parramatta Eels 4


Second Half


An early error from the Dogs gifts the Eels a chance to make some amends on the scoreboard. While they can’t crack the goal line of the home team they do however earn a repeat set via a line drop out with some rare (for the day) poise.

Ehhhhhhhh, a sloppy pass from Schneider to Biondi-Odo undoes it all. The livewire halfback can’t gather the pass up off his ankles on the fly, and fair play to him for that as well, and the Dogs are let off the hook for the hundredth time today.

We did it! No, we didn’t score damn it. What was initially called an error against the Eels is changed to a penalty to help Parramatta out of their half.

Amazing what a bit of possession (and not turning the ball over immediately) does as the Eels crash over under the posts! Was it Jesse Cronin that pirouetted through the tackle there? No, it was fellow big man Harry Duggan from the bench! Soft defence but some nice footwork from the interchange prop as he gets the Eels right back into this contest.


Try scored by Harry Duggan. Conversion successful by Kyle Schneider.

Eels trail 10-18

52min gone


Incidentally, the opening try scorer for both the game and the Eels was Aaron Shelford. What is this? You are allowed to complete consecutive sets? Holy dooley. Even if it results in a 7-tackle set, it is still nice for the Eels to actually have a proper flow to possession here.

Typically, I am quickly made to eat those words. ‘Even if it results in a 7-tackle set’ proves to be pivotal as the Dogs march downfield on the back of the extended possession. The Eels hold out to the last but end up spilling a grubber kick back into the field of play allowing ex-Eel Alex Seve to grab the scraps and dive over for the score.


Try scored by the Canterbury Bulldogs. Conversion successful.

Bulldogs lead 24-10

56min gone


Aitasi nearly crashes over to the right of the posts but the Dogs somehow keep him out. The Eels keep playing close to the ruck and end up paying the cost as they are rattled by a great hit that forces the ball loose.

Wew, the errors in this game are wild. Jesse Cronin is buried after fielding a hospital pass but loses the ball backwards. Nohra ends up making 20m in the resultant half-break from cleaning up the pill but on the next tackle the Eels say screw it, take the ball anyway as Biondi-Odo eats another poor pass from dummy-half – although Schneider wasn’t the culprit this time.

Ooph, another try. Another soft try as the Dogs barge over to the left of the posts. This is the definition of an amnesia game, one the Eels will need to forget as soon as the final whistle is blown.


Try scored by the Canterbury Bulldogs. Conversion successful.

Bulldogs lead 30-10

68min gone


Easily the best try of the day now as the Dogs go back-to-back through some great support play. At least five or six Dogs players pushing up in support through the middle sees them go 40m to score.


Try scored by the Canterbury Bulldogs. Conversion successful.

Bulldogs lead 36-10

72min gone


Hahaha, you can’t make this stuff up. After trading sets for the last few minutes, Fonua loses the ball in a kick return. The Dogs with one last chance to add further insult on the scoreboard, but they too succumb to the dropsies and spill the ball over the line.

Oh no, that is a sickening shot. An Eel is downed after a brutal hit that is immediately penalised. Is that Jack Jordan or James Porter – Porter I think? He hasn’t moved an inch as trainers race out to attend him. He is still down minutes after the shit. This is bad. We might be talking send off, even with 90sec left in the game. Medicab is out, neck braces are getting prepped…I can only hope for the best for this young man that it all ends up precautionary. Fingers crossed.

Play still off as they carefully place him on the medicab. Gee this is just plain awful. Swift recovery my man.

Back to play now and as expected the play results in a send off. Little consolation it is to the Eels and Porter.

Alas the Eels can’t score a try to lessen the blow on the scoreboard and the Dogs run out 26-point victors.


Full Time

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 36 def. Parramatta Eels 10

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Sack the coach why does parramatta always don’t take this comp seriously?


You’d rather Parry, Salmon and Brown play under 20s? We also have a few decent players unavailable:


Just want them to take this seriously stop changing sides


The aim is to produce NRL players, not to win Flegg comps. The lower grade coaches are charged with training a team that can have massive weekly changes. This team is missing so many players that have been elevated. Give them time, they’ll perform better, but you have to hold the ball. That was a massive issue today.

Bert Kenny

Who ever wrote this report needs to actually watch the game..! Blaming players who where not the culprit of mistakes. You not once mentioned any information on anything positive throughout the game.
Yes we lost convincingly but some players worked there asses off and did some great stuff while others had very poor attitudes causing mistakes


Bert, Forty has provided a running commentary, typing the post whilst watching. He is more than fair in his assessments. The fundamental handling errors were such that I can’t even make any assessment of their performance. Nobody questions their ticker.


Who are the standouts in this game.! I know we lost but who played good for the blue and gold.?


The team could not complete a set. Off loads, Forced and unforced errors were the highlight of todays game
#9 set up a try and was great in defence

Bit of work needs to be done to be competitive.
Just need to complete.!


100% Billy. Just didn’t complete. I haven’t seen any stats but I wondered if we got to 50%

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