The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 3 vs Roosters

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 18

Sydney Roosters 32

The Good:
Hey, that was a really cracking good game, particularly for that first 60 minutes. In the end, we stabbed it with our steely knives, but we just couldn’t kill the beast.

Still, I felt like we really took it to the premiership favourites, and I think we were clearly the better team for large parts of that game. It almost seemed that at times the Roosters kept making errors because they kept looking at which Blue & Gold defender was about to put a hit on them. Again, even though they were the better team on the night, we also had plenty of time when we were very clearly on top, and that’s something worth remembering. I hate saying things like this, but I also think the 14 point difference flatters the Roosters.

This might sound dark, but if we won that game, the NRL media hype train would have been damn near out of control. I never, ever want to lose a game, but in at least a couple of ways, a loss mightn’t be the worst thing for our Season 2019 campaign.

The Bad:
Bad? Well, I could list the lack of urgency from marker when defending our redzone, or the unforced errors (see Takairangi, Brad), but the most disappointing aspect of our game tonight happens to be the bugbear of our greatest ever halfback. If you listen to his commentary, at almost every opportunity Sterlo preaches the importance of a good set of six after you score points. Yet tonight the Eels absolutely bottled said post points set not once, not twice, but thrice.

I actually tweeted this in the 8th minute of the game. How little did I know.

We also disappointingly let in at least two soft tries (I said some things I regret after that Victor Radley four pointer), as well as a pretty questionable Mitch Aubusson try in the far corner; but hey, that’s sometimes how the cookie crumbles.

In the last 10 minutes, you could also see the Eels were absolutely out on their feet, barely moving off our line. At this point that aforementioned formidable defence turned to grabby hands. Players like James Tedesco thrive in such situations; at times it looked like the Eels were trying to tackle a shadow.

Just the 9 tackle breaks for Teddy. What a freak.

The X-Factor:
You’ll no doubt be well aware of this, but Sivo’s second try (and Mitch’s flawless kicking) had us up by four in the 61st minute. The Roosters then scored in the 62nd, 68th and 73rd minute to completely take the game away from us. In short, that 11 minutes was the “letting the game slip through our fingers” crescendo moment, and wrote the last couple of chapters of the game.

Bonus X-Factor: Both teams completed 28 from 37 sets (76%) for the game. How wild.

The MVP:
I thought Mitch Moses was excellent, Maika Sivo’s brace of tries and a bucketful of running metres was nice, and the ever improving Kane Evans was also pretty great (despite being dreadfully tall). But I can’t deny the King for two weeks in a row.

An 80 minute performance from Clint Gutherson with 14 runs, 183 metres, a line break, 2 line break assists, 2 try assists, a tackle break, 13 tackles and partridge in a pear tree.

Despite the loss, I know that Gutho will be quietly celebrating that he is tonight’s Post Game Grades MVP.


1- Clint Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Sure, the halves are playing really well and getting a lot of well deserved credit, but it’s King Gutho with the team high 2 try assists tonight, taking his season total to 4. I mean, plenty of credit is (deservedly) heading Sivo’s way, but I wonder if the big Fijian scores either of those tries without the King’s cracking passes setting him up.

His knee is fine – sign him up for life.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Did you ever read The Strange Case of Dr Jekkyl and Mr Hyde? One man, two very different personas – the incredibly good (2 tries, 2 line breaks, 13 runs for 154 metres, and a team high 7 tackle breaks) paired with the curiously bad (another couple of untimely errors) all wrapped up in one man.

Thankfully tonight there was plenty more of the former than the latter for Maika Sivo. I don’t know what he drank at halftime (see below), but Maika well and truly played himself out of the first half hole he dug for himself. A couple of seriously great tries for the big Fijian, as he finally got across the stripe.

Shout out to @IbraHinkovic for putting this together for the Grades.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

It was great to have Michael back and all that, but honestly I didn’t really notice a great deal of Jet out there tonight. Still, I guess that’s better than …

4- Brad Takairangi

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Bradley, you do some really great things on a football field. Now, I’m not a professional footballer, but it just feels like you need to be told that it’s ok to be tackled with the ball.

To be honest, sometimes you kinda look like a gigantic 8 year old who’s had too much red cordial, scatterbrained and out of good ideas.

I just want you to chill out, mate. You’re running around like a bucking bronco; just be a little less wild and free.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

I love the tough metres out of our end (16 for 163 metres), I love the positive talk, I love the confidence (another try and 2 tackle breaks) of this man. He is part of a very big, significant change to the way this team sees itself.

But Blake, that dropped ball in a set after points really took the jam out of my donut. To be fair, you didn’t look all that impressed with yourself, either.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

As you can see from the tweet below, I was very impressed with Dylan’s defence and I continue to enjoy his developing familiarity with first grade.

Sure there was that unfortunate 7 tackle set gift, and a follow up poor kick in our attacking half that dribbled to Teddy, but I really enjoyed that early kick for Moses, and his ever growing willingness to run the ball straight into the jaws of the defence. Dylan Brown continues to look the goods.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

It wasn’t one of those games that you hang on the wall, or send straight to the pool room, but I just thought Mitch was good from beginning to end in this game, and his willingness in defence continues to pleasantly surprise. Mitch had 5 runs for 44 metres, 10 tackles (2 missed) and 7 kicks for 270 metres. Interestingly, Syndes-Moses had less touches (22) than his rookie halves partner, Dylan Brown (30). Nonetheless, it’s Mitch who continues to steer us around the park, and despite the scoreline tonight, I think the early season results have been very good. I’ve also seen a bit of talk suggesting that Tedesco catching Mitch’s bomb for a 7 tackle set was a turning point for the Roosters, but I’m far from convinced.

It’s also worth noting that after missing his first 2 shots of the year, Mitch has now made 11 conversion attempts in a row. That’s nice.

8- Daniel Alvaro

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Sure he ran for 105 metres (from 9), made 33 tackles and a tackle break; but that marker defence, the error in the hit up after points, the missed tackles?

I don’t know what was going on, or if I just focused too much on his contributions, but to be honest, I though Danny was pretty average tonight. I’m usually of big fan of his work, too.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Good service (92 passes), good scurry (2 for 19 metres), and for the most part good hit and stick defence (41 tackles). It was the 5 missed tackles (one leading to a key Roosters try) that left me a little down, but the kid is still very much learning his craft.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

What a stone cold monster of a man. Just the 84 metres for Junior tonight, but the 2 line break assists and a team high 5 offloads were worth their weight (and Junior’s weight) in gold. Junez also got the fan’s vote for MVP on Twitter, getting through 28 tackles, including a body slam of the aforementioned James Tedesco. Junior was a primary part of our period of defensive dominance, and from where I was sitting you could hear the bones of Rooster’s runners squealing with every impact. They were great seats.

Now, can we all just stop for a moment and take the time to appreciate Junior’s incredible cut out pass for our first try? All 120 plus kilos of Junior Paulo running around out there like a Samoan Dave Taylor, but with, you know, actual Rugby League talent.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

I really like Shaun Lane. His 10 runs for 90 metres won’t jump out at you, nor really will his 27 tackles or 1 offload; but good things just seem to happen when he’s around. However, I will say I was disgusted by his complete lack of intercept try antics tonight.

12- Marata Niukore

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Although Round 1 Marata hasn’t been sighted in the flesh for a couple of weeks, his 9 for 73 metres and 34 tackles is nothing to sneeze at. Now, I don’t know if this is true, but I heard that after every game, Marata sheds his skin like a snake.

19- Peni Terepo

Lock, Parramatta Eels

A late calf injury to Tepai in the warm up thrust Peni into the starting lineup, but to be honest, I was just waiting the whole game for Peni “The Butcher” Terepo to tackle Lachlan Lam; you know, for the puns.

Peni Terepo’s running game was a welcome return to the side. His 7 runs for 67 metres, 24 tackles and 1 tackle break are certainly Rugby League statistics.

After copping his massive fine on the chin, it seems Peni is now welcomed back into the Blue & Gold fold. Hopefully his $25,000 fine pays for a new building at Old Saleyards, or a trip for BA to the Bahamas or something.

14- Jaeman Salmon

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I love his ad-lib footy, but I did spot a stray pass or two from Salmon’s dummy half play tonight. Hopefully he manages to remedy that soon, because that versatility is a seriously good feather to his cap.

15- Tim Mannah

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Another 100 metre game for the 100 year old man.

Timmy also had 3 tackle breaks and 34 tackles in his 42 minutes out in the middle.

Go you good thing.

16- Kane Evans

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

The big friendly giant produces yet another giant game. Despite being way too tall for Rugby League, Kane Evans got through a very solid 13 runs for 126 metres, an offload and 12 tackles without a miss against his former team. That game would be pretty great stuff in isolation, but even more pleasing is seeing him string a few solid performances together, back to back to back.

18- Oregon Kaufusi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Despite the limited playing time, I thought Oregon once again looked like he belongs in the NRL. Kid’s got a bright future. Shout out for stepping up on such short notice.

Next week we take on one of the fews teams we can look down our noses at when it comes to salary cap cheating, the Perth Cronulla Sharks.

As always, we’ll see you then, sports fans.


Go you Eels,


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

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Gem KM

Oh Bradley, you fast and powerful but absolute heart ache of a man. Take his kicking license away from him immediately. I doubt he’ll be dropped, but I could easily slot salmon into the centres, and bring in McIlwrick. Junior and Moses were immense. I thought Peni was good and that Oregon is absolutely knocking on the door of a call up. The good news is the bulk of our issues are easily fixed (aka hold the flippin ball) and just those things will go a long way to winning more games. Frustrated we had so many errors, but the… Read more »

Trouser Eel

Wow Mitch, up early after a late night to get these out. You get my MVP for TCT this week.
All the talk in the car on the way home was positive stuff. Our team is playing well above expectations. Their positive attitude bodes well for the future.
A quick shout out to the legends who jump started my car after the game too. Parra fans are the coolest.


That they are mate. I thought that this game provided the lessons that we needed as a team at this time of year. It was disappointing to lose a game that could have been won, but I believe that the Roosters lifted when the opportunities swung their way late in the game – which is what quality teams do. Shout out to Oregon for his game. His time on the field was short but full of impact. How you send a player like that back to ISP is beyond me, but the Eels have quality forwards waiting to return and… Read more »


I feel that the score really didn’t reflect the closeness of the game. Hopefully we take a lot away. Echoing your thoughts Mitch – if we had won, the hype train would be 2018 Dragons level and we all know how well that turned out!

Big Derek

It’s a cruel game at times, Fergo is the litmus test of the club this year – full of energy and desire and a smiling lightning bolt. How unfair is it when a droppd ball inside our 20 after taking the lead, means the ball is not in possession for over 10 minutes and 3 scores against us to take the points any. Still a major thing to understand is that teams like the Roosters will,always get the calls, and the decision after Latrelle,screamed at the refs to,judge that Gutho droppd the ball ( no evidence at all of that)… Read more »


I thought Kane Evans had his best game in the blue and gold,nothing flashy but every carry had intent with no silly goose step just hard and straight and his defence was aggressive aswell

Bob jay

Mitch your last comment in the good is the smartest thing youve ever said


Man, I missed Peni Terepo’s break-neck speed! The speed with which he attacks the line is Moimoi-esque. I love it. Evans ran straight and hard as you said, I just wish he was a tiny bit stronger and heavier, if he were I dare say he’d bend the line and break it much more often, however, having said that, he did play to his ability which is all we can ask. Oregon Kaufusi looked solid, strong and heavy and I think he’ll cause headaches to defences of the future, as he matures into his game and his body hardens. I… Read more »


Some really good positives from tonight’s game, disappointing loss. More composure and perhaps more astute substitutions , could have seen a better result. All in all valuable lessons learnt I hope

Bob jay

What astute substitutions are you talking about.??????


Bob, I thought Alvaro was out on his feet near the end. His work rate was good as usual but Peni should have been on early in the last period. Mahoney was gassed as well, Salmon too should have been brought on earlier to spell him. I’ve re-watched the game today, and both these two players should have been spelled earlier


Eels don’t look anything like they did last year which is great. Thought Mahoney was left on for about 10 mins too long, alvaro was questionable around the ruck, taka just needs to run and hold the ball as mentioned above its OK to be tackled with the ball but he generally attracts 2 defenders so I can understand why he trys to throw the miracle pass, Jenko was pretty quiet in attack he needs to go for more runs especially when they coming from their own goal line area. Last night wase a reality check that we are currently… Read more »


Nailed it Mitch. Would be interesting to isolate the stats for minutes 60-75. I reckon we had close to nil, zilch possession. Fantastic work to build a platform,only to fritter it away. Luck also swang the Rooster’s way,plus a good dose of winning instinct. To know we are capable and where to improve is really encouraging. A few random thoughts: – would Mahoney and McIllwrick sharing be better for Mahoney – did Brown and Salmon know that it was a knee ball off Gutherson – did Lane get collared before touching the ball(knock on under own posts) – recruiting(on and… Read more »


Couldn’t agree more with Alvaro, it’s not the first time, his goal line defence is terrible.

The game was there for us to win, at the end of the day we couldn’t sustain the pressure.

Rooster held the ball 2nd half we couldn’t.
I’ve seen enough though that if we can fix that up we’re going to be similar to 2017.

I love our ball movement and willingness to offload. We have a well balanced team although 1 more dominant forward will round us out nicely.


I have to agree Danny was off his game last night, almost like he was a bit distracted.
“It’s also worth noting that after missing his first 2 shots of the year, Mitch has now made 11 conversion attempts in a row. That’s nice.”
For me the thing of note is that we have strung enough opportunities by round 3 2019 for Mitch to be able to kick 11 in a row. 13 tries this year vs 4 by this time last year. I’m sure the rest of our stats have shown just as marked an improvement.


The signs are positive i think what was shown is we are not a wooden spoon team but were a bit away from the top too.

A big difference last night was we were beaten by a better team we didn’t beat ourselves

Longfin Eel

Parra certainly made Easts earn this game, but I felt we gave away too many penalties. You can just see the opposition building for a try after a penalty, and if you give one in your own half, the premiers are going to make you pay. We were better in that respect the first 2 games – not sure why so many penalties this game, although this was our first night game. Could the team be a little under-done for night conditions?


I was a bit intriqued by the ratings, the one that stood out to me was Mennings (for mine B+), I thought his defence was back to his old self, he willing ran the ball out and at one point he went back a few years and accelerated into a hole, only to be just brought down. I also think there are a few too many rose coloured glasses, yes we were good, yes we were better but that inexperience in putting teams away is a reality we need to reach. Understandable we didn’t but it was there for the… Read more »

Parramatta Tragic

Junior Paulo is Bob O’Reilly incarnate. The closest thing to The Bear we have seen. His cut out pass to Taka was sublime as were his charges into the line. A big shout out also to whoever put together the photo and film montage that was on the big screen prior to the players running out. It was the best Parramatta through the ages production that you would want to see and whoever did it has a feel for the game and the Eels history. Hopefully it will be at Bankwest and all home games to come.

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