The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 4 vs Sharks

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 24

Cronulla Sharks 12

The Good:
There is little doubt that through the first 4 rounds of the competition the Parramatta Eels are the NRL’s most improved outfit.

On Friday night I tweeted that last week’s loss was maybe our most impressive game, but just 24 hours later I now think tonight’s injury plagued victory takes the cake. I mean we finally beat the Sharks, and that is one monkey we are all no doubt very happy to get off our collective backs. The boys from the Shire had won the last 5 against us, meaning we had not come away with a win since Season 2014. I refuse to look this up, but Reed Mahoney probably wasn’t even born then.

Finally, I suspect many Eels fans are no doubt also very pleased to say au revoir (a little bit of Bevan French, there) to ANZ Stadium as our home ground. It’s now just two weeks until we commission BankWest Stadium. We’re coming home, baby.

The Bad:
Josh Dugan’s haircut.

Also, I’m getting pretty sick of Sosaia Feki scoring try after try against the Eels; he now has 10 tries in his last 7 games against the Blue & Gold. Get in the sea Feki, you try scoring wizard.

Baby Shark, do do do-do do-do.

The X-Factor:
The Eels once again dropped the ball in the first set after a try. *drink* , but thankfully tonight we didn’t pay for such mistakes with a loss.

It wasn’t the flashiest game of Rugby League you’ll ever see, but both teams were decimated through injury – the Eels missing 3 top line stars (Manu and the Brown brothers), whilst the Sharks were missing 4 (Moylan, Gallen, Graham and Johnson). Nonetheless, these 2 competition points still count at the back end of the season and the Eels got the chocolates.

We also escaped further additions to our injury toll – hoorah!

I’m still not completely convinced by our form, I think it’s fair to say we’re hitting a lot of teams at the right time. On the other side of the coin, however, is our own injury toll, and a whole crop of young players and new recruits to integrate into our style of play. We have plenty of improvement in us, and we need it if we’re going to live up to the sudden and inevitable expectation thrust upon any Eels team that can string a couple of wins together.

Regardless, right now, I’m just enjoying the ride.

The MVP:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Prince of Egypt is well and truly back.

I mean, sure, the attacking stats look good (6 runs, 99 metres, 2 try assists, 1 linebreak, 1 linebreak assist, 2 tacklebreaks), but it was his overall game management (16 kicks for 430 metres), his defensive commitment (20 tackles with only 2 missed) and his composure that most impressed me this evening.

The difference between the 2018 Mitch Moses and whoever is running around in the Eels number 7 jersey these days is like chalk and cheese. Credit has to go to Mitch, BA and whoever else has had a hand in his butterfly-esque metamorphosis in the off season. You the MVP, Mitch, You the MVP.

 

1- Clint Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

I know I talked him up last week, but Gutho was in everything good that we did tonight. Other than a near-miss-disaster pass to Fergo in the shadows of half time, Gutho’s outrageous contributions (20 runs for 265 metres, 1 linebreak, 1 linebreak assist, 1 try assist, 3 tacklebreaks) would have cantered in for the MVP award tonight if Mitch’s context were any less demanding, or his game any less stellar.

Clinton Gutherson truly is the heart and soul of this team, so you’d think surely the Eels will stump up his requested cash sooner rather than later.

As my Mum has always said, when life gives you Lemons, re-sign him for another 5 years.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Tonight, Maika took yet another strong step forward in his NRL journey and, despite the highlight reels of last week’s 2 try effort, put together arguably his most well rounded performance yet. Together with Blake Ferguson, Maika’s 18 runs, 205 metre, 2 tackle break running game continues to lay a terrific platform for our sets.

Sure, there are still weaknesses and head-in-hand moments, but Maika remains a very pleasant addition to our 2019 squad, and a key component of our early success.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

The Grey Ghost had 2 tries (for the second time this year), 12 runs for 125 metres and a couple of nice dummy half runs. He was Jenky-on-the-spot for our third try, but you’ve gotta be chasing hard to make tries like that happen.

You might not realise this, but the Eels have had a double try scorer in each of our four games this year (Jenko, Fergo, Sivo, Jenko) – credit HamSammich for alerting me to that little gem.

The Jet’s game is a simple one – to make a significant contribution to our wins, all Jenko has to do is get involved and make his tackles. Tonight he did that, and both he and the Eels were well rewarded as a result.

4- Brad Takairangi

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

What’s that you hear? A try for Mr. Brad Takairangi? Well that’s his first in 20 games.

Taka also got through 9 runs for 112 metres and 13 tackles.

That’s much better, Bradley. Much better.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

After Fergo’s three swing strikeout for the Sharks first try was followed by Maika’s cold drop in the 30th minute, I had this horrible feeling that our two wingers were beginning to self destruct. But Burgers’ 23 run, 249 metre, 3 offload, linebreak, linebreak assist and tacklebreak game erased his earlier effort.

When you’re giving away tries and still coming out with B+ grades, you know you’re playing good football.

6- Jaeman Salmon

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

I thought Jaeman played pretty well in what I dare say might not be his preferred position going forward. I think Salmon already is a solid and will likely be a terrific centre for the Blue & Gold in years to come, and I also think his versatility in a number of other positions only adds to his appeal. Although I noticed Jaeman’s tendency to stop and prop in order to pass the ball occasionally halted our momentum on the left edge; his 6 runs, 45 metres, 20 tackles, 4 missed game is nothing to sneeze at – particularly considering he’s a young kid filling in the halves at NRL level. He was solid tonight, and I’m a big fan of the J-Man, I just think he’ll be an even better centre.

In the wild, salmon are actually anadromous creatures, meaning they can thrive in a variety of environments. So whether he’s a centre, a back up hooker or a half – maybe it’s a case of Salmon by name, salmon by nature.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Oh and Mitchell has now kicked 15 straight conversions for the Eels.

Hats off to you, mate. You’re tonight’s MVP.

8- Daniel Alvaro

Prop, Parramatta Eels

The Great White Hope had 10 hit ups, 105 metres and made 28 tackles with only 1 miss. In short, I thought he looked much more at home in 33 minutes tonight than he has in extended minutes this year. Danny does get through a tonne of defensive work, but maybe 30-40 minutes at this weight is his sweet spot for the foreseeable future.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

It was a gritty game out at ANZ Stadium, but raise your bat Reed Mahoney, you hit the half century tonight. A stellar 54 tackle performance for our man out in the middle, as well as some very crisp service from the ruck. Admittedly Reed missed 6 tackles, but you take that from your young 80 minute hooker, particularly for a bloke so young he’s still paying too much for his car insurance.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

The gigantic Junior had 10 runs, 114 metres, 2 tackle breaks and 26 tackles (with only one miss). One day I’ll get over how big he is.

*whispers*

I still can’t believe such a big man can play so many minutes.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

I’m just putting the finishing touches on my dissertation. I call it “Why Shaun Lane has been an excellent acquisition for the Parramatta Eels”. I’ll keep you posted.

12- Marata Niukore

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

After a quiet game last week, it was pleasing to see Marata scream back into form with a punishing performance against future-Perth. A solid 10 runs, 113 metres, 2 tacklebreak, 26 tackle performance tonight from Crash continues to cement his spot in Eels teams of the future.

Ps – I can only assume Forty’s royalty cheque is in the mail, Eels media team.

Pps – I’m kidding, please reply to our tweets.

13- Tepai Moeroa

Lock, Parramatta Eels

It was good to see Tep bounce back from an injury plagued and late scratching last two games with a 6 run, 75 metre and 24 tackle performance tonight. It was a shame to see his preparation stilted by injury in recent weeks, as I suspect he’s one of those players who really benefits from stability, building momentum week to week. Whatever happens with Manu’s impending return, that Tepai can continue to find his niche in the team, as he really seems to fire when his role is clearly defined.

Also, I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve heard Tepai sleeps upside down like a bat.

14- Peni Terepo

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Despite coming off the back fence, Terepo’s running style feels like the Rugby League equivalent of Lord of the Dance, the rest of his body seemingly independent from his legs. An impressive stat sheet by any Bingo Caller’s standards, Peni had 8 runs for 88 metres, along with 31 tackles; continuing to chip away at his hecklers and doubters.

15- Tim Mannah

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I’m sure stats or grades don’t really matter to Timmy tonight, it’s just great to see both clubs once again honour his late brother’s memory playing for the Johnny Mannah Cup.

Once again, well done to both clubs, and well done to our club skipper and his family.

16- Kane Evans

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Another player that looks rejuvenated in 2019 is Kandy Kane Evans. His defensive workload mightn’t be as robust as other players on the park, but his 10 runs for 109 metres and 3 offloads in only 23 minutes is an outstanding attacking contribution.

It’s Kane’s World, Kane’s World, party time, excellent.

17- Oregon Kaufusi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Exactly zero hit ups for Oregon tonight, but he did get through 10 tackles in 14 hectic minutes. Despite tonight’s lacklustre stat sheet, The Gun is very much a player to watch.

 

Which of you had us at 3 and 1 after 4 Rounds in 2019? I certainly did not, and I’m not sure I’d trust anyone who did. Nevertheless, that’s where we are and it feels oh so good.

 

Next week we head to the (very) south of England, clashing with the cockney equally matched, 3 win, 1 loss Canberra Raiders.

See you then, sports fans.

 

Go you Eels,

Mitch.

http://www.starrpartners.com.au/office/starr-partners-auburn

Photos courtesy of the Parramatta Eels. Stats courtesy of the legends over at Champion Data.

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John Eel
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John Eel

Great write up again Mitch. As a casual observer from the stands tonight I thought that Mitch and Jnr were our best tonight tightly followed by Gutho. What ever it takes we have to get him and MM signed on the dotted line. Colin Hussey will be happy to know that MM has now kicked 15 straight goals Col was beginning to show a little concern at his inconsistent kicking. I noticed at the game tonight a lot of people comparing seat placings for the new stadium. A lot of excitement building for the Easter Monday opening. Will we see… Read more »

Bob jay
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Bob jay

Colin is always worried about something !!

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Maybe true BJ, but I am also never worried about a lot of things though. My main worry is to see certainties in wins, surprisingly to you I also am very much positive regarding the eels, and just someone who does not like losing. Go back to all the posts I put up and you will find that aspect very much overshadows any worries. I mentioned the inconsistent kicking by MM, after his trial game efforts, while that was a side show exhibition what he has done since the trials, he has been found not guilty and sits squarely in… Read more »

Bob jay
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Bob jay

Pretty sure everyone felt that after the play but im enjoying were playing footy not chess mate , me i would have taken the 2 same as you

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

There’s a lot who believe the same thing BJ, and not doing so may well come back to bite us at some point. I believe the coach needs to push the 2 point option under those same conditions, penalties in certain kicking areas, the way MM is kicking this year, he can give us a lot of points as a result if he continues in the same vain.

John Eel
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John Eel

That first try that Jennings scored, he could not have brought that try last year if he had a million dollars in cash in his back pocket.

He would have knocked it on or over run it but would not have scored it

sixties
Admin

Had the chance to speak for a while with Jenko before the Roosters game. He seems to be in a really good head space and I think that’s reflected in his footy.

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

Can someone explain the rule where Fergo took the ball over the touch line and we get the scrum feed? I was flabbergasted, mostly at my own ignorance. Whilst he had a few clangers, I still stand by the ‘buy of the year’ moniker.

sixties
Admin

The rule is basically the same as catching the ball with your foot out. Your body becomes like an extension of the touch line.

Thor Head
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Thor Head

I think it was a brilliant bluff by Fergo… For the life of me I can’t find a rule that explains what happened, and I think he sold everyone (including the commentators) a massive dummy based on having one foot out and touching the ball on the full means it has gone out on the full. I was flabbergasted when we got the scrum feed and no one seemed to blink an eye.

Parrasupportet
Guest

The rule basically is if your foots out of play when you touch the ball than the ball is considered to have gone out of play and not that you have taken it out of play. You must have the foot planted on the floor and not up in the air when you touch it. The only exclusion is if the ball is not in motion or heading away from the sideline.

Fathead
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Fathead

It’s now clear to see where our biggest improvement lies and that’s the go forward from the big men. The two wingers and the excellent form of Junior Paulo. I’ve always thought Junior has it in him to be the best prop in the game and now that he’s for finally trimmed down and firing – I wouldn’t swap him for anyone. He’s got amazing agility for such a big man. I reckon if we can keep these kids together we could be anything.

sixties
Admin

Having watched the pre-season I knew that we would start well. The future with the younger players looks great. Of course, promoting young players comes at a cost – see the results of the Flegg – but as much as we support the lower grades, the main aim of lower grades is to produce NRL players.

Milo
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Milo

Thanks for the information Mitch. V promising to read about Moses; and yes pls sign Guth now. I could not see the game while o/s here in Hawaii but kept tabs till the end. Seems we got Cronulla at a good time. The stats were almost the same for both teams and our discipline seems to have improved so far. A good win and much needed after last weeks loss. Now for Ricky in Canberra….they will be v confident after beating the Cows last night and again another team who have beaten us a few times down in the capital.… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Raiders in Canberra. Tough ask. I watched part of the Raiders game yesterday and the Cowboys were awful in what I saw. The Green machine have started the year well, so we’ll be taking on a confident team.

Salty Pete
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Salty Pete

Mitch, I know you have been vocal on your support of D Brown but your above criticism of Salmon seems petty to me. Here’s a kid whose trained at centre all off season, barely played more than 13 minutes a game and asked to come in and play 80 against one of the toughest sides of the comp. Surely the Parra of the future has Brown and Salmon in it.

sixties
Admin

Salty, Salmon did exactly as I expected him to do. He’s had a great pre-season at centre and fortunately for us he has the versatlity to cover a few positions

Bob jay
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Bob jay

Agree salty it was petty

Bob jay
Guest
Bob jay

Watch and learn ,he knew exactly what he was doing ,he knows the rules , had a foot out on purpose to do it !!!!!!!

sixties
Admin

Very clever stuff from Fergo. Watching live, I didn’t see his foot over the sideline and wondered what happened. When the replay came up, I was applauding his smarts.

Parramatta Tragic
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Parramatta Tragic

Incredible footy IQ. Never seen anything like it and never thought about it. Ferguson is obviously not your average footy player either on the field or between the ears. Very, very clever stuff. Other teams will now copy this and maybe it will be called a “Ferguson” just like a “Mankad”. A great and tough game of footy. I’d like to know who is responsible for the great videos that appear on the big screen of Parramatta through the ages and at the end for the team song with words. They’re both great and kudos for whoever put them together

DDay
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DDay

The go forward last night against a notoriously gritty side is a good measure of how dominant the Eels were with 10 players running for more than 100m; back 5 + MM, Jnr, Alvaro, Evans, Marata. Defence equally impressive. Really solid win and I like how patient the Eels were.

My only concern is with how dominant the team was, should we have won by more?

rowdy roddy
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rowdy roddy

DDay, I certainly agree we should have won by at least 2 more points. I backed them at 13+.

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

Great review as always Mitch. I snort into my cornflakes so often when I read your stuff, I’m starting to think I should just sprinkle salt on them through the week so I’m ready for the taste on the weekend.
Tep, I think, may still be carrying an injury but it was great to see him come up and sign stuff and have his photo taken at the end of the game.

Brindmarsh
Guest
Brindmarsh

Agreed that Evans has improved this year but I have a small heart attack every time he attempts to offload. Twice last night he just dumped it out the back to no one. Plus a terrible early tackle knock on. I really wish he’d just tuck it under the arm and run. Gutho’s work rate was outstanding tonight. The amount of times he had to cover from FB for a tackle, then rush out the back for the kick. He saved Peni’s blushes with an amazing cover tackle of Townsend as well. That was the turning point of the match… Read more »

Bob jay
Guest
Bob jay

Poor assement of salmon but its your call , incidentally , usually stop and offload is play often used , when you do it more than often the defender hesitates with you giving the reciever the advantage needed .

Luke
Guest
Luke

I would argue our style is play fast with the ball on the back of big runs from Fergo, Sivo, Gutho, Junior then give the ball to Moses against a retreating defence & see what he can come up with. Sometimes the team around him not supporting on his carries bothers me when he makes a break. Gutho has been awesome in his involvement this season – NSW bolter? Courtesy of Pythago NRL ‘4 teams started the season 3-1. 75% of teams that start 3-1 go on to make the finals.’ Unlucky Raiders, at least it was a good start.

BDon
Guest
BDon

Great work Mitch,then an hour less sleep, or is it more, who knows?? Like your thoughts on improvement potential. Roosters, Sharks, Storm have it in their DNA to change gears, we got caught a few times last night with up tempo play, on the back foot, and vulnerable to fast switches in direction(not even talking the Feki try). We missed 29 tackles(Sharks near half that), but showed good discipline in tackle release and 10 metres(plus no nit picking by refs). We”ll get better in dealing with this. I’ll encourage you on the Lane thesis, maybe track his injuries, 4 clubs… Read more »

BDon
Guest
BDon

Mitch,apols NBN playing up,postings may be duplicated.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Gutherson is like the hybrid offspring of Luke Burt and Nathan Hindmarsh, he never quits, won’t stop working hard and is such a competitor! He’s the modern day spiritual heart of Parramatta.

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Mitch good read mate. I didn’t see the game but was keeping up to date on NRL.com. I did though see the high lights. Got 3 things I Wana put to you. (1) Can someone explain to me how junior Paulo didn’t score the guys so big it’s like his blocking the sun. (2) another thing is why didn’t Moses pass back inside to Gutherson who was in marked. (3) Gutherson slow or is that Xerri kid a real flyer. My point being is that 3 missed opportunities for tries. Next week should be another cracking game both sides looking… Read more »

Bob jay
Guest
Bob jay

My old coach told me once ,a win is a win so makesure you enjoy it no matter what because theres always a hiding waiting around the corner , so just enoy it everyone and let the coaches worry about the discrepancies,,THEY DO YOU KNOW !!!