The Cumberland Throw

Whisky Musings – Round 9: The no good, very bad, absolutely appalling Parramatta Eels

Round 9 Drink Of Choice – Battery acid with a lemon juice chaser


Well there isn’t any spinning or sugar-coating that train-wreck. In a weekend dubbed the ‘Magic Round’, the Eels resembled a rag-tag cabal that had dabbled too far into the black magics as the Melbourne Storm took them to Hogwarts and beat them worse than a Bludger in a game of Quidditch.

Parramatta were just awful and even worse, they came forearmed with the knowledge that the Storm would be fired up after Craig Bellamy put his charges on blast publicly in the post-match presser against the Cronulla Sharks last week. While I have been advising caution about the volatility of our young team in recent weeks, last night’s effort can not be excused and the team will need to learn very rapidly from the stark lessons that Melbourne handed them in the 64-10 thrashing.


‘BA’ finds an answer for a problem that likely didn’t exist

Andy Raymond led the FoxSports coverage of the game with a cryptic hint of a potential shake-up in Parramatta’s line-up. Fans mistakenly thought that Will Smith was making a rapid return to first grade after recovering from a broken arm but those theories were well awry as it was later confirmed that Reed Mahoney was dropped to the bench in lieu of Peni Terepo. The Eels went all out for bulk in the middle with Clinton Gutherson covering the dummy-half duties perhaps in an attempt to out-muscle the Storm.

While it certainly wasn’t the sole reason why Melbourne ran riot over the Eels, it still remains a baffling non-solution to a question that no one really asked. Brad Arthur certainly shouldn’t be blamed for the horrid missed tackles and repeated errors from his troops but the Eels definitely weren’t starting with their strongest 13 against one of the premiership heavyweights.


Storm too classy but Eels ultimately their own worst enemies

The likes of Cameron Munster, Curtis Scott and Ryan Papenhuyzen will deservedly get their plaudits from the monster victory but as if the loss to the Newcastle Knights in Round 7, the Eels handed the keys to victory to their opponents. Serial mistake maker Brad Takairangi arguably started the rot with a messy offload from a penalty restart that gave Marata Niukore little chance to make a clean catch leading to the opening try for Melbourne.

Niukore himself was guilty of a sloppy unforced error himself later on in the first half while the entire team seemed content to plant both their feet early and arm-grab in defence.

Even with all the errors and missed tackles, perhaps the most disappointing thing to come out of the thrashing was our lack of urgency on kick chases again. I can not stress how disappointing this is personally.

The sole encouraging aspect of last night was the fact that the Eels were largely able to capitalise on their limited opportunities in the red zone with Shaun Lane and Maika Sivo crossing on well executed attacking raids.


Gutherson’s impassioned plea

Clinton Gutherson had a night at the office to forget with several key missed tackles at the last line and a blooper on a kick clean up that will be front and centre in any 2019 lowlights package. While the mainstream focus of fans and media will probably focus in on how the poor showing will impact the protracted contract negotiations, I would like to give him some kudos for putting the frustrating inconsistencies of NRL officiating on official record.

Maika Sivo became the second Eel to be sin-binned for foul play following his high-shot on a falling Jahrome Hughes which launched Gutherson into a passionate tirade against Henry Perenara on the basis that the Wests Tigers had no one sin-binned for exactly the same infraction against Daniel Alvaro.

Naturally it fell on deaf ears and the Storm inflicted a singularly unique pain on the Eels in the following 10min as they piled on three tries and managed to starve Parramatta of the ball for the entire handicapped period but perhaps it will finally lead to an official statement to provide clarity on the matter.


How much change will we see?

A performance like that has to lead to change, the question will be how much and who? Honestly, the list of Eels who deserve to retain their place is much smaller than those that could feasibly be dropped but we need to keep an element of realism in mind with who is available with any calls for wholesale changes.

Maika Sivo will likely be spending a week or two on the sideline so the Eels will be in need of a new winger. Josh Hoffman and George Jennings are the obvious candidates here. Hoffman could also replace Brad Takairangi in the centres while reserve forwards David Gower and Ray Stone could also warrant call ups.

If Brad Arthur is having genuine reservations about playing Reed Mahoney for 80min then both Will Smith and Matt McIlwrick become options on the bench.


The Final Word

Honestly, what more can you really say about a showing like that? The Eels bottomed out big time on Saturday night and have very little time to recover for their trip to the Northern tropics where they will face the North Queensland Cowboys. Parramatta have been the victims of big bounce-back efforts by the Knights and Storm in recent weeks, it is time for the Eels to produce a similar revenge game of their own.




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Absolutely disgraceful performance!
BA needs to stop being loyal to blokes who don’t perform. Terepo and Takairangi make too many mistakes to be in first grade and their lack of urgency is appalling. Check out Taka trotting along in back play for Carr’s last try. If the chasers had caught him Taka would have taken to tackles to get back onside.


Part of me wishes that BA was pulling a trick from the old BS playbook – when they start getting ahead of themselves, flog them at training so they’re cooked for the game and get their arse handed to him.

But that’s too far fetched for my liking.

That were diabolical.


i always support the team but that game was, Absolutely embarrassing. I feel so sorry for all the Parra fans that paid to see it. Luckily, I didn’t pay money to see the garbage on display as i was planning to. I guess the Reed dumping was a brain explosion, can’t see a reason for it. You show your No 9 that you have little faith in his ability, Reed U20 Qld hooker, would have been so keen to take on Cam Smith. Taka, has had his time. Pricey told him off and that lasted 1 game. He probably read… Read more »

Seth hardie

I agree about the hooking change Pete it just say’s to Reed Mahoney your not up for the big boys game. He is the best technical tackler in the side.I could just see Bellamy have Cam Smith on the bench because he might be over powered.


Little to add from me; just very disappointing. Not sure what to make of it all. Did Sivo deserve a grade 3?? are they consistent? I do know that we at looking down the barrel of Cowboys up there and we do not often come away with the chocolates…..v flat this week.

!0 Year Member

Thanks for the article 40/20. I missed the first 15 min of the game and I also have no idea what was in BA’s head with the team changes before kick off? I appreciate we need to be able to play when adversity occurs, but why did we create our own adversity when there was enough just playing the storm? Our players have been doing their JOB. Yes the players were woeful, but why oh why did BA change the set up of the team? Now I am aware of this, I actually do not hold any players to account.… Read more »

John Eel

Irrespective of the decision to leave Mahoney out of the starting side, if you can’t hold players to account for that performance you know nothing about football.


“Now I am aware of this, I actually do not hold any players to account” I cannot possibly imagine why you say this, to me it was obvious that BA thought the beginning would be brutal so he put on an extra bigger middle forward than the young hooker. I thought it was a tactic that a tradionalist like BA would not do…..but I applaud the thinking. Guth handled dummy half well, the problem in those 15/20 minutes was that it was not brutal, they were like a couple of fighters in the ring dancing around each other…..all of a… Read more »

John Eel

Agree with these comments. The line speed and kick chase has been missing all season.

This poor effort area by the players was highlighted by the Dragons second try last week when they practically ran the length of the field to score after an Eels clearing kick.

The players are still not playing with patience. That has been a frustration for BA all season.

!0 Year Member

Just to confirm, you do not think Cash is a top 13 player and belongs in the starting side as hooker? I am at the opposite end. He is a winner and i believe in him. Has the storm held back Cameron as he was not a big body? It was a stupid decision and BA needs to own this. Cash has been nothing but awesome, did he not bring us back into the game against the Dragons last week?


I think you miss the point I was making, it was no reflection on Mahoney….comparisons with Smith are hardly appropriate.


Bath water gone. No sign of any baby either. How about we look at the results another way. Came back from two of those starts to win. Won 5 games out of 9. That was an awful performance beyond any measure, zero resilience, zero heart, but you’ve picked two people to go who have plenty of runs on the board, including this season. That game cannot be ignored, but if you aren’t going to ignore that game, neither should you ignore the 5 wins out of nine games thus far. Not everyone in the team deserves to be re-signed, but… Read more »


Man, you’re drawing a long bow comparing Bellamy to any coach. The man has the success, length of tenure, players and security that few other coaches or clubs can compare to. There’s nothing acceptable about last year, but if you want to dig back into history, the same coach and captain delivered 8 “away” wins in 2017, including 5 on the road. What part of that has fluttered above your head without notice. And what part of 5 wins out of 9 this year don’t you get? If this loss catapults the club into similar form to last year, you… Read more »


Forty, I”m exhausted by the number of levels at which we failed. I noticed it at the time, but even Moses’ first penalty touch finder made only 10 mtrs from 20 mtrs infield. I watched other games where 25 mtrs was the standard. Wouldn’t early field position be huge v Storm? Our restart was from 30 mtrs instead of near halfway and a possible crack at their line or repeat set, and perhaps a more compliant Storm defensive line in their own half. Flat from the get go.


How can we possibly get oursrlves up next week against the cowboys and an away game too.
We are the best at playing dumb football and have issues adapting to different teams and their game plan.
There isn’t too many in our side that could put in a great performance 2 weeks running.
If stats are right no side has won the GF when 50 has been put on them let alone 60.
Hope my mighty eels prove me wrong and turn things around really quickly.


A big defeat was coming. I said last week we are not playing well and were lucky to win last week with a couple of opportunistic long range tries that changed the game. We dont get in the grind and are not prepared to. There is a soft belly in this team who look for the shortcuts. They need to change that attitude quickly.


A few additional points to consider: 1) The Storm played their best first half of football all year and if Matara doesn’t drop that ball just before halftime, we go into the break only down 12. Different ball game if that’s the case. I honestly think that try on the bell killed our spirit. 2) We only had 4 sets inside their 20 and scored twice. One of the other 2 sets we consistently threatened their line and were unlucky not to get a repeat set when the ball sat up for Vunivalu. We could/would have scored more points if… Read more »


Firstly I hope Forty survived the “Battery acid with a lemon juice chaser”. I don’t have a problem with BA trying something different with Reed coming off the bench, just don’t do it again. The point you make about having 7 middle forwards points to the problem – these middle forwards aren’t grinding it out and yet they doing such short on-field stints. So it’s not fatigue, but attitude, or lack of clarity on their role or lack of ability – but we are clearly soft in this space.


I can’t disagree with this.


Defence is attitude. And ours was woeful. I’d hate to see the stats on how many one on one tackles were made versus missed. Hell, we made several games’ worth of ineffective tackles, and their post-contact metres were enormous. I’ve cursed the offloads against us in previous weeks, but in other games, we just always seem to have them covered. Last night, every single set felt like they went straight through us, offloads or not. The defence never seemed to be in position or working together. Don’t get me started on the markers, or more accurately the players laying in… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden

That’s one hard game to watch. To say we need a clean out is a understatement. Ppl keep saying don’t sign the coach. In saying that who is out there that can a better job 🤔. I know there’s Flanagan but his not allowed to because of the Sharks drama. On what player’s to keep its not as simple as it sounds. Ppl need to understand you need experience n youth. Just got find that balance. This is my team for this week pending if player’s are available. 1. Gutherson 2. Gennings / Hoffman 3. M Jennings 4. Parry or… Read more »


You can see from all the comments online that the team has lost the respect of their supporters that they might have built up this year. Where was the fight back, or at least a mild resemblance of a fight back? Have been going to games since the 60’s, have seen many disappointments, chokes, etc but as someone else said, “this is right up there. Supporters are frustrated and have well and truly had a gut full and want an explanation. Today’s Tele is saying contract negotiations have dragged on too long, but I for one support management for taking… Read more »

Longfin Eel

I’m wondering if Parra are actually capable of putting in strong performances every week? The best teams tend to do this as a matter of course, yet it seems to take a lot out of the Parra players, and hence the awful performance we saw on Saturday night. To be an NRL player you need to be able to lift for every game – there are no easy games, and you can’t just turn up half-hearted and to receive your paycheque at the end. I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m willing to bet a lot of this… Read more »


Seems to me the good teams, Chooks, Melbourne, Souths, have the same game plan each week , stick to it and wait for their opportunities to arrive. We seem incapable of the same. In fact at times we seem to have a new game plan every week ? We throw the pass when its not on and don’t execute the 1 percenters well. That added to our lackadaisical attitude and lack of aggression leads to our losses. When we lose our way, there seems to be no-one who stabilizes us or a plan B to fall back on, we are… Read more »

Big Derek

There is one thing that teams like Roosters and Storm do in recruiting that is basic, they sign speed. The backrower at the Roosters, Scott and Papenhuyzen at the Storm. We do have decent junior ranks, but over the past 5/6 seasons, I haven’t seen any real speedsters in those ranks, that’s certainly worth a look. That was an embarrassing performance from just about any angle, Slothfield made a point that Gutho raved on at Perenara and that was because of the contract issue, WTF he was expressing the opinion of most supporters, particularly Eels fans at the inconsistencies of… Read more »

John Eel

Derek I agree with your sentiments regarding Rothfield. You would have to imagine that it is more than just clicks driving these Journos to back the Player Managers and do their work for them.

With regard to Papenhuyzen as a junior he played for Dundas Valley. But I am sure you would be aware of that given your involvement with juniors.

That would have made him a Tigers junior

Big Derek

John, Papenhuyzen played junior footy at Hills District, went to Oakhill College and made a yawinion rep team of some sort while there. I think he trialled and played at Tigers like a lot of Parra juniors so he then played in a Tigers junior league team.Was in and out of rep teams there but was quick and on the small side. Tigers didn’t put up much resistance when Storm saw something in him, as they say can’t teach speed, added to that Bellamy seems to have adopted the old Jack Gibson mantra for these speed players ” run at… Read more »

John Eel

I will take your word for that. I was sure that I read he had played for Dundas Valley Shamrocks.

He is very quick.


Just an observation Big D. Even the props at those top teams all have leg drive and speed, they can change gears and hit the line hard.
Asofa-Solomona bruised us big time, has all those things plus is a giant, best I’ve seen him play.


It was so depressing to see how Terepo and Tepai played. I have had bid wraps on them for a while but much PATIENCE HAS NOW DISSOLVED INTO THE ETHER. How depressing. Lane and Oregon were not THAT bad in such a diabolical side

Seth hardie

Until we recruit players with a win at all cost attitude, and a person who can have them bring that attitude to the start of every game, you will have more of what was dished up on the weekend

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