The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 14 vs Broncos

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 38   

Brisbane Broncos 10

 

The people have been calling for change like it was 1848 and there just wasn’t enough cake to go around and I will be damned if we aren’t going to give them what they want.

What’s that you say? You meant fans wanted changes in the team? Shit. Well it is bloody too late now. There are no take-backs or refunds on this wild ride, just regrets.

So for one week and one week only, Mitch, the Archduke of Assessments, the Crown Prince of the Curriculum, the Earl of evaluations – TCT’s mighty purveyor of post-game grades has stepped aside and foolishly handed the keys to the kingdom to the one man that would have been crazy enough to break the system if the Eels were to deliver yet another performance with less consistency than a dodgy Vindaloo curry that has already been through your system three times over.

 

The Good:
Some way, some how the Eels were clearly struck by a revelatory bolt of genius earlier this week. In a moment of singular clarity not unlike the invention of fire or the wheel, the Eels realised it was actually okay to win and even to do so in grand fashion.

Tonight’s excellent win over the Broncos certainly does not put away nearly two months of exceedingly poor play and effort levels but it was certainly a potent poultice for an army of loyal fans wounded by the events of late.

Parramatta were strong from 1-17 as they posted their fourth win at Bankwest Stadium and freely mixed strong fundamental play with aggressive and adventurous attacking raids to run the Broncos off the park in the first half.

I refuse to believe they have turned the corner yet but it was the first compelling reason they have given fans to have even a modicum of hope for the back half of the season.

The Bad:
Asides from two squandered chances to score with errant final passes from Manu Ma’u and Michael Jennings, it was largely a complete effort. The second half did get underway to a janky start admittedly with Miitchel Moses and Jaeman Salmon both posting less than stellar clearing kicks but the Eels were absolutely up to the task tonight.

The bad from the 28-point victory almost entirely focuses on a heart-in-mouth moment for every stakeholder of the club and the wider NRL when Josh Hoffman, who was enjoying an excellent bounce back game, was assailed by potentially severe neck injury.

Play was halted for some time while he was carefully fitted with a neck-brace and carted off by the medicab before Andy Raymond eventually informed concerned fans that while he was off for precautionary scans, the Eels first diagnosis wasn’t a major neck injury. Even so, we obviously are hoping for the best results to come back and wish Josh the speediest of recoveries.

The X-Factor:
While they played some scintillating and free-flowing footy to break the Broncos open it was the off the ball efforts that put the Eels firmly in front. Kick chases, support play and even line-speed were are significantly improved this week and that proved to be the foundational work that bludgeoned the visiting team into submission as the Eels handily won the territorial battle and then ultimately the game.
The MVP:

 

The numbers may not be the gaudiest with 11 runs for 98m with 26 tackles (1 missed, 1 ineffective) and 3 offloads but David Gower was everywhere tonight and spearheaded the off-the-ball efforts that put the Eels on the front foot. From tidying up an attacking tap back by Corey Oates to improbably racing back to clean up a charged-down kick, Gower was immense.

Don’t sleep on those attacking numbers either, his runs were plenty effective and those 3 offloads had the virtues of been both late and effective and punished the Brisbane ruck defenders.

Gower posted arguably a career best night against the Rabbitohs two weeks ago and looks to be in perhaps his richest run of form ever at the tender age of 34.

The most honourable of mentions to Manu Ma’u this week as well.

 

1- Clint Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

One week on from collecting one of the most unfortunate participation ribbons ever seen after getting knocked out by Josh Dugan in the opening exchanges of Round 13, Clinton Gutherson rebounded strongly to help lead the Eels to victory.

A typically busy night on the ground for Gutherson (17 runs, 123m) was backed up by some strong goal line defence and a neat try assist and linebreak assist that put Michael Jennings over. The Parramatta custodian moved calmly with the flow of the game and never tried to overplay his hand, firmly earning his B+ grade.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Left stranded of his fourth career double only for Michael Jennings short-arming the final pass, Maika Sivo was made to do with a quiet 1 try, 15 run, 140m night. Sivo had little regard for the feelings of Jamayne Isaako as he physically bullied him at times while other Broncos felt the wrath of his cattle-prod fend. He also tattooed Gehamat Shibsaki with his shoulder at one point in the second half as the blockbusting winger enhances his fearsome reputation on both sides of the ball.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

The numbers belie his impact but Michael Jennings produced some timely carries and a neat try as he continues to build one of the most lethal left-edge combinations in the game. The graying hair only adds to the grizzled veteran feel that Jennings has going on this year but the experienced centre has been taking plenty of young-bloods to school in 2019.

4- Josh Hoffman

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Josh Hoffman was cooked like BBQ chicken by Bronson Xerri last week and he wasted no time making amends by producing a two try effort full of grit and guts. Beyond last week’s aberration, Hoffman has been excellent in his duties as a relief centre and his injury is truly disheartening for me. I can only hope he makes a rapid recovery and puts himself right back into the frame later in the season.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

The game didn’t come his way often, if at all, on the right wing so Blake Ferguson went looking for work instead. 24 runs and 182m later and you have a good chunk of the platform that helped build Parramatta’s dominance up the middle. Ferguson was beset by a minor ankle injury in the first half while his ribs are still troubling him but he is clearly playing tough for the Eels and if paper-talk is true – has earned a recall to the cauldron of Origin.

6- Jaeman Salmon

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

Jaeman Salmon ended a month-long exile from first grade with one of his most complete performances at five-eighth to date. While he is likely to be supplanted immediately by one particular boom rookie (who cheekily tipped his possible return in a Fox Sports interview), it was hugely encouraging to see Salmon play to the line en-route to setting up tries for Maika Sivo and Reed Mahoney. 

Salmon will likely now find himself in a tussle for the right centre position after the injury to Josh Hoffman and I can only hope that he is given the first crack at making it his own.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

As he continues to inch towards greater weekly consistency, Mitchell Moses posted yet another strong game at Bankwest Stadium. I would still like to see him run more but his fifth tackle kicking options are improving and while it didn’t always make for pretty ends to sets – his decision making in the red-zone either led to points or the Broncos having to ruck it out off their goal line. The complete lack of cheap 7-tackle sets tonight was another pillar in Parramatta’s ascendancy.

8- Kane Evans

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Kane Evans…a model of consistency? Barring a shocker against the Canberra Raiders earlier this year, Evans has begun to make reparations to the Eels for a mediocre 2018 campaign. His offload has largely been shelved (just one tonight) and the renewed focus on his running game is producing pleasing results with the limber tall timber chalking up 120m from 11 carries.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

I don’t know how to weave in a clever line about how inflationary pressures lead to the devaluation of cash money but screw it…Reed has emerged from a tough stretch to better resemble the jacked-up Jack Russel that we know and love. Our attack looks more fluent when he is taking advantage of fast play-the-balls while his support play saw him rewarded with a nice try.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

On a night where I honestly found it difficult to hand out ‘A’ grades for one reason or another, Junior Paulo went dangerously close to an ‘A-‘. Unlike last week, there was no stone cold drop of the football – just 133m from 13 powerful charges, 4 quality offloads and 1 powerhouse try. His defence brings the grade down a bit with a low count of 15 tackles hindered by 4 missed and 3 ineffective tackles but his partnership with Kane Evans is helping lay a competitive platform for the Eels to open games.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Like Blake Ferguson, Shaun Lane was something of a victim of the game flowing around him. He still managed to rattle out 10 runs for 84m and 27 tackles (3 missed, 2 ineffective) but it was his outside men that were the major beneficiaries tonight.

However with the speculation intensifying about the return of a prodigal play-maker, look for the Eels to take some more trips down Brown Lane in the coming rounds.

12- Manu Ma’u

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Unironically awarding Manu Ma’u an ‘A’ grade is one of life’s real pleasures, I will tell you what. The man with the thousand yard stare has barely put a foot wrong since returning from injury and is one of the few Eels that can hold their heads up high in recent times.

16 runs, 162m, 1 offload and 33 tackles (2 missed) highlight the quality of his work on both sides of the ball while the Eels entrusted him to cover for Josh Hoffman at right centre in the final quarter of play.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

Robbed of a ‘A’ grading by his spectacular and somewhat amusing goof from a line drop out, Nathan Brown nonetheless made a strong return to the starting line-up for the Eels across 60 tough minutes of play. Like Manu, he posted big numbers with 19 runs, 153m, 3 offloads and 25 tackles (2 missed, 2 ineffective) all recorded next to his name but he was also a cheeky threat to the Broncos in the red-zone tonight.

While he didn’t trouble the scorers, perhaps his ability to suck in an extra defender or two closer to the posts helped open things up on the edges for Parramatta’s play-makers.

14- Ray Stone

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

 

Okay, maybe a little melodramatic but Ray Stone’s return to the big leagues came at the cost of his luscious mullet and in the moments before kickoff if you listened real carefully you could hear the cries of 1000 broken-hearted tradies paying their respects.

Stone was reasonably productive and effective in limited minutes and certainly didn’t do himself any harm with 5 runs, 49m and 14 tackles (2 missed, 1 ineffective) rounding out a decent effort. Anthony Milford, rather was the one doing him harm with the two players getting tangled up in a kick chase leading to Stone sporting a ginger ankle.

There may or may not be some controversy about Stone taking exception to Corey Oates getting a little cute ground the ball late in the game but after nearly two months of the seeing apathetic defenders getting embarrassed week after week, Stone’s actions resonated more than a little with me. Keep pushing the limits young tearaway.

 

15- Peni Terepo

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

He has been right at the top of my shit list for long stretches of the season but tonight was a strong return to form from Peni Terepo. Whether the demotion of Tepai Moeroa or otherwise served to light a fire under his backside, his 95m from just 8 carries and 26 tackles (2 missed, 2 ineffective) provided the Eels with plenty of punch from the bench.

He is far from back in my good graces but tonight was a start.

16- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I wrote just about everything I needed to in the MVP section at the top but it should be reaffirmed that if more of his team-mates played with both the intelligence and the ticker of one David Neil Gower, then the Eels would probably be sniffing around the race for the minor premiership.

17- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Hopefully Marata Niukore fully embraces his role from the bench for the Eels because specialist interchange players are a criminally overlooked and underrated aspect of the NRL. With the mad push to secure starting positions sometimes making it a zero sum game between players and clubs, having a player that can offer flexibility to cover the edge and middle with fresh legs is a real boon.

77m from 7 runs and 22 tackles (2 missed, 2 ineffective) made for a steady day at the office for Niukore but his runs continue to have more venom in them after shifting back to the bench.

The win positions the Eels back into the Top 8 are returns their win/loss ratio to equilibrium but Parramatta have to build on tonight’s big win. They have given little reason for fans to maintain the faith recently but the other token, this was also their first complete effort since the rot set in.

Ambushing the Raiders in Darwin in two weeks would be a momentous result for the Eels and they just might have the returning player they need for the job.

Go you Eels,

Forty20

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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Anonymous
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Anonymous

I really look forward to these post game grades after a win. Thank you.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Tigers ,stg ,rabbits broncos , i make that 4

Sam
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Sam

Great Stuff. 40 gets an A beats out Mitches usual C+ 😂

Everyone’s happy after a good win.

Really enjoyed the fire at times from Moses too.

Hope Stonefish never stops belting people.

mitch
Admin

Ha, just so you’re aware Sam, one half our readership thinks you’re being a bit generous; the other thinks you’re being too harsh with those grades.

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Great work to get get these grades up tonight Mitch. I suppose its easier to motivate oneself after a result like tonight. I actually wasn’t surprised that they performed the way they did and suggested to Jesse Cronin’s Dad at McCredie Park this afternoon that I thought his young man was made in the similar mode to Ray Stone who would have a much improved game tonight, not unlike young Jesse who was a standout in the Jersey Flegg comeback against the Warriors today. I thought your grades were quite good if not a little conservative also mate. But as… Read more »

mitch
Admin

I appreciate you saying so Rowdy, but Forty is the one time author tonight. And he did such a good job I’m worried I’ll never get them back.

Dave
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Dave

No way Mitch you’ll be back next game but if they lose we’ll have to demote you again

DDay
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DDay

You can empathise with Tep, Taka and Alvaro in Wenty – they’d be worried about getting their NRL job back

Rowdy
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Rowdy

As they should!

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

DDay, they should have been worrying much earlier while they were in the NRL squad.

John Eel
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John Eel

I thought MM defended petty well tonight apart from his great work in attack. At one stage he had an opportunity to kick behind the line early in the tackle count . He did it later though with good results for Hoffman. This is not a criticism just an observation. Love Ray Stones aggression They started both halves slowly. that will be something that will need attention. however they fixed it on both occasions. I thought the line speed late in the second half was really good. Cant argue with any of the grades. PS. If Manly get beaten by… Read more »

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

Look, we need a mongrel in the team. To say Stone is that player is nonsense. His last three games have been nothing but an aberration. Silly penalties, turnovers and just dumb play. He should focus on the simple things of running hard and tackling hard. Then he can worry about trying to emulate Josh McGuire the mug. Until then, I do not see a place in the team for Stoney, he is a liability.

John Eel
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John Eel

I was not calling for Ray Stone to be included in our top 17 every week it is just a comment after watching him for a couple of years that I thought appropriate.

If you watch Oates try he cocks his shoulder to hit Stone who then takes unconventional defensive action.

What I do like about Stones play apart from his aggression is his work in defence and his ability to run through a hole.

I don’t like his error rate and the silly penalties he gives away. But the improvements will come with experience.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Poor judgement there

BDon
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BDon

Good grades Forty. Yes, the basics were respected, even the old favourite of completing after points. I had to check a couple of times if the Broncos had rested their stars but they were pretty well all physically present. That was probably the best roster we’ve fielded this year and with DBrown to return, here’s hoping.

DDay
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DDay

A good win, agree with Forties the Eels were good 1-17. The tactics were much clearer; with the ball the forwards laid the platform through the middle (rather than leaving the back 3 to do the hard yards), then throw the ball to the wings and in defence get aggresive and improve the line speed. Where has that been? Great to see three A grade performances from the forwards and to see Maloney given more support in the middle. MM benefited from having another 1/2 in the team. The team benefited from the inclusion of the young players with the… Read more »

Hearndo
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Hearndo

Great stuff Forty. I thought Kane Evans played superb in the opening 20 minutes and was a big reason for our early success. Isn’t it good to see him finally wind up and, like Fergo pointed out in the post-game, run hard first then look for the offload.

Gem KM
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Gem KM

Gowie 😍

Brindmarsh
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Brindmarsh

Very happy with that effort from the boys. I’ve wanted to see The Fish back in the team for a few weeks now and he didn’t disappoint. Injected himself into the game well and looked very confident in our backline movements. It has got me wondering about some of our big wins this season though – what percentage of them were because the opposition didn’t turn vs the Eels just being very, very good. Clearly we caught a few teams on off-days (Tigers, Broncos) but we were also very very good in these matches. Outside of the opener against the… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Brindmarsh, I addressed this in my Spotlight post this week. I wrote this: “Truthfully, I still believe that the team has the capacity to finish close to the top 8. There’s nothing astounding about my reasoning. It’s obvious that Parra love the downhill run. Put them in front, with things going their way, and they’ll look great. That will happen in some games. They’ll win those – an average winning margin of 18 points is an indicator of that likelihood.” But then I added that we have a lack of resilience when things go against us. That we don’t get… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

I’ve been saying for a long time that Gower should be in the top 17. I love his offloading ability. 2nd to none. Good win boys. But you will need to back that up again next week vs Canberra in the northern territory. If the team can win well in the bush then I’ll rate them on that back to back wins.

pete
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pete

Agree with your summary and grades. Gower is a coaches dream, effort upon effort. He had no right to be expected to score that try but he kept putting in and got the rewards. Every coach should play that back to the younger blokes as exhibit A for don’t give up. It was a great effort by the team and could have easily been 50 points. I don’t want to rain on our parade but, There is still the issue of missed tackles (41). This many missed tackles leads to our inconsistent performance. We can outscore most teams, but the… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

I love the win especially how the score shows that it was a convincing win, the big concern that I have though is your points re the missed tackles and our against scores. There has been some discussion regarding the defence coach we have, or at least in title, missing tackles means it very much harder to climb the ladder as its a real burden owing to the weight in the climb making it hard to reach the point to which one has its sighs on, other words the top. Those missed tackles show up big time when we sit… Read more »

Michael Formosa
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Michael Formosa

Forty20 you are a harder marker than what we are use too but it’s still good. I would have given Gutho a A- after re-watching the game and seeing him come up with 3 try saving plays in a row when the score was nil all (two tackles and cleaning up a kick). How good is Gower going! Salmon in the side is a massive plus for the team.

mitch
Admin

I love the harshness. More of it in future weeks, I say.

West Coast Eel
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West Coast Eel

We certainly are a different side at bank west. I actually like that side that was named. I guess if Dylan is back for the raiders game it would be Salmon to the bench instead of stone? Hopefully Hoffman is ok. He’s actually been pretty good for us. We need to string a few wins together now.

sixties
Admin

Hoff has brought the energy to the centre position.

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

A good win. How simple that we get some field position and repeat sets and our forwards can play with energy for the whole 80 min without getting gassed due to poor play by our play maker. We did not give away any seven tackle sets and I was even happy when we turned the ball over on the last 5 meters out from opposition try line. Common sense is starting to creep into our game and I love it. I am disappointed we need to wait six weeks for another home game. This is disrespectful to the members whom… Read more »

sixties
Admin

It’s not ideal, so maybe they have to make sure that the Darwin trip doesn’t happen around the bye weeks. Or maybe it’s better from a travel perspective? I don’t know.

!0 Year Member
Guest
!0 Year Member

Cattle prod fend. Perfect summation of the fly swatter Sivo. Bloody love the analogy. Bloody awesome.

Milo
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Milo

Great grades 40; and no issues here. Has Parra turned a corner? Well maybe in terms of the 17; plus Dylan Brown. The other part in terms of playing for 80 will be answered in time. If the team takes the effort and attitude into the rest of the season, we can make the 8; i am not sure if we have the consistency in us this season and hope i am wrong. We need some astute recruitment in a few areas, and come end of June hopefully we see something. Our forwards led the way and halves paved things… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

Milo I have said this a few times since the the game but I believe now that now Brownie is back from injury and starting at lock the ruck defence looks a whole lot tighter

Can’t wait for Dylan Brown to make his return from injury. We are a better side with the Brown boys in. Having said that Jaeman was good last game.

Milo
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Milo

PS how good was H Perenara? Bloody A+ for me.

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

lol. credit where credit is due. maybe most of us keeping our thoughts to ourselves helped us this week!!!??? whom is to know. Maybe the boys just played too well for the referring to impact the result! ha.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Who gets the try assist for Gowies try. MM or Corey Oates

Poppa
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Poppa

I am going to try to understand this coach versus players fault thing…….. Apart from the delight of lasts night’s result, I don’t now feel excited because what is going to happen next week? Like many….most? on here I am ready to write the coach off……BUT ….listening to him last night he is actually the same as us….he is bewildered and doesn’t know the answer either! The players when interviewed were “sheepish” in ignoring the “elephant” of inconsistency in the room…..BA wasn’t convinced in the slightest….he virtually owned up to the view of fcuk me, I don’t have the answers……………………… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

Poppa I think that you have summarised well here and I agree with most of what you say. The thing I would say about your comment in point 1is that I saw the start of the game differently to yourself. I was at the game and thought the Broncos put enormous pressure on us in the first 5 to 10 minutes. In my opinion it was only good goal line defence that stopped the Broncos scoring. I remember turning to the bloke next to me and saying this does not look good. However basically that was the extent of their… Read more »