The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 15 vs Raiders

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 22  

Canberra Raiders 16

 

The Good:
In the soaking humidity of a Darwin Saturday night, the Raiders managed a Chernobyl-like meltdown, and the Eels were good enough to take advantage of their nuclear capitulation.

Prior to tonight, the Eels had only won 2 of their last 14 clashes with the Green Machine, a record stretching back almost a decade; and coming into tonight’s game the Eels hadn’t even scored a try against the Raiders in two years. At 16-0, it looked for all money as though at least one of those trends would continue, but Rugby League is a funny game and the Eels are a funny kinda team. Imagine trying to convince your mate down at the pub at that point that not only would the Raiders not score another point, but that the Eels would go on to somehow win the game.

In summary, despite waiting until the 38th minute to register their first points of the match, tonight’s unlikely victory means the Eels are now firmly in the 8 with only the Bye to face next week.

What a ride, man.

The Bad:
A loss tonight would have seen the Eels’ finals hopes sink quicker than the Mascot Towers, and there was plenty contributing to that aforementioned 16-0 first half deficit. A cursory glance over at the tone of Eels Twitter tonight tells you plenty about the typical demeanour of Parra fans when we don’t complete sets (62% in the first half, 64% overall), or make our tackles (16 misses in the first half, 31 overall); but managing to win despite such factors seemed to cover a multitude of sins for the digital Blue & Gold Army, and only provides fertile soil for BA and his team to harvest some much needed improvement before Round 17.
The X-Factor:
As touched on above, in the first half it certainly felt like our once promising season was being ripped away from our grasp like a John Bateman one-on-one strip.

But the Eels somehow stayed in the game, and they managed to stay hungry Brad Arthur thirsty. The narrative on Fox Sports was the Raiders second half error rate, but if we’re fair dinkum, the Eels error rate (6 in the first, 7 in the second) wasn’t all that different from their Canberra counterparts (5 in the first, 8 in the second). I’d put it more down to the Eels winning the meterage battle (2405 to 2309) and taking back the advantage in the middle of the park.

Weirdly the Eels also had a 10 scrum win to 3 advantage, despite both teams making 13 errors. While you take your time and consider that, I’ll be over here, putting the kettle on.

The MVP:
Manu’s try against the run of play was nice, and Fergo’s double was nothing short of game changing. You know, speaking of changing the game, if Gowie or Tep don’t play tonight, I’m not sure we win. But despite the host of possibles, I’m actually giving it to the bloke playing against his old club – Junior Paulo.

In his 53 minutes tonight, Junior ran 15 times for 180 freaking metres; adding 3 tackle breaks, 2 offloads and 22 tackles with only 1 miss. It’s always nice to get one over your old club, and he was straight up stellar tonight.

Well deserved, big fella.

 

1- Clint Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

A couple of early errant passes certainly took the shine off our opening efforts and despite getting frequently pumped by the Raiders’ defence, Clint Gutherson was often the only good news the Eels had running in attack in the first half (19 runs for 177 metres overall). The King continues to exhibit that “lead by example” leadership style to a tee, and with the ship ultimately steadying tonight, the Captain subsequently deserves much of the credit.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

I wasn’t all that impressed with Maika Sivo‘s attempt at defusing the Kris try in the 32nd minute, but his 18 run, 179 metre effort doesn’t leave a lot of room for whinging. Another great game from one of the buys of the season, no doubt better for the run for the Bati during Representative Round.

3- Brad Takairangi

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Brad Takairangis inconsistent play is something I’ve never really understood, like the first time I saw Ed Sheeran appear in that Game of Thrones episode. His 8 runs for 96 metres, however, is statistically impressive, and despite the lack of periphery statistics, and that time he played the ball sideways, there’s not too much to actually complain about.

Not too much to complain about tonight, I mean.

4- Josh Hoffman

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Josh Hoffman‘s Season 2019 is a bit like Daniel Safiti’s Origin selection – based on his form it was completely unexpected but to the surprise of almost everyone, actually quite successful. Tonight’s 10 runs for 78 metres didn’t reach any great heights, but he didn’t really do anything wrong, either; missing 0 tackles, making 0 errors and giving away just as many penalties. Much love, Hoffdog.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

By leaving the big city lights of the all conquering Roosters and taking his talents to the underperforming Eels, Blake Ferguson has almost singlehandedly taught this little town how to dance again. It seems that Fergo is our Kevin Bacon and tonight’s game changing intercept was him cutting loose, Footloose. Buoyed by that long range try (I didn’t realise how fast he was), but offset by his tough try line carries, Fergo’s 15 runs for 152 metres, 2 tackle breaks and 1 line break round out a pretty solid statistical game by human standards.

But tonight was less about statistics and more his ability to capture the game’s big moments, highlighted by his 2 absolutely essential tries. Whatever happens from here on out, I am certainly enjoying the ride of cheering the much maligned, comically misshapen nose of the giant winger.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

The return of Dylan Brown was not the euphoric occasion I suspect many Eels fans were expecting. Despite his youthful exuberance, this young buck’s returning 80 minutes was peppered with missed tackles, poor deliveries, forward passes and missed opportunities.

The NRL rookie roller coaster has its ups and downs, and regardless of Fox Sports’ insistence he was solid tonight, his performance was a clear example of said downs.

The 8 runs for 68 metres is a very solid showing from a half, as is the 25 spine testing tackles. It’s the 2 misses, 2 ineffective tackles and 3 errors that he’ll no doubt be ruing into our next game in Round 17.

As an aside, Dylan also unknowingly played a role in starting World War III on Twitter with this tweet in the 15th minute of the game:

It was a really, really nice kick.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Mitchell Moses was overpowered and assaulted in the 16th minute by a Jack Wighton try like he was an innocent bystander in the Canberra CBD. Outside of one other miss, The Prince of Egypt stemmed the tide with a try saving tackle on Jack 15 minutes later before going absolutely berserk in the second half, kicking well and scoring a straight up outstanding solo try.

Hey, it’s a game of two halves, and that was certainly true for our increasingly talismanic halfback in humid Darwin conditions tonight. Well played, sweet Prince.

8- Kane Evans

Prop, Parramatta Eels

So we got both the rocks and diamond servings of big Kane Evans tonight, huh? All those early missed tackles (5 inside the first 25 minutes) must have had Kandy thinking he was a half when he broke through the line and inexplicably attempted a flick pass on the first tackle. Nonetheless, Kane’s diamond-like quality shone through his 10 run, 109 metre, and 2 tackle breaks attacking game, and outside of the early misses, Kane’s latter defensive efforts showed similar disdain for his opposition number that Phil Gould does Latrell Mitchell, punishing several higher paid members of the Canberra forward pack.

Although I can’t look past the 8 (!) missed tackles, credit to Kane for not dropping his head and sticking at it for the rest of the night. He’s done well to end up with a solid overall performance.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Now I love Reed Mahoney like he were any one of my three sons, but that early 4th minute pass for Nathan Brown was never on, and it led to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (copy, paste) scoring in the ensuing set. The Terrier then compounded said error with a coach-killing obstruction penalty 4 minutes later.

Thankfully that’s where all the negatives stopped for Reed, as he went on to make 62 tackles with only 1 miss tonight. He also ran thrice but made a mammoth 49 metres in those darts. For the uninitiated, they are absolutely outstanding numbers, and mark a huge improvement from his collective stats in recent weeks. Hats off to the young bloke, a big game after a mediocre start.

Cash me outside, how bout dat?

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

As said above, Big Junez had an immense game against his old club, and his second stint consolidated the momentum established by our bench pack late in the middle 20 minutes. His hit with Shaun Lane on Jack Wighton in the second half also halted the Raiders momentum. In more ways than one, Junior Paulo is above average, all round.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

It’s weird how I can almost not notice a 7 foot man during an NRL game, but that’s almost what occurred tonight. To be clear, in a game where we started so poorly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. Shaun Lane’s game was just no nonsense, and in the slippery, humid conditions of Darwin, it was kinda exactly what the Eels needed.

I mean, I saw Lane pop up from time to time, and his 14 runs for 116 metres definitely happened (as did his 4 missed tackles), but I guess I’m just really looking forward to the Dylan Brown/Shaun Lane connection sparking to life again, and it seems it’s at least another couple of weeks in the making. Call me, Shaun.

12- Manu Ma’u

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Turning to the World’s Scariest Man for a cross field dummy and dart which gave the Eels a glimmer of hope? Who knew?

Manu’s 7 for 76 metres is solid, but the 43 tackles is straight up crazy.

What’s that?

No, no, no. I definitely did NOT call you crazy, Manu! I swear!

…. tell my wife I love her.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

I don’t think it’s just my imagination, but the Eels are deadset a different side when Nathan Brown is out there. The Eels are now 3-1 in games played by Nathan Brown in Season 2019; although admittedly his ​11 run, 99 metre, 2 error game tonight won’t make the high standards of his pool room wall. Good to have you back and firing, Cyborg.

 

14- Jaeman Salmon

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Called into the centres to replace Brad Takairangi, Jaeman Salmon finally found himself in the position many expected he was going to play in for most of 2019. With that said, the Fish only played the length of that stint; exactly 15 minutes. It makes for a tough grading, but in that time Jaeman only touched the ball once, and even then he passed it. Jaeman also attempted no tackles in that time. On the plus side, that also means he didn’t miss any.

You should all feel free to grade him in the comments, then turn on each other like some sort of digital Lord of the Flies. *grabs popcorn*

15- Peni Terepo

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Terepo’s (positive) contribution tonight was immense, although I feel I could say that most weeks about Peni and just change the word in brackets. Baz had 9 runs for 82 metres, 5 tackle breaks and 18 tackles. Speaking of tackles, after he almost took Jordan Rapana’s head clean off, I unfortunately suspect we won’t be seeing Peni for 4-6 weeks. Good game, though mate.

16- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

The evergreen David Gower continues to scratch and claw his way into NRL folklore, a 95 year old man not only competing but excelling in the world’s toughest Rugby League competition. His 10 runs for 106 metres and team high 3 offloads were the catalyst for tonight’s game somehow finding its way into our grasp, and ultimately our coming away with the win. I’ve got a Darwin heat inspired fever, and the only damn prescription is more Gowbell.

19- Tepai Moeroa

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I haven’t been Tepai’s biggest fan in 2019, but I thought he was excellent tonight. Breaking the 100 metre barrier (109m) from his 11 carries is a big plus for Tep, as were the 3 tackle breaks. As touched on above, the game changed through his and the good Doctor Gower’s contributions, admirably aided by Peni Terepo’s game. Maybe the headlines of a Waratahs signing scared him enough to want to buckle down in Australia’s premier Rugby competition; but whatever it was, I’m glad we got to see a bit more of the best of Tep.

Well that was worth another watch; our second two game winning streak is a great way to enter next week’s Bye.

In other news, Twitter was fun tonight.

Update: We’re now 5 from 6. Darwin rules.

Shout out to the good people of the Top End for getting behind the Eels for another year. Sorry, not sorry we didn’t bring the Cowboys this year.

 

To all Eels fans, wherever you are, take a load off: we finally got that solid win against a long time bogey team. Enjoy the Bye and we’ll see you back here in Round 17.

 

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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Gem KM
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Gem KM

There are so many references in this post I am almost overwhelmed. Almost as overwhelmed as I am that we showed enough backbone to get out of that one!

!0 Year Member
Guest
!0 Year Member

Is this game where another team brings us back into form? which we are so famous at doing to other team, this season, Knight, Panthers et al. The comic relief this week has gone up a notch mate, the summary or Jack creaming eminem was priceless, thanks for the laugh. On a side note, I had to listen to the ABC streaming of the game, I thought Fox commentary was poor, the ABC took it to another level, it was very disappointing…..when at the end they said Junior was their player of the match, I was like, wtf, you hardly… Read more »

Rob
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Rob

No mention of Mahoney’s run metres? I think he had a fairly good game, especially defensively. Also, Moses needs to run the ball, ie be 5/8 and Dylan needs to be “organising half”, that’s how they appear to play best to my uneducated eye. Maybe this will happen next year when Dylan has more FG experience? I think if Jennings played, and without knowing too much about him, Waqa Blake instead of Taka and Hoffman we would have been a dramatically different team on both sides of the ball and all of it positive. Having said that, those centres that… Read more »

West Coast Eel
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West Coast Eel

Great win! At 16-0 down, I was about to give up. Have we signed Gowie up for next year yet? Our bench won us that game tonight. Paulo was great also. Dylan Brown will get better. Jennings and Blake back in coming weeks will only strengthen the team. This year is starting to feel like the 2017 season. Too early?…

Greg
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Greg

Great work as always Mitch. Here’s hoping that this is the game that helps us rediscover the mental toughness that BA had installed before it vanished last year. Tepai had his best game since nearly his rookie year and Gower has just been amazing in the last two wins. There is still plenty to work on but this win really puts a finals appearance in play. If we make the 8 after last year, that would be a great starting point for the next few years.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

The fourth placed Raiders are on 18 points and the ninth placed Tigers are on 16. We are on 16, have the bye and then we play the Tigers.

The Eels destiny is in their hands and in the run to the finals we have a reasonable ladder position, a reasonable draw, a good squad and a large fan base willing them on

Go Eels

Jonboy
Guest
Jonboy

Manly x 2 and Knights our only games left against current Top 8 teams and 2 of these are at Cumberland Oval!

Makes me feel good about staying in the 8!

Doesn’t feel so good about gauging how far we’ve progressed by the end of the regular season. But we can only play what’s in front of us I’ll keep cheering away the scars of 2018.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Jonboy I am confident we can we can win our home games from here. The players just need to bring their A game and be patient.

With an ounce of luck we will have both Jennings and Blake back for our home game against the Warriors. That will be a big bonus for the Eels

Fathead
Guest
Fathead

4 – 6 weeks for Terepo ? Id be very surprised and disappointed if we copped that. Rapana was falling due to the tackle of a third player and it was an open handed hit. Although with the MRC it could be anything from 1 week to 12 months !

Rob
Guest
Rob

4 weeks from the judiciary and 3 with an early guilty plea. Do we even contest these calls these days?

Big John
Guest
Big John

Well, D Brown’s debut went pretty much as I expected – actually a lot worse, but it is another example of BA’s lack of judgement in critical areas. He never should have come back through the NRL. He should have been allowed to get his timing back through Wenty. Aside from his mistakes, Parra were disjointed, and the ball never flowed like it did last week. I know that CT is very biased towards Brown, but let’s face it – he’s unproven and needs time. Parra basically won in spite of his mistakes through the resilience of the forwards and… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Sterlo also suggested that luke kelly was a long term half. Brown had a below average game seeing as he hasn’t played for a few months but in saying that this is the first game since round 3 that a half took any pressure off Moses.

Dylan this early on looks to be a quality NRL player but can’t say the same for Salmon at this point in time.

Big John
Guest
Big John

Anon, you must not have seen the Broncos game, or Tigers game, or the St, George game…… No disrespect to you, but I think I’ll lean towards Peter Sterling, not someone who can’t even reveal their name. Keep on believing the hype…. it’s really worked for Parra over the last decade.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Big john dosent exactly give us your identity either , i know about 6 , hopefully your not one of them

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Saw those games, it was the back three who got our forwards on the front foot which took the attention off Moses, it wasn’t salmon that did it. As of right now, Salmon has been a passenger similar to Cleary for NSW but with not as good defence. Doesn’t threaten with ball in hand and stops close to the defensive line. His best asset is his support play, plus he has a nice grubber close to the line. He could prove me wrong in the future but the best position for him right now is 14 due to his versatility.… Read more »

Rowdy
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Rowdy

I can’t argue with that logic Anon and when it comes to P Sterling’s judgement of a footballer? Let’s just say “Sterling is a great analyst of game plans and strategy”. He was also in my opinion the most disloyal ex player who rarely spoke up for the club during all the years since he retired and it has shocked me to see his 180 degree backflip since someone decided to pay him for his Parramatta insights on our official website.

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

I agree big John. Everyone one else has to go to wenty to get there timing back why not Dylan Brown. Salmon is a much better ball player. But in saying that if Brad Arthur had salmon training in the centre’s in the offseason why did he bring takarangi in instead of shifting salmon to centre

Big John
Guest
Big John

Exactly. And I’m thinking more for Dylan than anyone else. It would have made any transition much easier. It seems because of the hype, largely created by Dylan’s agent, and the club itself, he was beyond going back to Wenty. The two games that Salmon had there at 5/8 really helped him. I remain perplexed, and I honestly think politics and back room games are getting in the way of sound football decisions. And I think our esteemed crew at CT (who I admire by the way for this forum and all their time) are also to blame for perpetuating… Read more »

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

In regards to Taka selection over Salmon Rev, didn’t you watch last nights game? Have another look and see the difference in their contributions when Taka went off concussed and Salmon had 15 mins in his place. 1 touch and pass, no tackles, no runs, no nuthin! Having said that I believe Salmon could become a very good #14.

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

I have not watched the game yet. If anyone has a link to the full game I’d be happy to see it. If that’s the case why didn’t Brad Arthur use him to interchange between Mahoney to give him a break n give the side fresh set of legs ?

sixties
Admin

I haven’t watched the replay as yet, but the first half issues of the Raiders cutting back between Moses and Manu on the right side pretty much disappeared in the second half. Defensively, the opposition is still getting a quick play the ball. We don’t give away too many penalties in the ruck as a result, but watching the tackled player spring to their feet remains a concern. Enough of the negatives. Attitude – an improvement. The team earned the win by staying in the contest. Even when we were turning the ball over it was through trying to be… Read more »

Fathead
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Fathead

I’ve got no problems with Brown. People have to remember he’s just a kid and has zero footy in last couple of months. To be honest though, I just believe that the conditions killed the Raiders. Play the same game in Sydney and we wouldn’t have been in the hunt. The Englishmen absolutely wilted in the heat. At the end of the day, I’m always happy to win !

Big John
Guest
Big John

Are we Parra fans so pathetic and so in need of a pin-up boy that we are prepared to overlook the fact that an 18 year old kid was thrown into first grade at the start of the year when his body wasn’t ready, and then thrown into yesterday’s game when he still wasn’t ready as evidenced by his poor performance. There is nothing solid about a game so riddled with errors. You guys have to wake up and smell the roses. These kind of coaching decisions do not happen at top clubs. There is no way in the world… Read more »

Big John
Guest
Big John

I see I have hit a nerve…. If Will Smith or Jaeman Salmon had played like Dylan Brown did last night, they would have been crucified. Without a doubt. Have a long hard look at yourselves.

sixties
Admin

Big John, you can’t be serious? This is your comment after a win?
Dylan made some errors last night, but I can assure you he was ready at the start of the year and he hasn’t been rushed back now. Did you watch his first 3 games this year? I’m not sure you did.

sixties
Admin

But, that’s the case with teams playing Canberra in Canberra, or any game in conditions which suit certain teams. We actually prepared to win in those conditions. Canberra had the same opportunity to do that too. They didn’t.

BDon
Guest
BDon

Sixties, I must have been watching through the same keyhole. – the Moses/Mau thing…step back inside Moses and Mau has either advanced too far or is a pace off the tempo.This isn’t a one off, and is all about concentration. I rate Manu, in four years he has learned and fixed many things, just a couple more 1%ers to go. He started the turnaround for us, there is not a perfect NRL player. -13 errors each says why the Raiders didn’t street us, late in each half their line and line speed went weird, I noticed our speed got dulled… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

Why wasn’t salmon given longer minutes ? Why didn’t Brad replace Mahoney thru out the game. Salmon would have given the boys that fresh set of legs to Run from dummy half with. Let me ask anyone this if takarangi don’t visit Disneyland does salmon even get on ?

Jonboy
Guest
Jonboy

Have you watched the game yet Rev?

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

Not yet waiting for a link. Have only seen the high lights

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

So your comments are based on not having watched game !!!!

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

High lights can show quite a lot

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Hope you never get jury duty !!

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

I did many years ago .was it you I helped put away ?

DDay
Guest
DDay

What a mixed bag. Some good grinding football from the middle forwards and the bench, they dominated a good opposition pack. Equally some things to work on; dropped ball, kicking game and kick chase. Great to see the Eels tough it out and to come from behind. Enjoyed the punishing defense from the forwards, the tackle by Lane on Wighton was a game changer.
Ricky is a first class sook. Canberra still have that choker feel about them.

Artie
Guest
Artie

Did Canberra just do a Parra?
Played us into a bit of form going into the final games 👀

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

Wouldn’t that be justice. I hope it translates into 5 on the trot like the Riff.

Big John 2
Guest
Big John 2

I’m afraid Big John makes some good points…. politics is alive and well at Parramatta…. Brad Arthur and Dylan Brown share the same player agent – Gavin Orr. With Salmon having Sam Ayoub, he doesn’t stand a chance. I’ve been wondering why Salmon has been treated like a mangy dog!!

Big John
Guest
Big John

Ha! Well that explains a lot. All the mindless promotion of Brown. Come to think of it, I think Forties and Sixties must also have the same agent! 🙂

Big John 3
Guest
Big John 3

Geez!!! That stinks. So old Uncle Arthur gets his contract renewed by Orr with Parra and makes sure Brown’s the new face of Parra so that his mate Orr can get a kick when Brown signs his contract!! So it is all about money at the end of the day. Should be no surprises there, I guess. There is no other club that would have started Brown on the weekend. He’s not Ponga.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Definitely from the one eyed imbeceel site

Offside
Guest
Offside

One thing that was both pleasing and concerning was that all 4 tries were bits of individual skill.
Great that that can happen but worrying that we could execute our attack.
But a win is a win

MattL
Guest
MattL

I feel like I’ve landed on the wrong Eels page with all of the whinging & conspiracy bs after a good, solid win – It wasn’t perfect, but what game is.

MattL
Guest
MattL

Another quality write-up btw thanks Mitch (copy, paste).

Greg Okladnikov
Guest
Greg Okladnikov

Good report with the grades spot on. D Brown will get better. And David Gower….off the bench has been outstanding.

AJAX
Guest
AJAX

Hey Mitch thank you for the nice report. I watched the game at a pub in Brisbane. Absolutely nobody else in there had the remotest interest, which was fine by me. At 16-0 down it was obviously depressing but what an unexpected comeback. I was thrilled to bits I can tell you. The best bit? The starch in our forwards. Gower and Nathan Brown are just outstanding aren’t they. They have a hot go – ALWAYS…And Tepai – he’d been underwhelming for far too long – he finally stepped up to something close to what we expected from him at… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Hey Ajax,
Gowie is some sort of marvel. And the pack always looks better with Brown in the team. I agree about Tepai. After his pre-season, I’d expected a big season but he’d yet to deliver close to what I expected. It was good to see.