The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 17 at Wests Tigers

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 30  

Wests Tigers 18

The Good:
For the first time since 2017 – that’s 3 wins in a row, baby! Despite a less than perfect performance, the Eels did what they came to do: spoil Benji Marshall’s 300th game come away with the 2 points. Other than dominating in the goal kicking department (discussed below), the Eels also had the wood over their western city rivals in metres gained (2240 to 1952), penalties conceded (4 to 7), mistakes (5 to 12) and scrum wins (9 to 4; don’t even start me).

In other news, an actual shout out to Benji Marshall as one of the truly likeable opposition players running around in the NRL. Although I can’t honestly wish away an Eels victory, I suspect the best I can do for him is wish he played another team for his 300th and got the win there. I very rarely talk about opposition players in this category, but well done Benji.

The Bad:

I just spoke to the boys in the lab and losing a scrum against the feed apparently isn’t ideal.

Nor was a massive 39 missed tackles by the Eels (to the Tigers’ 21). Still, it’s a little moot in the short term as we still managed to get the win today. In the longer term, fixing said issues is no doubt on the coaching staff’s To Do list before the end of Round 25.

Finally, I’m no ref basher (see the @EelsTCT Twitter account), but the non-call on Mbye’s pass for the Nofoaluma try was pretty average. But they somehow got the Fergo-not-out-Tigers-knock-on call right first go, so we’ll call it even.

The X-Factor:
I know that this isn’t particularly insightful but the Tigers scored 4 tries, the Eels scored 4 tries and yet there was still a 12 point difference on the scoreboard. Mitchell Moses kicked 7 goals to the Tigers’ collective 1 and without getting too clever, it was obviously the most significant difference between the two teams today.
The MVP:
I thought Mitchell Moses’ kicking (both in play and of the goal variety) was excellent today, and Fergo was certainly no slouch coming off his Origin high; but it’d be criminal not to give it to our 3 try, 2 linebreak, 2 tackle break hero, Brad Takairangi. I haven’t been his biggest fan in Season 2019 (or 2018 for that matter), but I can’t deny him this well deserved accolade today. Hats off to you, Taka; you were all sorts of excellent, today.

Consolation prize to the nuded up streaker who took the field in the second half. Also, shout out to this reverse jinx tweet, which did the trick.

Take that, Space Coyote.

 

1- Clint Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Despite not likely featuring on any of the game highlight reels, I thought it was another outstanding game from our talismanic fullback. Gutho’s 11 runs for 114 metres, 2 offloads, linebreak and tackle break stat sheet seems to echo that sentiment. It’s also been nice to see Gutho growing in his leader of this team as the season wears on. Long live the King.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Maika Sivo rules. I really love this guy.

There were some pretty serious defensive issues on the left hand side for the Eels this afternoon, so between Sivo, Hoffman/Jennings, Brown and Lane it’s something that needs to be sorted it out soon.

3- Brad Takairangi

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Credit where it’s due, and today Brad Takairangi was excellent. In my MVP comment I admittedly neglected to mention his 10 runs, 123 metre running game and 13 tackles, but the world should know the wonders of what he has done.

I’m also reliably informed that Taka’s hat-trick is the first time he’s ever scored more than one try in a match. That’s outstanding.

4- Josh Hoffman

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Someone call the SES, as Josh Hoffman’s defence was a straight up disaster today. In short, Josh missed a ridiculous 8 tackles this afternoon.

I won’t lie to you Josh, that’s not good mate.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

I don’t know if you saw Blake Ferguson after the game, but after copping yet another hit to the face, Fergo looks like one side of his face has woken up whilst the other side has pressed snooze. Nonetheless, the (Jaeman) Salmon booted dinosaur that plays on our right wing was instrumental in our victory today.

But it wasn’t just the 112 running metres 4 days after one of the biggest games of his life, the 3 tackle breaks or even his terrific try. Blake Ferguson simply stinks of confidence; he wreaks the brutal aroma of mettle and fortitude, oozing an almost arrogant air of self-assurance. And you know what? After a dire Season 2018, that sort of attitude is exactly what the doctor ordered. You could see it as Fergo tossed Robert Jennings over the sideline, and in the way he strutted around like a deadset peacock as his post try celebration. Say what you will about his past, but what an extraordinary player Blake Ferguson currently is.

Gosh I’m glad he’s an Eel.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

Contrastingly, it was not a great day at the office for Dylan Brown.

Call the grade harsh all you want, but I have no doubt that games like these will prove more valuable for Dylan as a footballer than the many millions of games he will have where he is straight up brilliant. The steep learning curve for any 19 year old in the toughest Rugby League competition in the planet should never be questioned, and learn a lot today he did. For example, Dyl was reminded of the added responsibility for any right footed kicker on the left side of field to ensure opposition kick pressure doesn’t force you to kick out on the full. Dyl will rue him forgetting the tried and true advice of making sure you first catch the ball before thinking about passing it. The 0 kicks was also a bit of a surprise (the above doesn’t count statistically as a kick).

In addition, our left side defence was pretty average all afternoon, which certainly isn’t Dylan’s fault in isolation, but he did play a part. However, it must be said his reliable defensive numbers (18 tackles without a miss today) continues to be a statistical mainstay in his game.

To be clear, what I’ve said will not be in any way new illuminating for Dyl, as he already knows more about Rugby League than I ever will. Despite being the invisible man out there today, I similarly do not condone the idea that he needed or needs time in Canterbury Cup. It’s just one of those days, one of those games. I remain steadfast in my belief that he and Mitch Moses are the 6 and 7 that will take this club forward, and will happily disagree with anyone who suggests otherwise.

TLDR: Not great, but he’ll be better for it.

Onwards and upwards, young and noble stead.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

As I touched on above, I thought Mitchell Moses was straight up outstanding today. After running it on the last early in the game, only to cop a Corey Thompson tackle off the ball (which was a pretty strong candidate for a professional foul); you could tell Mitch was once again up for the battle against his old club. The 7 from 7 goal kicking aside (he tells himself “I will kick through the ball” by the way), his 16 tackles (with only 2 misses) and 4 for 37 metre running game only compliment the class and control he emanated throughout the 80 minutes. For a player once known to simply throw up that ridiculous mid field bomb and hope, it was particularly pleasing to see Mitch’s incredible kicking game (19 for 733 metres) on full display today, at times controlling the tempo of the entire game through the toe of his right boot.

8- Kane Evans

Prop, Parramatta Eels

It was once again pretty solid stuff from Kandy Kane Evans today, with 11 runs for 95 metres only just falling short of another magic triple figure running game for the big bloke. Throw in his 23 tackles without a miss in only 36 minutes, and baby, you got a stew goin’.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Reed‘s 73 minute stint carved out 44 solid tackles, a nice 51 metre kick, and 3 scurries out of dummy half for 17 metres. Other than the Damian Cooks of the world, hookers are a bit like IT experts and sound guys, if they’re doing their job you probably don’t notice them that much; and that’s certainly the story of Reed’s passing game from the ruck, it’s consistently pretty great. However, with such a high defensive work rate, Reed’s game also predictably involved a few missed tackles, coming up with 6 today. Still, our middle has been much more solid during our 3 game win streak, and the Little Terrier deserves some credit there.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Big Junior, big workload. Today was yet another massive contribution from the massive man mountain; getting through 15 runs, 147 metres, 2 offloads, 2 tackle breaks and 19 tackles in 53 minutes is no small feat. Big game, big fella.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Once again, Laney punches out another no nonsense game filled with a luscious yet wholesome set of statistics: 12 runs, 121 metres, 24 tackles, 2 offloads and a tackle break. I hear Shaun Lane is so tall that Google Earth has enquired about attaching a camera to his forehead.

12- Manu Ma’u

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

I was as shattered as anyone when I heard the news that Manu won’t be running around in the Blue & Gold next year, but for a bloke who will turn 31 this year, I understand the club’s reluctance to match the dollars on offer in the Super League. Manu’s 2 offloads, 3 tackle breaks, 37 tackles, and 90 running metres (from 11) today are not only standard affair for the World’s Scariest Man, they’re exactly the sort of numbers the Eels will find tough to replace in 2020.

Not as tough as the shell that envelopes Manu’s heart, mind you, but still tough.

Oh, he also threw a pearler of a pass for Fergo’s four pointer.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

A machine-esque performance from the man they (*we) call the Cyborg today, with a 16 run, 135 metre, 33 tackle, 1 linebreak assist, 1 try assist, 1 tackle break sorta game. Gosh we’re a different team when he’s in the lineup; we’re now 4 wins and 1 loss in all games featuring N.Brown.

 

14- Jaeman Salmon

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

After a HIA bound 15 minute stint against the Raiders, Jaeman got a full 7 minutes this afternoon against the Tigers. To be fair, in that time he did make 4 more tackles than he made in Darwin (where he made 0), one of which was a very important tackle on a breakaway threatening Luke Brooks. The Fish also had 1 run for 7 metres today.

Evidently Jaeman is currently seen more as injury cover than anything else, but I think he’s still a key part of team this year, and even more so our 2020 campaign.

15- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Another solid showing from Marata in that bench spot I was hoping he’d make his own. However, the news this week of both the 2020 departures of Manu and Tepai mean that only the recruitment of a specialist edge will prevent Hakuna from an inevitable starting gig come next year. I’m not knocking his 27 minutes of contribution today, but you’d think he will certainly be asked to do more than the 6 runs for 64 metres and 16 tackles he churned through against the Tigers.

I, for one, think he’s up to it.

16- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Are you kidding me old man? Another 14 runs for 125 metres? Another 17 tackles without a miss and a tackle break? Another 44 minutes of first class service from a man who surely qualifies for a Senior’s Card by now? That’s outrageous, but that’s Gowie for you.

If you don’t love David Gower, you don’t love rugby league.

17- Tepai Moeroa

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Tepai made a good charge when he came onto the field, and ended up with 4 runs for 38 metres. Other than that, his stat line is about as interesting as watching the Waratahs play. In all seriousness I’m actually not salty about it at all, and honestly good luck to him; I hope he manages to make a name for himself in Rugby Union before it goes bankrupt.

Seriously Tep, all the best next year mate.

The Eels winning three in a row in the middle of July feels like a warm blanket around my soul.

That wraps up Grades for another week. Here at The Cumberland Throw, we have one motto: if you don’t like what we write, Forty probably didn’t write it.

Edit: Shout out to everyone wanting to read these Grades and crashing the site.

Stay tuned for next Sunday as we battle another classic Eels rival (we have like 4), the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

 

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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Rob
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Rob

I was at the game, behind the Tigers’ tryline in the first half (Parra’s in the 2nd) and for much of the game it looked like Tigers were playing better football and had better field position, especially in the first half. I don’t know how we managed to almost double their missed tackles but our defence, especially our scramble, looked solid. Left wing being the exception, was that Hoffman’s fault or Sivo’s? I laughed endlessly about Bankwest being “#ourjungle” and it will never be that when Parramatta play Tigers there. Other than that, I wish them well. It was my… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Hoffy doesn’t communicate with him good enough he was told by hoffy as soon as he jams in sivo should follow him whereas Jenko always talk to him .i think that’ comes from Jenkos experience and many years of playing in the centre only whereas hoffy can play anywhere in the backline

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Hoffy made sivo look bad by backing out of defence all game , his best days are well behind him and hes been an inconsistent defender his whole career .

Steven J Savage
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Steven J Savage

Great synopsis. I totally agree with you. We are building and winning more than we lose.

Thereal_hn
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Thereal_hn

As mentioned above left edge defense really needs to lift especially against turbo, dce and Co for next week. In attack a little more patient needed as we had a few cheap turn overs today trying to push that extra pass. But great to get 3rd win a row after a week off. Go you eels!!

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

Thanks for the write up, great to have a win. N Brown really makes a difference to our team in attack and defense. D Brown has had two bad games but we have won them both. His presence is more important than anything else, and once he clicks, I am glad I will be there watching it.

Momo
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Momo

Exciting finish to the year for us given the remaining draw. I’d say we have the easiest run home out of all the clubs. Manly and Newcastle our two toughest upcoming games but we can match them if we are on song…. Finals footy here we come 🤞🏻

Milo
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Milo

Good read Mitch; i will respect your grades but think D Brown was not a D. He was in my view ok. And did ok imo, and no missed tackles and against one of the games best halves and Farah is not bad either although they don’t mark each other.
Manly will be one tough game and having said that its a day game and we go better imo during the day.

BDon
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BDon

Good grades Mitch. Similarly shattered by Manu Ma’u’s departure, he has come a long way since his early days, and in the right roster mix is a strong contributor. Ben Cummins, Manly 2014, diabolical! My theory has always been he just didn’t like Jarryd Hayne’s lack of verbal finesse.

BDon
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BDon

Oops, Manly 2014 is in Musings, just read both, the 3 win streak is affecting me.