The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 20 at St George Illawarra

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 12

St George Illawarra 4

 

The Good:
Well, we won.

Oh and 4 points is the lowest scored we’ve kept an opposition to since Round 22, 2018 when we beat also the Dragons at ANZ Stadium, 40-4. To actually beat that record you have to go all the way back to Round 4, 2016 when we absolutely SMASHED the Tigers 8-0. Smashed them, I tell you.

The Bad:

Working their way back into some bad habits, the Eels had 27 missed tackles today against a pretty alkaline Dragons’ attack.

Also, after a stellar start to the game, Parramatta’s completion rate crashed back to earth like it were Blake Laurie’s corpse running into the torso of Kane Evans. The Eels were a pretty bland 12 from 18 in the second half (quick maths will tell you that’s 66%), and 30 from 39 (77%) overall.

A better team would have punished us today; but we weren’t playing a better team and we got away with the win, so I’ll take it.

The X-Factor:
Today was actually the Eels’ first regular season win at Kogarah since 1997.  How about that?

Also, I don’t often mention stellar plays from opposition players, but Paul Vaughn’s one handed take down of King Gutho with a clearly dislocated finger on the other hand was pretty amazing.

With that said, if you haven’t seen today’s game – unless you’re really into defence or dislocated fingers, it might be best to simply fast forward through the second half.

The MVP:

Kane Evans‘ first stint was straight up electric, particularly on the defensive side of the ball; prompting several relatives to consider their share in the estates of various St George forwards.

Dylan Brown‘s try was pretty close to the only legitimate highlight reel moment of the game, and his defence in general was outstanding.

But in a game where no one stands out, it’s probably best to give it to the bloke who had one of our try assists, 20 of our 24 kicks, was 2 from 3 with the boot and a controlled the game like a conductor.

Please note: giving Mitchell Moses the MVP award for this game isn’t a hill I’m willing to die on, feel free to tell me why I’m wrong below.

 

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Clint Gutherson’s game today was a bit like my dating history: more solid than spectacular and with several glaring mistakes. The 21 runs for 185 metres is excellent, the linebreak assist and tackle break appreciated, but the team high 3 errors gets me down.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Our little big mate retook the lead in the NRL top try scorer race with another 4 pointer this afternoon, also running through the Dragons’ defensive line like a runaway freight train. Sivo also managed to find the time to get through a team high 7 tackle busts, 16 runs and 191 metres. You know, the more I think about it, the cooler the name “Maika” is.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

GO THE GREY GHOST!” I yelled at the old left centre as he galloped his way down field. Forever solid in defence, the Jet Kite had 9 runs for 125 metres, 3 tackle breaks and made 18 tackles. It’s nonetheless great to have him back in the side as we push on towards the Finals.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

I feel like this is the sort of thing Penrith have been saying for 4 years, but if we can just somehow harness the power of Waqa Blake, he’s damn near unstoppable in attack. The other big Fijian had 8 runs for 81 metres, with 3 tackle breaks, but (to my great surprise) it’s actually his poise in defence that is really impressing me.

5- Brad Takairangi

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Today’s was Brad‘s first ever game on the wing, and Mikaele Ravalawa welcomed him to the edge by effortlessly swatting his tackle attempt away 8 minutes in. Some mistimed jumps and a couple of errors aside (well, 3), it certainly wasn’t a disaster for Big Brad, and his running game (particularly out of our own 20) was excellent. It’s also worth noting that The Cook Island Control Tower had 14 charges for 157 metres, and a sensible offload.

Cool.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

There’s still some creases to iron out (compare Mitch Moses 2018 to 2019), but the young buck is coming along nicely.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

The Prince’s MVP performance included a 3 darts for 22 metres, an all around nice early kicking game; and the rare air of two kicks on a single 5th tackle play, leading to the Eels’ first four pointer. Mitchell also kicked the ball dead during a Dragons’ attacking raid 10 minutes into the game, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count.

Last year’s pariah, this year’s messiah.

8- Kane Evans

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Kane Enabled. Besides becoming the aforementioned tornado in defence, Kandy Kane also ran for 60 of his 91 metres inside the first 12 minutes of play. There was a couple of heart in mouth moments (a weird pass/offload thing for Junior Paulo in the second half, for example), and the fact that he got sent to the sin bin for making a tackle; but overall this is one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from him in an Eels jersey.

What has this man been drinking? Whatever it is: bottoms up, Big Guy!

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

It was a nice little game from Reed Mahoney today, with 42 tackles (only 3 misses), 83 touches and 3 pretty little kicks; one of which threatened for a 40/20. Our middle looks a lot more solid than it did a couple of weeks ago against Manly, and much of that is the result of a renewed defensive focus from our little number 9.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Reed celebrating Jeremy Latimore dropping the ball by screaming in his face and slapping him on the backside. Keep the mongrel, Reed.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Although I haven’t mentioned him yet, I feel I probably should have. Against a much more fancied forward pack, the Samoan Wrecking Ball ran a monster 13 times for 114 metres and made 21 tackles. He’s really rounding into form and I shudder to think what our forward pack might look like without him. I still think we’re a prop short for 2020, but we’d be 3 short without Junior Paulo.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Returning to the NRL after he finished on the bad end of a battle with an avocado seed, Shaun Lane had 14 runs for 102 metres, 3 tackle breaks and a try assist for his running mate Dylan Brown. It’s a nice bounce back game from Laney, who has been a bit down on form, but forever in my heart.

12- Manu Ma’u

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

The farewell tour rolls on for our favourite enforcer, with today bringing up 10 runs, 87 metres and a whopping 40 tackles. Manu Ma’u also finds himself on report for a chin tickle on ex-teammate and perennial “is it me?” ponderer, Corey Norman.

I spotted Monster Mash being a little lazy on the Dragons’ four pointer, strolling towards the right wing which left Taka and Moses a man short for the 3 on 2. With that said, he also saved a certain try about 10 minutes later with a brilliant tackle on Ravalawa. In that sense, I guess Manu’s game is like swings and roundabouts; although with Manu it’s probably more like wrecking balls and brutal car accidents.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

I love you, Nathan Brown. There, I said it.

Cyborg actually had a team high 46 tackles today (suck it, Mahoney) to go with his 15 charges and 130+ metres. BA tells us the ankle injury isn’t all that serious, and in BA we trust.

 

14- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I thought this was one of Niukore‘s best games in a while, and in terms of production, he really was close to the only good news we had off the bench this afternoon. In his 45 minute stint, Crash had 11 runs, 107 metres and 26 tackles without a miss. That’s solid oak.

15- Daniel Alvaro

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I’m not sure what’s happened to Daniel Alvaro, but whatever it is, it’s not good. Today’s 8 runs for 59 metres is also not good. While I’m at it, if I had a dollar for every time Daniel Alvaro failed to make it to marker after making a tackle today, I’d have about $3.50. Probably not my best metaphor.

16- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

David Gower is normally beyond belief, but today he was simply pretty good. The Good Doctor ran 8 times, made 78 metres and had 18 tackles. He also made an error at a really inopportune time, but I’ve already forgiven him.

17- Tepai Moeroa

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Although Tepai had pretty solid averages of 4 runs for 42 metres and 13 tackles in his 16 minute stint today, I still think we’d be better off with Jaeman Salmon on the bench deputising Reed for that time. But hey, that’s me.

We won. Let’s move onto next week where we face the-Knights-coming-off-a-5-game-losing-streak for the second time this year.

Last time it did NOT go well at all; let’s hope this time it’s different.

Whatever happens, we’ll see you there.

 

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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Big Derek
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Big Derek

A game we definitely would have lost last year , outside of a reasonable effort from the team, how do we mark the moron in the bunker . The adjudication from the bunker to penalise Kane for getting head butted in the chest and the instruction down the line to send him to the sin bin was more than baffling, but then again it was Perenara with the headset making decisions impacting the Eels. The 50/50call for the Saints first try , no surprise who got that call. The drop off in control when Evans and Junior were off adds… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Henry is consistent, that’s for certain.

One Putt Pete
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One Putt Pete

Oh heck we only just made it today. We played like a great team during the first half but after a serve from Brad we seemed to forget we are on the paddock to win. Guys this is the finals and we need to lift our game in the second half to ensure we are there at the end.

Fathead
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Fathead

I know you mentioned it but I still cannot get over the fact that Evans was sent to the sin bin for that tackle – gobsmaked !
You can’t blame the on field refs as he referred it to the bunker who made the adjudication.
Did I say gobsmacked ? How about flabbergasted??
Astonished.. astounded..
Lost for words.
The game is in danger of dying.

Eel of 66
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Eel of 66

We were Perenaraed

sixties
Admin

Exactly.

Greg Okladnikov
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Greg Okladnikov

I liked the win……in the last 10 years we have played plenty of ugly games and lost almost all of them. Good to win one when we play ugly, but this was a win on effort , attitude and scrambling defence.

sixties
Admin

Spot on Greg. The opening 20 minutes showed that we turned up with the right attitude. The execution dropped off a bit, but the team definitely turned up to play.

Shelley
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Shelley

Mitch Moses had some really important kicks but his importance today was closely followed by Junior and Kane. I keep waiting for Kane to not play well but he is proving me to absolutely incorrect and I am happy for him to keep making me look completely wrong. Credit to him he is actually playing like a good starting front rower. The bench has been concerning the last 3 weeks. We need Terepo back on the bench to give us that punch when Junior/ Kane are replaced. Dylan and Lane much better combination today. In another 5 weeks that edge… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Terepo for Moeroa is simple enough. Still think salmon has something to offer off the bench but we can’t seem to use him well.

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

No in for Alvaro

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Peni cant just expect to walk back into the team , hes let the club down off the field 2 years in a row and his team mates on the field on countless occasions through his stupid repeated careless penaltys but im sure he will be back soon enough .

sixties
Admin

He brings impact.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

I will take the win and 2 points, always better than a loss, like I am with some of the decisions in todays game. I for one cannot understand any value in having Tepai Moeroa on the bench, as he takes up space there that should be used for someone that has a future with the eels. Its not just the aspect that he’s leaving the eels to play RU, but why not use the space to give Kafusi, or better still the likes of Stefano, Salesi runs off the bench, at least they will get something of a confidence… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Forgot to add this little extra to the above post.
Last item of note from the match from me was how surprised I was to see how relatively easy MJ was after he took the intercept and was run down by around 3 Saints players, he certainly has lost a lot of speed to what he had. Having been out injured though would likely to have some affect in that area.

sixties
Admin

Jenko mentioned his knee was feeling that run.

Steven J Savage
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Steven J Savage

Yeah, a good point.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Why didn’t they let waqa score and go to the bunker. The state of the game is making me paranoid and tired. I want to trust the league and if we lose it’s because we’re not good enough not through a nonsensical rules.

Poppa
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Poppa

I agree with the thrust of your comments Colin. I think our judges were a bit heavy handed and could have been more generous to Mennings, he organised our backline defence to a massive difference to what it was like in his absence. Taka has probably cemented a bench position as he cannot start when Fergs comes back. If that is the case I would leave Tepai and Gower off and replace Alvaro with Mannah. This game was difficult to read, Saints offered nothing offensively against us, does that mean our defence (especially the line) was that much better. We… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Pops. Agree with you on MJ’s organisational skills in the backs along with his defence, primary item what I mentioned was I was surprised at how easily he seemed to have been run down, I put some of that down to his time out through injury and match condition, which should get better, what that shows, in another direction is that we only have 2 of the backs with genuine speed and power, (Gutho aside) in Blake and Sivo. Taka and MJ otoh bring us back somewhat in that area, as such need to have players that can support those… Read more »

sixties
Admin

I like that last comment Poppa. Efficient!

sixties
Admin

The two points, no matter how you get them!
I have no issue playing departing players, provided they contribute. I think Peni will get Tep’s spot this week. The circumstance has to be right to blood Stefano. He’s close, but you also don’t want to mess too much with combinations when getting the two points is vital.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Sixties, I have been a Tep fan for some time but, overall his contribution to the team has not bee the greatest this and last year. In all honesty I believe he could have been anything but consistency was not part of his makeup, thing is I have seen him score some top tries when running on the right edge, and getting the ball at the right time, but unfortunately it has not been often enough.

In some ways its sad that he is leaving to go to RU, and I really hope it works out for him.

Parramatta Tragic
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Parramatta Tragic

If you watch the Saints try,two St George are offside when the kick goes up. The winger stays out of it but the other bloke contests the ball against Gutho which puts him inside the 10 and should be a penalty to Parra. The refereeing has never been at an overall lower standard. The entire refereeing division from the top down needs an enema.

Steven J Savage
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Steven J Savage

I normally don’t worry about the refs much but boy oh boy, not a good year for anyone. Except Storm.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Thank god someone spotted and mentioned the offside mate .

sixties
Admin

True.

West Coast Eel
Guest
West Coast Eel

I was really worried about this game. Away from bankwest, against a team we should beat. You know how the story goes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kane Evans play as well as he did today. Dylan Brown is getting more confident every week and is the perfect foil for Moses. The other Brown is pretty handy too. Another week made all the better by an Eels win, and this eels fan will be making the trek across the country to watch the knights game this week. Can’t wait to get back to Parradise!

sixties
Admin

Good on ya West Coast. Three grades on show too.

Andrew Collier
Guest
Andrew Collier

Wonderful grades as usual,
I really enjoyed the first half of this game. The second half……..
My favourite part was just before Klein put Ma’u on report he apologised.

Billy
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Billy

If you’d said to Eels fans last year, “we’re a much poorer side when Alvaro is on and Evans is off” they’d have laughed you out of ANZ (which wouldn’t be all bad). Glad Kane is proving us all wrong, even if he is the most ungainly professional sportsman I’ve seen in a long time. It must be noted that Steve Smith is winning no awards for technique, and nobody can argue with his effectiveness, so long live the unorthodox. But whoever stole Polar’s mojo, could they please give it back? I miss last season’s version. I thought our kicking… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Did you not see us belt a near international pack especially frizzle

Billy
Guest
Billy

Yep, they did. They also gave away stupid penalties and dropped the ball, gifting the Dragons field position throughout the second half. Winning the forward battle isn’t gunna win you the game against the top teams if you constantly let them off the hook. Hence my description – not bad, but ordinary. Can you really argue that we were better than average across the park? I can’t. And the gradings agree.

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

Pretty good grading there Mitch, although I would have to give Kane Evans at least an “A” for the work he did from the get-go! It was easy enough to see what he actually did taking on the entire Dragon pack for the first 20 minutes and coming out on top in every contest in attack and defense. The thing that no-one else has noted was the support he gave Junior meant big Paulo was able to manage the energy put into his contribution to our go forward and the number of tackles he made early. I believe this is… Read more »

DDay
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DDay

Agree Evans has my MVP vote, his defensive along with Reed was next level. The Eels forwards out played a strong opposition pack, a waterhed moment. The bench rotation needs both some more punch (Terepo) and cover for Reed (Salmon) – I think we go into a holding pattern when Gutho moves into dummy half. Good composure from the Eels similar to the Warriors, they’re maturing and finding some self-belief at the right end of the season.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Did you see Warriors this weekend? I think Taka goes on the bench, yes he is not really a forward, but he gives us flexibility across the park and defines any injuries to the backline.
When you think some of the bench are getting very little time, Taka can have 10 minutes or if a back gets injured stay on for the whole time.

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

I agree with that proposal Anon, Taka has responded to BA’s relegation of him to Wenty the only way he should or could have. I believe he has played himself into the top 17 and pretty much given Salmon “the Salmon”! If you don’t take your chances in this squad someone else will.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

I felt Kane has been building to this game for a few weeks now. Great game by him yesterday

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

First game I have seen Evans showing what he can do, he has the size to take on any opposition but I have always thought he was second rate when compared to his former chooks team mate Takehao, but on Sundays performance he’s getting closer, and I hope that he continues in the same vein, will certainly make a difference overall.

BDon
Guest
BDon

A bit like golden point for MVP amongst all the B pluses. I think that second half blurred the picture and the A’s didn’t flow. DBrown deserved it but so did Evans, how many games this year did our opposing forwards, in the sheds, know they had been in a battle? Our line defence out wider improved out of sight, I don’t buy that St G threw nothing at us. Every time Hunt or Widdop ran and passed I checked our formation, and we looked alive, thinking and numbered up. I got the feeling we only had to score first… Read more »

JonBoy
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JonBoy

Can’t argue with too much of what’s been said, but I share Rowdy’s opinion on MVP. Kandy has been a revolution thus far and IMHO if he didn’t do what he did in his first stint yesterday I doubt we win the game!

I did see a recent interview with him and he suggested he was carrying some injury last year and that he is feeling fitter/stronger than ever this year. Well done to the strength and conditioning team, all those “Malcolm’s” during the Pre season have obviously worked for at least one individual.

sixties
Admin

They hit more Malcolm’s this week too!

Chris Parra4lyf
Guest
Chris Parra4lyf

Tepai and Dan AKA the Soft Brothers.

sixties
Admin

Not too many blokes who play NRL can be called soft. It might be fair to talk about better options, a bit rough to throw that comment.

Chris Parra4lyf
Guest
Chris Parra4lyf

I felt in the Melbourne flogging Dan and Tep folded in the middle and that’s why we were flogged by 60 points (Salmon was also terrible), I lay direct blame for that loss on them in the middle, they literally gave up after 5 minutes, that was the turning point for me where I realised these two blokes are bench players at best. Nothing personal, there just not ripping in enough and Dan just looks like he is flinching every time he runs the ball, plus he needs to put on about 6 kilos to be more effective. Tepai has… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

I’ve been saying salmon should be in the side somewhere instead of in wenty. His just to good for wenty. I see no point carrying a extra forward just to put Gutherson at DH for a 10#15 minute spell while Mahoney is getting a rest. On Alvaro compairing his stats to moeroa’s n if I’m Brad Arthur I’m dropping Alvaro to wenty n bring in kaufusi. Kane big red machine Evans stand up n be proud big guy job well done 💪👌. Please keep playing like this I’m keeping the faith. As for takarangi wing I thought gee they mad… Read more »

Poppa
Guest
Poppa

I thought Manu Ma’u was very good, since the announcement he had one poor game…..I would be arguing to keep him and send a development player in his stead!

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

You didn’t see last weeks game ?🤔

Milo
Guest
Milo

Good win and much needed; we won David Hoskings style in my book; we played tough like a mule. I think some of the critics also need to compare the rep players from each team. Saints had a couple. On to next week and for me this is the one we have to aim for; another big hungry pack and i only hope our fwds can aim up. Our backs can put on a display if the fwds hold up their end. And yes we need someone on the bench to assist a Mahoney. Hope they can recruit an exp… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

I noticed everyone is thinking we didn’t score enough points. But what I saw was a defensive unit. Ppl must forget that most games are won with a good defence. Yes it’s good to score tries at will but you need to have a good defence also.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

I like the result in the Warriors Manly game. Top 8 make up will be interesting this year