The Cumberland Throw

The Preview – Round 21, 2019: Eels vs Knights

Date: Saturday, August 10, 2019

Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta

Kick Off: 5:30pm

Referees: Adam Gee, Jon Stone

Head-to-head: Played 53 Eels 21 Newcastle 30 Drawn 2

Odds: Eels $1.65 Knights $2.30

Broadcast: Foxtel, Kayo

Last Four Encounters:

Knights 28 Eels 14 McDonald Jones Stadium (2019)

Knights 18 Eels 16 McDonald Jones Stadium (2018)

Knights 30 Eels 4 ANZ Stadium (2018)

Knights 29 Eels 10 ANZ Stadium (2017)

 

The Warm Up

Have the Eels turned the corner in the consistency stakes?

With the team sitting 6th on the table, and having been in the top 8 at the conclusion of every round this year, is that even a fair question to ask?

Obviously opinions have been coloured by a few diabolical performances away from home – the Storm, the Sharks, and the Sea Eagles come to mind.

What was that other ordinary effort? If you replied with the Knights, go to the top of the class.

If ever the Eels coaches needed to remind their team about the impact of a slow start, they need look no further than the Knights clash in Newcastle.

And there’s another parallel.

Back in Round 7, the Knights were in diabolical form. They had just been trounced by the Titans and it looked like their season was about to be over before it had barely begun.

Then, on the back of an inspired Mitchell Pearce performance, they out enthused a lethargic Eels team, then went on a winning streak which saw Knights players selected in Origin and the team discussed as a premiership threat.

Unfortunately for the Hunter boys, those times seem a distant memory and once again they’re looking desperate for a win, followed by a winning streak, to qualify for finals football.

Will the Eels oblige or will they end the Knights season?

The answer to that will say plenty about Parra’s credentials this year.

 

Having a Punt

Points were much harder to come by last week, and consequently the suggested punt was well off. Who knew there could be less than 20 total match points in an Eels fixture?

This week I’m going to shoot for longer odds and tip Maika Sivo to score two or more tries at odds of $5.50. I tipped this earlier in the season and it was a referee’s knock on call that denied the sweetest of collects.

For a bit of variety I’ll also suggest the first half line/over under double. Take Parra giving 1.5 start coupled with over 20.5 first half points @$3.60.

The favourites in the first try scorer market are:

Eels: Sivo $9 Takairangi $11

Knights: Mann $12 Kenny-Dowall $12

 

Feed Your Footy Brain

The history books record only two Eels wins from their past 13 starts against the Knights. That includes no wins in the last four clashes.

If we starting talking Eels hoodoo teams, the Knights can probably stake their claim.

Can you sense a however on the horizon?

Here it is.

The draws and the stadium rebuild has meant that the Eels have only played two matches at Parramatta in that time. They were both losses, but we have to go back to 2014 for the last time that the two clubs met in Parramatta.

It’s fair to say that the Eels have taken to BankWest Stadium with a passion. Will that also mean an end to the “hoodoo”?

 

Tracking: Kane Evans

“Kane Enabled” Baby!

The much hyped acquisition for 2018 looked anything but a first grade player in his first season with the Eels.

How things have changed in twelve months!

The Fijian international prop has added aggression and a point of difference to the Eels pack in 2019.

Kane Evans

And for those who were unaware, big Kane was sin-binned for using “excessive force” against the Dragons last weekend. Yes, the absurd became reality in the NRL when a player was penalised for putting on a terrific and legal defensive shot.

In basic terms, the improvement in Evans has come from simplifying his game. The big fella is running hard, hitting hard and eliminating crazy offloads. It’s as if he’s suddenly realised that he’s got the size to make an impact.

Long may it continue.

 

Danger man: Mitchell Pearce

Mitchell Pearce is a quality half. He was easily the best player on the field in the Knights Round 7 victory over the Eels, and a string of man of the match performances were crucial in Newcastle’s subsequent winning streak.

The payoff for Pearce was a Blues jumper in the Origin decider.

The cost?

A drop off in form post-Origin with the Knights falling off the pace in the battle for the Top 8.

I don’t see any weaknesses in Pearce’s skill set. In my opinion, the question marks hang over his level of involvement.

It’s up to the Eels to ensure that he doesn’t dictate terms like he did earlier this year.

 

Team Lists:

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Brad Takairangi 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Kane Evans 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Nathan Brown

Interchange: 14. Marata Niukore 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. David Gower 17. Tepai Moeroa 18. Greg Lelesiuao 19. Peni Terepo 20. Jaeman Salmon 21. Stefano Utoikamanu

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Kurt Mann 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Tautau Moga 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Connor Watson 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tim Glasby

Interchange: 14.Jacob Saifiti 15. James Gavet 16. Sione Mata’utia 17. Aidan Guerra 18. Jamie Buhrer 19. Beau Fermor 20. Jirah Momoisea 21. Danny Levi

 

Connor Watson vs Reed Mahoney

How important is Reed Mahoney to the Eels?

Reed “Cash” Mahoney

We all know the defensive numbers which he produces, but over the last two weekends we’ve been given a serious look into what he provides to the Parramatta spine.

When the Eels rake was rested just before and after half time, the team’s attack became disjointed – I believe “clunky” is the preferred term these days.

Unquestionably, the dummy half service from “Cash” has gone unnoticed by most punters. It’s efficient, and because Reed isn’t renowned for dashes from the ruck, he attracts few headlines – except for his defensive workload.

In contrast, Connor Watson has been a revelation when injected into dummy half for the Knights. His acceleration is not unlike that of Damien Cook, and if the Eels allow quick play the balls, there could be trouble ahead.

 

And The Winner Is?

The Eels received little credit for last week’s victory over the Dragons. After establishing early dominance, the Blue and Golds were expected to put the Red V to the sword.

Instead, the match became an arm wrestle, albeit one without too many jabs thrown by the home team.

Undoubtedly, the Eels lost some impact when Paulo and Evans left the field. It wasn’t a case of the interchange performing poorly. Rather, they couldn’t deliver the same power as the starting props.

What impressed me about the win was that it never seemed in doubt.

If the Eels forwards can establish dominance over the Knights, Parra have the firepower from 1-7 to pile on some points. Line speed and slowing the play the ball will be crucial.

The Knights will be looking to break up the Eels line to provide maximum opportunities for their proven match-winner. If you’ve forgotten his name, wait for the commentators to start drooling whenever it’s uttered. (No disrespect to Ponga, he’s a rare talent).

I’m strangely confident about the result. I hope I’m right.

Eels 32 Knights 14

Man of the Match – Mitch Moses

Eels forever!

Sixties

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JonBoy
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JonBoy

What’s the saying…the forwards decide who wins! The backs decide by how much!!

If our middle can be as dominant in the opening exchanges as they were last week and then maintain it, we should romp home. If Klem and Saifiti are given any opportunity to get a roll on we’ll be in trouble.

Eels 22 – Knights 18

Milo
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Milo

Couldn’t agree more Jonboy our forwards need to take ownership of the ruck and play as a pack,
It’s simple stuff for me.
Sixties i also agreed that our fwds were left without force when Evans and Junior had a spell. For this reason i would possible add Terepo to the pack and hope the backrowers can play for most of the game. But not sure if BA will change the winning squad. I do hope the bench has impact…..could be a great match and one that could help us get to 5th or so.

John Eel
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John Eel

Milo I agree with your change. I would be inclined to bring Peni in. Love those runs off the back fence.

Need to keep the go forward going after the starting props go off.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

John, I agree and would have in the team in place of Tepai.

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

No in place of Alvaro. His slow at the play the ball n getting of the tackled player’s. His impact at the ruck is poor. He needs to be dropped n bring in kaufusi it’s simple as that.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

sixties good review, also good to know the reason for Evans being put in the bin, excessive force, is that a newy, if so, we could end up watching games that are played by teams of 3 or around that number in the future, with the defending team getting most of their players put in the bin for that, or the other clanger earlier in the season where one of our players was penalised, IIRC, for playing the ball too fast. I guess having such items come up make for extra interest, albeit head scratching to the fore. The knights… Read more »

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Gee you make me wait every week Sixties, but it is once again worth the wait! I have already taken the Eels at 13+. If we don’t put the Knights to the sword this week we should forget about building for the finals imo. The last two weeks have answered a long awaited question. Can the Eels win a tough grinding encounter and if so can they backup and do it again? I think we have done that emphatically. Tonight’s win over Manly for the Warriors shows how tough they are capable of playing, their game last week after their… Read more »

Graz
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Graz

Sixties I so much want your confidence to be spot on. I’m nervous.

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Good read sixties. If we performed like we did the last time we played them we will get a flogging. Mind you back then we didn’t have the brown boy’s or a firing Kane Evans. This will be a very good match. Our backline when firing is hard to handle. Even more so when Ferguson is back. If we win this game it’s 3 straight wins n looking at the ladder I can see the team going on a winning run. Gold coast Titans next week followed by the dog’s after that n Broncos in Brisbane after that. 6 wins… Read more »

DDay
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DDay

I like your game plan and confidence Sixties, dominate in the forwards and lets the backs put the points up for a comfortable win…might you prove to have the predictive powers of Nostradamus

pete
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pete

Great read Sixties. The last game whilst scrappy was a good solid win. I have been critical of our defence and missed tackles all year. But, It was the new emphasis on hardening up our middle defence that payed dividends. I expect N Brown, Evans and Junior to pick up from where they left off. I really would like a big win keeping Knights to under 10 points. But that will only happen if we tighten our edge defence as well. We need to put pressure on Pearce take his space away early. Glad this is our home game as… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

That will do me Brad Arthur has dropped Kane the big red machine Evans in favour of Daniel Alvaro. Peni comes in I get that but for Kane Evans your kidding me. I see Newcastle flogging us know. Why on earth did they give Alvaro a po in his contract players like him shouldn’t be getting a po in there contract. Sorry but the revs not happy Jan 😣😣. I’ll forgive Brad Arthur if Kane’s injured. But I very much doubt that. Can’t believe his putting out a smaller forward n lighter forward then Kane. Sorry I can’t cop Brad… Read more »

Billy
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Billy

Went off too early there Rev. Apparently Kane had food poisoning. No way he was being dropped, your bias is showing…

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

So I see it’s a normal reaction to Think a player has been dropped. My mistake

Soren Lorenson
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Soren Lorenson

Well you look a goose now. Why not actually find out why Evans was out before ranting like a spoiled 4 year old. Some people are impossible to please.