The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 22 at Gold Coast

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 36

Gold Coast Titans 12


The Good:
Well, we managed to win another game away from our Bankwest fortress and we subsequently stamped our ticket for the 2019 NRL Finals Series.

Besides that obvious terrific-ness, I was similarly pleased with our mature in-game reaction to the 4 or so tries that we almost scored; particularly our response to the Sivo try (which if I’m honest was a pretty poor call). Parra didn’t kick stones, we didn’t collapse in an emotional heap (shout out to my 3 sons), and as far as I’m aware Mitch Moses didn’t call anyone the C word. Don’t look now Parra fans, but our baby Eels might very well be growing up.

Oh and we’ve also won 7 of our last 8 games.

Tonight, we made our way to the holiday strip and came home with the 2 competition points. Mission accomplished.

The Bad:
Well it didn’t start particularly well, and the first half had me like:

Our first half stats were uncomfortably comparable to the Titans:  We had 52% to their 48% possession, 73% to their 84% completion, 1125 metres to their 963 and 5 penalties to their 6.

But as mentioned above, we found our way in the second half, and it turns out that was straight through the edges of the Titans defence. And you know what? First half stats be damned when you end up winning by 24.

As a side note, remember when Mitch Rein tripped over himself and then dropped the ball? That sort of disaster takes me back. #2018

The X-Factor:
Gees, the decision around the Sivo try was pretty average, but in the end it didn’t really matter.

If anything it was a watershed moment for the Eels resilience in a game where clearly not everything went our way, but yet the scoreboard still did.

Interestingly, the Titans’ best player, AJ Brimson, only played 42 minutes. When he left the field the Eels were only leading 12-6. The Eels then proceeded to score in the 44th, 54th, 59th and 70th minutes.

Before tonight, the Titans had won 11 of our 19 clashes, including a meltdown back in Round 3, 2017 where we lead by 12 inside the first 10 minutes. I don’t know why I still can’t get over that game.

The MVP:

Shaun Lane, Manu Ma’u and second half Waqa Blake were all stellar, but it’s difficult to go past one of the most improved players in the NRL, Mitchell Moses.

Adding another 2 try assists to his NRL leading tally, The Prince of Egypt also had 2 linebreak assists, kicked 6 from 6, ran 8 times for 77 metres and made 13 tackles.

Needless to say, Mitchell is in career best form at the moment, and is officially kicking on in the way many once confidently predicted he would. In a world where losing Aaron Woods is fine, but James Tedesco burns, I suspect many Tigers fans are also starting to feel the sting of yet another one that got away. Much like Eels fans did with Jamie Judas Lyon.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. You the real MVP Mitch, you the MVP.


1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Like most guys in the Blue & Gold Pink tonight, Clint Gutherson was excellent with 16 runs for 181 metres, 3 tackle breaks and a line break.

Gutho makes me feel kinda funny, like when we used to climb the ropes in gym class.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Robbed of a certain NRL try, Sivo’s 10 runs for 92 metres and single tackle break is about half his normal input. However, it was less a case of a Fijian siesta and more a case of the Titans having a particularly weak right edge defence (leading to Manu, Waqa and Taka having an absolute field day). There was very little wrong with Sivo’s performance as a whole tonight, but you should expect the statistical rebound next week.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Michael Jennings didn’t score a try in the opening 3 minutes, but he did take an outstanding catch on the Titans try line late in the game. His 8 runs for 83 metres and tackle break were great, but the 5 missed tackles seem a little off for the Jet.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Well I’m glad Waqa Blake waited for me to defend him on Twitter before having his worst half in the Blue & Gold; routinely getting destroyed by Brian Kelly in defence. With that said, I wholeheartedly agree with this take from my boy, JR:

Waqa has never been the sorta guy to excel under pressure, but his scary combination of speed, size and strength just screams for ball in open, metre eating pasture. Thankfully his form and control dramatically turned around in the second half, and ended up eating those metres to the tune of 158 metres from 12 carries, a linebreak, an offload and 2 tackle breaks. Oh, and he also scored a couple of terrific tries via a running game more dangerous than being billionaire buddies with President Trump.


Untying his laces after his fourth game in the Blue & Gold, Waqa still stoically waits for his first loss in an Eels jersey.

5- Brad Takairangi

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

The arrival of the aforementioned Warlord Waqa Blake seems to have lit a fire under The Cook Island Control Tower. Brad Takairangi has moved from centre to second row, back to centre and now to the wing in recent seasons, but his height, running game and propensity for passing have never wavered. Tonight that manifested itself in the form of a massive 159 metres from 16 carries, 4 tackle breaks, 3 of those offloads and a try assist. Huge game from our very own Mr Fix It, who has been strangely dependable in recent weeks.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

Quietly chipping away at this thing they call an NRL career, Dylan Brown’s all time win loss record now reads an impressive 8 wins, 2 losses; discreetly underlining the subtle impact he’s had on a team that was supposed to challenge for the spoon sans Corey Norman. A smart kicking showing, probing running game (8 for 62 metres) and another impressive defensive performance only confirm the confidence put in him by talent judges infinitely more talented than me.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Shout out to The Biggest Tiger for giving it up our ever improving halfback.

I’m willing to say it: if Mitch’s not around, we’re not playing Finals in 2019.

8- Kane Evans

Prop, Parramatta Eels

It was reported during the week that Kane Evans missed our clash with the Knights last round due to a savage case of food poisoning. Well, the only thing Kane was spewing up tonight was big hits (26 tackles) and metres gained (12 runs for 123 metres).

Kane also threw up 3 errors and 2 tackle breaks. Bon appétit.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

An unfortunate rebound off Reed’s foot for the first Titans try didn’t seem to impact Reed’s typical roving Terrier performance with 45 tackles (with only 1 miss) and a couple of sneaky tackle breaks on his way to 33 running metres from 4 crafty scurries.

16- Daniel Alvaro

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Which of you kids had the big fella for first try scorer?

After absolutely bagging his form for the majority of Season 2019, I was as happy as anyone to see Polar crack 100 running metres (113) from his 11 carries, and 28 tackles in a terrific all around performance. It was a cracking game from Danny Boy and hopefully it sparks him back to the ever reliable option we so fondly remember from years gone by.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Surely no one was surprised that Shaun Lane found his way to the line tonight.

12- Manu Ma’u

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

How about both Manu and Shaun Lane’s offloads for Waqa Blake’s second try?

Far and away the other most popular choice amongst Eels fans for the MVP award, the Hull bound Manu Ma’u turned back the clock in a dominant attacking performance, with 16 runs for 157 metres, 24 tackles and an incredible 2 try assists. He is 6 kinds of crazy, and they were all out in force tonight.

In short, it was an absolutely outstanding game from the World’s Scariest Man.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

Just like his brother, tonight’s win also takes Nathan Brown to an 8-2 record in 2019, running 12 times for 110 metres, making 30 tackles and getting a well earned rest after 63 minutes. That’ll do Cyborg, that’ll do.

14- Peni Terepo

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

It’s not really his fault he only got 18 minutes of game time, but I wonder if Terepo’s 3 runs for 21 metres was even worth the airline fare the Eels spent to get him to the game.

I’m leaning towards no.

15- David Gower

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

The Good Doctor Gower had 8 runs for 75 metres and an offload.

Like the clean, consistent sound of a bulbous brass instrument, I think we could all do with a bit more Gowbell in our lives.

16- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Marata once again shone the brightest off the bench for the Eels tonight, racking up 89 metres from his 11 hit ups, a line break and 28 tackles. He also got a nice and clean, straight up solo, barge over four pointer.

When someone scores a try, then almost kills a guy – that’s Niukore.

18- Tepai Moeroa

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Tepai Moeroa was once again looked slow and ineffective in attack, although he did make some nice defensive plays to halt the Titans momentum. He’ll be an absolute star in Rugby Union, but then again, so would Vai Toutai.

The Eels continues their dominant run of form tonight and will be putting it on the line once again next week as we take on the Canterbury Bulldogs, who have been strangely impressive themselves in recent weeks, winning 4 of their last 6.

If we do manage to come away with the points in Round 23, we’ll have 99% locked in that home final we’ve been dreaming of. But hey, whatever happens: Mumma, we’re going to the Finals again.

Season 2019. The kinda year we thought 2018 would be. Well, it’s better late than never.


Go you Eels,


Photos courtesy of the Parramatta Eels. Stats courtesy of the legends over at Champion Data.

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39 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 22 at Gold Coast

  1. Rob

    That was a special win for us. A bit more discipline and some better, fairer, officiating and it would have been even more fun. 🙂

  2. Parramatta Tragic

    I like the gradings but I would give Mau an A+ tonight. I thought he was absolutely outstanding closely followed by Moses. You heard it here first. A Parramatta Vs Manly Grand Final. Preceded by a street parade with Nathan Brown banging a drum on the back of a ute. Speaking of Higgs, a Higgs Bosun particle walks into a church and the priest says, ‘I’m sorry we don’t allow Higgs Bosons to come to churches.’ And the Higgs Bosun says, ‘But without me, you can’t have mass’

  3. BDon

    Manu Mau didn’t play NRL until he was 26, he doesn’t look like a player who you’d want to let go because of wear and tear. Great game tonight, he was my MVP but Moses was deserving too.
    Round 3 2017 – pretty sure Semi dropped the ball on tackle 1 coming out of our ingoal, then promptly repeated that play. The rot set in.
    Mitch, I reckon there’s a Dean Martin lurking in here, nicely crafted.

  4. Trouser Eel

    I think you’re probably as good a judge of talent judges, as much as you are a good judger of talent. Keep up the good work Mitch.

  5. Luke

    Shaun Lane and lines? Am I right?
    Whatever the squad inhale from the bag in the trainers hands prior to walking on the field pre-game, Shaun Lane kept well clear of this week….

  6. DDay

    Solid away win with room for improvement when Junior/Fergo return. Agree with Moses being in career best form, Kane Evans and Shawn Lane are equally in career best form and it’s the right right end of the season for that. Interesting that BA felt the Eels lacked discipline, I thought they stuck to the task.

    1. mitch Post author

      I was pretty happy we put it away, but to be fair to BA’s comments, we were not disciplined in the first half. I’m glad he’s sticking it to us, the top tier coaches would.

      1. Rowdy

        That’s a bit of an oxymoron isn’t it Mitch? BA’s comments compared to a group he is clearly a member of 😉

      1. Rowdy

        Mitch, I’m falling in love with your bold prophecies. Imagine how good Stefano could look in that company. Gee I am glad you’re back Cotter.

  7. One Putt Pete

    Hi Mitch, great grades and good to see the team performing a little better each week. With Junior and Fergo still to return before the finals my hopes are very high for a BankWest final.
    We actually had 2 MVPs tonight, The Prince and the Smiling Manu.
    Keep up the effort team

  8. Glenn

    Agree absolutely ‘we was robbed’ of the Sivo try. How did running shoulder to shoulder (which is legal) all of a sudden becomes a push in the back?

    1. BDon

      And the other bloke changed his line AWAY from the ball. You’d hate to lose a game on that call. The Titans got a few ‘mercy’ calls eg Dylan Brown slow release in first half was as quick as 50% of tackles all night..3 seconds easy.

    2. mitch Post author

      Again, you need to be prepared for this sorta thing. You can’t expect perfection, which is why I like captains challenge, puts the onus on the players to get the decision to send it up right (like in cricket)

      This opposes what I just said, but I also think if Parra send that decision up in protest, the video ref gives it to Parra

  9. Rowdy

    Welcome back Cotter, ahh…um I mean Mitch. Pure Mitchy baby again tonight mate.
    I reckon you nailed it in the grading’s teach, albeit with some semblance of relativity thrown in to boot. Concerning Tep, he did appear a little more careful tonight, compared to last week. It must be difficult for a bloke on ~$350 at Parra to concentrate when his next two years with the Waratah’s may well open the doors to a Wabelley jumper. Not to mention the mortgage no longer a worry. God bless’ya Tep! You’ve made plenty of effort plays for us for years and shed a bit of blood too.

    1. mitch Post author

      I’m confused why he is still getting game time. Significant emphasis on the reliability of experience, you’d think

      1. Rowdy

        I don’t disagree with you there Mitch and it was plain to see that BA sees it that way too considering Tep wasn’t in the top 17 this week. Perhaps the coaching staff know something we don’t? Or else they are hopeful that if we perservere with Tep, he could do a Dan Alvaro and give us another 112kg goer in the middle for depth? He shouldn’t be there for any other reason.

  10. The rev aka Snedden

    I agree on the ratings.
    I thought lane n Manu we’re outstanding tonight both had beautiful offloads n greate second faze play. Well done Moses on mom as I said you would.

    Next week should be moeroa left out n push takarangi onto the Bench that’s if Ferguson is playing if not takarangi stays on the wing.

    I’m thinking in time Ferguson n Blake will strike up a very dangerous pairing. Both edge’s will have strike Power.

    I know this sounds silly but I don’t care. I think we can roll thru to the big dance I really can.

  11. Milo

    Was a good win; titans threw the ball around and created some chance but our defence was ok.
    Yes we need to be better in some areas and we can improve.
    Have we played a full 80 min game yet? A few i say, and room to improve.

    1. mitch Post author

      BA said during the week we were yet to, and this wasn’t it.

      We are a significantly better outfit than we were mid year, however.

  12. JonBoy

    I’m more than happy to take the 2 points here but my goodness I was unloading at my screen during the 1st half. I felt like every single player out there was trying to “fix” our for and against in the opening 20 minutes. No patience, no attempt to build into the game with pressure…they had me really worried.

    BA obviously clipped a few ears during the break and they came out and returned to the style of footy that has earned them a finals berth.

    Good to see Kandy return and have another solid game and I was really happy to see Polar show a glimpse of a return to form.

    1. Poppa

      I had a similar first half to you Jon Boy and Mitch I have had nightmares about the Gold Coast game in 2017 for a long time…including before this match started.
      I was deadstart scared when they ran back out at half time and the Titans started so well.
      I thought the timing of our first passes of the ruck was poor and I am not sure if the problem was coming from the dummy halves or the runners, didn’t like Kane Evans game….he needs to focus more!
      Waquar Blake also showed a couple of things he can get out of his game, head high wrestle in his defence and getting angry for no reason. I didn’t realise how unfinished a player he is, but it goads well for the future as he is rounded out with rough edges removed. Who’s going to do it….BA won’t miss it I don’t think.
      Mitch you are too soft with your gradings, that first half needs to be noted, not for the negatives, but for the preparation.

  13. Longfin Eel

    Gee we are going to miss Mau next year. He has big shoes to fill. In fact I think a lot of our success this year can be attributed to our edge forwards Mau and Lane. The number of tries we score from balls that pass through these guys hands is amazing. An opportunity for Niukore to continue this into next year.

    1. Colin Hussey

      I am sorry to see him go, but I also remember how Shaun & Marata played well earlier this year, and Marata seems to have continued that form, thing that is needed is the 2nd rowers need to be 80 minute players and have some ball skills, which will be the challenge into the future.

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