The Cumberland Throw

The Preview – Round 25, 2019: Eels vs Sea Eagles

Date: Friday, September 6, 2019

Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta

Kick Off: 6:00pm

Referees: Gerard Sutton, Phil Henderson

Head-to-head: Played 152 Eels 56 Sea Eagles 91 Drawn 5

Odds: Eels $1.57 Sea Eagles $2.45

Broadcast: Fox League, Kayo

 

Last Four Encounters:

Sea Eagles 36 Eels 24 Lottoland Stadium (2019)

Eels 44 Sea Eagles 10 ANZ Stadium (2018)

Sea Eagles 54 Eels 0 Lottoland Stadium (2018)

Eels 20 Sea Eagles 12 Lottoland Stadium (2017)

 

The Warm Up

What a way to finish the NRL regular season.

For lovers of footy tribalism, it doesn’t get much better than Parra vs Manly. Throw in a battle for 5th spot and this is like the finals have arrived one week early.

Speaking of early, the 6pm start is not ideal, yet it’s almost become a marketing point with punters being urged to submit permission slips for early knock offs.

A win by 11 points or more would see the Eels finish in 5th place – ahead of the Sea Eagles on points differential.

Who has enjoyed the better season?

The rugby league media have been suggesting that Hasler could be named coach of the year by taking the Sea Eagles from 15th to finals football.

What then do they make of Arthur’s achievements should Parra finish in front of Manly? Regardless, BA would care less. He absolutely shuns the limelight.

And so to the game itself.

Neither team would want to enter the finals on the back of a loss. And it will be multiple losses for the vanquished.

Memories of an embarrassment at Brookvale a few weeks ago will be fresh in the minds of Eels players. Though they might use that as motivation, playing smart, disciplined footy must remain paramount.

See you there!

 

Having A Punt

My confidence was at a low ebb last week, but I’ve regrouped and I’m ready to unleash in the final round. I’m keeping it simple. No points start, but I’m still looking for value in the TAB, head to head/over under double market.

Take Parra to win coupled with over 38.5 total match points @$2.90.

The first try scorer favourites for each team are listed below:

Eels – Sivo $9, Ferguson $19

Sea Eagles – Garrick $10, Taufua $12

 

Feed Your Footy Brain

The Eels have an interesting history against their dizygotic football twin.

Since their birth in 1947, Parra have unquestionably been the poor relation in clashes with the Sea Eagles. With a success rate of around 36%, only the Dragons have inflicted greater misery over the Eels than the team from the northern beaches.

That said, the Eels are enjoying much better results under the tutelage of Brad Arthur, having won seven of the last nine clashes.

 

Tracking: Ray Stone

It’s simplistic, and it’s probably underselling the bloke’s footballing prowess, but Ray Stone adds a degree of “mongrel” to the Eels pack.

A schoolboy/junior football star, Stone didn’t have the size to dominate. He didn’t have the pace to set the field alight. He simply competed like a touch of Ray Price had been added to his genetic mix. Consequently you’d always find him in and around the action, and if you saw a runner cut down ferociously, there was a good chance that he was the culprit.

Injury has curtailed Stoney’s season, but he’s returned to first grade at the exact time that the team needs an injection of energy from the bench.

Will he be used to give Mahoney a break?

Will he play a middle forward role?

Whatever he’s asked to do by Arthur, you can be sure that Stone won’t leave the field with the music still in him.

Danger Man: Brad Parker

Stay with me here. It may have escaped the attention of the average footy supporter, but a certain ranga centre has become a very decent NRL player.

I won’t get carried away. His name could serve as an alter-ego for a super hero, but he’s unlikely to be named as a future immortal. Nonetheless, Parker is rated so highly by Des Hasler that he was rushed straight back into the NRL team as soon as he had recovered from his recent injury.

And to emphasise his value, here’s how a couple of his stats measure up against fellow Manly centre Moses Suli:

Tackle breaks: Parker 2.1 per game, Suli 1.8 per game

Line breaks: Parker 7 (16 games), Suli 5 (19 games)

Missed tackles: Parker 0.6 per game, Suli 1.2 per game.

Take a bow Brad Parker. You have arrived and you’re this week’s danger man.

 

Team Lists:

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

Interchange: 14.Brad Takairangi 15.Daniel Alvaro 16.Ray Stone 17.Tepai Moeroa 18.David Gower 19.Will Smith 20.Peni Terepo 21.Josh Hoffman

Sea Eagles: 1.Brendan Elliot 2.Jorge Taufua 3.Brad Parker 4.Moses Suli 5.Reuben Garrick 6.Dylan Walker 7.Daly Cherry-Evans 8.Addin Fonua-Blake 9.Apisai Koroisau 10.Martin Taupau 11.Corey Waddell 12.Curtis Sironen 13.Jake Trbojevic

Interchange: 14.Manase Fainu 15.Sean Keppie 16.Lloyd Perrett 17.Taniela Paseka 18.Lachlan Croker 19.Tevita Funa 20.Cade Cust 21.Haumole Olakauatu

 

Mitchell Moses vs Daly Cherry-Evans

Forwards win matches. It’s a truism that applies to virtually all rugby league games, but without the spine executing their roles as conductors, all the hard work can go to waste.

Mitch Moses

Mitch Moses has enjoyed what is undoubtedly the most consistent season of his career. His attacking stats are off the charts. Consider these numbers – 6 line breaks, 18 line break assists, 23 try assists. When the Eels are firing in attack, Moses is featuring.

The last two weeks haven’t been up to his usual  high standards (he’s the victim of carrying a bad punter’s coin), but it’s fair to say that the team have dropped off the pace when the starting props have been rested.

I expect to see Moses playing a more composed game this week. He’ll be looking to execute finals footy – and that involves an accurate kicking game and controlling the pace in attack. We know what he can do when he takes on the line. He’s generally excelled in picking those moments in 2019. I expect him to find that again

How does Cherry-Evans measure up to Moses?

The Queensland Origin skipper can boast some impressive numbers too. This season he’s dished up 8 line breaks, 14 line break assists and 20 try assists. It’s certainly comparable to Moses returns and DCE has played five games fewer than the Eels half.

Cherry-Evans is deceptively strong and fast. He’s at his best when he digs into the line to set up his supports. It pits his outside men against a retreating defence, and often leads to line breaks.

With Tommy Turbo injured, DCE can be expected to rise to the occasion.

 

And The Winner Is

The bookies have installed the Eels as firm favourites, but in doing so they’ve ignored Manly’s fighting qualities.

This 2019 version of the Sea Eagles are as courageous as any Maroon and White side I’ve had the displeasure of watching. Their pack is as skilled and tough as any in the NRL.

Taupau and Fonua-Blake win the power battle in the middle, and Trbojevic adds the finesse. Their dummy half rotation is arguably the best in the premiership.

Can the Eels pack contain them?

Starting props Paulo and Evans have both enjoyed outstanding seasons, but the Blue and Golds are missing the defence and aggression of Brown. Niukore has been a revelation as a middle forward off the bench but he’ll be expected to play longer minutes in filling Brown’s boots.

The Eels seem to hold the advantage in the backline, especially with Tommy Turbo sitting on the sidelines. But backs can’t do their stuff without forwards laying the platform.

With both teams boasting strong starting packs, this might be a game decided by the bench. Apart from Fainu, I think the Eels might have the edge there.

 

Eels 24 Sea Eagles 16

Man of the Match – Kane Evans

 

Eels forever!

Sixties

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Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

As usual sixties food enough for thought, I am not overtly confident for the game, but have said that before and got a slap on the face by myself for doing just that, my reason is our bench not to do with Stone but the other 3, when our run on squad are on the field we do well and usually in front or getting the upper hand, 2nd half lifts and if scores are close enough we usually go on with the game and win. When the bench gets on the field, I rather not use the word gets… Read more »

Rowdy
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Rowdy

OK Sixties, I’ll start the ball rowlings (JK that is) there may be a touch of imagination about this post. So here goes. Parramatta’s starting pack is the equal of Manly, that’s a given, fact. Manly have built their game on controlling the ruck through aggressive forwards going forward and brutal defense holding down in the ruck ala Melbourne Storm. They have been given lots of leniency by the refs up until recently but this will not wash with the astute Gerard Sutton and his Tonto Phil 1EEL Henderson. These two are “on the ball” when it comes to illegality.… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

Rowdy if your score is correct we get 5th place

Pou
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Pou

We have a better record against them in finals footy. In ten games (1975 to 2005) we’ve beaten them four times plus had a draw. It would be nice to face them in the semis.

BDon
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BDon

Sixties, I’ve spent half an hour thinking about your Brad Parker theory, i’m not buying it, but good journalism does challenge us. I had been developing an alternative theory that Manly have suddenly looked a bit ragged without Joel Thompson. Underrated workhorse who complemented Jake T perfectly, the 2 of them covered up some hot and cold performers. A bit like our pack, when the right combination of players are on the park, we go much better. Tom T’s absence is a huge bonus. A month back I thought Manly could be a contender, Thompson and Tom have changed my… Read more »

JonBoy
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JonBoy

Firstly, let me be honest and admit I had to look up the word “dizygotic”. I’m not sure what a Rugby League Fan site thinks it’s doing using such verbosity to bespeak its enlightenment upon the conglomeration that is, the humble TCT scribbler. Natheless, I am au fait that amongst the miscellany there is many a pedagogue. I share the concern of many about our bench. Ray Stone is a welcome addition if he can control and direct his “mongrel” in the right places. I’m not really a sentimental type but how Tim Mannah is not a better option for… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Good read sixties. Just 3 point’s. 1* with stoney ( you can be sure that Stone won’t leave the field with the music still in him.) I know you meant to say he won’t leave the field with no stone’s unturned 😀. 2* Brad Parker really really I’d bee more worried about Jorge tuafua. His hits are bigger than Michael Jackson’s 😂 I know Dylan Brown will be looking out for him. 3* Kane Evans mom who would have thought that he would be mentioned in the mom catory in the early parts of this yr. His playing really well… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Yes interesting stats on this game, and for me the game will be won in the forwards and bench rotations. That for me is not good; I am not a fan of Taka playing on the bench and Tepai too. Tepai has been disappointing and I too would have rather seen someone else get a chance and also note Peni has been disappointing and should be playing for Wenty. I feel Manly may be too strong up front unless Parra play up tempo and get off our line quick, and defend the middle third extremely well. We need to do… Read more »

Rocket
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Rocket

Sixties.
You seem to see the same qualities in Brad Parker I do. Very underated.
He seems to have knee problems. 3 times to my knowlegde he has injured himself just standing to play the ball.