The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 25 vs Manly

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 32

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 16

 

The Good:

Well that was a very nice way to end the regular season. Not only was it a victory, but a victory over one of our most significant traditional rivals, at home, by enough points to secure us a 5th place victory. Feels good, right?

The Bad:
As Des loaded up his starting lineup with three recognised props next to the already robust talents of Jake Trbojevic, the early goings saw the big and burly Manly forwards slice through our defensive lines at will.

A possible date with the judiciary for Kane Evans is a bit of a downer, not to mention some pretty questionable moments from the Eels as a whole, including a pretty dumb strip from Junior and Taka not being square at marker leading up to Manly’s first try.

Despite the win, BA was not particularly pleased with tonight’s relatively performance in the post game presser, but I kinda like that.

The X-Factor:
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: that second Manly try.

That Manase Fainu try was weirder than that 56th minute Mexican standoff where time stood still and all players from both sides just looked at each for a couple of minutes.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Marty Taupau penalty that we received, but whatever. Swings and roundabouts, swings and roundabouts.

The game itself very much started as The Night of the Long Offloads, as player after player hit and spun their way to a looping late pass. It seemed that the lack of focus on the result itself might have led BA to throw caution to the (howling) wind, as the Eels seemed to return to our offload heavy tactics employed early in the season. However, as the heavens opened at halftime and the players ran to the sheds like cricketers heading for cover during a rain delay, so too, it seemed, did the Eels propensity to throw the ball around. Of the Eel 17 offloads on the night, 11 of them came in the opening 40 minutes.

Team stats don’t make for particularly insightful reading tonight; with possession (Eels 51 to 49 Manly) and completions (Eels 72% to 67% Manly) don’t tell too many tales. Surprisingly if you remember our Brookvale capitulation, but unsurprisingly if you watched tonight’s game, the Eels dominated yardage 2166m to Manly’s 1818m.

Also, long time readers will know how hesitant I am to compliment a moment of opposition brilliance, but that breakaway threat, chip for himself over Gutho play that DCE put on for an almost try in the first half was actually pretty glorious. I mean, sure; he did sorta hold Mitch back in the end, but it was still very pretty before then.

The MVP:

 

This award was Dylan Brown’s for the taking before Maika Sivo went nuclear in the second half. What an absolute find both young players have been, truly crucial cogs in any success we have going forward. Regarding Maika, I dare say it’d be difficult to comfortably name 3 more valuable players in our side, despite the fact that he was relatively unknown at the start of the season, and we only swiped him from Penrith once Mansour took Penrith’s (significant) currency instead of ours. How good!

Another ridiculously great performance from Maika tonight, with 15 runs, 173 metres, 4 linebreaks, 5 tackle breaks, a try assist, an offload and 3 tries. That stat line is absolutely ridiculous, and who would have thought Blake Ferguson would so frequently (yet still impressively) be the second best winger in our 17?

I can only imagine the incredible pride reverberating through the tiny Fijian village of Momi as the name Sivo was chanted again and again throughout the modern day Colosseum which is Bankwest Stadium. Outstanding.

 

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Gees, the kid can throw a nice long ball. It was an absolute pearler of a pass for one of Sivo’s four pointers.

Clinton was pretty great all over the park tonight, leading to a 15 runs, 130 metre performance. The King also had 3 offloads, 2 linebreak assists, one tackle break, a try and a try assist.

How does that make you feel, Gutho?

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Those 3 tries could have very easily been 4 or 5, as if Maika wasn’t throwing Manly players down, he himself was being held up.

In other news, although DWZ will likely still take out top honours for Season 2019, this week’s Sivo Photo of Shame victim is Brendan Elliot.

I know art is subjective, but to me it almost looks like Elliot has just given up on tackling the giant Fijian, instead opting to give him an encouraging, left handed smack on the ass on the way through. At the other end of the spectrum, Maika looks like he’s about to reach into his opponent’s chest and reef out his beating heart; you know, Temple of Doom style.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

It was another very likeable performance from Michael Jennings, showing nice hands on a number of occasions to get Maika open in the first half, scoring our opening try himself (off a Maika try assist), before sealing the game with an incredible dummy, draw and pass play for Sivo’s final in the South Eastern corner. The Jet’s 10 runs for 92 metres, 2 linebreak assists, 2 offload and a try assist stat line probably still don’t reflect his impact on this game for the good guys.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

How long do I have to talk about the in and away Waqa Blake put on to set up Gutho’s first half try? Good heavens and mercy me.

Although Fergo and his chemistry is still coming along, Waqa’s 8 runs for 114 metres, 1 linebreak, 1 try assist, 2 tackle break game has reignited my burning love for our newest recruit. Please also consider me always here for Waqa flying across field like Superman to make a cover tackle on an unsuspecting opposition player.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Although Blake Ferguson is still making his way back to full health, if it weren’t for Maika he’d still be the best winger on the park. Only the solitary tackle break to join his 12 runs for 105 metres, I look forward to a time where Fergo is not in the highlights for his spectacular put downs, but also for the revival of his tendency to absolutely eat people in both attack and defence. Good times.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

This is admittedly pretty easy to say after a win but I really loved the balance between Mitch Moses and Dylan Brown this week. Dylan actually had identical running numbers to Fergo (12 for 105 metres), showing an incredible workrate for a half, and highlights the potency of his running game. He did have 4 tackle breaks, too.

Oh, and how about this little kick?

It’s a big thumbs up from Maika, and a big thumbs up from me, too.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

It wasn’t a 5 star performance from Mitchell Moses tonight, but that is completely fine. In fact, I actually prefer the odd victory where everything doesn’t run through our mercurial number 7. Tonight, Moses played pretty well despite having exactly zero try assists and missing a couple of shots on goal (6 from 8 overall), along with 4 runs for 25 metres and 336 kicking metres. A little more concerning is that the stats will also record Mitch made 20 tackles with 8 misses; however this was often more a case of giant prop Addin Fonua-Blake starting the game on the left edge. To his credit, on most occasions Mitch tended to make the tackle in the end, even forcing an error a couple of times.

8- Kane Evans

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Kane Evans‘ night looked like 8 runs for 88 metres, 19 tackles, 2 offloads and a reportable tackle that hopefully does not draw the ire of the Match Review Committee.

Other than the questionable hit, Kane was also frequently bested laterally in defence by both Paseka and Jorge Taufua, compounded these issues by being found wanting several times in cover defence. Although his running game improved, I thought Kane’s lateral defence was no better in his second stint. With all that said, gosh I’m hoping he’s running around for us next week against the Broncos/Sharks/Tigers.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Some might say I’m being harsh on Reed Mahoney, but his 36 tackles with 9 misses is less than ideal no matter how you slice it. Combined with a loose pass to Moses (leading to an error), 3 ineffective tackles and 2 errors, it wasn’t Reed’s best night at the office. Despite the statistical car crash, we won and won pretty well, and teams don’t often do that with ineffective service. He’s been one of most important players in 2019, and I don’t suspect that changes next week, or next year for that matter.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

The Big Hombre was a mainstay for us in the middle tonight, getting through a massive 18 runs and 151 metres with 3 tackle breaks and 19 tackles of his own. That’s an exceptional workrate for a man of his size in his massive 64 minutes of service.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Not dissimilar to Junior, Shaun Lane was also terrific for us tonight in his 62 minute stint, threatening his old team with every one of his 11 runs for 117 metres. Penny Lane also added 3 tackle breaks, an offload and 21 tackles. Cop that, Silvertails.

Ps – Remember when he almost stripped the ball from Moses Suli to score? That would have been something.

12- Manu Ma’u

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Monster Mash had 10 runs, 91 metres, 1 linebreak assist and a team high 41 tackles tonight in his final regular season game for the Blue & Gold. Although I’ll be missing the scary bastard next season, I suspect many opposition players will be working through PTSD.

15- Daniel Alvaro

Lock, Parramatta Eels

Yeah, it was ok. The new and improved Polar had 8 runs, 75 metres, 2 offloads, 23 tackles with 4 misses. At one point Alvaro was our rising star; now it’s like he’s somehow had his powers stolen like that scene from Space Jam. Hoping he finds them in time for Season 2020.

13- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Marata was just out there tonight running with venom, breaking tackles, punching through the line – Marata was out there tonight doing all those things that Peni and Tepai can’t do.

His 11 runs for 98 metres, 1 offload and 12 tackles were a little invisible next to the bright lights of Sivo, Brown, Lane and Paulo, but he was nonetheless a very important addition to our cause tonight.

14- Brad Takairangi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

It was a brief appearance and a hard slog for our Mr Fix It, Brad Takairangi. The Cook Island Control Tower had 4 runs, 28 metres and made a whopping 7 tackles in his 19 minute stint. Although those running numbers don’t scream “successful performance”, at least two of those 4 runs were those second-hit-up-into-an-aggressive-defensive-line runs that only crazy forwards take. So, you know, hats off to him.

16- Ray Stone

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Before he was effectively decapitated by Marty Taupau, Ray “Harry Highpants” Stone was taking to Manly’s gigantic attacking raids like a sharpened axe to a pine plantation. It was excellent to hear midway through that final period that not only was he ok, but that he willingly stood up off the stretcher. Here’s hoping he’s fit for next week; I definitely want him in my 17.

17- Tepai Moeroa 

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Despite providing some pretty impressive stats tonight (14 runs for 133 metres is excellent), little moments in the game mean it’s becoming more and more evident that Tepai Moeroa is just not all that good at Rugby League anymore. Hopefully he finds greater consistency in Rugby Union? But it’s not the mechanics of his defence, or even his running game; what frustrates me is the dropped ball to open the second half, it’s the post strip knock on, it’s the timing of the penalties he gives away. Nonetheless, tonight may have been his last game in the Blue & Gold, and overall I will prefer to remember him as a young dynamic meat axe, chopping down players, busting tackles and scoring tries. God speed, Tep.

Well, that’s the regular season done and dusted.

Not only did we make the Finals, we finished pretty in 5th, overtaking arch rivals Manly in the last round. And that is worth celebrating:

For the first time in 2019, we don’t know who or when we are playing next weekend; we just know it’s at Bankwest Stadium. FYI – if the Broncos lose, we’re playing them. If the Broncos win, we play the winner of Tigers/Sharks.

Victory next week will mean a sudden death game against one of the losing Top 4 sides. Defeat means that’s all she wrote for Season 2019.

Whoever it is, whenever it is, I cannot wait.

See you then, sports fans.

 

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.

Also want to give a big shoutout to Alt for the GIFs.

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

I think you failed to mention Gutherson’s try? Otherwise good grades. I was going to say you were harsh on Mahoney and Moeroa but in light of those errors… ok..

Rob
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Rob

Sorry, that comment was from me.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Mahoney is going gr8. But seriously needs to be more clinical with his missed tackles and ineffective tackles each game. A middle player playing in and around the ruck can not afford to have 9 missed tackles and 5 ineffective a game.

BDon
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BDon

I like our spine, great attitude and skill level. Game management will only get better, but average weight of 85kgs across the 6,7& 9 is attracting the 115kg blokes towards them like magnets. Fonua Blake found them all night. Put on weight, improve technique? Not many answers. Keary and Cronk are getting traffic, Friend’s body is falling apart, so the issue isn’t only ours.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

U were generous to Ferguson I think. A couple of times he failed to take the high ball and a couple of errors and I have to say some lacklustre runs. He is not what he was ata the start of the year

parra-matters
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also if he came back on the inside of Waqa in the first half it could have been 18-0

Glenn
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Glenn

Yes that second Fainu ‘try’ was puzzling in the extreme. From what I saw, and my eyes aren’t that young any more, Moeroa stripped the ball and knocked it on before regathering. That should have led to a scrum shouldn’t it? Fainu knocked the ball on dislodging it from Moeroa, his hand was the last to touch the ball, then to my eyes knocked it on again trying to pick it up off the ground. Did any of these things happen or are my eyes deceiving me?

Seth hardie
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Seth hardie

Great to see Dylan Brown start to probe and back himself, exciting. Can we please develop or buy a Jake T. prototype, it would make our team.

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

I noticed that well in his game, we need more of it. He is only 18, but am very happy he wants to stay with us and is being brought along nicely in our new pathway program. The kid is a superstar.

Shelley
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Shelley

Having 2 really good defensive centres is making such a difference to our team. Even when we get beaten around the ruck when the ball is shifted wide, Jennings and Blake are shutting it down and Fergusson and Sivo are on the same page with those inside them.
The way Jennings has rebounded from the disastrous season last year is such a credit to him.

parra-matters
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How good was Juniors first stint, some great offloads that lead to breaks.
LEGEND!
Not bad for a bloke everyone said was too fat why did we sign him to come back.

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Good ratings Mitch. What a great weekend everyone who supports the Eels will be having. Beating Manly just doesn’t get any better. Yes we will be reminded by Manly fan’s that they didn’t have a blown turbo n so forth. Well guess what we didn’t have Nathan brown so it’s all squared up. Next weekend brown will come in for stone cold. Big Marty is gone like Manlys finals campaign. Kane the big red machine Evans will be fine after watching the tackle like 10 Times last night his 1st contact is the upper arm before going to Brad parkers… Read more »

Tooks
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Tooks

We have a backline that can win a comp. Unfortunately, still weak up the middle and will struggle against the top sides.

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

Is this the bench argument again? Cmon.

Michael Formosa
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Michael Formosa

I remember at the start of the season we had an disagreement because I wanted Sivo in our round one team and Mitch wanted G.Jennings. I love how this unfolded. (And yes I have been holding on to this one for a while lol) ……. oh yeah the grades are good too.

Yaya
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Yaya

Really great to see how balanced our team is now. I think we are still carrying a bit of dead weight (tep, Alvaro) but compared to years gone by we look a far more rounded team.

BDon
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BDon

Good grades Mitch. Just nit picking, I reckon Fainu was trying to get the ball into position for a flick out the back and Junior only knocked it, nothing compared to Walker’s blatant strip on Fergo which triggered a Manly resurgence and my blood pressure. What was Fergo thinking when he allowed Parker to catch that ball, he (Fergo) was in the wrong position (upfield) and too far away, in a nanosecond Gutho had a 3 on 1 to deal with. I can only suggest he thought it was going out. Havent re-watched it but there was something about Evan’s… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Thanks for the report mitch nice reading overall. Again without foxtel or able to link to kayo or whatever streaming thing, I was limited to the abc radio call, and some of things they picked up has not changed one bit for some players. Reading your player ratings, it makes me sound not like a cracked but a smashed record regarding our bench. How in blazes can Tepai still be picked for the bench? sorry as I see its wasted space totally, its not as if we do not have the players at Wenty that could take his place, likewise… Read more »

Jezza
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Jezza

Paulo strip? That little Manly hooker was grinning like the Cheshire after he let go of the ball he was trying to pass.

DDay
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DDay

Enjoyed that read Mitch, always sweeter after a win. Five As is a good sign going into the finals; Sivo, DBrown, Jennings, Junior & Lane were impressive. Smart tactics to spread the ball wide from dummy half to move the big Manly pack around and well executed by Mahoney – his passing game is excellent and his kicking was also smart. The LHS attack was very pointed, Suli and Garrick were really worked over. Disappointed Evans has been charged, he’s been tremendous for the past month. Looking forward to NBrown being back next week. I hope Tepai has played his… Read more »

TolEelts
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TolEelts

Is Alvaro also getting pointers from Spud Carroll as Evans do? If not, hope he gets the same advise or pointers from him. If yes, then the question will be why is he not improving as much as Evans did? Dylan had been pretty active last night compared to his previous games. Hope he will be as active onwards.

LakeEEL
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LakeEEL

Thanks Mitch for yet another informative and intelligent read, I look forward to your words and player ratings every week. We have a lot of work to do regarding discipline and ball security to really take advantage of our attacking ability. We started the game with some fantastic play in both attack and offense and looked sharp most of the first 40 mins. Unfortunately the second half started off like many for us this season with a clumsy mistake which offered the “sea beagles” a sniff. If we do this against one of the better teams it will cost us… Read more »

pete
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pete

Great win. Grades spot on Mitch. The only negative I can think of is our missed tackles 45? Tepai had a better game but he is always costly…. Stone was great until being head hunted, can’t see how Tapau’s arm to head shot can be the same as Evans body shot tackle. Evans clearly wrapped arm around body. We seemed like we were letting the Beagles back into it for a while but then found a way to win. I have to say both Beagles tries were lucky; 1. almost held up 2. Obvious knock on by Fainu. That’s 3… Read more »

BDon
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BDon

Another thing about Manly try 1 – came off a late offload when our defenders were flat footed, thinking about the next ruck. Exactly the same happened v Broncs. I reckon BA may be mentioning this.

Parramatta Tragic
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Parramatta Tragic

Always a good read. I am glad I took my jacket last night after leaving home in 25 degree heat. One of the best games I have seen in a long time. That will hopefully be the game plan for the semi’s. From this point onwards anything can happen. If Souths beat Easts then Easts go to the same side of the draw as Melbourne and we don’t play either of them until maybe the GF. Everyone else is beatable. We want Melbourne and Souths to win to give us the path of least resistance to the GF. Hopefully Evans… Read more »

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

That wind mate, geez, even I went and sat at my seat than hang around the concourse because of it, I need some respite. If Evans gets suspended, someone has it in for him. What was that last tackle of his when he was binned? something about too much force, WTF. Watch a Storm game and see that in every tackle, and illegal and not penalised. Evans finds form and now others than the supporters are after him. Just BS

!0 Year Member
Guest
!0 Year Member

Mitch. Re DB, that gif kick you have put, up….I was like, why are we kicking on the 3rd!#$@$%#$^#%^, but there was Maika planting it for a 4 pointer. I just gushed with how awesome a playmaker he will become and the great vision and confidence to back himself. Just beautiful.

MattL
Guest
MattL

When it was announced that Timmy Mannah couldn’t wave goodbye to the last home crowd on Friday as the ultimate “professional”, I smelt a rat… Did someone say fairytale finals finish for the captain?