The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Finals Week 1 vs Broncos

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 58

Brisbane Broncos 0


The Good:
I don’t even really know where to begin. My brain is struggling to process what happened today; to be completely honest, I think I’m actually in a bit of shock.

Today we, the Parramatta Eels won a Week 1 Finals game to the tune of fifty eight to nil.

Looking back through my Twitter timeline, I guess my tweets might appear subdued; it was almost as if I felt I would soon wake up, or soon the Eels would fall apart. But now, as the adrenaline wears off, I’m pretty certain today was maybe the best Rugby League experience I’ve ever had. The game itself was incredible, almost without flaw. Having no real Grand Final victories to draw upon (as I was born in 1984), and I can barely separate today from our 2009 Qualifying Final against the Dogs.

That, we did.

Today the Broncos were beaten so badly, they’ve actually been relocated by the NRL to take the place as second Brisbane team. Subsequently, the NRL is now on the hunt for a team deemed suitable enough to take the place as Brisbane’s first team.

The attacking game is easy pickings (and pick at it I will) but to show our defensive dominance as well, here are some running stats for the Broncos today: Gillett 6 for 35m, Ofahengaue 6 for 36m, Flegler 2 for 15m, Carrigan 4 for 25m. In fact, no Broncos forward ran for more than 100 metres, the closest being Payne Haas with 88 metres from his 13 carries.

So, at what point did you know we were well on top?

For me, it was about the time our diminutive halfback, Mitchell Moses, felt confident enough to push Matt “Tonight’s the night you’re going to die” Lodge around.

Needless to say, the highlights package from today’s game is so long it has its own highlights package.

Well, not for Broncos fans, obviously.

The Bad:
The bad?

The X-Factor:
Turn away now, Broncos fans; avert your eyes from the overzealous fireworks display which is this game’s stat sheet.

It had been 3642 days since the last Eels Finals victory, but today’s game did its best to make up for the wait.

I could very easily talk about the incredible 64% possession across 80 minutes or the 51 minutes the Eels spent in the Broncos’ half of the field. The 84% completion rate is worth pointing out, and I could rattle on about the 352 to 203 tackle difference, or the 40 to 24 missed tackle count (I actually thought that would be much higher). However, my favourite stat has to be that today’s running metre total for the Eels is 1.3 kilometres higher than the Broncos’. That’s tells a story, a story worth telling and retelling over and over again.

In other news, odd stats out of this game include the Broncos only made 7 errors in the whole game (to the Eels’ 6), that the penalty count was only 4-4, that despite having 3 players score a double no Eel scored a hat trick, and that the Eels only record 2 dummy half runs the whole game (both from Reed).

Oh, I guess 11 tries to 0 is also a pretty odd statistic; and so is a 58-0 scoreline … in a sudden death final.

Go you Br0nc0s!

If you didn’t already know, today’s 58-0 is not only the highest winning margin in an NRL Finals game ever, it’s also the biggest winning margin the Eels have ever recorded over the Brisbane Broncos. And how good was that atmosphere?!

The MVP:


I’m sorry kids, but I just can’t do it; I simply cannot split them. Both our halves were incredible, our wingers unstoppable. Waqa and Jennings were magnificent in defence, and our entire forward pack absolutely dominated the middle third of the field. Even our oft maligned bench were tremendous, with Alvaro and Tepai running 300 metres between them.

You know what? I’ll split tonight’s MVP award evenly between the 17 players, the Blue & Gold army and our coach Brad Arthur. After the straight up car crash which was Season 2018, we all deserve today’s sweet Finals victory.


1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

I mean, sure he’s not the fastest fullback running around, but I’ll be damned if Clint Gutherson ain’t effective. Another 18 runs for Captain America today, leading to 188 metres, 2 try assists, 2 linebreaks, 2 linebreak assists and 3 tackle breaks.

It’s the remix to ignition, the Eels backline is clicking.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Do you reckon Maika Sivo enjoys scoring the odd try?

The straight up comedic finish of this try just before halftime almost sums up what it is like to support the incredible, untapped talent of the big Fijian.

The Human Highlight Reel ran for 167 metres from his 15 carries, had 2 linebreaks, 6 tackle breaks, and another 2 tries.

Who knew a young bloke from a tiny Fijian village would find his second home in the middle of 30000 screaming fans chanting his name?

I very much am looking forward to witnessing his inevitably incredible future in the Blue & Gold. SIVO! SIVO! SIVO!*

*hopefully you read that like a 30000 strong crowd, and not just some odd bloke yelling it out by himself.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

If you told me at the start of the season that not only would Michael Jennings be a key cog in our resurgence, but that we would have willingly signed him for another 2 years, I would have laughed in your face. Like, right up in your grill; like a child with a no understanding of personal space.

But believe you now, I will.

The man they thankfully don’t call MJ was instrumental in today’s obliteration of the Broncos, with his 83 metres, 2 tries, 2 try assists, 2 linebreak assists, 2 tackle breaks and 4 tackles; including this bone rattler on the bloke pretending to be the Broncos halfback.

The above hit not only knocked Turpin into next week, it sent the other 16 Broncos straight into Mad Monday. How good.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

It amazes me that the Panthers decided that Waqa and RCG were two thirds of their incredible future less than 12 months ago, only to palm them both off to us at a discounted rate. You do you, Penrith.

I mean, it was only 17 runs for 169 metres from Waqa today, adding 2 tackle breaks, a try assist, a line break assist and a line break. He also destroyed Anthony Milford’s running game, rib-cage and will to live in one particularly ghastly hit midway through the first half.

To be fair, it turns out the Panthers were once right about something; Waqa Blake is an incredible talent, and one a team should probably think about locking up for as long as possible.

Shoutout to good mate @_Jack_Ricky for this post Grades dialogue:

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Blake Ferguson’s contribution to this team goes beyond his 13 runs for 134 metres, beyond his try, 2 linebreaks or 3 tackle breaks. It’s a core belief in winning and his flat out disbelief in failure. It’s also the freakish ability to beat the last line of defence 5 metres out to make try scoring look easy.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

I thought last week was the best game I’d ever seen Dylan Brown play.

It took all of a week for that mark to be obliterated like the Broncos’ defensive confidence.

Dylan Brown could barely be stopped today, gaining almost 10 metres every time he ran the ball (8 for 79 metres), dishing out 2 linebreak assists, a try assist, and the two beautiful tries you’ll find either side of this comment. The future looks bright for this absolute superstar in the making. Speaking of which, feel free to relive the most read article in TCT history on the makings of one Dylan Brown.

This boy is a Rugby League cinema, I could watch him forever.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Remember when Moses wasn’t at his best last week, even though the rest of the team was? Well today he showed us what happens when the stars align for the new and improved Eels, when both he and the other 16 blokes are on the same brilliant page.

Like the reek of body odour at a Music Festival, Mitchell Moses was in absolutely everything today.

Other than a couple of missed conversions, there was very little to dislike about The Prince of Egypt’s game today; whether it was his 7 runs for 66 metres, the linebreak, the try assist, the 3 tackle breaks, his two incredible tries, or that game defining textbook tackle on the Broncos totem idol, Payne Haas.

Mitchell’s kicking game was also very much on point (11 for 385 metres), and it gave the Broncos very little room to breathe.

What a friend we have in Moses.

15- Daniel Alvaro

Prop, Parramatta Eels

In a world with alien sightings, the illuminati, anti-vaxxers and people who vote for One Nation, nothing has left me more perplexed than today’s incredible performance from Daniel Alvaro. WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL YEAR, POLAR BEAR?

A ridiculous 22 runs for 170 running metres, 2 tackle breaks, a try (!) and A FREAKING LINEBREAK for Danny Boy.

So yeah, it was just a regular day at the office for ole Daniel. I’m pretty sure ‘Linebreaking Danny’ is what they usually call him in these parts.

More of this please, Mr Bear.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Even if I wasn’t handing out A+ grades like they were pieces of Extra, this young man would have gone very close regardless. Even taking into account the unfortunate kick out on the full and a drop ball off a first half scoot, Reed Mahoney played the house down. The 36% Broncos possession rate saw him make only 25 tackles, but his 2 try assists and 2 linebreak assists more than make up for any statistical deficiency. Well played, young man.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

A shortened 30 minute stint was about the only small thing about Junior Paulo today. He was enormous in both stature and statistic against the Broncs, with 11 runs for 114 metres, 4 offloads and 5 tackle breaks (including Junior actually throwing Jake Turpin to the ground like he was spiking a football after a touchdown) was really all we needed from him today. With that said, rest up, old mate; we’re going to need you in a big way come Saturday night.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Despite looking like the sorta bloke who would approach your car at a set of lights with a squeegee in hand, Shaun Lane has very much found a home here in the Blue & Gold in 2019. It was 13 runs, 103 metres, a linebreak and a tackle break today for the tall drink of water. In recent weeks, it feels like Laney’s combination not only with Dylan Brown but Michael Jennings and Maika Sivo is really starting to take off.

Oh, he also had this cracker of a four pointer to really put the Broncos on the pain train. The Shaun Lane pain train, if you will.*

* – please don’t.

12- Manu Ma’u

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Kick a goal, you mug.

Bankwest Stadium and the Blue & Gold army is really going to miss Manu Ma’u. Today he unsurprisingly tore his way through 125 metres from 12 carries, 3 tackle breaks, 2 linebreak assists, 2 offloads and the bloodied carcasses of at least 3 Broncos middle forwards.

Many people at the ground would not have realised, but Manu didn’t actually kick the goal; he just said “BOO!” after a short run up and the ball threw itself over the black dot.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

In a once forward starved team like the Eels, a player like Kane Evans was always going to be missed in a big Finals matchup against the might of Payne Haas and David Fifita. That said, there aren’t to many teams that wouldn’t miss a player like Nathan Brown from its ranks, and his return to our 17 today proved why. Whether it was flying out of the defensive line like he’s been fired from a cannon, or stepping through tired defensive lines, Cyborg’s contribution to today’s win was more than statistics, it’s a ferocious, emotional lift for players and fans alike. He’s like a Rugby League muse, inspiring his teammates by inflicting force and pain upon the opposition forward pack with an earthquake-like magnitude.

And I really like him.

14- Brad Takairangi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

You see a faded sign by the side of the road that says “25 minutes to BRRRAAAAADD TAKKKKK!”

Brad Taka, yeah, yeah.

16- Ray Stone

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

My darling, I … can’t get enough of Ray Stone, baby. Consider me very keen for him to retain a spot in our 17 next week and next year alike.

17- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

It was another terrific performance from Hakuna Marata; punctuated with strong carries and big hits. A constant shining light off the bench for the Eels, this week he even managed to bring Bash Brothers Tepai Moeroa and Danny Alvaro along for the ride.

18- Tepai Moeroa 

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Despite being on his case for most of the season, I can exclusively reveal that I feel very good about Tepai’s game today, and I am legitimately over the moon that he scored this cracker of a try in his last game at Bankwest Stadium.

Look at that unbridled joy.

It was an incredible 15 runs for 132 metres (what the hell did Tep and Alvaro have for breakfast?), 3 tackle breaks and a line break for Tepai Moeroa today, in feats I’m not sure we’ve ever seen from the young edge in the headgear.

The glorious Twitter account @ParraEelsFacts asked whether today was Tepai’s best ever game. This reporter says yes.

Tonight I decided to give out as many Bs as the Broncos scored points.

That is the first time I’ve ever given out 17 A+ grades, and unless we decide to win a Grand Final before I die, I can’t imagine it happening again anytime soon.

Before I go, I also wanted to give a shout out the to the club for an outstanding and fitting farewell to club stalwart and legend, Mr Timothy Mannah. We will miss you greatly, sir. God speed.

So that’s it for this week, although the fun is far from over. Enjoy the replays and the highlights, soak up the atmosphere and dance your victory dances. But once you’re done, leave today’s game in the past, because the job is not near done and the future not set. Next Saturday we’re in enemy territory, facing one of the best NRL teams of modern era off the back of a nasty defeat to the Raiders.

No fate but what we make.

You know we’re excited, you know we’re prepared and you’d have to think we’re a little confident.

Whatever happens, we’ll be there.

See you then, sports fans.


Go you Eels,


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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Gem KM



I feel funny all over. Who do you drop for Evans though 🙁


What a game and what an edition of post game grades, a fittingly awesome and laugh out loud tribute! Thank you!!!!

The whole team was amazing! I particularly enjoyed the contributions of our bench. And here I was worried we were going to miss Kane Evans. Man, did Alvaro stand up!!!! I can’t stress it enough.

Moses put on a clinic.

Sivo, Jennings, Lane and D. Brown were literally unstoppable.

Fantastic game. Fantastic win. My eternal gratitude to the Broncos for turning up and allowing us to get our freak on! LOL

West Coast Eel

What a win! At full time I was looking at flights to Melbourne. A bit too far to travel from over here in Perth. I’ll save that trip for Sydney in a few weeks time. I’m starting to BELIEVE! In all seriousness, that was amazing. I was confident we’d win all week, but I thought maybe by 14, not 58-0! Sleep well Parra fans, I will be.

Trouser Eel

Well, that makes BA’s job a little harder for this week. How do you do a video review on that game? There’s not much room for improvement there.
Great grades as always Mitch. Thanks for putting them together. I loiter on the TCT webpage waiting for them to be posted, and am constantly surprised at how quickly you get them up. Do you sleep? [insert gif of zombie wearing a Parra Jersey bashing away at a keyboard here]


I would be watching the Canberra V Melb game and the Manly V Melb game in terms of ruck / set plays for them. We just do not want referees bowing to C Smith and blowing 21 penalties.


Just simply awesome!

Big Derek

As I left BankWest last night full of everything a non drinker can have, I said to a guy sitting on a bench wearing a Parra jersey ” a night to remember mate”. He replied , flew from Adelaide for,this game, FMD I don’t need a plane to get home after this. There were similar stories I would think, that’s the faithful turning up and an experience like last night and the opening game against the Tigers just means so much. What happens against the scum , the season has been a ride to savour after the debacle of 2018.… Read more »

One Putt Pete

Hi Mitch,
Great grades, plenty of laughs and I still love a win. Oh what a win it was – thanks so much to the Eels team and coaching staff – this was a game to remember and watch a few times on Kayo.
I have enjoyed the grades every week and cannot wait to read them over the next three weeks- hopefully


Thanks Mitch, I needed something to help me soothe my dumbstruck head and jumbled thoughts. My first BankWest attendance, couldn’t have picked a better day.
My phone battery went flat from exchanges with family and friends, there were people in disbelief all around NSW. The game seemed to go so quickly, probably because we couldn’t get enough of the whole scene. One quick observation, Dylan Brown ensured our attack got the ball when it was right and didn’t get it when it was wrong. Great for composure and low error count.


That is about as good as it gets. Big crowd, big atmosphere and big win. The Eels hammered the LHS, went right with some bullets from Mahoney & Moses and then kicked behind the line to mixed it up – smart tactics executed well. The Eels forwards neutered the lauded Bronco pack – love it. The Eels missed 30 tackles which will need to be better against the Storm but the initial contact was as good as I can remember from an Eels team and the played for 80 mins. Look forward to Melbourne with some hope.

The rev aka Snedden

If I had to give a score ratings out of 10 I’d give them a 8.
Moses missed 5

The rev aka Snedden

Moses missed 5 shot’s at goal. Our Ruck defense is still weak hence the bronco’s only line break.
that’s why its only a 8/10. i was going to do a 7/10 for the amount of missed tackles (30) still way to many to miss tackle’s against the like’s of Melbourne n Rooster’s. so yeah i think 8/10 is fair.


Ray Stone was way good. For a smaller forward, he certainly hits. A good off season working on his running game and speed and put him on the right edge. He just needs to work on his infinity stare.

The dead man

No no no his not a hooker period. end of story


Well said; hope they enjoyed it last night, as it was very memorable.
Nothing wrong with One Nation……except Melbourne being included.


Longfin Eel

It was interesting that Junior didn’t come back on in the second half. I hope that was just to rest him up for next week and not because of injury. We should have 2 fresh front rowers rested up for next week’s big game, which is a bonus. The fact that we didn’t let up and didn’t let Brisbane on the scoreboard is a really good thing. We have players with amazing potential, they just need to believe in themselves like they did yesterday. We can beat Melbourne on their turf, but it’s going to need everyone to step up… Read more »

Andrew Collier

Fantastic Ratings Mitch, everyone of them well deserved. Onto Melbourne now #justicefor2009. Make it happen!

Jimmy Corbo

Great write up Mitch, what could anyone possibly add, a game that will be spoken about for a long time “Remember when….”, “I was there when….”. My highlight being that I was able to share it with my daughter in her Mitch Moses autographed jersey that she wears with such pride, we cheered ourselves hoarse. A whole new ball game next week but confidence is a wonderful thing this time of year. I would have liked to play the Storm in an afternoon game more conducive to our offload and long pass, short pass based game, 7.50 pm on a… Read more »


What an afternoon! I would sincerely put this as the best day as an Eels fan since 1986, and I’m not exaggerating in saying that. The emphatic nature of the win, the atmosphere at our new home, the self-belief the boys will have to take from that performance; just next level. What a difference a year makes. They looked cohesive and, frankly, BA absolutely outcoached Siebold. Still on a high.


Well done to the two players I’ve had a question mark on all season, Alvaro and Mahoney. Both stood up, but now it needs to be done again next week. Brisbane were useless, Melbourne at home will be 100 times tougher.

Bert Kenny

Mahoney still missed 4 tackles and 4 ineffective plus his 2 kicks were very ordinary.

Credit where credit is deserved. His service was outstanding


WOW, what a performance!


Mitch, A nice touch on Timmy Mannah, what a servant to our club in so many different ways! I remember him fronting the media following the salary cap news breaking, that wasn’t his job but he stood tall through that too.


I always thought we could win but was concerned if we would be allowed to play some footy. I stayed under the stands enjoying the day and conversation until 10 mins before hand on account of the sun and only started to get nervous when I sat down and absorbed the semi finals atmosphere. Those nerves were instantly gone when the team ran out. The Parra song goes “they’re running out so big and strong and kicking up their heels” was never truer than what I saw on Sunday. I though we’ve got these c_ _ _ s straight away.… Read more »

John Eel

I saw you standing in front of me but my daughter kept buying me wine so I never left my seat One of the great moments to being an Eels fan. Not as good as a GF win but there with the 2009 game against the Dogs. The ANZ crowd was bigger at 75,000 but Sunday matched it for atmosphere I have watched a couple of replays of the game and what comes over on the replays is the noise. What does not come across on the big screen is just how beaten the Broncos were at the back end… Read more »

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