The Cumberland Throw

Reaction And Feedback – Potential Eels Signings

Even at the height of finals footy, it seems that the media and the public can’t get enough of player market speculation. In the wonderful soap opera of the NRL, the all too frequent “early release” seems to be dominating media space that’s usually reserved for tales of mad Monday mayhem.

That’s probably not such a bad outcome.

Typically, the Eels are featuring in such rumours, with players such as Ryan Matterson, Tyson Frizell and Jai Arrow linked with a move to the blue and golden west. Meanwhile murmurings about Crichton’s fit, or lack thereof, at the Roosters continue to bubble away. Though the drums are now beating that Matterson might be heading north to the Titans, it’s unlikely that talk of potential signings will ease up any time soon.

And there’s a logical foundation behind it all.

The departure of the 3Ms (Mannah, Ma’u, Moeroa) has seen roster space created. The middle forward spots are close to full with RCG and Utoikamanu to take their place in the top 30 (Kaufusi already enjoys top squad status), but a hole now exists in the back row.

Cue the list of second rowers – whether they are contracted or not.

What type of player would Parramatta be interested in?

Shaun Lane has provided an attacking force on the left side of the field, including an average of 108 running metres, 1.3 tackle breaks, and 0.8 offloads per game, along with a season tally of 4 try assists, 6 line breaks, and 7 line break assists. In defence, he averages just on 27 tackles per game.

Tough to replace – Manu Ma’u

On the right side, the Eels need to at least replace Manu Ma’u’s returns.

The Tongan Terminator averaged around 117 running metres with 2.1 tackle breaks and 2.1 offloads, coupled with season totals of 4 try assists, 6 line breaks and 7 line break assists. Defensively the right side required more work, with Ma’u averaging 32.7 tackles per game.

Should the Eels not sign a replacement, Brad Takairangi becomes an option, though he’s likely pencilled in for a bench role at this stage.

So, do you sign someone to replace what Ma’u provided for the team or do you look for something different?

Would the likes of Frizell, Matterson, Arrow or even Crichton fit the bill? Would they add something to the Eels starting 13? Conversely, is there anything that potentially concerns you?

For mine, Tyson Frizell brings impact and Origin experience to the table. His explosive potential running the ball down the right edge (a perfect fit bearing in mind) in tandem with his utility factor to double as a middle forward hold plenty of appeal for any team. 2019 wasn’t the most fruitful season for Frizell but given his pedigree over the last few years he definitely earns the billing as a blue-chip player and an immediate boost to any forward pack in the competition. In many ways Frizell is the simplest player to write about because the body of his work speaks for itself

Ryan Matterson in his Eels days.

In contrast, Ryan Matterson brings finals experience and a different kind of versatility; he is quite comfortably the most talented play-maker of the lot. Matterson is coming off a brilliant individual season and even if Luke Brooks took out their Player of the Year gong, there is little doubt that he was the joint-venture’s best player in 2019 as club politics ruled the day once the relationship between player and franchise soured.

There are some potential red flags though…Matterson is already on the outer at his third club in his budding career (the first of which was of course the Eels) with various media sources citing conflicting reasons for his desire to leave the Tigers. Furthermore, the Tigers are believed to be pushing for compensation, be it monetary or prospects wise, from any serious suitor. They extracted a $250,000 transfer fee from the Penrith Panthers at the climax of the Ivan Cleary saga so that looms as a precedent for the Eels while media reports have them eyeing off one of AJ Brimson or Jai Arrow as trade candidates from the Gold Coast Titans. If the Tigers stick to their guns, and they are well within their rights as Matterson’s contracted employer, the price of admission could be too high for the Eels.

Speaking of Jai Arrow, despite his Origin appearances, this young bull still feels like a work in progress with the potential to improve at a stronger club. He possesses a superb motor but do not type-cast him as a pure workhorse, Arrow has the athletic potential to be deployed across both the forward pack and the football park. The biggest concern here for Parramatta, beyond taking on the rawest prospect of the four, is the prospective cap hit of Arrow’s new contract. Arrow has regularly been evaluated in the media as a player that would command in excess of $800,000 per season on his next deal…would the Eels pay that? It could also be a completely moot point. As alluded to above, Parramatta might not even get the chance to sign Arrow if the Tigers and Titans strike common ground over a player swap.

Angus Crichton – potential target?

Finally we come to the much maligned Angus Crichton. Crichton has struggled mightily at the Roosters this season. Although he finished the year in much better shape he spent a hefty chunk of the year riding the pine and looked a shadow of the breakout superstar that he was at South Sydney. Rumours of a divorce between Crichton and the Roosters have been floating around intermittently all year – would the Eels take a nibble here over any of the other back rowers listed above?

Let me give you two reasons why they might. Firstly, Brad Arthur would back himself and his coaching staff to get the best out of any recruit they targeted. It has been a rocky path for some of them but Clinton Gutherson, Nathan Brown, Mitchell Moses, Kane Evans, Shaun Lane, Maika Sivo and Waqa Blake have all elevated their games after joining the Blue & Gold. If Crichton was their guy it would be largely on the belief that they could get him back to, and likely above, the form he showed at the Rabbitohs.

Secondly, Crichton represents an interesting opportunity for the Eels to capitalise on yet another contract subsidy as they look to maximise their salary cap. Parramatta’s lack of TPA pulling power is no secret but after making out like bandits in the Waqa Blake deal this year and then pulling off a similar feat to secure the services of Reagan Campbell-Gillard…perhaps the Eels have found their answer for how to level the playing field? Identifying talented but under-performing (or unhappy) players and offering to take on the brunt of their contracts – so long as their current employers are willing to carry a nice chunk of the freight.

If the Roosters were willing to subsidise a healthy portion of Crichton’s contract would that get you on board?

If you were in O’Neill’s role, who would you target? Would you chase one of the aforementioned or perhaps there’s someone else?

Who would add the most to the Eels roster and help the club move to the next level?

Over to you.


Sixties and Forty


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Frizzel would be an absolute dream, I love watching him play for NSW in origin. Would be able to play a similar role to Manu on the edge. Side note, hasn’t O’niell done well in his first season at the club! Managed a number of players coming off contract and was able to snag two sweet deals from Penrith. Good start!

Parra Pete

Mark O’Neill has been a terrific addition for the Club…


Personally i would like a player who is going to play for 80 mins consistently and who has a strong work rate; i do not have stats on the guys mentioned. I have always liked Fitzgibbon from the Knights and Barnett also. To me we need some guys like them in the mould of a Beau Scott / Todd Lowrie workhorses. Lane has been superb on that edge. Frizelle / Crichton may prove to be good but we need 2 players in my view and i do not see Taka as the best option for the future and yes he… Read more »


Yes mate, unlike apples and oranges readily available on trees those types of players are not easy pickings. We just hope we continue to bear some fruit, and embed ourselves as top 4 or so. It can happen.


No mention of Niukore. Is he considered a middle now?


Thx for getting back to me 60s. I still think of him as an edge, but he keeps getting bigger & did really well off the bench in the middle. The beauty of the off season.
Great work by you & all at TCT this year again (as usual)!

BA Sports

Not a Frizell fan. The gap between his best and worst is too vast for the money he commands.

Ma’u also brought aggression. That is the problem I see with the Crichton/ Arrow/Matherson options. All very good, none known for their aggression. If the Eels take one of them, then they need to recruit another player with that intensity/aggression for the pack.

Of those options though, Chrichton might be the best value if the Roosters absorb some of the salary. He is looking for more game time, the others are looking for more money.

Matty T

If you’re after aggression I have two words for you. Ray Stone.


Can be a decent player young Ray but needs about 15 kg of muscle to match his aggression. He adds that and he’ll be a regular starter. I’d be getting him in the gym straight away.

Colin Hussey

I cannot imagine Stone at 110Kg’s being affective, would be a repeat of the extra bulk that Alvaro had this year and it took him backwards.

John Eel

No mention of Fifita. Is he now off the radar. This is pure speculation but I would see someone like Crichton as a good fit for BA. Athletic good defender


Frizzell, Kikau or Crichton


Yes please Sixties, to have someone like Kikau, that attracts 3 – 4 defenders with every touch would be a sublime fit. I am not a Crichton fan at all. At the right price Frizell would also be a good fit.


And hes badly coached


Read an article today from Chammas stating that Andrew Fifita is a possibility of being lured away from the sharks as they need to be cap compliant for next year. He’s 30 years old but still has quite a bit of impact. Add him to our middle rotation and get Crichton on the cheap from chooks


Fatfita too old ,no discipline ,too slow and now injury prone ,disaster !!!


If Paulo is worth around 750 and is what we needed then Arrow is worth 800 because he’s exactly what we need. Frizell and Crichton could be disaster signings I think they could benefit by going to union. Crichton in my mind seems like he has a wallabies jersey painted on him from birth haha. Still have dreams for Fifita but that’ll never happen :(. Matterson and Arrow are the perfect signings and low risk, Matterson seems so effortless and injury-free but if he rather go to the Titans he must really hate us haha. Arrow feels like a future… Read more »


Frizell looks for all money like he needs a new home, a re-set, but he always looks at home in Origin. I can’t remember the last time he actually had a decent game against us. I’d take the punt that ability doesn’t just vaporise. He could be a great fit with our leaders and our values. Arrow and Matterson are both good players.


Gut feel only, we are talking to guys in the $700-800k range. With Frizell off contract there’s no subsidy. I know every dollar counts but we should think carefully about what type of player we really need.

The rev aka Snedden

I’m thinking frizell is the Guy we have or are in deep talks with. From all reports if true he wants out at the dragon’s n is upset at the way the club’s handling of the jack debelin Case. Josh Jackson won’t leave the Bulldogs his a bulldog player for Life kinda Guy. Angus criton won’t be coming I just don’t see him being the player we are looking for. Billy kick the cow is more likely with the Penrith Clean out going on. How Longs his contract at Penrith atm ? With all this talking about this edge backrower… Read more »

Achilles' Eel

From all reports, it appears the club will bring in someone to replace Ma’u. So I’m keen to see how the top 30 will round out, and whether an additional dummy-half is recruited.




The Eels are the Best 2020 is the year of the Eels OK.


Great subject to assess and debate boys. I’m a big Frizell fan, he is a standout in the Origin arena, is tough and aggressive with real speed on the edge and a good defender. He would be a sensation with Waqa, Moses and Fergy around him creating half-breaks and threats of their own taking the heat off his presence out on our right edge. It’s funny, someone mentioned that he can’t remember the last time Frizell had a big game against us? I can remember him being targeted by a couple of our loose canons in Manu Mau (when playing… Read more »


He, Frizell is also very much a Manu “type” of player which the other 3 are not although they each have their own appeal.

The rev aka Snedden

I’m also thinking why don’t we just put marata niukore in Manu’s starting spot n bring up Stefano or Oregon kaufusi. That way instead of marata playing in the middle we can always put Oregon kaufusi or Stefano in at prop n use the money to pay the players up that are on back ended deals. Maybe we can shift Brown from lock to starting prop with junior Paulo n have salmon in the 13 jumper. I see salmon like the Sharks seen Wade Graham. Now before ppl start hammering me just listen. Salmon was like Graham started in the… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden

You see where I’m coming from sixties.


Too slow and poor lateral movement ,no way !!!


I believe we still need an enforcer, Beau Scott type player. Not just for his toughness and never say die attitude, but for his leadership qualities. Whilst I know our forwards were better this year, we still need a” forward leader”. Gutho and Nathan Brown, are our on field leaders, but are not the type of leaders that can inspire our team to greater heights. Beau Scott was that type of player, whilst all the signing names being bandied about, have quality and would be good acquisitions, are they necessarily what we really need ?


No one off contract, James Fischer -Harris would have been nice, Alex Glenn maybe, although his best is probably behind him. Wondering if Campbell-Gillard could step up ?


An “Alpha Male” is unmistakably a point of difference which all clubs desire and the successful clubs have.
I believe we potentially have a few who can command the respect of their team mates by their actions and leadership on-field. I wont mention who I believe they are, but I would be interested to hear from anyone on here who has an opinion on not only who might be? but what a real “Alpha Male” looks like through his presence and actions among his peers.

Colin Hussey

Alpha Leader is an interesting title. We do have some and one being NB, but he is still too much of a wild card at times to be that player, watching Papali last night shows such a forward but to me the pick was Hodgson, He is near the best player going around at the moment owing to his non stop play and complete ability to move around and shut down play. As for who with the eels, its a hard call, and for me Fergo is ideal in the way you suggest sixties, but there are too many little… Read more »


Now that you’ve mentioned them, I too like the quite confidence of both Junior and Brown as well as the brash yet noticeably more reserved Fergie since he first came to Parra.
I also see a young dark horse in our squad who has really impressed by his actions as the year has progressed which support his uncomfortable attempts during interviews at what was supposed to be respectful humility. The kid is a real young bull Alpha in the making. Dylan Brown!


Having basically off the grid for near on a fortnight have not had much to go on with the game, will say though that for the first time in a couple of years now I never turned the box off when watching the Storms win last week. Looking at the players mentioned as being on the rumour watch and thoughts as to who would be ideal signings is hard to choose in certain areas as we have no idea as yet who will be resigned from those still playing for Wenty this weekend. While Mention is made about Stefano stepping… Read more »

Colin Hussey


Dunno what went wrong and coming up as Anonymous, but twas me!
I agree with you on BA’s opinion, but where I have the confidence now in how he is handling players at the club, there is too much confidence built in to the playing group as to their views and appreciations of him not juts as coach but mentor.
On that score though I doubt we will see BA coaching at end of his next term, he will however still be at the club in a key role,


I don’t see BA as anything other than the career coach he see’s himself as at least until he wins a premiership or 3?
Back to a pack leader who would also fill the “Alpha Male” role in superbly in our club? I see David Fifita as a stand out! If he has any desire to leave Bronco’ville he is very familiar with the quality of our team and club imo. He would not need to be a potential Capt. Just a follow me type aggressive leader.

Colin Hussey

Replying to both sixties and Rowdy. When does BA’s new contract end? Let me say that at the outset I am behind him as our coach, my comment therefore is based on the element that BA will know when its time for his coaching time at the eels will run its course, overall he has been an exceptional coach for the eels and we all should know his passion for the club with his working and going to junior games. I doubt that there would many other coaches out there that could have taken us through the issues that he… Read more »

Colin Hussey

That is a record that I would like to see BA break


Out of the one’s mentioned I would like Frizell, good in attack and solid in defense. Not a fan of Crichton as he seems soft in defense and makes a lot of poor defensive reads. Matterson play well at the tigers but was better at the roosters and is a parra junior so would love to see him come back. Another option is the rumor Bird wants to return to sydney as not happy at the bronco’s. For the right price I think he would be a great pick up, was good at the sharks, can play in the halves,… Read more »

Colin Hussey

He could be a good replacement for MJ, but I would like to see Parry groomed for that position, although hard to knock back quality, but it could be easier given his asking price.


Parry can not tackle, I don’t think you can coach that into them when they arm grab at best. I watch many Wenty games this year and he was left wanting on too many occasions. I loved watching him come through the juniors, but I don’t think he has NRL in him.

Joshua Randall

I don’t see Kikau as the answer. I wouldn’t be disappointed, but our forwards for the large part aren’t quick laterally so adding Kikau won’t help in that regard. Matterson although a bit better and a much better ballplayer is a player of similar ilk and better suited to the middle. So, that leaves Crichton and Frizzel. I would prefer Frizzel but would be extremely happy with either one of them. We saw Angus’s form once he shifted to his preferred position when Cordner was out injured and It would also trend in the direction the clubs heading in which… Read more »


Jesse Bromwich. That would be my wish but how realistic it is, well that is debatable. He is on contract next year but he has a player option for 2021-22 and the Storm have many young players off contract next year so they may need to let someone go. He is an exceptional defender, big game experience and the Storm do not pay overs for players, they let them go. He has respect for BA as well. To have junior, RCG and Bromwich working with our young up and coming middle forwards would be superb. I would be willing to… Read more »

Colin Hussey

I would like to see how Welch performs once back from injury, should be right for the 2nd half of next season so has time to audition for contract options.


One player that there seemed to be a lot of noise about a while ago, but has died down, is Christian Welch. I don’t know if he’d be a better option than the others but he seems to have slipped off the radar. I know he got inured but does that rule him out? Any thoughts on how he might compare?


I want the club tocontinue it’s diligent approach to recruitment. Also not get swayed by media bias.
BA has proven he. An get players up so if any come to the blue and gold I am sure they will be good. RCG will be great, Nuikore could move back to the edge. I’d say bring Matto home as I know him and BA didn’t see eye to eye before he left, as BA said he should be a backrower and Matto didn’t agree, yet look at where he ended up…


I would love to see Frizzell come to Parra he is a leader and doesn’t take a backward step. He’s been injured most of this year and still played 3 Origins and puts in 80 minutes week after week. He would be an upgrade to Mau (no disrespect to Mau) but Frizzell is that good. The other guy to target is off contract Rooster Tetevano, he’s about 28 or 29 has been part of Roosters GF teams last few years. If we signed Frizzell, Tetevano and have signed RCG. Might need to let Jennings go to free up space… Evans… Read more »


And, if we get Frizell we don’t need Tetevano to take up a place that should be fought over by our young-guns. Suddenly we have those 4 you mentioned battling for 3 spots on the bench. Considering that and the fact that Niukore played his BEST footy in the middle? I reckon we chase or wait for another edge forward.

Colin Hussey

Rowdy, agree with you on this. We have RCG coming and will likely wait to see who is released in the next couple of weeks, on top of the 4 forwards who are leaving. I might be wrong but I think we really need only one more imported player to come in to the squad, as we have several forwards who can take over the positions that are vacant. Marata is one who can play long minutes and ideal replacement for Manu, Stone as utility, Kafusi and Stefano will also be ready moreso Kafusi, I certainly would not like to… Read more »


1 Tyson Frizell
2 Angus Crichton
3 jai Arrow
Pass on matterson
Love to get Tyson with him we be a top 3 team


Agree with this. There’s something about Matterson that worries me in regards to a Hayne/ego problem that spreads throughout the group.

Colin Hussey

MattL, who really knows all the reasons and game play behind the scenes that’s going on here. Farah has come out and made the call that Matterson should stick to his contract, also is blaming his agent for the problems, as his agent is saying he deserves more. The whole issue of player agents/managers is something the NRL was to look at following our paper bag and other areas of our salary cap problems, and there has been zilch come out of any of them since, even the media experts have gone and are quiet on the issue. Matterson, seems… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Sixties, its what? 4 seasons since Matto left the eels, can vaguely remember seeing a couple of games of his, but from memory I thought he did ok, nothing brilliant but as he had a brother running around at the same time, IIRC Ryan was the better of the two. He certainly lifted when he went to the chooks but spent, in his 3 years there he played 24 NRL games, and certainly improved at that club, likewise when moved to the tigers he continued in that aspect of his game. The element of whispers and his desire or demands… Read more »

John Eel

Colin I would think that if there was any unresolved issues between BA and Matterson he will definitely not be coming to the Eels. You are right to place the rumours into the corridor of uncertainty. People make this stuff up half the time.

If it is meant to be he will be here come 1 November. Heard on 2GB this morning Matterson was talking to the Bunnies yesterday

Colin Hussey

John, I have read in a couple of the news media has stated that the so called issues between Matto and BA has been resolved so I cannot see any stumbling block in that arena though. Its also reported he’s to meet with the Titans next week, or could be this week, with Holbrook being the coach next year that could be something that Matto may like but, does he want to move north of the border? As for the bunnies, I think they have cap issues for next season even though they have lost a few big names in… Read more »


This might be a bit out there, but what about Semi? Could he be “fashioned” into a backrower? He’s got size, speed & power & surely they could work on his defence. Just a thought.

P.S. Keep up the great work. Love the page.

Parramatta Tragic

I would target 3 players. Frizell, Matterson and Semi. Fill the remaining positions with our juniors. Juggle those 3 under the cap and we become a very serious football team. Semi is also a de facto extra forward so you get two for the price of one. We appear to have some cap space so I would do whatever is required to secure Semi. I don’t understand why people say we can’t attract TPA’s as I thought clubs had nothing to do with TPA’s? Semi’s manager needs to arrange a TPA via Mack Trucks or similar. If those 3 come,… Read more »


I think Semi is a pipe dream, plus were would you play him, our backline is set atm and the money Semi would want we couldn’t match. I think Frizell and Matto would be the perfect fit and then a backup Hooker and maybe a backup Fullback if Hoffman moves on, we don’t have many Fullback options if Gutho goes down.

Colin Hussey

I will be ultra surprised to see him play NRL again.


He’s head and shoulders above the rest and with such a young spine, experience is a no brainer.

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