The Cumberland Throw

Broken Pathways – Have The Eels Dropped The Development Club Ball?

Around this time every year, The Cumberland Throw keeps you up to date with junior system players to follow. We try do this with a little bit of knowledge and from a place of passion.

It’s never been an onerous task given that attending Junior Rep matches and following the lower grades pathways is in our DNA. As supporters we have always been proud that our Parramatta Eels can rightly claim to be a development club.

Unfortunately, this post is not one of those player watch articles.

Over the course of this off-season, the trickle of talent flowing away from the Eels development pathways has rapidly transformed into a flood with the shocking announcement today that Stefano Utoikamanu will be joining the Wests Tigers in 2021.

In our opinion, the term “Development Club” cannot be applied to a system that could more appropriately be named The Wests Tigers Academy.

Is this an exaggeration?

Consider this list of Eels players who have been recruited by the Tigers from Eels lower grades and Junior Reps in just this year alone:

Stefano Utoikamanu, Salesi Fainga’a, Tyler Field, Joe Taipari, Tyrone Faulkner, Vea Tapaatoutai, Etu Vinny Lui.

And the list of departures doesn’t just end with the Tigers. Tui Afualo, Bailey Biondi-Odo, and William Kei have signed with the Bulldogs, Trey Mooney has signed with the Raiders, and Jesse Cronin has joined the Titans feeder system.

In the case of Tyler Field and Trey Mooney, that’s two current Australian Schoolboys players who participated in the Australian Schoolboy Championship as unsigned free agents – essentially allowing the tournament to showcase their talents to the entire NRL!

To be fair, there are players on that list who were recruited into the Eels system from other territories. And there were players listed who were unlikely to reach NRL level at Parramatta or another club. The development system is like a funnel – you will inevitably lose players because there are limited places available in any NRL roster and you certainly accept that you simply can not keep every talented junior in your system.

Even so why should we fire up about this?

 

Wasted Resources

The names of some of these players may not be familiar to the average supporter, and their departure might cause few ripples. However, whether these players were locals, or whether they were brought in from elsewhere into the Eels development system, there has been a massive investment made with minimal return. Such investment includes the JETS scheme – elite juniors who receive additional coaching and guidance by Eels NRL staff.

The aim of any investment should be to get a return. In the ideal world this comes from producing an NRL level player. Put a big green tick next to Stefano’s name there – he will play NRL.

For others, they fill places in Canterbury Cup or Jersey Flegg teams. When you are a development club, it makes financial sense to fill places with players from your system. With so many departures, including players who were still at SG Ball level, the time and money spent on them has – to put it in layman’s terms – literally been pissed against the wall. Worse still, the club has lost its opportunity to evaluate whether they would reach the NRL level, an introspective process equally as important as the development of the players themselves.

Left with a void of playing talent, the Eels now have to scramble to fill their vacated places across the various rosters with an array of inexperienced talent, lesser quality players, or those who will potentially cost more money.

 

Impact On The Junior System

Here there are plenty of negatives to be found. Let’s consider just two of the most obvious.

Firstly, the message to those in our system is that their future is not with the Eels. This is not a head in the sand comment. The reality is that the Eels can never keep every talented player. However, if the club allows two of its three current Australian Schoolboys players to leave, and comes very, very close to losing the third, the message is crystal clear that our club doesn’t value achievement.

How does this play out with the families of these players? Do they feel any love from the club? What lessons do the managers learn? Word travels quickly in the rugby league community. As you may have figured by the tone of this piece…the current word is not positive.

Secondly, the impact on junior development staff cannot be ignored. There are huge numbers of people, including volunteers and part time staff, who passionately dedicate their time to the young players in the Eels system. We can guarantee readers that there are many who are devastated by the current exodus. How will this play out should the departures not abate?

 

Impact On The NRL Team

There will probably be minimal impact this year given that this is an area in which the club has excelled in recent times. However, should the cause of the departures not be addressed, the piper will ultimately have to be paid. The club will be reliant on external purchases to maintain a strong roster and historically we have simply been unable to compete against the glamour clubs and their superior TPAs in this regard.

Maybe we can match other clubs. Is there a problem in trying to do this?

It is a problem if you’re basing your philosophy on being a development club but spending your resources on addressing significant shortfalls in pathways players. If we are choosing this path, then we need to establish a better recruitment system and stop spending significant time and money on players that we won’t retain.

 

The Big Question – Who Is Responsible?

Without question, the Eels processes have become very slow and very measured. It should be mentioned that this has proven beneficial when re-signing elite NRL talent but by the same token you can’t use one tool for every job. Parramatta’s inflexible negotiating approach has clearly not proven to be so wise with the junior elite.

Young talent such as Stefano Utoikamanu, Oregon Kaufusi, Dylan Brown and Reed Mahoney have been allowed to remain unsigned after November 1. The Eels could not, nor should not, have matched the Tigers offer for Stefano. But they need not have got to this stage. The talented prop could have been locked up for less money earlier in the year.

At this point, the other three are yet to commit for 2021 and beyond. Our concern is that Kaufusi will be the next to leave as rivals circle the talented bookend. Given that the talent pool below the NRL squad has been greatly diminished, the future is not as bright as it should be.

Has somebody dropped the ball?

Have we got the processes wrong?

Supporters deserve answers beyond “we couldn’t match the offer”. Because, if you get your processes correct, those bigger offers don’t come into play as often for the incumbent club.

We await a statement from the club, particularly from the Head of Football.

 

The Cumberland Throw

133
Click Here to Reply ...

avatar
24 Comment threads
109 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
75 Comment authors
MAXTerryTerryJonBoyAnonymous Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Add Matt Doorey to the list who was Australian schoolboy in 2018 and origin in 2018 and 2019. The club needs to do more to keep the jnrs with noth opportunities and financial incentives.

sixties
Admin

I expect to lose some talent anonymous. But these numbers of talented, Eels developed players departing in one fell swoop are unprecedented.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Do you think that signing 2 high paid front rowers in the last 2 years has some of the young middle forwards coming through worried about playing opportunities and forcing them to look elsewhere?

sixties
Admin

You need at least 6 to 8 middles. 5-6 will get a run every week. Having 2 or 3 quality middles helps these players to develop.

Wile E Coyote
Guest
Wile E Coyote

And Sean Keppie

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Can’t disagree more. The current system is horribly antiquated and out of date and I have been banging on about for about 5 years on another site. It’s no coincidence that the two most successful clubs over the last 20 years, the Storm & Roosters, have a very different and more targeted approach to youth development than the current mess that is PDRL, or whatever it is called these days. Quality always trumps quantity and those two clubs have proven it year in year out. It is no fluke. When I heard Bernie Gurr announce that we were going to… Read more »

Milo
Guest
Milo

The storm and roosters have little juniors and we can see this. They also need to infiltrate other area like Easts have done on the central coast up where I am. Parra do not have the TPAs like easts have; lets go through their line up again shall we? and see how many rep players of note they have. But I take that point about being premiership focussed. Parra quite simply have dropped the ball in the junior retention and to me I seriously question who is working for the club and what the heck is going on. I for… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Did you read this part Brett?im not sure that you did.
“It is a problem if you’re basing your philosophy on being a development club but spending your resources on addressing significant shortfalls in pathways players. If we are choosing this path, then we need to establish a better recruitment system and stop spending significant time and money on players that we won’t retain.“
That’s the point. The club uses the “all in” philosophy. So are we a development club or not? If not, stop wasting resources. If you are, stop letting the talent find a home elsewhere.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Yes I did, but the problem is that our current system is a crapshoot. I’m not suggesting we rely solely on recruitment, not even the Roosters do that, I’m saying our junior system is bloated and inefficient, and the quality is diluted in favour of massive participation numbers, and that is simply not a recipe for success. We need to identify our likely areas of need 5-7 years in advance. We need to look at Junior Paulo and basing our development of middles based on his timeline as a 26 yr old. But we don’t do that, we just mass… Read more »

Milo
Guest
Milo

Brett what you are saying correct in terms of identifying etc. We have many growing areas in the west (like Penrith) and for me the key is ensuring the key talent is kept, nurtured and developed strongly.
As we would know there are many parra junior’s playing elsewhere now, and that is not entirely the clubs fault but for me the keeping of the strong identified talent is.
Young sixties (no pun) made the point before that Utoik could have been signed cheaper a long while ago. Even a 2 yr deal back in June could have been explored…..

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

I’m disappointed we’ve lost Stephano, but not worried. He was at best a borderline NRL player this year and next, and there will always be another kid coming through. My issue is our clubs obsession with its alleged massive junior base. I’m firmly of the opinion that our supposed junior system is a massive ball and chain that is holding the club back. If I had my way I’d be handing the PDRL over to the ARL Commission and adopting the same kind of approach that the Storm & Roosters use. It is far more successful at what matters most,… Read more »

sixties
Admin

I still think we are on completely different pages Brett. I don’t get your mass produced comment. Come and look at the numbers in a JETs squad. It’s very focussed. Every NSW club fields Matt’s and Ball teams, even the Roosters.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

I’m talking about our identity as a club. You don’t hear the Roosters or Storm talk about being development clubs, they are premiership winning clubs. Our club, and our fans in particular, irrational attachment to “our juniors” is the core problem holding this club back. Scroll through the comments on any of the various online forums and all you see are Parra fans bragging about the size of our junior catchment and the number of juniors we have. Who cares ? It is meaningless. As a club we should not be looking at any kids younger than 17 IMO. I… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Sorry mate, you’ve completely misread this post. It’s got nothing to do with the size of our nursery, it’s about retention processes.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Brett, your statement that you don’t care about the juniors really shows up why the general trend of the NRL is failing in its management, If every club were like the Storm and Roosters, the amount of players that are in the game will dry up. Why play in a game that has not desire for our youngsters and development into top grades? I guess this leads to another one of your favourites and that is teams reduction as there are too many teams in Sydney yet you have said elsewhere the reason is not enough players to go round.… Read more »

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

I’m not opposed to the systems Colin, as I have told you repeatedly on 1EE, I’m opposed to NRL clubs having any involvement with junior development, that is not their core business, it is the core business of the junior clubs.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

What the hell are you rambling on about Colin, I have never advocated for the reduction in teams, just the opposite, I’ve long advocated for expansion. When I said I don’t care about juniors I meant it within the context of the Eels, not the game as a whole. I don’t think any NRL club should be involved with the development of any player under the age of 19. That should be the purview of the junior clubs and the National Pathways system, not NRL clubs. All junior development should be managed by the ARL via the various state &… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

So which one of the two replies applies to who? So many anonymouses here say one thing but say the opposite when in the other mask is on. I have raised the point about the lose of players in RL overall, also the aspect of how the reduction in jnr players as a result of competitions and clubs have folded, yet its then said that there are too many Sydney based teams and we should be looking at expansion at the expense of some Sydney based teams, as there’s not enough NRL quality players to go round. The problem with… Read more »

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Firstly, I don’t know why my replies are suddenly coming up as anonymous. Secondly, I have said nothing about reduction of teams, or of junior leagues. In fact I have always argued in favour of expansion. Thirdly, It would be a draft, not an auction, with teams picking in reverse order based on where they finished the previous season. This is commonplace in many other pro sports. Fourthly, young players will play for whoever they are told to. If they want a career as an NRL player then there is a cost for that privilege. They won’t be “stuck” with… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

I agree with you Sixties. The secret to being a Development club is to be equipped with the skill to be able to identify the “real “ talent and keep them at the club.

Leave the stocking fillers for the Tigers and anyone else interested in signing our discards.

Terry
Guest
Terry

This will continue to happen till they find a person who can identify talent. Brian Smith maybe?

sixties
Admin

It’s not just about identifying talent. It’s about retaining talent that you’ve put into your system. I repeat – The mass losses are symptomatic of the process, regardless of whether you individually agree with each loss or not.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

John therein lies the bottom line issues that appear to be the clubs problems. It appears to me that the club was going well regarding the way they were looking after these future players, problem is as I said before we did not give them a go in the top grade. Dare I also suggest that the retention of players such as Alvaro, and the earlier too soon extension given to Smith, Gennings as examples are also poor decisions on reflection. While the team that ran on to play in the Canterbury cup GF had some old players there was… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

You don’t win premierships with a roster of rookies, you win with experience. If we lose a few untried untested unproven teenagers, so be it. We must never forget that we are in the business of winning NOW. The future will take care of itself, we can’t fall into the trap of mortgaging our present for a future gamble that is far from a sure thing.

sixties
Admin

No. This is totally narrow minded Anonymous! The Roosters are successful in the now and they don’t follow your philosophy. They don’t have a junior league but they are a development club. They find talented youngsters and field them in 16s, 18s, 20s. They have academies on the central coast. Being a development club means having a total club philosophy, that takes care of the now and the future.
But this post is about our processes that have led to the losses, not just losing players.

Big Derek
Guest
Big Derek

Understand that the progression for middles at tHe club was Stefano and Oregan as first tier, then Hollis,Hughes and Mooney to follow. All of these players have played age SOO, and it’s a refelction on the so called retention committee that Hughes is the only one extended beyond this upcoming season. There seems to be an unwieldy system where the committee meets once a week and makes decisions with some deferred if there is a disagreement . I am aware that other clubs have taken advantage of the delays and approached our juniors with concrete offers on a take it… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Thank you Derek. I hope people read your reply.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

BD, thanks for your post, like many I have been watching for resigning news especially regarding those mentioned in the main article by sixties, when seeing that Stefano was listed again in the development squad on a contract, I felt it was a good start for him, the rumours regarding a big signing for the Tigers with a big young player had both Stefano and Salesi mentioned, I thought it would be Salesi, but when finding out it was both, I was shattered. Your points regarding the aspect we cannot sign all of the young players, is very true, and… Read more »

MAX
Guest
MAX

Sixties – Is Anthony Field still at the club?
The Junior reps were best run under the watchful eye of Kevin Wise.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

This post has been long overdue from my perspective, and perhaps the seeds of the problem that our recent departed CEO is now out of the ground but the plants are growing in other paddocks, the announcement that the eels are to be a development club, echo’s long and hard for me, as what has happened end of this year has shown up a very poor show by the administrators and those in charge of harvesting the grown item that was seed. Being a development club has let the other clubs off the hook as they can come in and… Read more »

Poppa
Guest
Poppa

This has hit the fan and has been happening for a long time, as soon as we got organised to get the quality together. This said we got the quality into a space and then we are left with the dilemma. Col Hussey was right when he said “in several places that the non selection of Stefano and Oregon on the bench during our final rounds and the finals was dumb especially when two of the regular players who were basically contributing nothing off the bench and both were leaving the club seasons end”. Now in singly identifying that comment,… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Colin, I appreciate your reply, but your concerns are more in the Brett Allen category. Read Dereks reply. The concern is not losing players. You always will. The concern is not about being a development club when others aren’t. Being a development club means so much more than numbers. I cannot dedicate the time to try to define that. The Roosters are a development club too. They bring talent into their system, they’ve set up systems on the Central Coast catchment area. The concern is our retention systems.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

sixties, I do not disagree with you, but I guess I am quite angry and upset at what I am seeing in this sorry episode. I understand the difference with being a development club, and its not about the numbers, thing is I have read so much about how well the club has been in identifying those players from the pathways/development side of the field and are said to be our future, yet we have reached a point where these very players who were said to be our future are now some other clubs future. A month or more back… Read more »

Pou
Guest
Pou

Our junior reps were atrocious this year. Only SG Ball made the finals and they were terrible when they got there. The only good news was the under 20s players who spent the year in the grand finalist NSW Cup side.

Michael Formosa
Guest
Michael Formosa

This is spot on! My concern is the lack of action coming from the club. They label themselves a development club but I can tell you for a fact that very little time and attention was given to the under 20’s last season.

I’m not expecting any statement from the club regarding this.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Michael, good post and agree, I would offer one small bit of advice though. Don’t hold your breath as you will suffocate.

Terry
Guest
Terry

If that’s the case, that’s BA’s problem.

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

An irony for me was the gonging bell that used to be “we’re going to concentrate on our juniors moving forward, look what we’ve produced to win 4 of the previous 6 premierships” That was Dennis the menace in 1987 before he became the emperor! It sounded great but it bore very little fruit as we lost 2 of the greatest imports the club had seen at the end of 1986. Price and Cronin! This gong became a chime until someone with an eye for youthful talent came along to implement such an enormous task .”To become a development club.… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

I went to a game late in the season and when I turned up there was a Jersey Flegg game drawing to conclusion. I hustled to a spot where I could watch the end of the game. I watched a player who was the biggest human I had seen since Jack cut down the bean stalk. It was Ettu Vini Lui. I seen approximately 5 minutes of this game. This massive human was out wide defending against the centre. Twice the centre tried to step around him and twice Ettu moved across and buried him in the Bankwest turf. His… Read more »

Milo
Guest
Milo

John as Sixties has said these boys (if they had been acknowledged by the retention group) should have been signed a while ago during the season. For me people jobs need to be on the line; how the heck do you allow these schoolboys to attend carnivals unsigned? That for me is disgraceful…unless this retention group do not rate them, which I don’t believe. All of this makes me so angry, as I see from the 12 yrs (reps) upwards how strong Parra and Penrith are in terms of junior talent….and I am not hearing too many of Penrith’s younger… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Milo, the riff have a pretty fair record of keeping their own especially in their younger days, they show enough promise at the lower level and then seem to get runs relatively early in the NRL, they also have a fair sort of a turn round of players though, and prepared to let some of their players leave at a reasonable age that allow them to pick up contracts elsewhere. One thing with them is that they are astute at what price they pay now, especially since a head of their football was shown the door, but still has his… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Milo, I know that you are well aware of issues. You come from a place of knowledge on this topic. I can understand how fired up you are

Milo
Guest
Milo

It’s extremely frustrating and we know we cannot keep them all but for heavens sake a young guy who’s played junior origin….and yes while not playing NRL yet we seem to have allowed this to happen in terms of sitting on our hands and knees.

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

I am going to keep this simple as we are at Dubai airport as I am reading this and found out about Stefano. I love my club but there is a distinct lack of leadership. Decisions being made by committee often means no one takes responsibility. I am unhappy but not surprised. After all if the committee can not even work out if they want Michael Jennings or are willing to pay his price or even more concerning letting crucial players like Nathan and Dylan Brown + Reed Mahoney enter the open market with cashed up desperate Sydney clubs like… Read more »

Scott
Guest
Scott

Wow I had no idea Jesse Cronin was gone I thought he was highly regarded and was going to come all the way through but obviously high regard means nothing nowadays at parra. Honestly how??? All those at the same time. The club has just gone too far in the opposite direction to our former mistakes over paying overs, now we wait and wait and wait. Leaving it so other teams can make offers is just bizarre. O’Neil is a former tigers lad not to get tin foil hat, this news is just disturbing considering our re-signings of players that… Read more »

Scott
Guest
Scott

Also why the hell would you want to go to the tigers?

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Many of these players actually live or come from areas surrounding the eels district, if they get the money that the eels cannot give, then they just cross the border and go to another bank.

sixties
Admin

They’ll have plenty of mates there at this rate Scott.

Milo
Guest
Milo

Crouching tiger hidden Eel.

Mark F
Guest
Mark F

It’s sad to know that many of these young juniors wanted to stay at Parra but were told that the club had spent all the cap money and simply could not keep them. Which is sad because the club in my opinion kept the wrong players instead of locking down these young players who have already either played rep footy or showed massive potential to be a first grader. Like you said sixties questions have to be asked and an overhaul has to be put in place on how things are being run so our development system isn’t just a… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Sure

Offside
Guest
Offside

Look im not getting to cut about it Eels loosing juniors it will always happen always has just have to hope we keep the right ones something that has been a problem for a longtime

sixties
Admin

Offside, this post is more about the processes that are allowing this to happen. We are not being reactive, we are trying to be proactive. TCT people have been around for long enough to not get carried away about the loss of some players. You will always lose players. And some of the losses are completely acceptable. In the past we’ve never taken issue. But there are those in this group that have been lost because of processes. And it is leaving a sour taste in the mouth of many, many people. We need this addressed now because if it’s… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Why didn’t someone – Sixties or whover put their name towards this blog ? It seems like when there’s something not positive, there is no name link to the blog.
Are you afraid.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

I am not speaking for anyone as the poster, but just maybe, they are a bit more peeved at the loss of so many of the players after their support and reports on them in the past, and the post is a co-operative post rather than just one persons view.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

You are being critical where no criticism is warranted. Haven’t you ever heard of Editorials – basically an agreed position of management!

mitch
Admin

It’s because it’s not the opinion of just one of us, but all of us. We all contributed to and cleared this post before it was posted. If we were afraid, why post it at all? There’s no ambiguity about who writes on TCT, plenty at the club know our names and have our phone numbers. We’ve already been contacted by a number of people at the club; including the Head of Football. We turn up to games, introduce ourselves and shake hands, unlike plenty who fire shots from behind a keyboard, never to surface. I’m not exactly sure what… Read more »

sixties
Admin

What Mitch said!!!

Milo
Guest
Milo

Mitch I don’t think Santa Claus would have been a better name for the post. 🙂

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

Ever the willing contributor of facts and most eager to engage in dialogue. That’s one or two of the many great character traits that drew me initially to engage with the men and now also the women of TCT, who truly are wonderful people that don’t need to slander anyone else to get their passion for Parramatta the footy club out there, warts and all! Thanks Mitch your love for the other dopes (me included) who are real fans of the Mighty Blue and Golds is eternal, tested by fire, assailed by fools your conviction prevails. Go Parra. Go TCT.… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Cheers Rowdy. You know exactly we we are coming from

pete
Guest
pete

Some really good points raised. I agree we can’t keep everyone but we probably could have not signed Terepo or Alvaro if we knew we had young guys coming up. We have a habit of keeping older players for a year too long. Was Stefano offered a second development contract? I’m not sure but didn’t he have one last year? If we do lose a quality young guy it should be a quid pro quo i.e. if we have a few good front rowers swap for a back up hooker or fullback…something we might need. Don’t just lose out. My… Read more »

BDon
Guest
BDon

I could never quite understand why Utoikamanu and Kaufusi were used in an NRL trial against Canberra, then Kaufusi had a couple of runs in NRL then never seen again(at NRL level), even when there were blooding opportunities. I recall reading site members indicating in the second half of the year that they weren’t showing enough for NRL promotion, this was around the time there was much discussion about using Mannah and Gower. Our retention process seems to need sharpening, to deal with the fact we just won’t retain everyone. Rather than tear the joint down, I think I”ll just… Read more »

Achilles' Eel
Guest
Achilles' Eel

It’s a sad state of affairs. It apppears the age of innocence is lost to us forever. So who have we got coming in to replace all these departing juniors with: Emanuel Tuimavave Gerrard, Jack Hoffman, Charlie Murray, Jack Colovatti, Sylvester Stallone – am I right?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

If the Eels DON’T sign a recognised name and we rely on juniors, the armchair critics , informed or not, love nothing better than to say that our recruitment is horrible and how bad we are as a club. If we let players in the juniors go because we can’t compete with the dollars being offered due to recruiting established players to help the club be a genuine premiership force, the club is accused of AGAIN having poor recruitment and retention policies. The club can’t win in some people’s eyes. If a player like Stefano goes on to great things,… Read more »

Chiefs
Guest
Chiefs

Don’t worry it’s only on a loan basis utoki will be back in eels colours in 2022. Shhh. Matto n jnr.

I actually think this has something to do with the Matto signing. It’s just my opinion but the Tigers could have easily stood their ground.
I see no benifit in letting players go one year into a 3 year deal. It also shows that the Tigers are will not stand in the way of any player who wants out.

Like Twal and Moses, there was a deal with Matto i feel

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Probably, and as I said on 1EE if the price of getting a 24 year old fringe Origin right edge forward who fills an immediate need is that we had to give up an untried teenager in an area where we have plenty of depth then that’s a huge win for us. Matterson for Utoikamanu, I’ll take that deal everyday

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

The difference is in the position they both play in, one a prop the other a 2nd rower. No real reason is to be found that says we cannot have both if the money is there for the both of them.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Of course we could have had both. All I’m saying is if it was a swap deal to get the Tigers to release Matterson early then I’m perfectly OK with that trade.
We badly needed a right edge, luckily the Tigers had one who was 18th man for NSW this year and he wanted out.
They wanted something in compensation and we had an untried, untested & unproven 19 year old middle forward we didn’t need given our depth in middle forwards.
If this was a trade of sorts, then we were the winners out of it.

Big Derek
Guest
Big Derek

You don’t give up across all blogs, I know for a fact that the were no deals whatsoever relating to Moses and Matterson. Keep making stuff up, in the belief if you repeat it often enough, you will be believed .SMH!

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

You were in the room during the retention committee’s discussions on the subject ?

sixties
Admin

There was no deal. These players have been lost because of processes Brett.
We first became concerned earlier in the year. As the season unfolded, more details came to light. TCT began having serious discussions about how we should address the issues in this post for the last 4-6 weeks now Brett. The loss of Stefano brought the publishing forward by a few days.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

I have no idea whether there was a deal or not, all I said was IF there was, I was happy with the outcome. The reality is that our 2020 roster is stronger than our 2019 roster was.
That is the bottom line. Our 2025 roster will take care of itself.

Milo
Guest
Milo

Chiefs could you pls provide the background to this conspiracy? That all sounds good but it seems quite far fetched.

sixties
Admin

There was no deal like that at all.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Spot on

Milo
Guest
Milo

Anon, i think if you checked above and beyond the main point imo is that we could have locked Utoik and more a while ago. That is the main issue I take from this.
TCT were all involved in this article and to me its superb. It’s based on facts.

sixties
Admin

Well anonymous, I think that you are the pot calling the kettle black when it comes to not putting names up. If you read Mitch’s comment above it states quite clearly that the club are very familiar with each of us, and that a TCT branded post is a collaborative post that represents all of us. Your reply has completely missed the point that there is an issue with the processes. We have a long track record of support, and posts that are well informed. We are not rumour mongers, nor do we look for reasons to be critical of… Read more »

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Are you aware 60’s that this site randomly lists posts under the username “Anonymous” ?

mitch
Admin

It does if the user doesnt enter something in the name section. I wouldn’t call that random.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

No, I never do Mitch, but sometimes it puts my name in, sometimes it doesn’t

mitch
Admin

If it’s blank, you’ll need to put your name in. Otherwise it will come up anonymous. Our system also matches email addresses (which would present your name even if you didn’t enter it)

Terry
Guest
Terry

Sixties why don’t you name the people involved in these “processes”?

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

The fact is our 30 man roster is as strong today as it was last week. That is all that matters. We’ve retained the players that matter.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

we don’t have a 30 man roster atm and there were only a few juniors training last week

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

We do, it’s just not full yet.

sixties
Admin

Again Brett, that’s not the point and the current strength of T30 was acknowledged in the post.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Disagree, the strength of the Top 30 is the only thing that matters. Teenagers who aren’t in our top 30 are not Eels players as far as I’m concerned. Yes the players on Development contracts can become Eels players, but until that day arrives, either when they are upgraded or after June 30 they aren’t Eels NRL players and therefore are irrelevant, and their retention or lack thereof is also irrelevant. My view of the Stephano Utoikamanu case is that he is a promising young player that a number of clubs were pursuing, ourselves included, and the Tigers won the… Read more »

Pou
Guest
Pou

I’m inclined to agree Brett. For a long time promising juniors (and their managers) have been using our club to boost their profile in the NRL player market when they come of age. That’s all fine, and while we might like the players to feel loyalty to our club the way we do, it is misguided for us to expect this, just as it is misguided to expect the club to show any loyalty to these hopeful NRL players.

parrathruandthru
Guest
parrathruandthru

I wonder if the Parramatta Eels junior rep coaches and managers and staff think the players they are working with aren’t Parramatta Eels players. They are invested in making the club a better club. There’s more to a club than top 30. Living in another state and only getting your Eels fix from the TV & internet you wouldn’t get this. You wouldn’t have seen the work coaches have put into Stefano to improve his game. You don’t know about the patience the club showed when he was out for a season with a shoulder injury. I wonder what your… Read more »

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

No, it’s the Parramatta National Rugby League Club. That’s where the club, and the game by extension have got it all wrong. We are not a district representative club anymore, underage development is not our business. We are a professional national league franchise. Until we change that mindset we will never fulfil our potential as a club.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Has the charter that brought the PLC into operation and part of its constitution that went along the lines of the reason for the clubs foundation and was to foster the game of RL within the Parramatta district, been abolished?

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

No of course not, and the PLC & PDRL can, and should continue in that grassroots development role, but not the PNRL Club, that’s what I’m getting at. We are a premiership club, not a development club. The PDRL is a development club.

sixties
Admin

Brett, what don’t you get? All clubs invest in their futures. The Storm, the Roosters – they don’t think like you. They develop young players for their future, because it is a total club, short term and long term philosophy. They win premierships. They keep winning premierships. Parrathruandthru has nailed the explanation for you. Your mindset is fixated on the now, and there’s no problem with taking care of the now. But the future does not take care of itself. Honestly mate, it’s laughable to try to justify that mindset.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Yes, but the best way to take care of the future is to take of the present. A lot can and does happen in 12 months in the NRL, to say nothing of 5 years. So we missed out on Utoikamanu and a bunch of teenagers, there will be others. The fact that we missed out on them is not the sign of a systemic problem as you seem to think.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

And no, the Top 30 is all that matters. Jersey Flegg, SG Ball, Harold Matthews are not prizes we should be concerned with. If the PLC wants to separate the PDRL completely from the running of the Eels, fine I can live with that. But the Eels are about one thing and one thing only … the Telstra Premiership. Anything else is a distraction.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Brett, it would seem that its only a distraction for you and a minority of others.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Colin it’s a distraction because it is not our core business. And we might be a minority, but it doesn’t mean we’re wrong

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

By saying that Brett, everyone that has a different viewpoint to what you are putting forward is wrong.

Whether you like it or not, with the money the PLC is spending not just on the junior side of the coin but they are putting a fair sum into the running of the NRL team as well, without the PLC and its money the eels would no longer exist in any grade.

As both areas and players in the game are there by means of the PLC supporting and propping up the PDRL and NRL players.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

I’m perfectly aware of that Colin. The separation is still viable and in my opinion necessary.
So, do I think I’m right and those that disagree are wrong ?
Of course I do, that is the whole point of having an opinion.

BDon
Guest
BDon

As they say, NRL is a business now, and any business that sprays its resources all over the place will go toes up. The principle of focus is proven. Brett, I look at the Panthers, a stated development club, and I’m not sure any Panther supporter can see a Premiership on the horizon, their roster seems like a revolving door. They are a community based club, but maybe just single-mindedly going after the prize is the way to engage the community, including young players. Great food for thought.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Yep

sixties
Admin

Brett, you are really misreading the topic completely. It’s not about winning junior titles. We’re not concerned about that. Getting titles is a bit of cream to the cake. The cake is developing NRL players. We’ve won junior titles and barely had an NRL player come from the team. That’s poor use of resources. But again, this post is about processes that have gone wrong. It’s not about junior numbers. It’s not about whether this years top 30 will be strong.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

You’re assuming they’ve gone wrong 60’s.

sixties
Admin

No assumption involved.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Look, I’ve made my point, and I guess my point of view is for the game as a whole. I’ve long been a passionate advocate that NRL clubs should not be involved with players younger than 19 or 20. I’m a firm believer that there needs to be a very clear separation between the Premiership and it’s constituent clubs and the Pathways system and the network of leagues & junior clubs. They serve different purposes and have different goals, and I don’t think they coexist within a single club environment.

Big Derek
Guest
Big Derek

Brett , if you had any real knowledge of the junior system, you would understand that a major driver for the players from basically the U12/U13 is to see if they can progress to represent. As a parent and grandparent of boys who have achieved this and are giving back, your idea is shortsighted and a little selfish in just looking at NRL. The issue under discussion is not really that we have lost a few players, that’s been going on for a long time. It’s that a number of the players lost this off season wanted to stay and… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Well said derek , we dont want or need uninformed comments on the site .

sixties
Admin

Thank you for such a detailed reply Derek. Brett I wish you could see the work that goes into not just the football but also the well being for these young players and realise the importance of clubs developing young players. The kind of separation that you want would make delivery of large programs incorporating education, well being and athletic development extremely difficult.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

No it wouldn’t, those programs could and most probably would still be in place, they just wouldn’t be the responsibility of NRL clubs, at least not until they become NRL players.
I’m sorry we’re just not going to agree 60’s, I see the world of pro sports from a wider view than you do. I’m firmly of the belief that Rugby League is light years behind the rest of the sporting world in this matter. Until that changes Rugby League will continue to be unfulfilled as a sport and a business

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

They can still to progress to underage rep footy, I just don’t think that NRL clubs should have any involvement at that level. My view isn’t selfish, nor is it shortsighted. On the contrary, it’s the exact opposite. I’m looking at a whole-of-game view. The Premiership clubs need to be released from the burden of youth development for them to be fully realised as professional clubs. Underage development & professional sport are at cross purposes. One is all about the now, the other is about the future. Every highly successful major professional sports league in the world with the exception… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Brett, I have no reason to believe that the original section of the Charter that was part and parcel of the application for a licenced leagues club and the associated internal clubs that came under the acceptance and issuing of the licence for the club including that with the gaming and liquor licence had the clause that said the purpose of the club was to promote the game of RL within the Parramatta district and the Parramatta Rugby League Football club and teams and players, it was also expanded to include junior RL teams in the district and representative teams.… Read more »

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Yes, and that was in 1947 when the first grade team was the end of a long progression for young men who lived and worked in the Parramatta district, hence the name. But we are now in the professional era and it is now the players primary profession. In those days players were prepared to play 2nd & 3rd grade and bide their time. That is not the case anymore, rightly or wrongly.
The charter needs to be updated to the 21st century reality

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Excellent post BD and completely agree, especially as to the points regarding the clubs charter along with the why’s to the signing delays for us to lose players that are said to be both wanted and wanted to stay but we lost them. A side aspect of this is what level of desire or want does the coach have in saying who he wants to sign and those not, and those in between? I would imagine that he along with all RL coaches would have such a say and have players prioritised in who he wanted signed/kept. If who and… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

He signed an NRL contract last year and this year – albeit a development contract which allows you to play in each year after round 17 with playing bonuses.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Mark O Neil is going to ruin that club

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

parra need to lock lock up young dylan Brown before anyone now we have mosses sorted. i dont know whats going on but they need someone in there that can run the an bring the great blue and gold eels footy club back to its glory days.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I came onto this site to get away from the rantings of people from elsewhere ,they dont discuss they bombard with know all attitudes and ridicule others , please send them back where they belong !!!

Parramatta Tragic
Guest
Parramatta Tragic

This problem appears to have been brewing for 12 months. Leading up to this last 12 months and the Utoikamanu debacle, we had stability and a good crop of juniors coming through. We had a guy in charge of the juniors (I think his name was Field?) who was interactive with the juniors and their families. There was no mass exodus happening and no talk of a mass exodus by our best juniors. Why are we suddenly sending unsigned junior players to representative tournaments so that the opposition can pick the eyes out of them? Who has changed the entire… Read more »

Pou
Guest
Pou

Looks like O’Neil has some noses out of joint. Hopefully it’s a sign we’re moving on from the failed and wasteful junior development paradigm of the past 15 years. The whole junior league/junior rep system seems like it’s been a very toxic environment for a long time.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Yes, stirring up the system is automatically deemed to be a bad thing, but sometimes it is very necessary

Parramatta Tragic
Guest
Parramatta Tragic

No. This is a case of realising that the penny has dropped about what has been happening over the last 12 months

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Maybe, maybe not.

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

PT, I think that Anthony Field, is the person you are referring to & I think I read somewhere that he has left to go into some advanced PT area, he certainly appeared tight with the players, but like the loss of Adrian Jimenez we seem to have a new group of trainers and hopefully they may also be as good if not better than those who have left, and by the reports of the eels training so far it does look positive from my perspective. As for sending our juniors to representative tournaments, even if unsigned, (but unsigned to… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Field’s moved into a advanced personal training area huh?

JonBoy
Guest
JonBoy

Has anyone thought that if they stop replying to Brett he might stop his rants and normalcy will return?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

100% correct jon boy , thats why i follow this site.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Brett Allen has a right to his opinion just as anyone has the right to put forth their argument against it. Discussion like this should be supported, especially when it comes to important issues of the club we all love.

JonBoy
Guest
JonBoy

I dont have a problem with someone expressing their opinion. But once you’ve expressed it, leave it there otherwise it becomes ranting which seems to be where this has headed. Continuing to bang on simply makes you look like you are unable to accept that others opinions maybe different and that “if I repeat myself enough then I’ll change everyone else’s opinion”. Clearly that doesn’t work and the “banger-oner” looks dumb.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Are you afraid of debate JonBoy ?

JonBoy
Guest
JonBoy

The loss of Stdfano is upsetting as I think anyone with any real eye for ability knows that his potential is high and the likelihood of his success in the NRL is as backable as any rising star of the past decade. The prospect of loosing Dylan Brown or Reed Mahoney however is downright scary because what they are capable of is no longer in question. This then brings us back to the entire point/issue I believe the TCT team is trying to highlight. It’s not truly a question of WHO is leaving, nor is it a question of WHY… Read more »

sixties
Admin

Exactly JonBoy. If the how is not rectified, this will be the tip of the iceberg.

Brett Allen
Guest
Brett Allen

Or, maybe the club didn’t think Utoikamanu was worth the effort to recruit him. In recent days we have tied up Dylan Brown & Oregon Kaufusi, I would say our retention systems are working just fine.

In fact, aside from Utoikamanu we have secured virtually every target we have been in serious contention for, RCG, Waqa Blake, Ryan Matterson. Missing out on a 19 yr old who may or may not be an NRL standard player is a minor setback, one that every team suffers from time to time.