The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 2 at Gold Coast

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 46 

 Gold Coast Titans 6

 

The Good:
You know, I really enjoyed that.

Do you remember when the score read Eels 14 Titans 6? Feels like a lifetime ago, but that was the score as recent as the 56th minute. It was about then that Dylan Brown found his way over the line for his first try and the Titans fell apart.

So the good news is that the Eels were patient. Very patient. The Eels spent so long in the Titans’ 20 Michael Jennings is now officially considered elderly and is now at a higher risk of contracting Coronavirus. However, once Dylan Brown got over the stripe, the Titans defensive line started to practice social distancing and in some cases straight up collapsed.

Apparently some Parra fans weren’t quite as patient.

Let the record show that Kane Evans’ pass to Dylan Brown happened moments after I posted this.

Look out Brad Arthur, I’m tweeting stuff.

The Bad:
Well, the Titans handling wasn’t great. I know it’s not always proper to focus on the opposition, but it played a huge part in the result. The Titans completed 14 of 25 sets (56%), compared to the Eels 39 from 45 (87%, is that right?!), including an incredible 24 from 26 (92%) in the second stanza. Just let that disparity marinate for a minute or two before you start putting your house on the Eels’ premiership chances.

The first 55 minutes or so was about 3 parts frustrating, 1 part entertaining as outside of the quick back-to back tries, the Eels looked a bit disjointed or out of ideas in attack and, at times, pedestrian in defence. I guess you could blame the conditions, but our defence on the weak side of the ruck was pretty average.

It obviously turned around in the last 20 minutes as the Eels went berserk, making our try scorers list more crowded than Bondi Beach during lockdown.

The X-Factor:
Whether it’s the influence of Joey Johns, a halftime pep talk from BA or just what happened to occur tonight, the Eels never really looked all that flustered or unhappy to just charge into the Titans middle. The result was that the Titans were worn down, battered and straight up exhausted by the time the clock struck the hour mark and then the Eels began to repeatedly and casually stroll their way to four points.

That weird golf swing prep also seems to be doing the trick as Mitchell Moses hasn’t missed a kick at goal in 2020, going a perfect 11 from 11 to start the year off right.

You should consider him a lock to miss his next 3 after that writer’s mock.

Bonus stat – the Titans conceded 14 penalties tonight. The Eels? Just 2.

The Eels missed 20 tackles with a further 8 ineffective (28 total). The Titans? 53 missed, with a further 25 ineffective (78 total).

The MVP:

 

I thought Moses was pretty great at controlling most things we did, and the old head of Michael Jennings, the young mind of Dylan Brown (who went very close), and the magic legs of Kane Evans were also a bit of magic.

But tonight I’m giving it to Junior Paulo. He didn’t make the aforementioned try scorer’s list, but the human Bowling Ball had a mammoth 19 runs (191m), 2 offloads, a linebreak assist, try assist and 4 tacklebreaks; as well as destroying the reproductive futures of several Titans forwards.

You the MVP, Junior. You the MVP.

http://www.starrpartners.com.au/office/starr-partners-auburn

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Gutho was playing his usual ruck roving self until Reed went down, soon enough finding himself playing rake in the second half. Gutho is not Cameron Smith or Reed Mahoney by any stretch, but he wasn’t all that bad in the spot, either; dishing pass after pass on point. I can’t fault him for not being a superstar in a unfamiliar position, particularly when he really didn’t do much wrong AND played his usual position in defence, so hats off to Captain America.

Gutho also ran 20 times (for a whopping 196m), 8 dummy half runs (86m), a tackle break and absolutely nothing else. No really, I checked the stat sheet several times; it was like my dating history: there’s nothing there.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

After a pretty quiet preseason and Round 1, Sivo (like a lot of Eels) looked better as the game wore on. The Fijian Scud Missile also made his way across the stripe for the first time in 2020 tonight, with a linebreak, 5 tacklebreaks, 17 runs (138m) and an offload to boot. He was also asked to make a solitary tackle.

It’s good to see him working his way back to you, babe.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

The evergreen Michael Jennings also had a nice night out for the Blue & Gold, as the old head (and presumably old body) drew on his experience to shut down a Titans attacking raid, steal a sneaky penalty and gobble up a bucket or two of running metres. The Grey Ghost also had 9 runs (102m), a try assist, linebreak assist and an offload.

I still thought he should have run at the human turnstyle a little more, but it’s also pretty tough to ask for much more than a 40 point victory. Really good signs from the veteran.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

With a brutal record of 6 games for 7 tries against the Titans coming into this game, Waqa was relatively quiet for a 40 point win; running only 8 times (79m), making 2 tacklebreaks, throwing an offload and umm *clears throat* … missing 4 tackles.

You know, I spent so much time believing in Waqa Blake but I never stopped to think if Waqa Blake believed in me. Just hit and stick, Waqa; hit and stick, mate.

Blake Ferguson

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Blake Ferguson’s first half consisted off some solid kick returns and terrible drop out reception. With Bryce Cartwright defending the left edge, it made sense not to go as much to Fergo’s side this week. Nonetheless, the catastrophic drop out slip aside, Fergo’s 19 runs (178m) and 5 tacklebreaks is nothing to sneeze at. And with a nose like that, I imagine it would be painful for Fergo if he did.

Ps – Get the new jersey, Fergo. It’s 2020 mate.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

Although he made a pretty disappointing one handed attempt to catch Nathan Brown’s pass early in the second half, Dylan Brown was evidently the straw that broke the Titans back and he bagged not only the first try for the Eels in the second half flood, he grabbed the last, too. As well as his pair of meat pies, the young half ran 14 times for a stupefying 139 metres, had a Tedesco-esque 7 tacklebreaks and a linebreak for good measure. He also had an outstanding kick to enforce the repeat set midway through the opening 40.

Overall, a pretty really great Round 2 game for our 19 year old Year 2 student.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Like it or not, the Eels fortunes very much sit upon Mitchell Moses’ pretty little shoulders. Like the rudder of a ship, if Moses is frustrated and running sideways, so too will the rest of our attack. But tonight, the Prince of Egypt was patient and composed, even when the points didn’t come after a hefty weight of possession. His 10 runs (138m), 1 linebreak and 2 tacklebreaks do little to show his influence over the game, shifting the ball from side to side and peppering the Titans line with his zippy sprints. His defence (16 tackles, only 2 missed) was pretty good, too.

Moses almost reached 88 mph in his electric first try and my fellow Eels fans will no doubt be hoping Mitch goes back back to the future, soon returning to his white hot form of Season 2019.

8- Reg Campbell Gillard

Prop, Parramatta Eels

I thought RCG looked much more comfortable in his second hit out in the Blue & Gold, rushing into the Titans defensive line like a runaway freight train, out of control and out of his mind. His 9 runs for 70m and 3 tacklebreaks doesn’t scream dominant, but it was nonetheless a good second game for the big fella, wearing the jersey of the good guys.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Reed lit up our lives tonight, sporting a new headgear and scoring a try. But then an innocuous looking ankle injury now looms large and the one area we have absolutely zero depth in is about to bite in a big way. My grade is how I feel about his injury, so I’ll let the NRL Physio take it from here:

God speed, little ankle, God speed.

Ps – Does this mean Reed is a headgear guy now? Does this mean that I’m a headgear guy now?

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Right now, in the darkened, isolated Robina Stadium, there is little sound. In the middle of a cooled playing surface, the only noise heard is the soft chewing of Junior Paulo, as he quietly feasts on the flesh of the Titans forward pack.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Hey, Shaun.

12- Ryan Matterson

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Definitely a better game than last week’s Blue & Gold debut, with 14 runs (95m), a linebreak assist, try assist, 3 tackle busts, 3 offloads and a team high 27 tackle over on the right edge. That’s the sort of return we were hoping when we lured him from the gates of hell, and he’s paying dividends in only his second game.

For comparison’s sake, the Titans had 8 players with more tackles than Matto, and 4 players with 39 or more. Ouch.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

For the second week in a row, Nathan Brown didn’t seem himself. His 10 runs (63 m) were the least efficient on the the team, and his solitary tackle break is also not in his statistical character. Furthermore, Cyborg should not knee people after they’ve already scored a try; hopefully there’s not a looming judiciary hearing with his name on it.

14- Brad Takairangi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Despite his less than ideal first touch of 2020 (see below), Taka ended up having himself a pretty alright first game for 2020. The Cook Island Control Tower notched up 9 runs (79m), and somehow put in a kick that went for zero metres … I, ahh, I don’t know.

15- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

As far as bench forwards go, Crash made a pretty big impact on the game tonight, running 13 times (104m), as well as helping himself to a try assist, 4 tacklebreaks and 15 tackles (wihout a miss). I heard that Marata wears a mouth guard; not to protect his teeth, rather to withhold bite mark evidence.

16- Kane Evans

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Remember that game when the big lanky Fijian not only scored his own slam dunking four pointer, but dished it off to Peni Terepo so he could score one too? It was tonight.

His 10 runs (81m), 2 linebreak assists, 3 offloads, 2 try assists (!) and 4 tacklebreaks is VERY good areas from Kane.

So that makes an average game last week followed by a pretty great game this week. I really don’t know what to do with Kane Evans. He’s like that ex-girlfriend who makes you run one day only to suck you back in the next. Well, I won’t do it Jessica, I won’t fall for it. I don’t miss you at all, even though your instagram profile photo looks really great.

17- Peni Terepo

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

The try scoring machine went in for his first four pointer since 2014 tonight; combining it with 8 runs (73m) 3 tackle breaks, a linebreak and an offload (don’t do it Peni!).

Now, I say this to myself as much as anyone else, but if you don’t love Peni Terepo at his worst, you don’t deserve Peni Terepo at his best.

Hey guys, I think this Coronavirus is getting pretty serious.

Might be best to just call it a day for 2020.

Next week we dine and play at imitation Bankwest Stadium in far North Queensland.

Either than or the Eels get locked into a miner’s resort in Calliopie.

I mean, who knows? 2020 is wild, man.

 

Whatever happens, w’ll see you then, sports fans.

Go you Eels,

Mitch

 

Photos courtesy of the Parramatta Eels. Stats courtesy of the legends over at Champion Data.

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DDayJohn EelCliveBDonMatthew Sweeney Recent comment authors
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!0 Year Member

Brilliant, yes, I had to make a mad dash to Coles as the closing time is 8pm…….I got out of the car it was 14-6 I got back in it was 44-6………it must be karma for not renewing my membership….I hope this season does not end……..rooters down 2 losses and eels top of the ladder…..keep it up boys. I am looking forward to watching the highlights.

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!0 Year Member

Finally went through the grades, does this mean when Cash went off we began to play? whom took the Kings place at the back whist he was at dummy?

paul taylor
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paul taylor

Loved the Report Mitch. Our defence was brutal at times particularly the first 10 minutes We will struggle in a big way now with Reed out. We have worried about this scenario unfolding and it has now in Round 2. WE used or bench well today. Marata and Evans were great and Dylan came into his own in the second half. The scoreline shows a blow out but considering how much ball they dropped and where they dropped it – thought the TITS had a go… Taylor is not a 1M per season player. Fingers crossed we continue the season… Read more »

Matthew Sweeney
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Matthew Sweeney

Thanks Mitch, Some of the collisions were very brutal and looked and sounded very raw bones. I believe we have a very physical and intimidating pack. I’m only in disagreement with your non plussed assessment of daniel brown , not his best game but he was very rugged and he launched himself with effect at players. All your other ratings were on the money, except an F for Mahoney. I dont like downgrading a player because they are forced thru injury to leave the game. In these cases I think we should mark them N/A or rate them just on… Read more »

Matthew Sweeney
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Matthew Sweeney

And another thing, mitch moses kicked 9 out of 9. I dont know what the figures actually say but from most of the games I have seen the conversions have been well down from previous high
standards and so that is a gr8 weapon for us .

BDon
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BDon

Tks Mitch. The Titans actually looked a threat between the 10 and 60 minute marks. Their line speed and ruck control looked pretty good to me and any time they shifted wide they turned their sets into good metre gains. Unfortunately for them, it’s an 80 minute game. Two rapid fire first tackle errors on their own line, plus consistent effort from us broke them right down. Jennings, Paulo,Moses, Evans deserved their ratings in the A bracket. Fergo is in good form (leave that error aside), Will probably be academic, but I reckon we can make a better fist of… Read more »

Clive
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Clive

It’s hard to really get a gauge of where the team is at after that game. The Titans were awful, they tried hard but their ball handling was terrible.
The positive though is that we eventually put on some points and will gain plenty of confidence that our attack started to come together.
Reed’s injury is a huge loss and Stone is probably the obvious choice but what about Kyle Schneider? How far away from being NRL ready is he?

John Eel
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John Eel

On that Dylan Brown try, one of the co commentators made a statement about how the Eels were going side to side getting nowhere and the Titans were lapping up the defensive work. Moments later Brown was over for a try The Eels were very patient last night something BA talked about achieving all last season. While they are not at their best yet , they ran the Titans into the ground. The high error rate and missed tackles are a result of fatigue. I was not wanting to be critical of Dylan last week but it was not his… Read more »

DDay
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DDay

Good wrap Mitch and agree with the As for Jennings, Evans, DBrown, Junior and Moses they were tremendous. I thought NBrown was also tremedous, he leads the defence for effort and often the defensive line speed; his footwork and passing when the game was in the balance tipped things to the Eels before the avalanche. Hope NBrown isn’t suspended.