The Cumberland Throw

Post Games Grades – Round 3 at Brisbane

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels  34

  Brisbane Broncos 6


The Good:
“Better grab your balloons and invite your friends …”

It’s been 84 years since the Eels last played a game of Rugby League, so first and foremost it is very good to have the Steeden flash across our screens once again. It was even better that said return featured the Eels once again walking all over the Brisbane Broncos in front of a global audience of 40 billion people.

A quick shout out to all our new American fans who have swarmed our website after tonight’s game. We are overwhelmed by both your numbers and overpowering stench of individual liberties.

Within the game, the Eels collectively ran a ridiculous 2718 metres tonight, which is almost 300 metres more than they ran against the Broncos in the 58-0 drubbing of 2019 (2439m). Go figure. The Eels also had a crazy 13 players run for more than 85 metres, 11 of those had triple figures.

Parra also had 61% of possession, had a stupefying 23 offloads and only conceded a solitary penalty. What do you think, BA?

Like a solar eclipse, it’s best you don’t stare too long at this photo.

The Bad:
Well, the Broncos, really.

Not since literally the last time these two teams met have we seen the Eels completely dominate the Brisbane Broncos …

In fact, if the Eels had the ball for 23 more seconds they actually would have held the ball for a perfect 75% (60 minutes) of the game. The Broncos had a 35/39 missed/ineffective tackle split and 14 errors; only completing half as many sets (18/30 for 60%) as the Eels (36/49 for 73%). In fact, you could argue the smallest difference between the two sides was on the scoreboard, and it was a 28 point victory for the good guys.

The X-Factor:
I didn’t enjoy the process of changing the number of refs, nor do I like the introduction of new rules mid season (despite it happening many times in the past). With that said, I didn’t mind the one ref rule, only because it wasn’t really exploited tonight. I have little doubt there will be some grey area before the end of Round 3, but keeping the ball in play not only significantly shortened the time it took to watch a game of Rugby League, it seemed to benefit the Eels’ style of play.

For what it’s worth I also enjoyed the faux crowd over the broadcast, not because I loved it per se, but more so because it was better than the silence of Round 2.

As above, the old adage proclaims that defence wins premierships, and so far the Eels are ticking that box.

In Round 2, the Eels won 32-0 in the last 25 minutes against the Titans. Tonight they went 18-0 in the same period. Do we have ourselves a patient football team? I guess we’ll have to wait and find out (see what I did there, Mum?)

The MVP:


Not only because it is a very good picture, but their respective games tonight means anyone picking either one of these two blokes for MVP is alright by me.

Nonetheless, I’m giving it to a bloke in only his third game for the club, Reagan Campbell-GIllard. As a pretty significant purchase for the Eels, I was a little underwhelmed by his first couple of games, telling myself he would need a bit of time.

A lot of a time later, RCG’s third game was an absolute pearl. A massive 18 runs and 194 running metres set the platform for not only the halves and backs, but the rest of the forwards, too.

So tonight, the other talented ex-Panther on an amazing deal (not named Waqa or Maika) is our Most Valuable Player.


1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

If you’re the sorta guy who bases these things on stats alone, Gutho was pretty unlucky not to get MVP. Clint Gutherson left Round 2 looking like a young, professional athlete in his prime, and seem to return in Round 3 with a head of hair and temperate maturity of a 45 year old man. Whatever it was, old man Gutho had a monster game with 23 runs for a whopping 249 metres, 6 tackle breaks, 3 offloads, 2 linebreaks, a linebreak assist, a try assist and a couple of nice little grubber kicks. That Post Game Grades stat line will be hard to beat for all of 2020.

But yeah, he’s pretty average fullback, right?

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Maika’s first half was a mix bag stepping into space in one breath, but turning the ball over on multiple occasions in the next. But an important first half acrobatic try and a swath of statistics (15 runs, 164m, 2 linebreaks, 4 tackle breaks, albeit 3 errors) will only add credence to the hope that Sivo will dodge the dreaded second year syndrome.

I know this is unorthodox, but also a quick shout out to his opposition number little Jesse Arthurs who hits well above his weight.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

The Grey Ghost is not done yet, hot stepping his way to an important back breaker of a try in the 62nd minute. The Jet went for 13 runs (129m), 3 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, a linebreak, linebreak assist and a try assist for his partner in crime. Very good areas from the third second best MJ I can think of.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Mr Young, Wild and Free played his 100th game tonight, and got himself a nice tee ar why for the occasion. Throw in 13 runs (127m), 2 offloads, a linebreak and 2 tackle breaks and baby, you got a stew goin’.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

What if I told you Blake Ferguson was the only member of the Eels back 5 not to bag a meat pie? Fergo had an up and down return to Suncorp, with a couple of dropped balls, no linebreaks or linebreak assists. Still, if a tackle break, offload and 17 runs for 145m is wrong, I’m not sure I want to be right.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

This kid. He’s for real.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

We’ve been crying out for Mitchell Moses to be more patient, and whether its he being another year older, the wise words of BA finally getting through, the added coaching of Joey Johns or some other reason, the first 3 rounds indicate he might finally have arrived. It wasn’t his most dominant game (only 35 touches to Dylan’s 58 for example), but I think we’re in a good spot when Moses doesn’t have to be in everything and we still dominate. I thought the Prince of Egypt’s defence was outstanding, and his running metres (85m), try assist, 2 tackle break and 5 from 6 goal kicking game was just what the doctor ordered.

I just feel like he’s much more in control of himself and his game these days, and that seems to be coinciding with a couple of wins for the Blue & Gold. Make of it what you will.

8- Reg Campbell Gillard

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Regan Campbell Gillard’s running game was so strong it just rid the state of Queensland of COVID-19. How good.

I was never really worried about his signing, but to see him have a game of this magnitude in only his 3rd hit out is very encouraging. If you’re expecting any more from a starting prop than what RCG produced tonight, you’re either watching Haas (18 runs for 170m and 49 tackles), Taumololo or a very harsh marker.

Needless to say, tonight was pretty exciting for RCG and Blue & Gold Army fans alike.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

As Gol pointed out in The Preview, Reed is the only player in the history of the NRL to break his foot in Round 2 only to return in Round 3.

Tonight Reed returned from his long term, 0 week injury with a team high 37 tackles (2 missed) and 105 possessions of cool crisp service. He is also developing a pretty stellar kicking game. Yeah you Reed just to know you’re alive.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

In the absence of Nathan Brown and the undisputed king of the Eels front row, Big Junez had another very good game with 15 runs (136m), a linebreak assist, try assist, tackle break and 4 offloads. With stats as big as his stature, Junior is a bad, bad man. In fact, Junior Paulo is such a bad man he just kidnapped Liam Neeson’s daughter.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

I thought Laney had a very good game tonight, culminating in his crashing over another try on the Broncos right edge in the 67th minute, an almost replica of his 32nd minute four pointer in last year’s Elimination Final. Tonight’s stat line reads 19 runs (168m), 2 offloads, a linebreak, a linebreak assist, 3 tackle breaks and 20 tackles.

A very nice game, although it should be said that without that luscious mulleted haircut of yesteryear Shaun Lane looks like the world’s tallest Year 5 student.

12- Ryan Matterson

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

My favourite Ryan Matterson as an Eel game ever. Sure, I really didn’t enjoy his over committing to Payne Haas on Croft’s try, but I LOVED the  pivotal one on one strip in the first half, I ADORED his team high 5 offloads and I was ENAMOURED with the havoc he wreaked over on the right edge with at least 10 half linebreaks. Someone call SuperCoach, we’ve got ourselves a new stat and Ryan Matterson is the unbackable favourite to take out the crown.

In more legitimate statistics, Matto also had 17 runs (150m), a linebreak assist, a try assist and 28 tackles.

I can’t overestimate how important this game was for our two new recruits – this was their collective coming out party, and I’m already enjoying the sounds of this party’s playlist.

13- Marata Niukore

Lock, Parramatta Eels

After his injection into the starting lineup, Crash went crazy with 14 runs (137m), 27 tackles (1 missed), 3 tackle breaks and a try. Don’t just stand there Donald, bleach my insides that sweet Marata statline. Niukore was excellent tonight and when Nathan Brown returns in Round 5, Marata  will slip back into the coveted “Mitch’s favourite bench player” role.

14- Brad Takairangi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I mean, he was fine; but his brief appearance didn’t really move the needle one way or the other.

15- Ray Stone

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Stoney was pretty great tonight, and even got the chance to deputise at hooker as Reed had a breather. But more importantly, why the hell doesn’t Ray Stone wear a jersey that fits him in the official team photos? He looks like he’s trying on his Dad’s sweater. It happened last year, it’s on again in 2020 and dammit I want answers.

16- Kane Evans

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Marata’s excellent growth aside, if the current battle for bench forward MVP comes down to Kane vs Peni, consider me all in on the Fijian skyscraper. Backing up an incredible game against the Titans, Kane dished up 17 runs (179m), 3 offloads, a tackle break and 17 tackles tonight, in a VERY tidy performance from the pine. Shine on, you crazy diamond. Shine on.

17- Peni Terepo

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I’ve admittedly turned on him until further notice but we’ve known for quite some time now that Peni Terepo trying to catch a slippery wet ball is a straight up disaster in waiting. I then witnessed Peni trying to put a hit on in defence only to end up on his ass.

Peni Terepo, ladies and gentlemen.

For what it’s worth, the Butcher had 5 runs (43m), 13 tackles and an error. Feels like a sour note to end an otherwise stellar game for the Blue & Gold; I’d recommend scrolling up and breathing in Gutho’s stats again.

I wonder how that game goes if Milford and Boyd manage to ground the ball for their respective bombed tries, but it’d be pretty hard to get away from the fact that the Eels ran harder, held the ball longer and were the ones that managed to stay composed in the first 60, allowing them to celebrate in that final 20.

The Titans win felt a little bit like a pre-season game, but that win over the Broncos at Suncorp felt very, very good.

After starting with a relatively soft draw & knocking off the Broncos tonight, the Eels will now face Manly, Penrith, Roosters, Raiders, Cowboys, Knights, Manly over the next 7 games.

You’d think we’ll have a pretty good idea of this team’s credentials by the end of Round 10.

Next week will also see us start a run of 5 straight games at an empty Bankwest Stadium.


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

Thanks for reading.

Go you Eels,



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

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52 thoughts on “Post Games Grades – Round 3 at Brisbane

  1. Syd

    Not to be negative but I can’t see why we are persisting with Peni. I can understand the thought process behind taka, given the amount of positions he covers but Terepo looks very out of place in a talented and balanced team. Either keep stone on bench when N Brown is back or bring in Kaufusi.

    1. mitch Post author

      I can’t really argue with that logic, but I’ve been off Peni for a while. The combination of Stone and Taka on the bench is an interesting one, effectively giving us multiple util options (as well as a couple of solid players) from the bench.

      Thanks for reading, mate.

  2. Clive

    What a Great game.
    That was one of the most complete performances I have seen from an Eels team in years.
    If I had to raise a negative it is Peni, just promote Kaufusi and let’s move on from the Terepo experiment.

  3. Colin Hussey

    For the shortish time on from both Terepo and Stone, I would much prefer Stone, I think after his effort last night he is a must for a bench spot, after seeing both Taka and Terepo and their workload last night, I would suggest that both of them could be better in the 18/19 shirts, with Stone and Kaffa taking the bench spots.

  4. JonBoy

    I don’t want to turn this into Peni’s bashing as it seems we are all thinking the same way, time to let Oregon loose.

    I was most impressed with B.Browns level of involvement which one can only assume was part of the game plan as I am sure the Broncos would have expected Mitch to be the dominant one. Won’t that make us a little tougher for opposition coaches to formulate a game plan against moving forward! I like it, I like it a lot!

    Most of all, it was the patience that will have the so called experts will mostly talking about over the next few days (I expect) in what was a real confidence boosting match.

    1. Colin Hussey

      JB, good point re Dylan. Like many I liked Peni as a player who added aggression to the team, both in attack and defence, his attack was marred on many an occasion with his failing him, (just being nice) but in his matches so far this year he has dropped a few cogs in his overall game play, and for me and many others the time has pretty much come for a change in the forward pack.

      Peni has the ability and I wonder if he is possibly trying too hard for his own good in order to impress in his selection, having no CC games this year that’s going to be hard for him, and he has shown his value for the eels over the years.

      We have some younger players in the team lists that have a positive impact in the team and was on show last night especially with Stone, and having him, Marata and Oregon on the bench with Evans gives the team youthful enthusiasm and abilities, we do not want to wast that by selecting players that really have limited futures at the club, especially when they do not have a team they can play in outside of the NRL, this is a big failing of the NRL and no reason really why a shortened CC season could not come into play

  5. GGB

    In the past I would say that we would let Peni go and then he would make Dally M Team of the Year at another club… but this year… let him go and give someone else a crack. He looked very out of place last night in what was otherwise an amazing performance.

    But even more than the Eels performance, I loved the speed of the game and that we looked so fit. I loved the new rules and I even loved the virtual crowd on Fox.

    Great work boys, keep it up against the Seagles next week! And thanks for the blogs, I’ve been reading for years but never commented before. They’re a really great read and I really enjoy the overall positive feel of the site.

    1. mitch Post author

      You sound like you’re cut from the same cloth as us mate. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment any time.

      I’m pretty surprised about how much I enjoyed the fake crowd.

    1. mitch Post author

      Ha mate, nothing beats the return of the footy proper, but I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading mate.

  6. Max

    WOW – Love the one ref, we were so strong and physical in defense after such a long lay off. Ryan Matterson take a bow young man, what a great game

    1. mitch Post author

      I think Matto and RCG were my favourite parts of last night’s game. So great to see both guys hit form in the same crucial game.

  7. Michael Ryan

    Agree with RCG. He was much more evident than previous games. And comments on Dylbags, but I am biased.

    1. mitch Post author

      Ha, apologies in advance if Dylan if drops below a B.

      Good to see Dylan’s found a home here at Parra. What a terrifically weird human with a tonne of talent. So great to have him.

  8. Stew

    Was very impressed with RCG and Matto. The team is coming together very nicely and is so balanced. No real weaknesses anymore.

  9. The rev aka Snedden

    Good post Mitch but for the life of me where do you all get junior Paulo’s running metres stats from. have junz at 170 metres n RCG at 204 for the Game. On to takarangi I think Brad should use him more or punt him n bring up stone. Stone even had more time then him last night.

    On their ratings. Kane Evans a B+ 🤔 I think at least A-.
    Sivo ,you give him A- I Think at best B+or B.
    Junior Paulo should be A+ alongside RCG. Mixed bag Mitch on these ratings.

    1. mitch Post author

      Mate all of those Grades you mention you disagree by one rating, that’s as close as you can get. I think it’s fair to say we’re not ever going to agree on everything.

      As written as the bottom of each grades, we use Champion Data for our stats.

      I don’t understand what you mean by punt Taka and bring up Stone? They both came off the bench? I think Taka is being used as and a possible injury replacement for the backline or halves. That’s my guess, anyways.

      1. The rev aka Snedden

        what i mean is that when brown comes back drop taka n keep stone. so our bench would read evans marata peni , n stone. but i’m happy to punt peni also n bring in kaufusi.

        on sivo i was thinking he was down on form or confidance. but thats my opinion like everyone else has theirs.

  10. The rev aka Snedden

    In a overall performance Mitch what would you rate the team as a collective.
    Mine’s 8 out of 10. Peni n takarangi n sivo didn’t play well for my liking.

    1. Anonymous

      Sivo ran the ball back hard except for the one lapse when he jogged and looked weird doing it. His try was a pleasure to watch. He was safe under the ball. I’m not sure what you didn’t like?

      1. The rev aka Snedden

        His try was outstanding but I’m talking about his running when in open space look to me he was just jogging n that pass with a Bronco player what was he thinking ?
        He should have ran over the top of him not jogging n passing. Confidance is low or something.

        1. mitch Post author

          That’s not how I saw it. There were Broncos ahead of him and he waited for his support to be positioned. I fortunately it meant Arthurs got in position too. I thought Sivo was pretty great.

  11. Brindmarsh

    I can’t begrudge giving any number of players the MVP for last nights effort but for me it was Paulo. He was immense – 170m without any inflation from kick off returns is a hell of a stat. At one stage we Junior, RCG and Kane all on at the same time – was Paulo playing at lock?

    I was worried our line speed would suffer without Browny. Now I can’t wait til he gets back to and see what this pack can do against teams on the back foot.

    Seeing the Moses/Matterson/Blake combination for that finale try made me very happy and gave some reassurance there won’t be a Manu Ma’u shaped hole on our right edge this season. Can’t wait to see how that combo develops.

    1. mitch Post author

      I love Manu, he was my favourite player for years. But I think Matto provides a consistent passing game in a way Manu never could.

      Great question re Paulo and lock. I figure the 3 of them were just out there bashing Broncos at will. Paulo lock the most likely, as BA loves to have a lock with a passing game.

      I think all the votes on the Eels site are going to Paulo. Well last I checked they were, a few journos gave it to him, too. You’re in good company. I was just so excited for RCG.

  12. Fathead

    Can I just give a shout out to Ray Stone- he is one crazy mad footballer. Smashed Flegler last night resulting in Flegler losing the ball and came at him “You talking to ME , you talking to ME ???”
    Mad as a three wheeled car but a must off the bench in my opinion.

    1. sixties

      Fathead, it’s the sort of stuff that Stone has always done, and I’m so glad he had the opportunity to show more of it in NRL.

  13. Greg Okladnikov

    great game, great post game grades…some very funny observations ( eg Reed and his injury….and the Peni analysis. Also like the new layout of the comments section

  14. BDon

    It was really good to see RCG warming up to his role, Matterson too. Good stuff happening with our spine, can only get better. Although not MVP contenders I’m liking what I see with Micheal Jennings, experience and competence, and Marata Niukore, youth and growing competence. He might make international honours from the bench.

  15. Mum

    Fantastic game and as always great report. Loved getting a mention and it is something I always say! However my MVP was Junior Paulo, but the whole team were amazing! Bring on the Sea Eagles, can’t wait!

  16. Rocket

    Penn tries to run through brick walls but his momentum is stopped easily a lot of the time. I would like to see him run with the same venom but change direction just before impact. I think he would smash through the line.

    1. mitch Post author

      He’s certainly capable, has done it millions of times. Just ineffective at the moment.

  17. Jimmy Corbo

    How good, the footy is back…..

    The briefest grade reasonated with me, Dylan Brown, this kid is something else. You summed it up best with very few words.

    As per other comments Moses does look to have matured as a playmaker, like a referee a good game from a playmaker some times goes almost unnoticed. You simply can’t have tries, line breaks and multiple assists every week. It is the simple things, the good kick, leading the chase down field, the right decision between when to run and when to pass, when to inject yourself and when to step back etc, he is doing that superbly at the moment.

    I am an unabashed Stone fan and maybe leading with my heart here but thought this could be his break-out game. He put on some big hits and followed it up by getting in the face of the Broncos, he felt at home in first grade. Sometimes it only takes a few plays to give a player that belief that they can do it and I think we just saw that with Stone.

    Arthur is loyal but I think Terepo just used up his last penny, he needs a big one next week or could find himself way down the list with Brown due back the following game and Kaufusi itching for a crack.

    1. mitch Post author

      I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve written here. Really enjoying Stoney finding his way into the 17. Be interesting to carry two undersized forwards when Brown returns, but I hope he stays where he is. You’d think Peni is the drop for Round 5.

  18. Milo

    V good win, cannot complain about this one. Good write up Mitch, and the grades are fine.

    Your last paragaraph or two are the key – we have a run of games against tough teams (Manly twice, Easts, Canberra and the rest) and without stating the obivous we need to keep our defence and compousre in tact. This is a huge test over the next month and more. Are we going to be good enough….?

    No fans wont be an issue for the teams particularly easts…. 🙂

    1. mitch Post author

      I’m actually looking forward to playing a run of tough games; there’s something different about 2020 (at least at this stage, anyways)

  19. Phill Mann

    I’m pretty sure I saw the start of a Mexican wave from the cardboard fans as Blake went over.

    1. mitch Post author

      They’re a rowdy bunch, but I appreciated their respect for the Arthur Summons minute of silence.

      1. Phil Mann

        I also saw a couple of West Tigers fans being escorted out, shortly after the streaker! Impossible to tell who he supported. 🙂

  20. ParraStew

    Watching the highlights from round 3 I have finally identified the screaming goat ‘Whoop’ everytime Parra scores or did anything good on the field was our own Mitchell Moses. I believe that gives him an increase to an ‘A’ rating. Once you’ve heard it you can’t miss it

    1. mitch Post author

      Ha, yeah I heard him go nuts in our last try and the replay showed him going off. As our halfback, I would love to tell him to calm down and be more in control, but I’d be exactly the same if I were out there.

  21. Parramatta Tragic

    Gotta say I think that is the best work you have written to date. Funny stuff. Agree with the grades too. You are right about Paulo being tough. I hear that when he eats Italian he orders broken leg of lamb

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