The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 6 at Roosters


Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels  10

  Sydney Roosters 24


The Good:
Playing incredible football, yet losing the contest. Still leading the comp, but coming up short against the NRL’s best.

This game has left me more confused than Ben Cummins trying to give a penalty for high contact.

Building on the tweet above, I think this could be the best loss I’ve seen the Eels have in a decade (shoutout to the 2017 Finals loss to the Storm). We lose no admirers tonight and it’s not like the Roosters will suddenly think we’re pushovers.

To be very clear, the Roosters were the better team and deserved the win, but after a performance like that I’m not sure anyone will be looking forward to facing the Blue & Gold anytime soon.

Feels funny to say after a loss, but credit to the players, credit to the coaches – these Eels seem like something else in Season 2020.

The Bad:
I think the 14 point difference score flatters the Roosters, and was probably more indicative of 12 vs 13 for the final ten, rather than the contest as a whole. At the other end of the game, giving away a penalty on the first set of the night didn’t put us in great stead but thankfully James Tedseco made his first reported mistake of the year and his kick dribbled dead. Still, it soon became stupid mistake after silly decision for the Eels, dropped balls and poor pushed passes in the opening half.

Thankfully our defensive line held on admirably for the most part and an 8 point/14 point HT/FT disadvantage is by no means the end of the world.

All in all, although it’s been a little disjointed, we still started the Season 2020 like a Red Ferrari, 5-0, fit and fantastic. Tonight we met the inevitability of the back-to-back champions, the Sydney Roosters and our once perfect record? Well, see below.

The X-Factor:
When the Eels hit the lead in the 60th minute, you just knew there were scores of Eels fans inquiring about Grand Final tickets and discussing whether or not we can go back to back in 2021. However, like Victoria’s supposed triumph over the Coronavirus, the Roosters showed they were celebrating a little prematurely.

After completing at a very average 63% in the first half (compared to the Roosters 83%), the Eels scraped together a much more pleasing 14 of 17 sets (82%) in the second.

The Roosters second half? A perfect 17 from 17 completions.

Considering the score, there wasn’t a great deal of difference in possession (48 Eels to 52 Roosters), metres (2238 to 2619) or offloads (22 to 16); although there was a big disparity in penalties (7 to 3) and missed tackles (31 to 21).

The MVP:
Nathan Brown, take a bow. Now, this might be a little leftover from last week, and I once found it pretty difficult to split him from Matto, but Cyborg has been electric since returning from suspension.

I just hope that little chin tickle on Victor Radley doesn’t leave him with a case to answer before the NRL judiciary.

Nonetheless, in the most encouraging of defeats, Nathan Brown is tonight’s MVP.

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

They say hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard. More than most players I’ve ever seen, Clint Gutherson leaves absolutely everything out there each and every week, but to say he doesn’t have much talent is also selling the bloke well short. Gutho’s first half break was the first (and close to our only) attacking highlight in the opening 40 minutes, and Captain America ended up with a mammoth 238 running metres from his similarly substantial 20 hit ups. He’s also got a terrific head of hair and I’m very glad he runs out each week wearing Blue & Gold.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

I don’t know whether Fiji is a signatory in the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, but Maika Sivo is straight up weapons grade plutonium. No one will remember 16 of his 17 runs (137m) tonight, his error or the fact that he only attempted and made one tackle. What they will remember is when Maika left a James Tedesco shaped divot in the soil of Bankwest Stadium.

I cannot believe Maika Sivo is the same species as me, and I bet James Tedesco can’t either.

Come to think of it, I bet there’s several things James Tedesco is struggling to do at the moment (but in all seriousness, I’m glad he’s ok).

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

The commentators understandably waxed lyrical about the Morris twins tonight, but let the record show that Michael Jennings is also pretty old and has had more tries than you’ve had hot dinners.

It didn’t start all that flash and it was tough to watch The Jet drop the ball on a pretty crucial 6 again call, compounded by an unsuccessful Captain’s Challenge. 

However, outside of this moment, MJ seemed to be one of the few Eels who started the game hot on the attacking side of the ball, breaking about 30 tackles (he actually had a team high 7 for the game) to almost score late in the first half. Jenko graciously duplicated this effort midway through the second to secure our first four pointer, and was also the maestro of Sivo’s wrecking ball four pointer. Like a fine wine, you know the rest.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

Last week’s Golden Ticket form certainly eluded ‘Willy Waqa’ Blake in Round 6. Instead of game changing linebreaks and offloads, tonight’s performance was littered with missed opportunities, missed tackles (7) and a pretty paltry 6 runs for 43m. The effort was there, but yuck.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Still yet to hit his straps in 2020, Blake Ferguson was once again well contained by his ex-teammates in the first half, before recovering with a vengeance in the second stanza. In the end, the Other Blake finished with a massive 18 carries for 126m, but also slipped off a tackle, had an error and conceded a penalty. The right edge defence is also still a major concern; hopefully there’s better things to come starting next week.

Ps: How good was it when Fergo apologised to the cardboard cutout he hit square in the head?

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

Although he was harder to spot than Where’s Wally in the first 15 minutes, Dylbags still managed to finish up making whatever we signed him for look like a steal. It wasn’t just the 8 runs (61m), try assist, linebreak assist and tackle breaks, the young bloke also managed to find the time and composure to make one of the best cover tackles you’ve ever seen (22 in total); saving a certain Roosters four pointer. It’s amazing how good Dylan Brown already is, and I’ve got pairs of socks that are older than him.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

I think Mitchell Moses is the sort of player where his immense talent and desire to win can be used for either good or evil. Too often in the past it seemed Mitch’s energies could wildly swing from one extreme to the other, often giving people the impression that he’s a bit of a sook. But the more I watch him and hear him speak, I actually just think he wants to win and now is starting to know what that takes. So credit to him, credit to BA and credit to whoever else has been in his ear, as he is simply miles ahead of the player he was just two short years ago.

8- Reg Campbell Gillard

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Although not to the standard of last week’s Western Sydney rumble, RCG still turned in a solid performance tonight with 9 runs (79 metres) and 34 tackles.

Judging by one of his passes from the ruck midway through the second half, I also think it’s safe to say that RCG won’t be challenging Reed for the 9 jersey anytime soon.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Not unlike his bunk buddy Dylan Brown, Reed Mahoney just shows incredible poise and talent for such a young man. Although it was an unfortunate miss from Cash leading to the Cordner try, Reed clawed, scratched and tore his way through an incredible game high 56 tackles (only 2 misses); a staggering number in a game played at breakneck speed. I thought the quality of his service returned to his high standards, and even more pleasing is the continued emergence of a pretty great kicking game. Just stellar stuff from the young buck.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

What a horrific prospect Junior Paulo must be to tackle; let alone trying to avoid his huge frame when he’s trying to tackle destroy you. The Big Guy had 15 runs (103m), 30 tackles, 2 tackle breaks and a ridiculous 6 offloads. He also took a catch late in the game that would make a slips cordon collectively weep.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Although Shaun Lane added to the comedy of errors committed by the Eels inside the first quarter by giving up a one on one strip to Victor Radley, the rest of his game was outstanding. The tallest drink of water had 16 runs (137m), 20 tackles and a couple of sneaky tackle breaks/offloads to boot. Loving him as a sneaky source of high level production.

12- Ryan Matterson

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

The question marks of his acquisition are a thing of the past; let it be known that Matto is a very, very good Rugby League player. Tonight, Ryan “Needs a Good Nickname” Matterson made his way through 14 hit ups (109m), 3 tackle breaks, 4 offloads and an incredible 45 tackles on the edge (only 2 misses).

Matto has a killer talent, a face like a marble sculpture and a tendency to upset scores of Tigers fans. Ask me if I know Ryan Matterson’s biggest fan.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

Cyborg is more than just a running machine (19 runs for 165m and a tackle break), he also led the team in offloads (5), had 33 tackles and really upset Victor Radley. The older Brown  also made a huge cover tackle on an early break from one of those pesky Morris twins, matching the feats of his little brother Dylan. Huge game, and the perfect complement to last week’s heroics; tonight’s MVP.

14- Ray Stone

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

After building a bit of momentum in recent weeks and an early entry into tonight’s contest, Ray Stone’s stat sheet (2 runs for 11 metres, 8 tackles) is actually like the airline food of NRL statistics; it’s bland, boring and looks nothing like what you expected. Onto bigger and better things next week, Raymond.

15- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Marata Niukore was actually one of the few players who consistently managed to get over the advantage line for the Eels in the first half. Crash finished with 9 runs (76m), an offload, tackle break and 18 tackles. You know what? That’s pretty good.

16- Oregon Kaufusi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

For a young bloke filling in for the suspended Kane Evans, I thought Oregon Kaufusi was outstanding tonight; dishing up a huge 11 runs (84m), tackle break and 20 tackles (only 1 miss) for the Big Easy. BA is a better coach and selector than I’ll ever be, but if Oregon’s not a better choice in the 17 than Peni Terepo (1 run for 7 metres, a mistake and penalty), I’m an astronaut.

17- Peni Terepo

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Well said, Mum.

The Eels’ tour of duty rolls on next week, as we take on the other participant in last year’s NRL Grand Final, the Canberra Raiders.

Sure we lost tonight, but I still had a whale of a time. With that said, I think I’d prefer a win next week.

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


Go you Eels,



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

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Ferguson has continued to look ordinary since the restart. Not sure what’s going on. His defensive combination with Waqa is also becoming incredibly concerning and our side’s biggest vulnerability. Echo your thoughts re Matto and N. Brown, they were excellent.


Great Game. Great Grades. We are still 1 quality forward short & interchange hooker. Waqa had shown his weakness. Too many missed tackles. He tackles with his eyes closed & try to do a big hit-up instead of ensuring an effective tackle. His combo withFergo had let in somany tries. Hope this can be addressed soon. GoParra!


I don’t know what BA said in the sheds but next time lead with it before the game. If we started the game like the start of the second half who knows where it could have gone.

Enjoyed the game immensely, the boys played (mostly) really good footy – unfortunately that just made the little mistakes stand out a lot more!

Both the halves are looking dangerous – but they did not seem to be testing hitting the line as much as in other games


I thought we were defensively pretty good – that scoreline definitely flatters the Roosters. It seems odd to have so many high grades when you’ve lost by 14, but I think they’re fair enough. The fact that we’re confident to kick the ball dead and concede a goal line drop-out says a lot. Dylan Brown’s defence could almost bring you to tears; his cover tackle was beautiful, but it’s certainly not an isolated example. For such a young bloke, and given the hesitation that might be expected with the back injury last year, he’s flat out incredible. Can he give… Read more »


Agree with your comments. I think Stone need to try to temper his aggressiveness. He should be told to be a role player. Just safely play the ball, complete his tackles without being to careless. Can’t see why use an interchange with just 7 minutes to go. Agree that Terepo should be in the stands next week. Didn’t contribute much. Waqa & Fergo should pick-up their defense.

Colin Hussey

How many players can show their worth in 7 minutes of game time?

Sure Stone is being used to cover Reed but does Reed really need that covering especially for the last 7 minutes. The appears to be a couple of weak areas in the team and its just not in the forwards either.

!0 Year Member

It’s a pity we let the helium out of the balloon after we got ahead… Unfortunately the party was still not over


Good quality game & the Eels aren’t too far off the pace and what a pace it was! You have been a little generous with ten ‘A’s this week Mitch – ultimately we weren’t good enough and made hard work of it. The roosters played through the middle which reduced the metres contributed by our bookends. Our 1st half defence was awesome. But handling errors that released the pressure and some missed tackles (eg Ceary) combined with a few tough ref calls (10 points the Roosters scored can be attributed to line ball refereeing) was the difference. Not defending the… Read more »


What’s slightly more frustrating than Fergusons lack of commitment is him yelling and screaming to other players to cover the tackle he has missed or misread and didn’t get to.
Found stone to be very lacklustre and with a bench spot being a coveted spot atm can’t see him getting on the bus next week.


We played hard and did better than most would have expected given what the roosters threw at us. With ball in hand the Roosters were relentless but we showed we could give it back. Unfortunately they did to us what we’ve done to other teams, forced them to tackle through a lopsided amount of possession early. That’s taken it’s toll on our opposition, which we’ve taken advantage of late in games, and it took it’s toll on us. If we can stiffen our defense under fatigue and cut out the brain farts we’ll be hard for anyone to beat. Lots… Read more »


Great quality game. When you think about the amount of cheap penalties and turnover we gave them, we played incredibly well to keep in the game. Easy to forget they only scored 3 tries to our 2 and one of them were on the wing whilst we had a player in the bin. Plenty of positives 👍🏼👍🏼


On the basis that effort would have won most games, I can see what you’ve done with the grades. We completed at 74% (Chooks 90%), made 11 errors ( to 6), conceded 7 penalties ( to 3).Our stats would struggle to win many top 8 games, the Roosters would win most, probably all. Re-starts were 5-4 our way. I know they’re just stats, but it does seem closing the gap has huge upside for us.


We played well but, how many times do we make numerous rookie mistakes in the first half against good teams? Its a real worry we have to overcome, does BA get the boys too hyped up? Blake, rocks this week, needs to be dropped and Salmon promoted in his stead. Not as fast but can tackle and maybe, just maybe, Ferguson will stay on his winger.


Nick name for Ryan should be “of course you”.

Parramatta Tragic

I have a friend named Ryan and we simply call him U (or you). When he rings anyone (joke has been going for 50 years) we all answer “is that U Ryan?”

Parramatta Tragic

SWitching positions with Ferguson and Waqa in defence would have solved the immediate problem last night but I did forget that Waqa got a head knock before halftime and had to get a HIA at halftime. The obvious points for me were that Terepo and Stone are just not up to first grade and must never be picked again along with Will Smith. They both gave posession back to Roosters too many times and are repeat offenders at this. Waqa can have his defence corrected as MM’s has been this year. Ferguson did learn this week and stayed out on… Read more »


If Browny gets sighted for the Radley tackle I’ll be fuming because Radley was the one who got up and had a go at Browny. But of course JWH had to have a go too


Especially when Mitchell does not answer at all for almost ripping the head off Fusitua (and causing him to leave the game)

Colin Hussey

Mitch, have not read anywhere that the club is challenging the charge, but I hope they are, I have only seen a couple of photo’s of the incident, and from what I have seen its a tough call. There was a pic and a video of the incident I did see and both are now in cyberspace as I cannot find them. Correct me if I am wrong, but what I saw is an eels player tackling Radley down low on his right side, Radley is bent over as a consequence, with Brown on his left side and his arm… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Did not see the game but reading some reports which said the eels are certainly the real deal. I wonder though if there is something in cards, teams and players that referred to as stacked decks???? I had some reservations as to a win before the game and said so in previous TCT pre game posts, one was regarding the wingers, and thankfully Sivo stepped up but according to this report, Fergo didn’t and his coming off his wing is still a concern, with his experience he should be leading not following others and accept where he’s letting the team… Read more »


We won so much last night. Would I want 2 points against a weakened or poor Roosters or no points but face a strong and on song Roosters. Give me the second anyday. The experience, the pace, the ferocity of that game is invaluable for our young players, especially Dylan, Reed, Oregon and Maika. I would hope whatever is going on between Fergo and Waqa is sorted. I think coming back from a shoulder reconstruction it is going to take time for Waqa and you saw him grabbing his shoulder a couple of times last night. Fergo is confusing. He… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by Shelley
Colin Hussey

Shelley, I cannot understand the drop in Fergo’s form, not just his defence to which he comes in more than he did last year from the games I saw, but its his attack, he is not seemingly making the runs he did last year. Not seeing the game, I am ultra pleased that our young forwards are finally getting good game time, with Evans back this week and the likely 2 match suspension for Nathan Brown, its going to be a big game next Saturday night against the Raiders, although I see some of the green having some brown patches… Read more »


Fergo looks like he is not 100% fit, he is not hitting the line on kick returns as hard as last year and also makes some poor decisions both in a attack and defence. I’m sure he’ll get better but it seems like he might be lacking a bit of confidence maybe, that also happens if you are carrying a injury or not 100% fit.


Good game with the volume turned down, but v frustrating. We need to learn to compete with the top teams for 80 mins. We made some errors (first half primarily) and it was disappointing. Your grades Mitch (some I mean) are a little high for me, but i am also a bit harsh on some.
Glad Oregon did well.
Next week will be even tougher, and tbh the next month will show how mentally tough we are.
Yes the ref was avg at times but we cannot control that.

John Eel

Mitch when are you getting launched from Cape Canaveral.

No I have not seen the game yet but I will look at it tomorrow night. However watching tonight’s game at Campbelltown I thought Keppie has come a long way since entering the NRL. As I understand it Keppie was sacrificed to save space for Kaufusi at the Eels.

From what I have seen from Kaufusi I think that he is the better player. Time in the NRL will improve him even further.

The rev aka Snedden

Good write up Mitch. We might not have won last night but I’m sure the Rooster’s are thankfull for walking away with 2 points. Their coach even said it’s their toughest Game since Rd 2. The Rooster’s would be saying how good are the eels this yr. They got our respect. Yet again what’s with Ferguson coming off his wing he really needs to his form more so then worried about Waqa. Once he Ferguson does that his form with Waqa will be dangerous. Team’s who wingers stay out will Target our wingers or give the other team’s half’s kicking… Read more »

Jimmy Corbo

A really good game of footy, a great advertisement for our sport as the world tunes in in search of live sport. I thought the Roosters were just about at their best and we repelled almost everything they threw at us in the first half when they had all the ball and a very high completion rate. Conversely, I don’t think we were at our best with a few silly errors creeping in and for 60 mins it was a 50/50 game. They won the penalty count, the restart count and were almost faultless in possession and we more than… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden

Just a quick question for Mitch or sixties.

With Nathan Brown coping 2 week’s yet again do you both think next yr should be his last at the club ?

Look I think his a very good player there’s no doubting that. But he seems to be more off the field then on it.

My back rowers would be even when Brown comes back yet again from suspension.
11. Lane
12. Niakora
13. Matterson. What’s your thoughts on this guy’s.

Colin Hussey

Rev. Interesting thoughts, but not sure I would completely agree with you on it, according to the charge sheet, he has been involved in 2 other incidents in the past 2 years, both different to this one As much as I like the three players you name, and each make value for the team, Brown has more hard running aspects and his defence is also something that we need in both areas. I posted above regarding the tackle on Radley and for me the way Radley was falling in photo’s I saw the point of contact was on the… Read more »

John Eel

Colin I understand the club will challenge the charge.

Colin Hussey

John, Just read on the eels web site he’s going to challenge the charge, looks like he’s seeking a down grade.

The rev aka Snedden

I know since Brad Arthur signed him from the bunnies his improved him with a passing Game n change of direction. I’m just sick of him being suspended really don’t know how much time he needs to say Time to wake up n Play with control aggression.


Your hate for Peni Penishands shows no bounds, the burning skip bin show exactly how mosty of us feels evertime he catches or attempts to catch a pass or just looses it meakly in a tackle.

Longfin Eel

I really think we could have won that game if we didn’t make so many mistakes and gave away penalties. If we are more disciplined we can beat anybody. The good thing is that it’s clear Parra have a lot more improvement in them, we just need to keep toiling away at fixing the outstanding issues in our game.


I’m a bit disappointed in that A- grading of Mitch Moses …Mitch I am one of his biggest fans but that was his worst game in over 12 months. Now in saying that I think he is carrying a sternum injury, the way he fell off tackles and hardly ran confirms it for me. Nothing has been said as I suspect nobody wants to draw attention to it, to make him a target. Before the game he was heavily padded up in the Sternum area and if this injury is true we could have a big issue coming up to… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden

Poppa I don’t see Jai field playing. If Moses was to take a week Off to recover I’d say Brad Arthur will use salmon at 5 \ 8 n shift Brown into the ( 7 ) jumper. If Moses didn’t sign with us last yr I’d be sure as day that brown would be 7 n salmon 6 .

Last edited 20 days ago by The rev aka Snedden

Interesting you would say that as Field was added to the 21 last week and Salmon was dropped from same. Any views on that, alternatively if Nathan Brown is not suspended then Ryan Matterson could play 5/8 and Nikiore play edge? not recommending any of these solutions, i.e. haven’t even seen Field play….more concerned about Moses ongoing fitness.

Colin Hussey

Poor discipline is always the signs of losing. Its sad to see that creeping into the team after such a great start. Hopefully a big change against the trumpeters will mean a win.


I am not sure of poor discipline has crept in as such Col as much as it was an issue in this game and more realistically a hardness still developing in terms of concentration over a full 80 minutes. We definately went off after Sivo’s try. It seemed that we got to the front and didn’t know how to carry on with it. Racehorses have the same problem sometimes, get to the front and start stargazing, rather than keeping their mind on the job…. That’s where that hardness/toughness is required.

Colin Hussey

Pops. where I see the aspect of ill discipline coming into the team is with the way Fergo has changed his play in defence to come in field almost every play that heads down his side of the field when defending, more often than not it means the opposition scores a try. It begs a question regarding him as to his timing and what his position really is, this year as well as last year he would be kicked to but, he mixed his runs to not just run in field but also go for run along the sideline, I… Read more »


Great write up. I’m also concerned with right edge defence but I’m sure the staff will work on it.

Surely Matto gets a mention in his write up about his almost certain try which could have resulted in a sin bin

John Eel

I just looked at the game for the first time. He should definitely have gone to the Bunker. That really needed more analysis.

Mitch I would take from your points above that a penalty try can only be awarded If the infringement occurs in the In Goal?

Colin Hussey

Have seen more than a few penalty tries awarded when an off side defender or blocker has taken out the player with the ball, mostly when its gone upstairs.


In many ways it was far more professional than MJennings’ effort. A pickpocket v a random mugging.
Cummins adjudged it as an in field strip, Morris knew his team mate was never going to drop off. Intentional professional foul but maybe too technical to be real.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x