The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 12 at Canterbury


Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels  18

  Canterbury Bulldogs 16


The Good:
I thought the first 30 minutes was pretty good. Furthermore, we avoided injuries and ended up holding on for the win.

The Eels’ kit also looked great; and today actually marks our first ever win in an Indigenous jersey. As it draws to a close, this round has once again been a terrific opportunity to reflect on and acknowledge the incredible contribution Indigenous Australia has and continues to make to our great game.

Finally, although we have now won 8 of our last 10 against our bitter rivals, I’m thankful we don’t have to play the Dogs again in 2020.

The Bad:
Evidently thinking of a the broader NRL community, the Eels did their best work to gift both the Bulldogs a win and the Broncos 16th spot on the ladder, but fell at the final hurdle.

I was wary about how we would respond to a 10 day break, and the early 18-0 lead me to believe rest had done the body good. However, a rapid escalation of our missed tackle numbers and conceding both swathes of possession and the next 16 points left me throwing my lucky hat to the ground as I screamed words I now regret to the sky.

Although I can’t really blame Moses for not single handedly bringing down RFM; his defensive support should have done better. The second try was the result of a poor one on one strip, and a lack of defensive urgency by our right edge. The Dogs’ third try was the defensive equivalent of giving to charity.

In the middle 40 minutes of the clash, the Eels’ defensive line looked like 13 strangers, showing zero cohesion and less talk than Marcel Marceau. Adding fuel to the raging fire was our inability to put in a suitable 5th tackle option, or worse, even complete  our attacking sets.

Never short on preparation, I suspect Brad Arthur will have plenty to say to his troops this week.

Based on our last month of football, I don’t think this is at all unfair from Martin Lang; do you?

The X-Factor:
In our first day game since Round 9, and only our second for 2020, the Eels’ handling rate didn’t particularly improve (11 errors to the Dogs’ 8), nor did our completions (81% to the Dogs’ 82%), although we did through 19 offloads (as did the Dogs, for what it’s worth). Reflecting on the refs, the Eels won the penalty count 8 to 3 and lost set restarts 1 to 4, but were very fortunate the Dogs didn’t challenge their first no try decision.

The Eels also had a paltry 39% of the ball in the second half, with only 16 uses of the football to the Dogs’ 23 after halftime, and 918 running metres to 1259.

Hindsight is 20/20, but remember when the Dogs, down 18-16, got a penalty right in front and didn’t take the two points on offer? Yikes.

Also, I know it’s the Dogs, but this is a pretty incredible put down from Jake Averillo.

The MVP:
The terrible attack and at times encouraging defence has left me more confused about our 2020 chances than DWZ trying to figure out which way to play the football. One thing I am sure about, however, is the incredible contribution of one Junior Paulo.

The world’s biggest halfback had a whale of a game, 18 runs for 196m, one linebreak assist, 31 tackles, 4 tackle breaks and 4 offloads including an absolute peach of a try assist pass to his number 7. In one of the most disappointing victories in recent memory, one big consistent in the Blue & Gold has been our middle men. Although the honour has been sleeping at RCG’s house for the past little while, today it is deservedly Junior’s turn for MVP; hats off to the biggest of big men.

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Having a weird, almost unrequited battle with Tim Lafai (how is he still a thing?), Clint Gutherson shook it off to have a pretty solid captain’s knock against a tenacious Bulldogs outfit. I don’t want to continue gushing over him, but I really couldn’t find much fault in what the former Lemon did today, as even his two errors looked at least to me like questionable calls on first viewing. Lock him in for a stellar 16 runs (164m), a linebreak assist, 4 tackle breaks, 13 tackles (1 miss) and 2 meat pies. Bangarang.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

It was not Maika Sivo’s best game today. Although the Fijian ball of muscle had 9 runs, the 58m and 1 tackle break is gotta be close to season or career low numbers. With all this said, I am fully expecting a bounce back to form from the prestigious talent come Round 13.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Fresh off a two year extension, Michael Jennings continues to wind back the years like an NRL’s answer to Benjamin Button. Today the Grey Ghost put together 16 runs (148m), a linebreak, a try assist a tackle break and 18 tackles; a fine afternoon out for the old man.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

It’s getting more and more difficult to justify my ongoing support of Waqa Blake’s defensive game, and to understanding the ineffectiveness of the collective team’s strategies to remedy it. His 12 runs for 111m and 5 tackle breaks is really, really great stuff but 4 missed tackles and plethora of defensive disasters were not.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

I actually don’t mind that Blake Ferguson hasn’t scored a try in 2020, in fact I sort of enjoy following the how peculiar it all is. What I don’t enjoy, however, is any time we appear to be actively searching to get him a try, particularly if it means sacrificing better alternatives. Don’t get me wrong, Fergo is one of our best attacking weapons (17 runs, 124m, 2 offloads and 2 tackle breaks today) and I have little doubt he will get across the stripe soon, but in a competitive NRL it surely needs to come within our structures, and not be more important than our regular game plan.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

It felt like another quiet game from the young half, but he did have more touches (38 to 24) than the much more visible halves partner. Dylan Brown was also reliable as ever in defence (28 tackles, 2 missed) and made good yardage with his running game (4 for 40m, 1 tacklebreak).

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Today we got some glimpses, but Mitchell Moses is still understandably working his way back to his brilliant best. As touched on below, the service from dummy half in our red zone wasn’t as crisp as it had been, but Mitch still managed a linebreak, try assist and 20 kicks for 657m. Defensively improved in 2020, today’s defensive stats (18 tackles, 4 misses) wasn’t exactly his best day out, but at least he did find his range once again off the boot, effectively kicking us to victory with his 3 from 3 conversions.

8- Reg Campbell Gillard

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Mr. Campbell-Gillard, your running game seems to have the momentum. of a runaway freight train. Why are you so good at Rugby League? Another 19 run and 190 metres, offload and 3 tackle breaks for the big guy today, as well as 44 tackles (4 missed) on the other side of the ball. In short, you don’t need me to tell you RCG continues to provide outstanding value for the Blue & Gold.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

I assume it is a coincidence, but Reed Mahoney has not gone at all well since his re-signing was trumpeted prior to the Manly game. Although his defensive statistics were once again outstanding (64 tackles, 2 missed) but his service has been uncharacteristically poor, with passes hitting the deck and our attack finding itself stifled as a result. I know he’s tough to slow down, but you’d have to think 80 minutes week after week is going to eventually take its toll on the young bloke.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Junior Paulo is such a man mountain, sherpas can often been found around his locker postgame looking to find work.

Big Junez started the game with some tough runs and an absolute peach of a pass for one Mitchell Moses. He went on to play a strong, straight halfback’s game. One of our best 3 players in almost every game this year, today’s MVP has been brewing for a while.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Yes, Shaun! Lane made an important grab of a Dogs’ high ball, as well as breaking a team high 6 tackles on his way to 11 runs for 87m and 3 offloads.

No, Shaun! Lane also missed a team high 5 tackles from his 33 makes, bringing down the usually reputable name of our left edge defence.

15- Marata Niukore

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

I love Marata Niukore, and he was by no means bad today (11 for 108m, 2 tackle breaks and 24 tackles), but where possible I think the one time centre should be permanently considered as an out and out middle. You tell him, though; I’m terrified of him.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

Playing angrier than a middle aged white woman refusing to mask up in Bunnings, Nathan Brown’s Christmas card list continues to shorten by the week. And the good news doesn’t just stop with his racking up 19 runs (143m), 3 offloads and a massive 46 tackles, Cyborg also managed to avoid the Match Review Committee today.



14- Andrew Davey

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

In the most understated of his three NRL games so far, Andrew Davey dished up 4 runs for 20 metres and 21 tackles without a miss. Not a bad game, but nothing to write home about, either. For the first time in his career he shockingly did not have an offload that led directly to an Eels try; disappointing.

16- Kane Evans

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

If nothing else, it was very good to see Kane Evans back out there, today. Although he didn’t set the statistical world on fire,


Late addition: Kane’s  6 runs for 56m were a sight for sore eyes. His 1 offload hopefully a sign of greater things to come as he works his way back to optimal match fitness.

17- Oregon Kaufusi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

In his first game back since Round 8, Oregon Kaufusi hit the ground running with ball in hand, with 4 runs, 32m and 2 tackle breaks, adding 20 tackles (without a miss) in defence.

18- Brad Takairangi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Taka came on, made some runs (3 for 24m) and didn’t do much wrong.

Going forward, I think we should all take a leaf out of the ParraEelsFacts’ guide to life:

Next week we take on a recharged, reignited and resupplied 6th placed Sharks team welcoming back Josh Dugan, Andrew Fifita, Matt Moylan and Jessie Ramien.

Let’s hope the Eels form slump ends this week, and fast.

Whatever happens, we’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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Big Derek

Reed’s grading could be a bit generous, playing dummy half in today’s NRL is more than tackling. He has regressed a bit , his passing is not as crisp as it has been, running game also off the mark again. Playing constant crash balls at the line is not what an alert 9 should be doing. We are half way through the season, let’s trust the basics and options will improve.
Good win when playing without any fire for the middle 40 minutes, can do better as many schoolteachers have written.

greg okladnikov

An ugly win….but a win ( like vs Knights, Bulldogs Rd 1, Panthers game…has been a few). I think teams that lose these sort of games would be happy to swap a close loss for a close win. But the right side defence….its the side that makes me nervous. Some of the better teams may carve us up ( its the side Latrell Mitchell / Luke Keary/ Wade Graham/ etc play against). Need to get that fixed quickly. And in attack….last 10 mins in Bulldogs quarter we hardly went to our left – and most dangerous edge – seemed strange… Read more »


I can’t agree with you more about fergos lack of a 4 pointer. His seemingly white line fever has overtaken any other thing out there especially patience, game play and good old common sense. We were lucky to get the 2. The way panthers are charging along at the moment, we really need to step up. Discipline is the area we seriously lack and its costing us, just lucky it didn’t cost us the 2 today. As always, love reading the grades. Nice to read an honest review without the blue and gold glasses on.


This team is really going to struggle for the rest of the year unless we can change up our attacking structure. The 20m+ dummy half pass that Moses wants completely stifles our attack. Its way too slow, allows all the middle defenders to slide and most of the time the pass is misplaced. We need to play tighter to the dummy half and flat at the line. With Dylan’s footwork and ability to square up a defensive line I think we could really improve our attack that way. It will also bring the king into the game and give him… Read more »


0n the mark Paul. Our game plan has become obsessed with forward domination. When one of the best wingers in our game has not scored a try say’s a lot about our disjointed attack. Shaun Lane an E, has been poor for weeks.

Trapped in the 1970's

Paul, I couldn’t agree more. It was so obvious the week before as well against wests. Reed does have a good left to right long pass as we saw in the SF against the broncos for a Moses try, but that was in open play, whereas it requires an exceptional pass from a dummy half pickup to reach Moses when he is standing as wide as he is. That’s one problem, another is the seemingly relentless attempts to get a get a forward to crash over for a try. It uses up so many tackles in a set, has zero… Read more »


I had a strange feeling at half time that 18-6 wasnt real,we hadn’t played too badly but the Dogs were showing signs and that thought about first scorer in second half troubled me. Bang, right on cue. We scrapped just well enough to survive. Junior was a standout, and tks Mitch for the chuckle re MRC/NBrown, I think he copped 2 hair trigger 6 agains, better that than a charge.


Your grades are consistent with your previous perceptions of how certain players are defined in your eyes Mitch, as either good bad & ugly. I cannot for the life of me believe you saw Davey, Taka and Oggy’s contributions to be equal with my favourite Bible reading middle in Kane Evans. When he came off the bench when we were under the pump on our line and couldn’t get out of our own way carting the ball up through fatigue, Big Kane had more carries, for as many mtrs, offloads and even more crucial tackles than any of our other… Read more »


I’m well thank you Mitch.

Longfin Eel

I think you hit the nail on the head with Mahoney’s service from dummy half. The best hookers distribute the ball quickly to give their attacking players room to move, and Reed certainly did this earlier in the season. Not sure what is wrong, but they need to get this right for the Cronulla game or we will lose that one.


Been saying we need to sign a back up 9 to help.

The rev aka Snedden

I agree looks like reed a getting targeted more n there for getting tired with sloppy passing from dummy half n his stopped kicking from dummy half n his running game from dummy half is like watching Matt Keating in his younger yrs


I don’t often agree with you Snedd. I do today though, but I would dare say Keating although a good honest toiler never got near the heights of skill that Reed Money has. So a good comparison when the “degree of Mahoney’s fall on the weekend” is taken into account. He has made the same mistake getting caught running across field from dummy half near the line in the past also. “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”! Perhaps he was intimidated by his old club?

Last edited 7 months ago by Rowdy

and that would be ???


Poppa, he was brought down from the Sunshine Coast by the Bulldogs I believe. At any rate he was there when we did an exchange deal with them for Reed when he was in their system in the U/20’s.


Sorry Rowdy, my reply was to Anonymous….lol


I really think the whole team is playing tired. If I was BA I would have given the team 7 days off with the 10 day turnaround, instead he gave them 3. They are playing slow, look at the Storm and Penrith, they are still playing an up tempo game and winning well. Can’t see this changing until we get some decent rest for the team to recharge and get back to how they played just after Covid.

The rev aka Snedden

As much as this sounds weird I’d be putting takarangi back into centre to replace Waqa. His Waqa defensive reads are poor n there for making Ferguson come off his wing to help him out n there for opening up a pathway down that right side of the field. I think Kane Evans and Oregon kaufusi were blowing out a few cobwebs but will be much better for the run. I like most are thinking it’s time we played with 2 dummy half’s. Time to go after segeyaro when his cleared to play. Mahoney’s running Game is well it doesn’t… Read more »


Ok Mitch, I cannot see why Junior cant get a A plus and RCG a A. I’m not sure how two props could do much more than that in a game. The rest are OK but you were generous with Dyllan, a C at the most. Guth should be an A also… I hate to think what the score could have been if he wasn’t at the back. I don’t accept this tired “bullshit” everyone is tired but these guys had a 10 day break off a hard work out…..nah they should have been better prepared than every other team… Read more »


PS The ones that had the right to be tired were our 3 best players….doesn’t say much for the rest of them.


Mitch, I’m sure everybody appreciates your explanations for such a subjective analysis of each players performance. After all it is as you say, just your opinion on what is a fun post game? game! Just another game for us Parramatta mugs who never can get enough about our team’s performance, especially when we are winning.
Just a suggestion though Mitch. If you really want people to believe that you’ve actually watched the same game as them? Try watching the replay before writing your grades.


Your right the grades are fun Mitch, that’s why I countered them…. don’t be so sensitive. The other thing is go with your heart and instinct…..those stats are as misleading as anything….if i didn’t enjoy watching and judging the game, i would just look at the stats the next day and decide who should have won. Dyllan is not playing well and the players are not in motion, we need to stop making excuses for them….we all love our team, but they are not performing to a level of expectations. Now in saying all that I expect them to come… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden

Poppa we are in a flat spot. No point in going hard all the way through this bye free season. Look a wins a win weather it’s by 1 or 51 doesn’t have to be pretty dam it can be ugly as far as I’m concerned. Just as long as we play pretty when it counts. Yes there’s many thing’s we need to fix like our right side defence. We need our attack to be better then it has been our line running needs work n so does our point of contact. But I have had a word to the… Read more »


Lol, I think i found out many years ago the man upstairs is not a Parra fan….but if it is typical of the way his chosen people get treated then it does make some sense of the tribulations that we all endure.
God bless us all….because sure enuff the footy gods deserted a long time ago.


BA should also be graded. In our darker days the same strategies were used to try and score from 20 m out. We’ve been lousy at that for years yet we have a better team. Blind Freddie can see that the percentage rate at getting over the line through the middle is about 2%. Our left side is the most potent but kicks to the right are persisted with. Try bringing Fergo into play as a winger and not as a front rower will see him scoring again. Where are BA’s set plays to open up the defences in the… Read more »


Anomalies, it’s a bit of a stretch to want to take a negative critical view of BA’s performance this season when we have won 10 games out of 12 for the first time since 1977?
Probably as you say “Can’t blame the players for these things, either”!

Last edited 7 months ago by Rowdy

Maybe if he coached under the name of anonymous he would cop less flack… have you found that working?

Nick F

Great analysis Mitch. I don’t think it is in Parra’s DNA to give fans a stress-less win (we got that against Cowboys recently, which was nice (R.I.P Kyle Feldt)). It’s nice to win games not playing your best, and let’s face it, Parra have been steadily improving the last three seasons but we are not yet a side that plays near its best for big minutes in all or even most of our games, and we may never be. But to be an Eels fan more than half way through the comp nursing the comp’s best defensive record feels almost… Read more »

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