The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 13 at Cronulla

 

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels  14

  Cronulla Sharks 12

 

The Good:
Another week, another nail biting, heart attack inducing 2 point victory for the Parramatta Eels; we now sit at the right end of the ladder with an incredible 11 and 2 record.

When you consider our record against Cronulla and the ridiculous conditions, it was a particularly satisfying win for the Blue & Gold faithful, even if it was only by 2 points.

In a game played in such a downpour, I spotted Noah pre-game with a worried look on his face, eyes skyward. Of all teams, you would think the Sharks and Eels would do well in the wet, but the game looked more like a game of water polo than professional Rugby League.

Yet two competition points is two competition points, and winning ugly beats losing pretty. Every. Single. Time.

The Bad:
As an Eels fan I could easily have written this in The Good, but gees Matt Moylan was average for the Sharks this afternoon.

In another weird entry, the Eels actually allowed 3 tries to 2, continuing the Cronulla’s propensity to score more tries than their opposition and still lose the contest.

Interestingly, the Eels completed more sets (30/41 for 73%) than their Shired opponents (29/41 for 71%), missed less tackles (28 to 34) and yet made a whopping 17 errors to the Sharks’ 10.

Despite having an incredible sound defensive record, Parra’s edge defence will give me nightmares tonight, and it remains an area of great concern if not sorted come Finals.

I guess it turns out it’s very fun to watch your team score in the wet, and pretty frustrating when it occurs in reverse. Who knew?

The X-Factor:
With our form dip in recent weeks, the Sharks riding high winning 7 of 8 and the return of four of their best, I must say I was fully expecting a victory for the Shire boys this afternoon (ye of little faith, they’ll say, it was never in doubt).

As touched on above, despite each team having 41 sets with the ball in the hand, the Sharks pipped the Eels 52% to 48% in possession. Apparently the home team also conceded 7 penalties to 2 (is that right?) and ran less metres (1988) than the good guys (2141), adding more weight to one of my favourite Rugby League theories that the team that runs more metres usually gets the win.

Finally, how about that scrum win against the feed? How very good.

The MVP:
Dylan Brown. 

I’m becoming more and more convinced that D Brown isn’t so much elusive as he is unusually strong and balanced on his feet, often breaking the first and second attempted tackles. Judging by his performance today, I’d hazard a guess that his father was a mudder and his mother was a mudder; this kid loves the slop.

This afternoon it equalled 11 runs (91m), 2 linebreaks, 1 linebreak assist, 1 try, 1 try assist 33 tackles and a team high 7 tackle breaks.

In short, it was another outstanding game from the youngest of young halves.

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

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Despite being asked to catch missile footballs in monsoonal conditions, Clint Gutherson came away from his 100th game in the Blue & Gold with a clean sheet, making exactly zero errors, missing zero tackles and conceding no penalties all game long. The King added 120 running metres from his 12 hit ups, 2 tackle breaks and is now the Captain of a team with a pretty great record. Huzzah!

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Although his wing partner stood out for all the wrong reasons, Maika Sivo continued his recent struggle with the game of Rugby League. Whether the weather was the weason, it or he had just another off game, the once unstoppable force was seemingly forced to stop, running only for 59m from his 8 hit ups, whilst also breaking only 1 tackle, making 2 pretty costly errors and conceding a penalty. He didn’t seem willing to ruck the ball out, and his defensive decisions proved interesting to say the least.

It was also an interesting decision from Big Mike to appeal so strongly for the first ‘no try’ decision of the game, but I also do need to give him credit for his 2 linebreaks and a VERY important take late in the game, with the big guy not only making a tough catch, but also showing enough nous to hit the ground and stay low in the wet, slippery conditions.

Still, he seems out of sorts at the moment, so consider me missing my old Maika.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Wet and slippery conditions are never a swift footed jinking centre’s friend, and so the old head of Michael Jennings thankfully didn’t try to force anything tonight. The involvement of 10 runs is still encouraging (65m), and I have little doubt his usual litany of tackle breaks (1), linebreaks and tries will soon return.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

I’ve noted in the past that Waqa Blake has looked like a clumsy baby giraffe in an extremely athletic man’s body. Today, it was a case of taking that and simply adding water.

A strange line of 7 runs (49m), 2 tackle breaks underline a relatively ineffective game from the big centre, who never looked all that comfortable out there. After the Eels got a precious penalty and marched back into the Shark’s half, I thought Waqa giving up the Toby Rudolph one on one steal was going to be one of those game changing moments, but thankfully for all involved Ronaldo Mulitalo was a fraction offside for the ensuing grubber.

Finally, it seems Waqa’s defensive decisions are still a ways off, but mate if you’re going to sprint in, MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE TACKLE.
Thank you.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

It’s worth noting that I legitimately am not at all phased that Blake Ferguson is yet to score a try in 2020. If anything it’s an interesting side story; I mean, it’s not like he’s bombing them or doing too much wrong for the most part. Although I would still argue that a winger not scoring tries does not indicate he is out of form, I still think it’s safe to say that on the other hand, the performance Fergo produced tonight actually does.

There’s not a great deal wrong with 12 runs for 120 metres or 5 tackle breaks, and the drop from Shaun Johnson’s bomb shouldn’t be the main filling for anyone’s criticism sandwich. But when you throw in his recent propensity for odd defensive decisions, and then stir through a healthy dollop of that pass? That ridiculous, looping, post drop out pass to the grass at the feet of Junior Paulo?

I had to check with a couple of people that this grade wasn’t an overreaction, but apparently Fergo’s lowest ever grade is well warranted.

As such, here’s a very quick game of fill in the blanks. Blake  _erguson

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

What was your favourite Dylan Brown moment of the day? Was it when, having his hand forced by a sprinting Jesse Ramien, he cleverly chose to simply dummy and shuffle over for our first try? Was it the half break and offload for the team’s second try, scored by Kane Evans? What about the incredible try saver on Siosifa Talakai late in the first half? His short kicking game? Or simply another day out for his boyish good looks?

A well deserved MVP Performance.

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can also go to Dylan Brown Town.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

You know, I thought he did alright. Still warming back into the form he wielded pre-calf injury, Mitchell Moses played a solid game in attack, and was no slouch in defence.

Although he ultimately came off second best, hats off to Mitch for that early halfback sprinting duel with Shaun Johnson inside the first ten minutes; it was great football from both players. It also makes his 3 runs for 78 metres look pretty incredible.

I though Mitch controlled play pretty well, and I don’t remember screaming his name in anger (hi, Blake brothers). Other than a pretty great short kicking game, and him getting us home off the back of his 3/3 goal kicking performance, I thought Mitch’s play of the game came in the form of a pretty great cover tackle on a sprinting Sione Katoa. All in all, I am very much looking forward to the Prince of Egypt slowly building towards peak form come Finals.

8- Reg Campbell Gillard

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Equalling Nathan Brown with a team high 20 hit ups, Reagan Campbell-Gillard was once again outstanding for the Blue & Gold. This afternoon he added 155 running metres, 2 offloads, 4 tackle breaks, 29 tackles and a cheeky recovery and shuffle out of the in goal area to the Eels’ collective effort. Well played, sir.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Although there were a couple of exceptions (most notably an absolute shocking pass for Oregon Kaufusi), Reed Mahoney’s service was generally much better today than it was last week. The Little Terrier also added 56 tackles.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Just another day at the office for the big guy, with 16 runs, 128 metres, 2 offloads, a tackle break and 24 tackles. Be sure to use the code PAULO20 at checkout.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

How about Mr Linebreak Assist (2) over here? The Lean Shaun Lane also had 12 runs (98m) and 34 tackles. And just like that, I’m back on the Lane Train.

12- Marata Niukore

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Although he’s evidently much more comfortable in the middle of the field, Marata Niukore is still forever a solid replacement for almost any position in the forward pack, proving that once again today with a 9 run (79m), 27 tackle outing. It really is such a luxury to have such a solid performer ready to be called into and back out of the starting lineup when required, knowing you will get the same quality performance, week in, week out.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

I think it’s sometimes easy for the Blue & Gold Army to take the Parramatta EelsNathan Brown success story for granted. Many won’t remember he was playing pretty average football for Souths when we nabbed him, and fast forwarding to now, his 4th year at the Eels, it’s easy to underappreciated his transformation into the demigod he’s now become, rolling around the field with a lightning bolt in one hand and a football in the other.

His 20 run, 179 metre performance is not at all unusual, nor the 3 tackle breaks or 43 tackles; and when you think about it, that’s what it makes it all the more incredible.

 

14- Andrew Davey

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Andrew Davey is yet to let anyone down in any of his performances in the Blue & Gold. Somehow running for 40 metres in his 4 hit ups in the wet, the former Farmer Wants a Wife contestant also had 2 tackle breaks and 12 tackles without a miss.

Although he would have breathed a sigh of relief when Aaron Woods was penalised for crowding his dropped ball late in the game, Davey’s opus came as he made an outstanding cover tackle on Will Kennedy with 8 minutes to go.

Wait, is Andrew Davey the new David Gower?

15- Ray Stone

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Back fresh from injury, Ray Stone returned to what he does best: chopping down opposition players in the wet like an over enthusiastic lumberjack.

16- Kane Evans

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Yes I did enjoy Kane Evans’ support play for his second half try; however, I miss the venom of his runs of days gone by. Although his numbers were still pretty strong, I thought at times today it looked as if he was almost ambling his way into the defence, particularly beginning that same second forty. It’s nonetheless disappointing he’ll apparently be running around in Warriors colours come 2021, particularly after a 9 run, 76m performance in 24 minutes off the bench.

17- Oregon Kaufusi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Another solid outing from my favourite player named after a US state. Although the numbers don’t really jump out at you, Big Country had a bigger impact in his 18 minute stint than his 7 runs (52m) and 11 tackles indicate. Still, leave the mistakes (2) at home next time, Oregon.

You know I could not agree more with the Tweet below.

It’s tempting to look at the form of a few other teams, but with 7 weeks to go, you better believe anything can happen and usually does; particularly if you find yourself in the Top 4 come closing time. However you want to slice it, 11 and 2 is not a bad place to be.

A quick turnaround will see us face the Dragons on Friday night, back home in the familiar surrounds of Bankwest Stadium.

Whatever happens, we’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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Shaun

Apart from the two points not much else you can take from this game given the conditions. While I’d like to see a return to attacking form the experience from these games could serve the team well during the finals.

Wilhelmina

Yet another tough game that we made harder with our own errors, but a win is a win is a win. The forwards were solid again – it’s getting easy to take those performances (and minutes) from RCG, Paulo and Brown for granted. I too noticed Evans failing to run hard in attack at times, I was yelling ‘that’s how you do it!’ at the tellie when Niukore took the next hit-up and bent the line. Stone showed his typical mongrel in defence. I like your call on Davey being the new Gowie – every team needs them. Excellent from… Read more »

The rev aka Snedden

Another 2 point win for 2 week’s straight. A wins a win. I’m happy to sit back and watch the Storm n Penrith Panthers win by big margin’s. With us grinding our way to wins will be good heading into the semi’s. Not every team will win by a big score but I’m happy to grind out a 2 point win come Grand final. We did it in 86 can’t see why we can’t do it again.

Trouser Eel

Great grades as usual Mitch though I think you were a bit tough on Fergo, even with “that pass” considered.
Your description of Nathan was fantastic – “the demigod he’s now become, rolling around the field with a lightning bolt in one hand and a football in the other.” Surely there’s a digital artist out there that can knock up such an image with that theme.

Last edited 4 days ago by mitch
Poppa

Agreed TE, Fergs, Maiko and Blake were about as good as each other on balance and a D for the 3 of them would have been more appropriate.
Whilst “the pass” was bad, I think too much has been made of it….Fergs actually made a couple of decent line breaks, which has not been able to manage for the bulk of the season and the end of last.

Look out for Fergs from here on….. I think he is back!

Parastew

Think I have to agree with you, Davey Gower has officially been Andrewed.

Prometheus

In last years semi the Storm exposed our weak outside defence, nearly 12 months later it is probably worse not better. The number of tries scored outside our wingers is scary. It remains the major barrier to higher success.

DDay

Good wrap-up Mitch. Agree the brown brothers were the outstanding. That is one of the Eel’s strengths, every week someone different pots their hand up to be MoM – we’re not reliant on one ‘star’.

Any win against the Sharks is a good win. There’s such composure in the team – let’s hope that’s on display in the finals.

Trapped in the 1970’s

There’s not too much to take out of a game played in conditions akin to running around in the shallow end of a pool. Both Brown’s were very good. A very big bounce back in form for D Brown. Lane seemed in better touch as well. As for Sivo and Fergo they are heart attack material at the moment in defence along with Waqa. They’re all going to be busy lads with the traffic and kicks that will be coming their way on the back of those types of performances irrespective of the conditions. I think Kane is worthy of… Read more »

Stew

Grades spot on. Will always be happy to take the win and move on but goodness the blakes are worrying me….. The Roosters and storm will be licking their lips come finals time to attack our right edge

Stew

i hope you’re right mitch

Glenn

Sorry to disagree here but Gutho made a huge mistake, thinking the ball was going dead for Sharks to score a try. He was in the best position to get to the ball first. Additionally Blake also disappointed, not continuing to run alongside Moses, when he made a break to provide either cover to stop Moses being tackled or being there to take a pass. Very poor decision making by him!

Poppa

Before the calf problem Mitch would have got home, his condition gave out as well…..get on him at his next start, the run did him the world of good.

Poppa

The only huge mistake was the result….when it comes down to fine judgment and you get it wrong by a few centimetres….is it really that huge? The other side of the coin was “what magnificent judgement was shown by Guth”….You could have said yes or no at your first wedding…..was that a huge mistake…Lol

Longfin Eel

I like the way we were able to adapt to the conditions, yet still have some of that intent back in the game. The game was closer than it probably should have been due to a few silly errors, but the middle was solid, which laid the platform for a gritty win. Really need to get the edge defence right. This is going to start costing us soon – not sure what the solution is. I thought Jennings however did what he needed to do, as always this year.

BDon

Definitely the 2 Browns stood out, and maybe Niukore was a dropped ball away from say a B+? I think even RegCG had trouble getting into top gear before defenders were hitting him, big Kane didn’t have a first gear in the mud, maybe it was a process..catch ball, start running, check defence, oops someone’s belted me.Niukore however is a Corvette in all conditions. I couldn’t believe how many times Wade Graham didn’t make the moves/calls in our red zone, while Moylan did. but still we bear no resemblance to Penrith/Storm/Roosters once were defending past the second receiver. They all… Read more »

Colin Hussey

I wonder in regards to Evans if his mind was more on next year in regards to the Warriors and rumours thereof. Without him scoring that try, the end result would have been different.

Paul Munro

Grades and comments spot on this week. The teams development is evident to see in these grinding wins. These are the games we would have lost in the past and slipped down the table.

Ron J

We’re a pretty forgiving lot and overlook obvious flaws that for some reason never get addressed. I won’t get sick of saying “same old same old” while we persist with the same stupidity. (1. Our most lethal attacking weapons are on our left hand side and got left out in the cold for the third game in a row, with Mahony persisting in shovelling it out to the right. (2. Mindless forwards running straight at opposition instead of charging at gaps with the knowledge you’ve got mates on your shoulders. (3. We have about 2% success rate of forwards charging… Read more »

Prometheus

I have commented before about Reed,s lack of running and have been assured he is a work in progress. Other coaches can see that to and just target his receivers, he must dart more often. What about our right side attack, one of the elite finishers has not scored in 13 games, just used as a battering ram. The Storm game will see where we are at.

Anonymous

The team played to conditions and came away with an ugly win. Pretty spot on with these ratings! Our team wouldn’t have won this game last year! Bring on the finals!

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