The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 15 vs Storm


Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels 14

  Melbourne Storm 0


The Good:
We did what we had to do and got the points off Melbourne.

Yes the Storm were missing a small army to the injury list, but which single fact nonetheless best describes what the Eels were up against tonight?

  • Is it the 96-10 the Storm have put on the Eels in our last TWO matchups; one the perfect way to ruin Magic Round, the second an elimination Semi Final?
  • Instead the fact that we have an all time 13-23 (36%) win record against the Storm, the club’s worst of any active NRL team?
  • What about the paltry stat that the Eels had only won 2 of their last 10 against Melbourne?

However you slice it, regardless of Melbourne’s significant injury list, history would tell you the Eels were up against it tonight.

It’s been said a million times, but the Roosters and the Storm have been the benchmark since Jesus was a boy, so it’s nice that we didn’t go the way of the former when those two teams clashed a couple of weeks ago.

If you want to win Premierships (just one would be fine with me), you’d prefer to be a good defensive side still trying to find their rhythm in attack, than the reverse.

The Bad:
If the Eels lost tonight, I would have had to go all Joker-in-the-Dark-Knight on you all; I mean straight up lose my mind. But thankfully, despite some disappointing second half attack, we managed to wrestle out a win.

Obviously, yes our defence is outstanding, particularly holding a Melbourne side to nil. But on the other side of the coin I think the Eels need to rediscover the incredible patience they showed in the opening 6 or so Rounds of 2020, avoiding those pushed passes and opting instead to hold the ball and build pressure.

With that said, the end of the Channel 9 telecast saw Sterlo suggest that if the Eels were offered a 14-0 victory, they would have taken it in a heartbeat. Maybe we, the fans, should too.

The X-Factor:
Possession was 50/50, and completions (Eels 75%, Storm 73%) weren’t too far apart either. The Eels won so it only makes sense that they ran more metres (2320 to 2018, that stat continues to prove true) and had a whole lot more penalties (8 to 1).

In a strange takeaway, Josh Addo-Carr had 5 of the Storm’s 12 errors to himself; he evidently must be gearing up for that rumoured move to the Tigers.

The Eels will now exit Round 15 as the best defensive side in the NRL, and were tonight the first side to hold the Melbourne Storm scoreless for the first time in 6 seasons.

The MVP:
He got a mention last week, but this week it’s his and his alone. Tonight’s MVP is Nathan Brown.

It’s always good to see the big guy run reckless and rough shot, straight into the teeth of an opposition side with his signature disregard for the misery he inflicts on them.

You the MVP, Cyborg. You the MVP.

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

If I know Clint Gutherson (and I don’t, he won’t return my calls), he would have been particularly proud of the zero next to Melbourne’s scorecard tonight. Chalk up another 15 runs, 172m, linebreak assist, try assist and 4 tackle break game to the Captain. His heart is so pure apparently his sweat can be used to clean precious metals.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

After last week’s F showing, Eels fans collectively hoped Maika Sivo would discover his mojo in Round 15. While it wasn’t human highlight reel sorta stuff, it was nice to see the big Fijian attack the bombing raids that came his way (no errors tonight) and run 13 times for an excellent return (128m), adding a tackle break, 2 linebreaks and his 22nd try in 20 games at Bankwest Stadium.

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but Michael Jennings has got plenty in his kit bag already. Although impressive, it wasn’t so much his statistics (13 runs, 133m, 3 tackle breaks, 1 linebreak assist) that stood out to me; it was his brilliant defensive game. Both in first contact and cover defence (19 tackles), the Jet shrewdly gobbled up any Victorian that came his way. He might be nearing 100 years old, but he’s evidently still very fresh between the ears.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

After consistently owning him for most of the first half, I hear Waqa Blake’s title deed is now in Justin Olam’s possession. Nonetheless, thanks to a gorgeous Ryan Matterson offload, Waqa still managed to have the first and last laugh, scoring the opening try of the game and finishing with a solid 13 runs, 106m, 1 linebreak and 1 tackle break game. I also thought Waqa’s defence was pretty consistent, with me yelling neither he nor Blake Ferguson’s name at the television all game; those are good signs.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Enjoyed the battle between Blake Ferguson and Josh Addo-Carr, with Fergo taking home as many tries as his opposite number. Elsewhere it was 11 runs (102m) and 3 tackle breaks. He’ll find a try soon enough.

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

What’s worse than heartbreak?

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

Bit of a mixed bag for Mitchell Moses tonight. On one hand the Prince of Egypt had a poor opening kick,  a poor pass to the empty grass in front of Blake Ferguson, a poor pass to finish the opening set of the second half and demonstrated a general unwillingness to engage the Melbourne defensive line.

On the other hand, Mitch made a couple of really important tackles on Ryan Papenhuyzen to save certain tries, and showing good foresight to rush up on a charging NAS late in the second. Also, he deserve credit for managing to survive this:

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Certainly not out of sync or in any sort of slump, I’m nonetheless hoping Moses finds his rhythm sooner rather than later. In order to come up with this Grade, I gave him a B+ for his defence and a C for his (and the team’s) attack.

In other news, after slipping over like he were on ice skates at Bankwest a few weeks ago, tonight Mitch sported studs so long they were actually taller than Reed Mahoney.

8- Reg Campbell Gillard

Prop, Parramatta Eels

After spending more weeks atop the charts than the Beatles, RCG had a bit of a quieter game tonight with 11 runs for 85m and 21 tackles.

You might not realise this, but Reagan Campbell-Gillard actually has a tattoo of his own face, over the top of his own face.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

Of the million tackles Reed Mahoney has made this season, few will be more important or impressive than the one he made to stop man mountain Nelson Asofa-Solomona in the 10th minute. It was just one of his 26 tonight, a number I suspect is close to a season low, other than Round 2 where he left with an injury. Despite the limited minutes, I still spotted a couple of loose passes tonight, but I’m relieved BA was able to find him a spell as we start our charge towards the Finals.

Find someone who looks at you the way Dylan looks at Reed.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Not unlike his prop partner, it was a more reserved game from the Bankwest Sasquatch, putting up 12 runs (87m), 3 offloads,3 tackle breaks and just 13 tackles. It’s still hard to not be stunned watching a man who weighs more than my car sidestep and offload his way around and through opposition defences, but I need to remember that Jun Paul the Third is one of God’s little (big) miracles.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

You might remember Laney’s game for a pushed pass or two, but really you should be thinking about the 17 runs, 174m, offload, linebreak assist and 27 tackles. A sneaky great game from our edge backrower, only to be bettered by …

12- Ryan Matthison

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

The footage will show a whole lot of tackles, a nice linebreak and a brilliant offload from Ryan Matterson tonight; all coming together in yet another brilliant 80 minute performance. The numbers read 11 runs, 128 metres, 5 offloads, 1 linebreak, 1 linebreak assist and 54 freakin’ tackles; and I must say the young man went very close to claiming Nathan Brown’s MVP award.

The Face also made a couple of sneaky important tackles on the aforementioned menace, Ryan Papenhuyzen. Muy bueno.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

The first 5 minutes or so were not Nathan Brown’s finest work as he pushed a poor pass for his halfback, leading to both the Eels’ first error of the game and an early attacking raid on our line. But from that point on, Mr Brown got to work, hurtling into the Melbourne defensive line (20 runs, 168m) like he’d been fired from a cannon; also adding 3 offloads and a team high 5 tackle breaks.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Shut it down, Nathan Brown.


14- Ray Stone

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Ooft. As previously mentioned, I enjoyed the fact that someone, somehow gave Reed Mahoney a spell, and it’s good to see the quality of Stoney’s service has dramatically improved.

Tonight Ray not only made 28 brutal tackles, he also made 1 run for 7 metres with  a tackle break. I like those odds. Imagine what he could do with 3 or even 4 runs.

In other news, his willing consumption of opposition players gives me reason to believe Ray Stone is actually a cannibal.

15- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Despite having his face rearranged by Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s right shoulder, Crash still put up some solid numbers (11 runs, 87m, 2 tackle breaks and 28 tackles). I particularly enjoyed his unmitigated aggression in defence, and have thoroughly enjoyed watching his transformation into the mobile middle forward we now know and love.

16- Kane Evans

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Thanks to our good friend (and fellow Eels fan) over at Rugby League Eye Test, I was recently alerted to the fact that for time on the field, Kane Evans actually has the third highest percentage of runs based on his time on the field. Kane Enabled runs 16.94% of all runs when the Eels have the ball, which is only behind Andrew Fifita and resident jerk Nelson Asofa Solomona across the NRL.

As for tonight, it admittedly wasn’t a great first hit up for Kane’s World as he lost the ball in pretty conspicuous circumstances; but from that point on I thought he played his part, with a terrific 11 run, 102m, 2 offload and 2 tackle break performance. Evans also showed encouraging defensive instincts, defending within the system with 15 tackles and zero misses. It’s Kane’s World. Kane’s World. Party time. Excellent.

17- Oregon Kaufusi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

You might not have been aware, but today is actually Oregon Kaufusi’s 21st birthday (no, really, it is). The Gun celebrated in style with 9 runs for an impressive 84 running metres, throwing in a tackle break for good measure.

We went in, got the 2 points and avoided a particularly nasty strain of injury bug that seems to be going around at the moment. For this week at least, we should consider that mission accomplished.

Looking forward, next week we’re back at Bankwest Stadium, this time to take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Same bat time, same bat channel.


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.

If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.

44 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 15 vs Storm

      1. !0 Year Member

        lol. you can only laugh at the suggestion Bellyache made that we are coached to play for penalties. That in my opinion is defamatory towards BA and the team. Suck it up princess.

    1. The Captain

      How dare our boys not just get straight back up and thank the Storm players for their grubby plays, shoulders in the mouth, clotheslines and crusher tackles.

      I’m actually really proud that we didn’t react or respond to the grub plays on show from the Storm. It was obviously a tactic to try and throw us off, and the likely result is a few suspensions for the Storm (which only helps our cause as some more Storm loses help us go up the ladder).

      Bellamy – if you don’t like guys “staying down” when they get crusher tackled, you could always try, you know, coaching your team not to crusher tackle. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

  1. Anonymous

    Mitch? I give you a B+ for that performance mate!

    Good effort shrouded in mystery mate, but hey, only a bit of post match fun eh?

  2. Rowdy

    To give an example of your astute eye Mitch. Sivo was very good tonight. I’m glad Sixties and other wise contributors were prepared to stick with him for one more game. Much greater judges than myself, I wanted him sacked, if the coaching staff had taken my written wrath into consideration? we may not have seen the big fella back to his bustling best for some time. Go Sivo you good thing!

    1. Trapped in the 1970's

      I’m with you Rowdy. If it had been left to me I would have had Sivo as a spectator and not a participant last night. However, credit where it is due and the fact that he committed and caught the high balls, ran with pace and determination, took the ball up with vigour and didn’t make any crazy defensive reads was a welcome return to much better form.

    2. mitch Post author

      Thanks mats. To be fair if he repeated last week I would have joined you. So I was only a week behind!

  3. !0 Year Member

    Thanks for posting a great article so quickly after the game. The summary, wit and humor are great after a game, win or lose. Thank you.

    1. One Put Pete

      Yes thanks for your huge effort Mitch, really enjoy reading your comments and often have a few 🤭 chuckles!!

  4. Trouser Eel

    Great grades Mitch. Not sure if this came through on the tv but the amount of time Melbourne were allowed to hold us down in the takle seemed outrageous. I think that was also an x-factor on why we didn’t score as many as we may have.

    1. Anonymous

      I thought that too until we started counting how long we were in the tackle as well and found we were just as bad.

      1. John Eel

        No. I don’t think so.

        After watching a fast and furious (Sharks game aside) NRL competition since the Covid break I was surprised by the Storm tactics last night

        They were loitering in the tackle all night.

        Maybe you should get to a game anonymous

        1. Rowdy

          Alas. Then he’d have no excuse for some of his ridiculous opinions and poor interpretations of what has gone on at training and in the games Mr John Eel. I really enjoy the diverse opinions on here. It stimulates my own slow cognitive into full blown enthusiasm even passion.

      2. BDon

        No way, i count them too, so we differ, no probs with that, but watch it again and also look at the second and even third efforts in tackles by the Storm. Many are subtle but they’re there.

    2. Rowdy

      G’day Trouser Eel. I was wondering if it was you or I, myself who is the enigma mate. Last week I couldn’t have disagreed more emphatically with your opinion as you are aware (I hope I didn’t offend you, too much)? This week I couldn’t agree more specifically with your observation of Melbourne’s spoiling tactics and the successful blunting of a lot of our attack being the outcome. Tactically, I still think BA matched Bellyache last night. We are truly becoming a well discipline footy team to have not retaliated.

      1. Colin Hussey

        With bellyache being escorted out of the presser last night after he accused BA and the eels of gamesmanship, along with players staying down, turning over to get a crusher penalty for themselves, seems to me that the melbourne coach did not like the loss, or our coach matching him in comments in regard to what went on.

        While the storm know their roles in their team and go well in how they handle it, the eels showed they could match it, especially with Big Dog looking at another stint in the boarding kennel and needing a chain on his collar. It also pleases me that he stayed down there rather than coming to the eels some years back when so many fans here wanted him in our side.

        Our grit in defense last night did a storm on them, which is more than likely the reason Bellyache went on,as we certainly had a downpour on them in defence, and light shower in attack.

    3. Rowdy

      I must say, to follow up on my above reply to Trouser. When I vehemently disagreed with you concerning Sivo’s ability, last week? I was found to have egg all over my face about Sivo’s capacity to turn things around last night. Sivo was back to his bustling best. Realizing and confessing my error of judgement has a soothing affect on me spiritually. It’s referred to as the “law of the spirit of life” which sets me free from the “law of sin and death”

  5. David

    Nice to see all the a and b scores again
    OK we made a few errors in the 2nd half but at least it was while we were trying to nail the coffin shut. Just need to go back and learn the patience again. I think once fergo gets the 1st try the flood gates will open and he’ll go off with a bang

  6. Shaun

    Yes, the attack is a little off but BA didn’t seem to concerned. In his presser he mentioned that training has been very focused around defence. If the defence keeps showing signs of improvement as it did last night then the tries will come.

    1. mitch Post author

      It’s funny. In the light of a new day I actually don’t care what our attack is or isn’t like, as long as we find ways to win.

      I mean as long as we keep doing that, what’s the problem?

  7. Prometheus

    A good old fashion tough game. I loved it. Credit to the Storm, down on troops but came out swinging. They have a mental hardness we are still reaching for. More of Ray Stone please, he rocked a few Storm forwards particularly big Nelson. Give me more of that style of footie it’s great.

    1. mitch Post author

      Huge fan of Ray Stone. Every team needs a defensive hard head or two. Think Dallas Johnson or Trevor Gillmeister

  8. DDay

    Mitch your grading system is spot on; 3 “A”s and a host of “B”s is about right – certainly better than the journalistic grading of the game which is centred around crusher tackles. Solid win by the Eels built around defence. Whilst more points would have been welcome we were playing against the best defensive team going into round 15 and the Storm scramble so well as per the Jennings near try with the ball knocked out on the line. Much better use of the bench by BA – Marata, Evans and Stone had some decenet game time and contributed. Lots of improved areas this week; Moses found the grass a number of times rather than constant bombs, much more involvement by the edge forwards and coming back against the grain, Sivo taking the high ball. Already looking forward to Souths.

  9. One Putt Pete

    Great grade report and also enjoy the humour. However I did laugh out loud about Gutho’s “sweat being used to clean precious metal” – a good one Mitch. It sure is great to be an Eels fan this week but still waiting for Furgo’s first 4 pointer – you just have to love his attitude and that beaming smile. Remember Parra fans that Premierships are won on defence. Go Parra

  10. Glenn

    The good: The 2 Blakes defence improved out of sight tonight. Lets hope they keep up the good work for the rest of the year.
    The bad: Pushed passes to nobody and dropped balls galore. Tell me why Parra always seem to become manic when playing the good teams but usually they settle down by the second half, but not tonight.

    Perhaps if there was more support for the ball runner there might be less lost ball. Both Evans and Kaufusi were looking for a support to offload to and lost ball as there was none.

  11. BDon

    Matterson is a real tradesman, just goes about his work with skill and attention to detail. More of an electrician than a plumber though, just couldn’t see him top to toe in mud.Nathan Brown is reeling off performances in the Ray Price mold, every week you know you’ll get skin and bruises.
    One of the best football stories unfortunately is an AFL yarn. Legendary Port Adelaide coach Fos Williams, unhappy with a first half effort, asked the team doctor to check every one for cuts, bruises, injury. The Doc said none, so Fos cleared the shed and gave it to the lads in spades, they improved to win. I don’t think Fos would ever verbal NBrown ( or many NRL players).

  12. The rev aka Snedden

    The thing that stayed in my head was Gutherson’s blast at someone for not passing to him with a forward either side of him n clear air in front yet they take the tackle.

    I was explaining the game sivo plays compared to semi n my wife agreed that sivo doesn’t attack the ball or look’s for open space. Semi on the other hand always looks for open space n only powers over the try line when his about 5\10 metres out.

    Waqa Blake n Ferguson were good not great but are improving.

    Lane had his best game in the 2nd half 1st half a bit down but much better in the 2nd half ran harder held the ball tackled well good to see.

    Hopefully Brad Arthur start’s tomorrow with our attacking play’s. Bring Joey in n get them on song our defence is good let’s work on our attack.

    If we are going to defend a score let’s make it a score were the opposition has to score 3\4 tries not 2 meat pies.

    Another must win Game next Thursday night. Never thought I’d be saying this but go Manly Next week n Next week alone. This weekend go shark’s.

    Just in marata looking at 2 week’s for a Crusher. No joke it’s true.

    Next week I’d be starting Evans n “Resting”RCG from the Bench n next week the same with junior Paulo. But dam I really like Ray stone. Not your normal hooker more a lock forward his game has improved.

    1. Colin Hussey

      I think the blast was against the right side backs holding the ball up, he was certainly going off at them.

  13. Hamsammich

    Sorry Mitch I got to Nathan Brown’s analysis and had to stop. “Pushed a poor pass for his halfback”, you won’t see a softer pass from someone running at 100%. Mitch ran into the hole so was expecting the pass and should have caught it. Agreed with 1-12, no idea about 14-17.

    1. mitch Post author

      Ha for what it’s worth, I didn’t think the softness of the pass was the issue, my concern was the fact that he pushed it; the pass wasn’t on, Moses was covered even if he caught it. But that’s me.

      1. Hamsammich

        The way I see it is that Mitch ran into the hole so he should expect and catch the pass. Just like when a prop drops the ball close to the line as they were expecting to be a decoy runner, I don’t see either as the passer’s fault. Anyway if Mitch holds onto it and runs into open space Brown is a genius; high risk high reward, that’s the way we play some like it some don’t.

        Btw, I read all of the grades and agreed with most of them as I usually do. Was just trying to have a bit of fun with the “stopped reading x line” poking fun at the people that actually do that sort of thing, obviously I’m not good at it. Stay safe and enjoy the weekend, the Eels won.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: