The Cumberland Throw

Stats That Matta – Round 16, 2020: Rabbitohs Defeat Eels

Round 16 – Thursday 27th August, 2020 @ Bankwest Stadium

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Final Score – Eels 0 defeated by Rabbitohs 38

Just like the Eels, I have no answers. However, I do have the numbers to pose some questions!

Eels had 43% of possession and completed 24 sets from 32 at 75%. From memory, that’s been our lowest number of sets in a game for a long time. We had the ball for just under 36 minutes in the Rabbitohs half and spent 13 and a quarter minutes in the Bunnies 20 metre area.

Unlike other games this year, why were the Eels incapable of stopping the flow of possession to Souths?

Why were the Eels unable to convert any possession into points?

The most glaring stat relates to the Eels defence.

The Eels completed 432 tackles, which is 108 more tackles than Souths, but the biggest stat is our missed tackles. A whopping 58 missed tackles accompanied by 19 ineffective tackles makes for really, really poor reading. That’s 77 tackles not completed.

Can the Eels deny that effort and attitude went missing in action?

I lost count of the times that Eels players slipped over.

Why didn’t we see both teams affected by the surface?

Boys, instead of boots that look pretty, get boots that do their job by keeping you on your feet. I think 4 or 5 tries involved defenders slipping over. It’s just something that should not be happening in a game of footy.

Ray Stone and Nathan Brown both had team high missed tackles with 6 each. Ray Stone completed 22 tackles and Nathan Brown 51 which again was team high.

How did two of our better defenders miss so many tackles?

Was it because they were the ones charging out of the line trying to put some intensity in the defence?

There’s a difference between putting a ball runner under pressure and creating a staggered defence line for them to run at.

I think you’ll find that Daniel Wagon provided a valuable reminder of that back in 2005.

Moses, Campbell-Gillard, Paulo and Lane all missed 5 tackles each.

Forget about Mitch Moses numbers. That’s not unusual for a half, especially in a big loss.

How do three of our biggest men miss so many tackles?

Let’s not forget our edges either. They were found out so often, that on numerous times they didn’t even register a missed tackle!

Should you be counted for a missed tackle when you are beaten so badly that you don’t even attempt one?

As an aside that didn’t stop Jennings and Blake from being counted with four misses each.

The numbers do indicate that the defensive funk started in the middle and spread. This was the team that had only previously leaked 176 points in total for the previous 15 rounds! The Eels compressed defence and slide just isn’t working like it was at the start of the season. After Thursday night the team has slid from best defence to third best.

One shining light in our dismal defensive display was Reed Mahoney with 50 tackles and zero misses. That’s a great effort.

Our left side kick chase was just terrible last night. Many kicks went down that side and the Rabbitohs were making easy metres back due to the poor kick chase. The Latrell Mitchell kick return which netted the Rabbitohs 70 odd metres back down field really showed how poor we were on that side.

Kick chase is an important effort area. Will that feature prominently in the video review?

Heat Maps

Nothing to see here. Certainly nothing that’s indicative of a pack of forwards looking to lay the platform for attack.  Let’s move along.

Set Starts

Just nothing. No pressure. No decent ball in the Rabbitohs half to at least try to throw some questions at them.

Conversely, let’s offer some praise to Adam Reynolds and Souths. This is the heat map that you generate from the opposition with a great kicking game and just as importantly, a committed kick chase.

Please take note!



The usual suspects stand out in the running metres for the Eels.

Regan Campbell-Gillard – 132 run metres from 15 carries

Junior Paulo – 111 run metres from 12 runs

Ryan Matterson – 119 run metres from 12 carries

Nathan Brown – 128 run metres from 17 carries

The numbers are all decent but a zero score line would say it was pretty ineffective.

Our bench this week didn’t have much too add either. Missing Marata Niukore was a bigger blow than anyone would have thought.

Ray Stone didn’t run the ball at all. Kane Evans ran for 55 metres and given the small amount of time Oregon and Davey got, they didn’t leave much of a footprint on the game.

Why were the carries from the forwards so ineffective this week?

It certainly aligns with the ineffective work in defence.


Gutherson again ran for a game high 212 metres from 20 runs.

Sivo with 167 run metres, Jennings with 155 and Ferguson with 138 run metres were all impressive, but when it’s out of your own end time after time there is just no pressure built and there seemed to be no fuel in the tank once the team did get some sort of decent territory.

Waqa Blake……. I don’t know where to go with this. No part of his game justifies a first grade berth – runs for 46 metres. Just poor. No involvement. He didn’t look to get involved with just 6 possessions all game. Defensively he made 14 tackles with 4 misses.


Dylan Brown was my MVP last night. Running 116 metres from 9 runs is indicative of how Dylan has played this year. Even injured, he didn’t give up and put on a great solo effort to score a try, only for it to be pulled back.

Mitchell Moses just hasn’t been the same since his injury lay off. He did actually look dangerous when he did run the ball, but majority of the time he is playing well short of the line and passing early. The old draw and pass has disappeared from his game recently.

He kicked well for 555 kicking metres but was well over shadowed by the Souths half. Adam Reynolds kicked for 744 metres last night.

So this one is thankfully behind us and in the history books, and we can now look ahead to the Warriors on the Central Coast next week.

Brad Arthur and especially his defensive team would have been watching video into the wee hours and nutting out where it all went wrong.

Lets hope this is the Eels one and only poor game of the season. With just 4 games to go to the semis, you don’t want to limping into a finals campaign down on form and making up the numbers in what has been a very impressive previous 15 weeks of rugby league.

Yours in Blue and Gold

  • Colmac


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12 thoughts on “Stats That Matta – Round 16, 2020: Rabbitohs Defeat Eels

  1. Zero58

    I think the bus didn’t stop to pick the players up
    Was that really the Eels?
    They played like strangers. 2017 re-visited.
    The premiership credibility has been questioned and some would say answered.
    When they develop better respect for the ball they will then give themselves a better chance.
    They have now been unmasked as pretenders and only the team can change that perception.
    If BA doesn’t drop one or two players then we can look forward to next year.
    How can the team go so well one week and turn it up the next.
    I think many Eels fans would be rightly disappointed – I am.
    Then again I hope they will turn it around because I, like many others are tired of the same two or three teams dominating the competition.
    But, they are still and always will be my team.

    1. sixties

      Zero, I assume you meant 2018?
      I have postulated that the team have forgotten what made them successful in the first ten rounds – aggressive, unrelenting & pain inflicting defence. Patience in possession. Building to wins. Points came late in games in battles of attrition. We didn’t need to be a team like the Storm or Easts. We were playing a winning style of football that suited our team.
      We simply need to return to that.

      1. Zero58

        Yes I did, I realised my error later but, knew you would understand what I meant.

        Absolutely, they had strong defence that actually hurt which opened up their attack in the second half. They played a hard but patient game.

        That was premiership football they played. The obvious question – what happened to it?

        If they get back to that then they have a chance. Parra has clearly gone through a flat spot. Is it possible the sore has finally festered and burst on Thursday night.

        BA has to make some changes – a certain centre cannot hold his position. As disappointed as I am I think they can still turn it around. Think 2009, that last game against the Saints.

        I hate Parra losing, no I really hate it but after. 60 years you get to accept it more graciously.

        1. sixties

          I agree that the centre position requires a change and Forty and I went into it in some depth on the Tip Sheet. The injury to Brown might complicate things

  2. sixties

    The set starts heat map really resonates after being at the game. Reynolds kicking to Sivo’s corner. We were pinned and made to struggle coming out off the line.

    1. Colin Hussey

      Sixties, like the rest of the team against the UG’s Sivo provided nothing to or for the team, the only positives with his play for me was his new found ability to take the balls kicked to him, BTW, I could only stomach watching 50 odd minutes of the game so don’t know how he went in the last section.

      Where has his bullocking runs gone, his fends that had opposition defence flying backwards and the like, sure he is marked more but he’s almost a dark mirrored version of the other side of the field and our winger and centre over there.

      1. sixties

        As I said to Zero, I’ve put my solution ideas out there on the Tipsheet, but I think we can solve both Sivo and Blake with one inclusion.

  3. Prometheus

    Good concise report Colmac, it was a horrendous night, let’s just hope it was a one off. If they do it again the M16 will get dusted off.

  4. Adam

    Moses attacking kicking game has been below par for weeks now.

    His long range kicks are generally good but he hasn’t hit a target with an attacking cross field kick in weeks. He also isn’t forcing anywhere near the number of drop outs he was prior to his injury.

    It was particularly noticeable in the Storm game but I first noticed in the Bulldogs game just how few of his attacking kicks actually landed where they were meant to. It’s been a big factor in our inability to score points and sustain pressure.

    Joey Johns has mentioned a few times that Moses is experimenting with a different style of kick. It’s not working. He should shelve it immediately and get back to basics. Reynolds kicked us to death early in that match. And reverse torpedo bombs had nothing to do with it.

    I won’t be popular fo suggesting this but I don’t think Johns has had a net positive influence of Moses. He won the Dally M last year and will struggle to crack the top 10 halves this year on most metrics.

    This has been a major factor in our less than impressive form over the last few months. Our inability to score points has us becoming increasingly impatient. Which has started to erode our confidence in defence. A month ago we would stopped most of those Souths tries even if we were attacking poorly.

    Now we will be hard pressed against the Warriors who are suddenly playing like a finals team and have nothing to lose.

    I agree with BA that the fix is simple, but it won’t be fast. With Brown effectively gone for the season we need to go back to basics. Run hard, tackle hard and put the trick shots and experimental kicking away.

    1. sixties

      Adam, thanks for your extended reply to Colmac’s post.
      I agree entirely with getting back to basics. If you get the chance, have a listen to Forty on the Tip Sheet talk about the very same thing.
      As for Moses, I think his struggles with kicking has more to do with his injury than his work with Joey.

  5. DDay

    How do our best defenders and our biggest men collectively miss so many tackles? That’s the fundamental question Colmac. Because not only were tackles missed but the venom was missing in our defence. The eels were playing catch up because their strength mysteriously become their weakness.
    Whether the Melbourne game took more out of the guys than expected, or the training week was too taxing or it was just attitude BA has a season defining week to turn it around.

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