The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Ignite The Spark Edition

NRL Team List

 

I have no doubt that Friday night’s prime time clash against the Penrith Panthers will have match-of-the-round billing through this week. The table-topping Panthers, in the midst a monstrous 12-game winning streak, host the very team they last lost to in the Eels. With Penrith (Cowboys, Bulldogs) and Parramatta (Broncos, Tigers) set to face teams outside of finals contention in the final two weeks, this match represents a massive opportunity for both teams tune-up before sudden death footy.

That is why it is all the more frustrating that the Eels are limping into this game – both figuratively and literally.

Parramatta’s 24-18 victory over the New Zealand Warriors was an important result in the big picture. The Blue & Gold strengthened their grip on a Top 4 finish and kept the chasing hounds that are the Roosters and Raiders at bay for at least another week. However, the Eels were once again unable to recapture the essence and energy that defined their dominant first half of the season and worse – they picked up a number of critical injuries.

Reed Mahoney has been named to play after he was cleared of a significant long-term issue with his shoulder but I would be very surprised if he was anywhere near 100% for Friday. Ray Stone has grown in leaps and bounds in recent weeks but ultimately there is only so much he can do as a relief dummy-half as opposed to Parramatta’s primary ball-handler in Mahoney.

The Eels walk a delicate line with Reed from here on out as they obviously need him as healthy as possible for the finals but conversely require his services to ensure a Top 4 finish. When these teams last met in Round 4 it was one of the most brutal and physical clashes of the season and I doubt the Panthers will dial back that intensity this week and as such it will be a mighty test for that shoulder. I wouldn’t be shocked if Brad Arthur leaned on Stone even more this week.

The other major blow to come out of Round 17 was the loss of Marata Niukore for the remainder of the regulation season. Niukore has been a standout for the Eels either as an impact player from the bench or as a starter when covering injuries or suspensions. The breakout star battled through the rib injury he sustained against the Warriors but was in obvious discomfort as the contest wore on. Kane Evans and Oregon Kaufusi will need to step up to the plate in his absence while Andrew Davey will hold down the fort in his place for the time being.

It might not mean much in the short term but there is a name worth remembering on the extended bench this week as Samuel Hughes makes his first ever appearance on Team List Tuesday. Hughes is one of Parramatta’s blue-chip prospects and the young bookend will be a serious contender for consistent playing time off the bench in 2021

Friday night looms over the Eels as a monumental challenge. They beat the Panthers last they met on a game-plan that featured driven, consistent and punishing defence and the ability to maximise on limited attacking opportunities. The iteration of the Eels that we have more recently come to know is a pale shade of that side and worse, key players are either missing or massively banged-up.

Still, maybe this challenge is exactly what Parramatta needs. Their backs are to the wall this week and they will enter this game as massive underdogs for good reason. If they offer up the same janky and inconsistent brand of football this week then the Panthers will tear them to shreds. Perhaps the cognizance of that fact will galvanise the playing group back into the form and type of play that they know they are capable of producing.

While I always want the win, this is very much a game where a constructive loss could take this team a long, long way. A spark of resilience and determination this Friday could rapidly grow into an inferno in the coming weeks. I know the Eels have been scratchy, I know they are banged up but in way that is all the more reason to show the Panthers exactly what they are made of on Friday night and really take the chance to stick it to the provisional minor premiers for 80-minutes.

 

Parramatta Eels Penrith Panthers
1 Clinton Gutherson 1 Dylan Edwards
2 Maika Sivo 2 Josh Mansour
3 Michael Jennings 3 Brent Naden
4 Waqa Blake 4 Stephen Crichton
5 Blake Ferguson 5 Brian To’o
6 Jai Field 6 Jarome Luai
7 Mitchell Moses 7 Nathan Cleary
8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard 8 James Tamou
9 Reed Mahoney 9 Api Koroisau
10 Junior Paulo 10 James Fisher-Harris
11 Shaun Lane 11 Viliame Kikau
12 Ryan Matterson 12 Liam Martin
13 Nathan Brown 13 Isaah Yeo
14 Ray Stone 14 Tyrone May
15 Andrew Davey 15 Spencer Liu
16 Kane Evans 16 Moses Leota
17 Oregon Kaufusi 17 Zane Tetevano
18 Haze Dunster 18 Mitch Kenny
19 Stefano Utoikamanu 19 Kurt Capewell
20 Will Smith 20 Matt Burton
21 Sam Hughes 21 Charlie Staines
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JonBoy

That’s a huge tick for Sam Hughes even though we probably don’t have many options with Polar playing with the Warriors.

I’m expecting RCG and Waqa to stand up this week to give Ivan another reminder of what he is paying for.

I’m nervously optimistic about this game, but I also think that that is just the plight of being an Eels supporter.

Eels forever!

Parra 15 – Panthers 14 IN a golden point thriller.

MoM- RCG

sixties

In a season like this there’s no dramas with being optimistic JonBoy. With so much negativity in the world and closer to home, it’s good to be positive.

Colin Hussey

No doubt this is the match of the round and will be a tough one without doubt. While this is a crucial game for both clubs but moreso for the eels, the Riff are on top ATM and would want to stay there so there’s a lot on the line for them. The eels though need a win against them to show they are not just a few early rounds leaders, and will want to cement their current position at least. To lose Marata is big as he’s been top off the bench this year, Kafusi needs to go to… Read more »

sixties

Colin, I’d be playing it safe with Reed. The Riff will target him, and if he’s close to being ok, a week off will do him good

Colin Hussey

I have no doubts that Reed would want to play, probably feels he let the team down against the warriors, for mine though as I said about him already and you have also said the same thing sixties, its not worth taking a chance with him playing this soon. The team outside of his selection is a good one, and with Reed back next week or the last week of the main season is one that if they can seal the centre together along with the backs stepping up with each of those areas, no reason we have the forwards… Read more »

Offside

I think the Reed selection is a bit of gamesmanship.
For me im not fussed on the result more the performance this needs to be the start of the finals preparation

sixties

I reckon we’re all looking at what we dish up this week to gauge how finals footy might go. That said, a win would strengthen the buffer between Parra and Raiders.
Good to see Hughes get more recognition via reserve list naming,

Anonymous

Hi 60s, is Hughes selection in the 21 a reflection of how he has gone at training this year from what you may have observed?

Do you believe he is in the mix for some time on the bench next year as 40/20 alluded to? There is all of a sudden a shortage on our middles for next year, assuming Terepo won’t be back.

Cheers mate, keep up the good work.

sixties

Thanks for the question. My answer is a definite yes on both counts. Hughes improvement has been exponential since joining the NRL squad in the preseason. I also reckon he’s got bigger without losing mobility. His carries into the ruck in opposed sessions are terrific to watch.

Zero58

Sixties, any truth in the rumour Hollis has signed elsewhere?

sixties

Zero truth

Zero58

Excellent response

Anonymous

Cheers mate. Look forward to seeing him in the future.

Luke Winley

Master class time Mitchy

!0 Year Member

I would be happy with him just applying some game management.

Milo

Play them in the forwards; limit the edges for them and we just need to give them ball where they do not want it; inside their 20 m. Its simple for me. Good kick and chase and go back to early rounds. Hunger and tenacity. We will win this i feel. Sorry But I do not want Smith on bench if it can be helped; he is not a dummy half…..sorry he’s a decent utility half etc. but front on defence? no

sixties

I keep going back to that simple formula of winning the game through winning the middle, both with and without the ball.

Michael Formosa

I know this guy cops it a lot (and definitely some it is justified) but is Peni Terepo available for selection? I never see him named anymore even as a reserve player that’s never going to get a run anyway. He is high energy impact style of a player that is a perfect fill in for Marata Niukore.

sixties

No, he’s not currently available.

Offside

I believe there is a issue for Peni thats keeping him from playing and possibly played his last game for us

sixties

I won’t comment further on that Offside.

Rowdy

Excellent perspective Forty20. Although I would think your reasoning for us having the motivation to compete hard is perhaps even enough speculation that we are at least a 50/50 proposition on Friday night. Another factor that no-one has as yet mentioned. This is another game against our little brother Penriff, in which a victory, holds pride of place among the players and staff from both clubs. It has done, since the early 1970’s, (1970 in particular) when they lured “Thirsty Lynch” with a new truck to the foot of the mountains. The trading of top-line players has not stopped since… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Rowdy
sixties

Like your positivity mate. I’m not quite that confident.

jack herd

I don’t think BA will risk playing Reed knowing how much we need him come finals time. I think the smart choice would be Will Smith coming onto the bench to give us another dimension when he comes on. His kicking game and speed around the ruck may take the pressure off moses and jai field. If we can do the little things right in this one, keep our effort and intensity up through the game, we can match them.

BDon

Jesús Jack, didn’t Will have his kicking license revoked after a Dragons game in 2018? I suppose he should be given parole at some stage.

Zero58

He is a specialist dummy half!!!

For forward passes.

jack herd

Apart from that 1 kick out of the full…he still has it in his skill set which gives us that option. Can’t see ray stone kicking any time soon so at least it gives us that dimension if he slots into the team.

sixties

Stone can kick Jack, but like you, I don’t imagine he will feature as a kicker in the game.

Milo

Ohhh I long for Cameron King to be somewhere on the bench..v good back up.

John Eel

Reed is out and Will Smith is on the bench

No point in rushing Reed in if he is not 100%. Save him for the finals

Gustarny

Lol people are a bit tough on will I can remember the kick against the dragons and the poor game vs Cowboys but I can also remember some match winning performances in other games when we lost Gutho to injury.We must remember this guy is prob on minimum wage and can virtually cover any position from 1 to 7 including 9 also.

Rowdy

I concur Gustarny, but as much as I enjoyed many of those performances fro Will Smith. I would rather play anyone else because of the risk of a “rush of blood” that could be lying wait under the surface in Will’s emotional will!

Flannery McKenna

Beating this Penrith club 3 times in a row seems almost unthinkable. Which is why I also wouldn’t mind a constructive loss either. Keep it close, Parra. Come out of this one with the belief you’ll topple them later on down the road. Of course if you want to win all 3, I’ll take it!

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