The Cumberland Throw

Stats That Matta – Round 17 & 18: A Tale Of Two Distinctly Different Weeks

Rounds 17 & 18

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Round 17 v Warriors – Won 24 – 18 Round 18 v Panthers – Lost 2 – 20

This post should provide food for thought as I try to help you digest the last two rounds in numbers and how well, or not so well, the Eels performed in these two games.

Obviously we start at the score board and a win and a loss kicks off the differences.

From a match stats perspective, the numbers couldn’t be any more of a contrast.

In round 17 against the Warriors, the Eels had 52% possession with a 78% completion rate (32 from 41)

Compare this to the 42% possession against the Panthers with a surprisingly impressive 86% completion rate (31 from 36).

Consider that massive swing. The Eels had a decent share of the ball against the Warriors and their attack registered four tries and a host of point scoring opportunities. This was not the case against the Panthers.

Was our attack horrible against the Panthers?

You certainly couldn’t find anything to praise!

Was it simply because of our lack of ball?

Both matches saw a similar number of completed sets. So why couldn’t the Eels score against the Panthers when they posed so much more of a threat against the Warriors? In total numbers of sets given, it was only an extra 5 sets against the Warriors.

There’s actually a statistic that provides the answer to that – time in possession.

In the Warriors game, Parra had the ball for over 44 minutes of the game and spent just a bit 20 and a half minutes in the Warriors 20 metre area.

In the Panthers game, and this shouldn’t come as a shock, the Eels had the ball for 25 minutes and spent just 10 minutes in the Panthers red zone.

So, completed sets don’t tell the story in this Panthers match. The Riff spent close to three quarters of this game of rugby league in possession of the ball. Just let that sink in for a moment.

From having the ball for just more than half a game against the Warriors to only just a quarter of a game against the Panthers, no wonder Parra couldn’t get their attack going. And don’t forget the extra defensive efforts put in against the Panthers. More on that later.

Even with such a startling difference in possession, there are more numbers to consider.

Heat Maps

Compare this pair of hit up maps.

  1. v Warriors

  1. v Panthers

As you can see from the first graphic, against the Warriors, our forwards laid a good platform for our halves and backs to do their thing.

But the second graphic illustrates that there was absolutely no platform to build on in the following week. The hit ups barely trespassed into Panthers territory. There was zero forward momentum for our edges or halves to work with. Was it a case of lack of ball? Lack of drive? Lack of mongrel in our runs? Or was it a team gassed by an overwhelming defensive workload?

Set Starts

Again a comparison.

  1. v Warriors

  1. v Panthers

Wow what a difference and what a horrific map from the Panthers game.

Against the Warriors Parra had plenty of good territory to start their sets and they capitalised on those. But that Penrith game delivered only a grand total of four set starts in the attacking half. FOUR!!!!.

When the Eels review their stats there’s not much to be found here, and yet, it certainly tells the tale of the match.


I am not sure what to put here.

Do I criticize?

Do I praise them?

One thing is certain – the Eels forwards haven’t got the same punch that they delivered earlier this season.

The match offloads have dropped from earlier games with only 7 v Warriors and 10 v Panthers.

The running metres from Parra’s starting front rowers are dropping from when they were the form front row combination in the comp not too long ago, and they certainly aren’t bending the line.

If Parra’s rivals have worked out a way to shut the offload down, its certainly had the effect of nullifying our second phase play. The bench isn’t working as it should with two of our bench forwards getting good minutes and two barely getting any. Is this a fatigue factor or is Brad Arthur and his staff thinking we need our starting forwards out there for longer to start something? Again so many questions.

In saying all that, RCG ran for 143 metres against the Warriors and 105 against the Panthers.

Junior ran 163 metres and 111 metres respectively in these games.

Matterson had a strong performance against the Warriors with 147 run metres but only 86 against the Panthers.

And Nathan Brown. He is trying his absolute best to get us kick started in attack. Against the Warriors he ran 178 metres and against the Panthers 125 metres. You cannot question his work ethic or ticker. Add on 44 tackles v Warriors and 55 v Panthers to boot.


We all saw what our backs did against the Warriors. Both Gutherson and Ferguson ran for 200 metres or more and were outstanding in that game. Fergy finally crossed for a try.

But our left side didn’t even have to have a shower or wash their kit. Sivo ran for 48 metres off 7 carries against the New Zealand side and Michael Jennings ran for just 37 metres off 6 carries. But come the Panthers game, Sivo ran 104 metres and Jennings 101.

I really don’t know what to make of Waqa Blake anymore. Against the Warriors he ran for 104 metres off 13 carries and against the Panthers 68 metres of 8 carries. He has even been pushed out to the wing but still no involvement. If he were to be replaced, who do you replace him with?


Both Moses and Field played excellent football against the Warriors. They ran the ball giving us running options on both sides of the field which saw us put on 16 points in no time. But where was that running game against the Panthers?

Again, we had little ball for the match, but that doesn’t mean you do nothing with it.

Against the Warriors they ran at the line, playing eyes up footy, but last Friday night was the total opposite.

Moses just ran 2 times for 9 metres against the Panthers. Maybe he was so tired from kicking as he did boot the ball for 933 kicking metres to get us out of our own end, something which couldn’t be done carrying the ball.


It is impossible to statistically review the Panthers match without discussing the Eels defence.

For the majority of the game it was outstanding and the Panthers really had to fight to score their points. Two tries came in the last 30 seconds of each half after the Eels were just gassed from all the defending they did, and another try came from a well timed leap from Liam Martin.

But in saying how good the defence was, and the scramble was amazing, missing 57 tackles and having a further 12 incomplete tackles won’t win many games.

Parra made 465 tackles to the Panthers 343.

This equates to the Eels making 122 more tackles than the Panthers, or put another way, it means that they had to defend 20 sets more than the Panthers were asked to do.

As far as I’m concerned, the great defensive work on the line was negated by poor defensive work in the middle of the field which allowed the Panthers to apply such pressure.

We now look forward to a very much improved Eels side for our last home game of the season.

Yours in Blue and Gold

  • Colmac


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Tom L

Great article Colin. I was really disappointed with the eels against Penrith, our line speed was non existent and it felt like Cleary was putting up bombs from our 35 every set. Penrith did whatever they wanted in the middle of the park, even if we kicked the ball into the 20 metre zone they would just roll straight through us. 55 missed tsckles or something, no where near good enough. Penrith dropped the ball over the try line 4 or 5 times, on another day the scoreline is 42-2. They were miles better than us and deserved the win.… Read more »


Tom, what hasn’t been covered anywhere is the Panthers defence line. I can assure you it wasn’t back the ten throughout the match. It’s been fairly quiet on that front because it was a Riff crowd.
The tackle efficiency rate was fairly similar.
We aren’t going to do much damage on that form, but by the same token, we weren’t allowed to.
As for the Riff bombing tries, that came because of the scramble and last ditch defence.
The question should be asked, how does a team with about 75% time in possession only score when and how they did?


Great insights colmac, an extra 120 tackles is way too much head start for any team. It did feel like our forwards couldn’t bend the line which sixties point about Riff being offside also explains. It’s not terrible – Eels need to avoid 6 agains, some more metres from the centre forwards and pressure on the kick chase and the effort will pay dividends

Brett Allen

Still missing the point


Something I think that is worth noting, but haven’t seen it really said anywhere else was that the eels were coming off a 5 day turnaround. These short turnarounds tend to show a lot more fatigue early on, and considering how the first 15 mins went, we were always going to struggle to match the panthers


It has been mentioned here Jonathan but not too much in the media because it doesn’t fit the narrative. Do you remember when the Roosters faced us off a 5 day turn around? It was all over the media in the lead up.


This is the wonderful thing of Rugby League. The variables. One opposition can be ones meat and gravy another team poison. The Warriors turned up for their game against Parra and really put it to them. The Panthers hate Parra and this amplifies their intensity. While the Warriors was a good hard game it no where matched the Panthers game. That game defence wise was of Origin intensity. All Parra could was defend and always on the back foot. There is a lesson for Parra – they should hate like Penrith. This is not a mated game. This analysis for… Read more »


👏 👏 👏 👏 👏

Colin Hussey

Zero58, I have 10 years on you, and while I get a bit of steam under my collar at times, I wont not support the eels, been through every form games that have been at the bottom and top of the level gauge in winning and losing. I don’t remember ever walking out of a game in those days, but have had to switch the tv off on a few occassions, and mostly the reason being the pea in the middle and that happened last Friday night. I believe after the dressing room time post match we will be seeing… Read more »


Good grief Colin you must be ancient.
I go back to 1958 but my adoptive parents were long before that.
I believe they might have been founding members.
I like to be the optimist with Parra but, I say with all honesty I hate when they lose.
Seen good times and bad. It is my nature to stick with the underdogs.
Keep cheering Colin, one day it will be ours to enjoy.
Kind regards.

Colin Hussey

1947 for me mate, that’s why I am an eels supporter. My late dad was part of the working crew to get the eels into the comp. Likewise my Godfather who was an honoured guest of the Japanese Emperor at the Changi Hilton for some years, like a couple of uncles as well.


You know there is a strong possibility your Dad knew mine.
His badge number I think was 69.
It’s nice you have some history with the family.
Take care.

Colin Hussey

Will check my badges tomorrow. I know my dad was really peeved when the club made a big change with the membership numbers was on my 22birthday and renewals which used to mean you kept the same number from the time you originally joined. When we went in to resign, I got a lower number than dad had, both in the Football clubs membership and the PLC membership.

At that time the club took the old badges back for some reason for that year.

Brett Allen

Finally someone gets it. The great defensive teams apply pressure high up the park, we simply did not and haven’t done so for at least 6-8 weeks

Prof Daz

I tortured myself by watching the Panthers game again, as I was curious about the Eels lack of attack. What I saw was too much one out running. I tried to count support runs and ball promotion. I treated support runs as a receiver who might possibly make the opposition think they might also get get the ball, and ball promotion as passes or offloads. In the first half I counted about 6 support runs in 17 sets with 4 in one set (they made 60m…), and about 6 promotions. In the second half I counted about 3 support runs… Read more »

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