The Cumberland Throw

Sixties Mind-Trip: What I’m Digging

Is it the second edition of Sixties Mindtrip already? It seems like only last week I was compiling that first venture into the not so deep recesses of my mind.

If you’ve come back for a return journey, many thanks. If this is your first time in the departure lounge, please let my meanderings take you where they will. The replies flew in last week and with finals footy upon us, the old stream of consciousness is flowing freely and ready for more of the same.

And on that subject, is there a bigger footy high than being involved in the finals?

After seven years of planning holidays for this time of year, the Eels have now qualified for three of the last four series. Breathe it in baby!

When Wilbur plunged over for the match-winning try against the Tigers, I started my old man transcendental dance in the stands. I’ve been dancing, on the inside, ever since.

Is that right on or trippin?


Wildcard Finals – Not digging it!

My Spidey senses start a-tingling whenever there’s a chorus of media types championing a change in the NRL. Far too often it precedes said change coming to fruition.

The media topic du jour has been wildcard playoffs for the NRL finals series.

Could there be a more insulting suggestion! They need to cool it!

The Titans have ignited wildcard talk

No matter how any spin doctor tries to dress it up, having teams 9 and 10 play off against teams 7 and 8 (or whatever bogus arrangement they conjure up) is nothing more than having a top 10 finals series.

Why stop there? If the argument is maintaining fan engagement, let’s just go the whole hog and have a top 16. Please!

There’s been the rare year, see Parra in 2009, when an 8th placed team has made a miraculous impact in the finals. Apart from that, most teams finishing that low are fortunate to still be playing at this time of year.

We don’t need finals football extending to teams who will probably achieve less than a 50% win rate throughout the season. A ninth or tenth placed team like the Titans, beating a 7th or 8th placed team like the Sharks, wouldn’t validate a wildcard system. What it would do, unfortunately, is emphasise that the Top 8 is often rewarding too many teams.


Buzz Killers – Not Digging It

No matter how the “realist” Eels supporters try to point to certain form lines to justify their Debbie Downer stance, if you’re not excited about the Eels playing finals footy then maybe it’s time for you to find another team to support. 

It’s perfectly fine to not be confident about your team’s chances against the best of the best. The majority of Eels fans might just be feeling that way as we approach this weekend.

Good times

It’s perfectly justifiable to consider what your team needs to improve to give themselves a better chance of victory.

However, it’s another thing altogether to take your place on the podium alongside opposition fans and the media in rubbishing your team’s season after they win 75% of their games to finish the regular rounds in third place.

I don’t want those cats laying that sort of buzz kill on me.

This is the time of year to embrace still being in the contest. The 2020 Parramatta Eels aren’t done yet.


The NRL Player Market – Gigging It 😁

With half of the teams now finished for the year, and two teams dropping out every week from here on, the silly season has well and truly begun.

There’s a raft of players looking for a gig, which explains the flood of contract rumours that have already been communicated to me.

Though the number is yet to be finalised, the departure of numerous squad members who’ve played first grade for the Eels this season means that the club must enter the market for players of at least the same caliber.

Andrew Davey

Kane Evans and Stefano Utoikamanu are moving on. Andy Davey’s future is yet to be confirmed, but nobody is denying that he’s signed with the Sea Eagles. A group of others remain off contract.

The good news is that around two thirds of the squad, including the starting 13, are under contract for next year, with key players locked into deals beyond 2021. A terrific cadre of young pathways stars can be expected to join preseason training, with development spots and maybe even top 30 berths awaiting.

A near certain reduction of the salary cap means that quality players will come onto the market, some of them quite unexpected. The Eels have places to fill. The maths will be interesting.


The Fresh Prince Refreshed – Digging It

Mind blown.

Surely the form of Will Smith has been an unexpected and pleasant surprise for most Eels supporters.

I was doing handstands of joy (metaphorically of course) when this bloke first signed with the Eels for the 2017 season as I believed he was an underrated talent.

Take a bow, Wilbur

In the years since, despite making 35 top grade appearances, Smith has failed to secure a permanent first grade position. A popular squad member, his versatility has seen him retained by the club as he covers all spine positions.

Injuries to both Reed Mahoney and Ray Stone saw Wilbur once again called on to cover the dummy half role off the bench, a job he performed with great composure. Given that he had spent much of this season training at fullback, his execution in the middle of the ruck would have pleased the coaches.

But it was his elevation to the starting five-eighth position against the Tigers which really caught the eye as he helped guide the left side attack with aplomb, before crossing for the match winning try in a terrific solo effort.

The return of injured players may yet push the off-contract Smith back out of the team, but he’s definitely done enough to keep his name in the selection conversation for a bench spot.

Might that also mean a contract extension?


Six Again – Not Digging It

It’s a bummer man. 

I’m not salty after the 6 to 1 count against the Eels on the weekend. I’ve already written and spoken on the topic ad nauseam. All teams have copped strange decisions under this farce of a rule.

The fact that the team which allowed the faster play the ball speed could suffer a lop-sided count against them merely highlights what I’ve been banging on about all year. You can pick moments in just about every set of six when the rule can be applied.

Despite this, confusion still reigns because it often appears to be called when there is no obvious indiscretion. I won’t even go into the compounding impacts of late count calls against early tackle decisions.

Now the NRL is looking to extend its parameters. Lord give me strength because we might not have seen the worst of it.


What A Joint – Suncorp – Digging It

I was gearing up for a clash with the Riff this week, organising my plan of attack to secure tickets to a venue I truly despise.

Yet despite the change from western Sydney to Brisbane, the large Eels supporter base north of the border might just be able to make the scene and turn Suncorp Stadium into something close to a home ground this week.

Despite recollections of our nightmarish 2019 magic weekend encounter up there, Parra have close to a fifty percent record at Suncorp Stadium since its redevelopment. The Broncos aren’t the Storm, but they have had strong teams during what was a lean period for the Eels. Even so, the Eels have enjoyed reasonable success when travelling to the Queensland capital.

Better still, Parra won’t be weighed down by the burden of expectation.

There’ll be plenty of analysis to come this week, but for now I give us a genuine chance.

Can you dig it?

Eels forever!


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!0 Year Member

Dig it we will sixties. Will our game management? We have the team, even though the bookies have us at $23….. And we are in the top 4…
Rabbits and Raiders are at shorter odds even though a team outside of the top 4…… In a top 8 system has never won in the NRL era.

Brett Allen

The odds reflect current form, leaving aside the result from the Rabbitohs Roosters game, which is clearly an outlier. In the end current form is all that matters. On current form we are only the 6th best team in the league, at best.

Brett Allen

What makes you think they don’t ?
The odds makers would’ve taken into account where teams finished, or are you suggesting we’re in better form than the Raiders or Rabbitohs ?


Well said mate, particularly about the magic weekend with teams 39 and 40 being offered a shot at the top 38. Fair dinkum of all the ridiculous ideas thrown up…..laughable. 6 again, i was fan at the beginning and it comes to consistency of the refs…..enough said. Player market, I have no idea what to expect here, I am concerned we did not bloody Dunster and I get it about no reserves, but he would have benefitted from a game or two. I also think if Field does head back to UK with Lam, who is next to fill the… Read more »

John Eel

Are there any available Edge backrowers that stand out as options?

Brett Allen

A lot depends on Shaun Lane. He wants to play on an edge, but the last couple of weeks he’s been playing in the middle, and it’s been beneficial to both the player & team. If he insists on wanting to play on the edge, and assuming BA defers to his wishes, then we need to be looking for another young guy to develop. If Lane is happy to play in the middle on the other hand, then we need to look at what is out there. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of established edges that are an upgrade.


Yes 100% agreed on that;
Every NRL club will be faced with similar issues as in no reserve grade and those young guys missing 12 months plus of development. Let alone the dropping of other junior comps next year e.g. A Johns / Daley cups, I know they are below Ball and Matt’s but they were important for a few reasons, being some country kids getting a chance and other kids dropping back in between reps. Anyway we will see what the powers that be do in the NRL etc.

John Eel

I heard Hetherington was headed to the Bulldogs?

Is it confirmed that Davey is going? Disappointing if true.

Brett Allen

You never pay to keep edge forwards or outside backs.


You can when they are on minimum wage and have put in. No-one said throwing sink at them.


Bullshit ! If they are quality players why not ?

Brett Allen

How many have Melbourne paid to keep over the years ?


If we had of paid more we still might have Semi or a young David Fafita but hey, that’s not what Melbourne do. What rubbish.

Brett Allen

The real world that includes the hard cap as it stands right now

Gwen Leaver

great read, I love hearing what you have to say, it gives me a whole new spin on things


In regards to the 6 again call I watch every game each weekend I see repeats for hand on ball,markers not square,too slow getting off.These are usually awarded between the 10 to 30 minute mark and mostly one sided then I watch the rest of the game bewildered as to why the team which received those early calls who is doing the exact same thing but no calls are coming for the opposition.

Last edited 2 years ago by Gustarny
Colin Hussey

I’m with you on that sixties, I cannot stand the 6 again and how its applied, its far too inconsistent for me and worse than penalties and their inconsistencies. The aspect of trying to speed up the game with these new comic decisions could be far better if there is a reduction in the allowed number of defenders in the tackles, especially the last man in along with the upright tackling methods, by two players and then at least one more coming in to take the legs out. The old tackling of around the legs as the primary tackle is… Read more »


And Dylan Brown, great around the legs tackler.

Colin Hussey

Why I like Stone as mentioned above, Mahoney also goes low a lot, the player I would love to see develop the low tackle would be Cyborg, also tend to remember a lot of DB’s tackles are down low but, players making them these days seem to miss calculate or fall off too quick.

Would not hurt if MM and our right side centre learned it as well.

Colin Hussey

sixties, no issues there. When I look at how Mahoney pretty much shows up others with his low tackles that either bring the opposing player down or slow them until assistance comes, what I would like for our not as big/strong players is for them to watch the likes of Kolc and Sterlo’s twin Paul Taylor in how they tackled. As for Mitch, he is pretty much non stop in a game and all credit is due to him in his plays, the attempt on Fifita was courageous but he had no chance of stopping him with that sort of… Read more »


I still love the rule and I believe if it is executed as it was for the first 1/2 a dozen rounds before the refs worked out ow to abuse it.

The fact that the Sutton clan are getting the leadership rissole at seasons end means PVL can treat all refs the same and therefore make them all accountable by putting defined parameters around the rule which can be measured. PVL would not be enjoying the bastardization of his brilliant initiative, the guilty will pay in 2021


Groovy man. The wildcard is a stupid idea. It rewards a poor season for no real benefit to the game. As for the negative nonces, I swear there is a subsection of Ells “supporters” that would find something to whinge about even in Parra wins the GF.


Still 5 days to go and the anxiety is killing me, the memories of every bloody Finals game against the Storm.The overwhelming want for revenge. I will be proud of them either way but if ever there was motivation to give it all you got and get the result,this game is it.As if 09 wasn’t enough 2017 still gets to me whenever I think about it. I have been around long enough to witness the battles against the Dogs and Manly in the 80s the great rivalries,but still for mine our biggest most despised rival is The Melbourne bloody Storm… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Anonymous

Ditto. 100%.

Dave cotter

Well me for one I’m deeply worried about our 2021 roster , we will have to replace 3 forwards with like to even be competitive and the silence is deafening , most of the worthy buys seem to be gone so what’s our policy , buy the cheap ones that no one else wants , cheap is the key word here because that’s the way this club is heading , it’s not about the football team anymore it’s just about being a financially safe football club , who steps up to fill gaps of Evans and Davey , there’s no… Read more »


Well aren’t you a little ray of sunshine?! You really don’t think Oregon has improved? I see him taking Evans’ spot quite comfortably. I am disappointed to be losing Davey, but he’s not in our top 13, and if Manly is offering that (and he’s good enough for it), then he’d be mad not to take it. I suspect there’ll be a few re-signings yet from our off-contract players (eg Will Smith). We’ve got plenty of people complaining that young talents like Dunster aren’t getting opportunities, but you apparently think we shouldn’t be aiming to bring some of them through?… Read more »


Just a realist, hope I’m wrong on all counts , wont be though, Oregon long way to go and everything I’ve stated is factual not rose coloured glasses stuff !! If your not going forwards your actually going backwards in football , plateauing doesn’t get it done .

Dave cotter

That’s Dave cotter post


I’m of the same opinion regarding Hughes. He has performed better than both Utoikamanu and Oggy at the same age at internal club opposed sessions during his call up this year. The other two have heaps of talent and are not shy, but compared to Hughes toughness? there is no comparison. Hughes reminds me of a young Bob the Bear O’Reilly.

Colin Hussey

Needs to ensure his hair is kept going if he’s to be like the Bear even in his younger days.

Brett Allen

I prefer to wait to see how they perform against men.

Brett Allen

They don’t like people painting a picture that isn’t anything other than rosy. If you point out a obvious problem that isn’t being addressed then you’re a negative nelly.


Too harsh Brett, you have given it a run, I know you have a lot of positivity to offer as well. maybe its time to see some of that.


Astute observations Wilhemina although appreciated by real fans will fall on deaf ears for the nah-sayers.


Don’t you just love how some people insist on calling us blinkered if we dare say anything positive? And won’t accept any critique of their failure to make any positive comments?

Brett Allen

Ok then, name me 3 things that have you concerned that haven’t been addressed adequately enough


I’ve written more than three things in various posts across the past few weeks. So have numerous others. We aren’t pretending they don’t exist, we’re calling them out. We’re just offering a balanced view because, actually, winning 75% of their games means that, on balance, they’re doing ok.

I’m going to turn it around.

You name three areas where you’re happy with our performance.


Dave, whatever they are doing. You can rest assured that you won’t know. We now have an administration that doesn’t leak… of the great attributes of the new Parra.


Broad topic list sixties! Cannot believe some find fault with finishing 3rd but 34 years in the wilderness may be the explanation. The maths of the player market means off contract players will potentially have a much smaller pot to share. Agree some more highly paid quality players must come onto the equation. Six again is hard to judge the fairness of but I’m enjoying the reduced wrestling, best season in ages. Yes Will Smith has been good, arguably offers more than Field. Contract extension quite possible – just shows how much luck is involved in getting a game in… Read more »


I’m with you on most of your thoughts. The wildcard is a terrible idea. I can see why it would appeal to Tigers fans though *cough* The six again calls are just an alternative means of providing just as much inconsistency as before, but in a faster way. Woohoo? The negative nellies who do nothing but criticise the team they claim to support are mightily irritating. They act as though other teams don’t also have both strengths and weaknesses. Given the fact that our edge defence is a glaring deficiency that’s obvious to everyone, it’s pretty damn amazing that we’ve… Read more »

Colin Hussey

I have said for a while now that Fergs and Blake should change positions, don’t believe that Fergs has the speed these days when compared to Blake, but Fergs would add more to the backline defence in the centre, as he comes in to run the kick returns and not as effective there as much though. If he can get up quick then he allows Gutho to run out of DH and more effective in gaining ground.

Colin Hussey

Happily so!, just add a few more of those and we may see opponents on notice. Last game I noticed Fergs running almost from MJ’s side of the field.


The nitpicking in 6 agains is astonishing. I reckon about 75% of them are given within 3.5 seconds, the average time for all tackle releases. On this basis, the 3 person pile on and peel off should be pinged more than 50% of the time.

Colin Hussey

Wonder why the touchies cannot make calls on that, I tend to recollect that they had that role in the past where they stood on the line to mark the onside position.

Also something I don’t like with the modern game is how many players are in front of the kickers at the 6th tackle surely that’s an off side if the ball taker is taken out before the kicker puts them onside.

Colin Hussey

Apologies mate, but as I have said I will not stop following the eels but! Gee! there’s not a lot that I enjoy about the game overall these days, & sadly not sure if its going to get any better either.


The Panthers will keep them busy with their “line speed”. I admire a team that has 80 minute focus and resolve but like the Warren Ryan teams of the 80’s they’re saying ‘ we’ll do this til you blow the whistle, and when you do we’ll stop for one ruck then test you again”. The mentally strong teams don’t get waylaid by one or two penalties.

Brett Allen

Exactly, it’s the nitpicking that is the issue, not the rule itself.


Another great read Sixties. I can’t believe the negativity on social media about the Eels, 13 teams finished behind us and still we’re no chance according to some. What’s worse is most of them are supposedly supporters. I’m excited and I’ve been around for years , yes I’m nervous but we have more chance to make the GF than 13 other teams.


I meant 8 other teams.

Brett Allen

Because 8 of those 13 teams are irrelevant right now, and at least 2 of the other 5 are playing better than us. How we performed in round 4 or round 8 or round 11 means nothing now. All that matters is how we’re performing right now. If we’re hanging our hat on the previous 20 weeks we’re living in the past.
Unless of course winning the title isn’t our goal.

Brett Allen

1) We’ve had a great pre season, now the real stuff begins. 2) Happy with the results thus far, but see too many flaws to see us progressing any further, hope I’m wrong, but those little attention to detail issues continue to plague us, and they will be ruthlessly exploited by more polished opponents. 3) Thank you COVID, somehow the Broncos came last but I still get to see my beloved Eels live in the playoffs without having to cross any borders. No thanks to you Annastacia !!! 4) Pointing out flaws, especially flaws that continue to be ignored and… Read more »

Brett Allen

I love the 6 again rule, but the issue as always is over zealous officiating. Just because you see an infraction doesn’t mean you have to blow it. Only blow the whistle when absolutely necessary. If only Matt Cechin could ref every game every weekend

Brett Allen

It’s no different to any other rule or playing condition, if it’s policed over zealously it causes problems. The problem is that referees don’t understand why rules are in place and therefore the scenarios to enforce them. The 6 again rule was introduced to stop teams from giving away penalties to slow down the opposition, it wasn’t designed to be applied in a blanket fashion. Sadly most commentators don’t understand this either, the only one who does is Gus. As he has pointed out, 95% of the rules of the game are guidelines only. They are to be applied situationally… Read more »

Brett Allen

That’s officiating 60’s. By its very nature it’s imperfect, but it never decides games. Now I agree that there have been far too many changes over the years, most of which have been reactionary in nature, and yes the 6 again rule is reactionary. However, I still maintain that if applied with common sense it helps the game flow. If I had my way PVL would sit down with Gus and go through the entire rule book, line by line and decide what we need, what we don’t etc and simplify the rules even more, then have Gus coach the… Read more »

Brett Allen

No I don’t believe they do, true greatness overcomes all opposition.


Nah, you haven’t sheaved your sword have’ya mate?


Donald Trump eh Brett?

Parra Pete

I dig ya man….!!!…Nothing to fear, except fear itself….Looking forward to it..


Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on through life
I ask but a field that is fair,
A chance that is equal with all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare;

And if I should win, let it be by the code
With my faith and my honor held high;
And if I should lose, let me stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.


I dig it man! How cool to have the results of the last round be so profound man? Here I was trippin’ out on my lonesome self imagining how cool it will be to overcome the Riff at the foot of the mountains where there is more fertile cow manure creating a perfect habitat for gold tops than there is similar BS dribblin’ out of the mouths of Greg Alexander and Gus Gould as if they’re on the mushrooms themselves. And then in the twinkling of an eye, I’m off with the Fairy’s to beautiful Suncorp Stadium. The memories came… Read more »

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