The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – No Chance Edition

NRL Team List


No Maika Sivo. No Marata Niukore. More than likely no Blake Ferguson.

No chance.

Or at least that is how it is supposed to play out this week.

When the Parramatta Eels host the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday night in a sudden death showdown they will enter the game as underdogs. The Rabbitohs’ flashy victory over the Newcastle Knights has weighed more favourably in the eyes of pundits across the game than Parramatta’s gutsy defeat against the Storm.

When you factor in the injuries and suspensions alongside the last meeting between the Eels and the Rabbitohs it lends credence to the thought that Parramatta are next to no chance this Saturday.

If so, why even turn up? Well, we all know the answer to that question. If favourites got up every time most of rugby league’s (and indeed sports in general) most legendary storylines would never exist. Parramatta, battered and bruised as they might be, rekindled their attack in a big way in the first week of the finals and if they can bring the same energy to the field this week then they will have a red-hot crack at the Rabbitohs.

Brad Arthur has made one obvious adjustment and one surprise adjustment in light of the absences of Sivo (Knee, Season) and Niukore (Suspension, 2 Games) by naming George Jennings onto the left flank and Ray Stone to the bench. George was the logical inclusion to the backline following a highly successful stint with the New Zealand Warriors but Stone’s inclusion over Oregon Kaufusi has me somewhat puzzled. That isn’t because of any lack of faith in Stone’s abilities but rather than Kaufusi seems more of a ready made replacement for the role in which Niukore has been consistently utilised.

With Stone and Will Smith working the interchange the Eels will enter Saturday night with one of their lightest benches of the 2020 season. Perhaps this is a signal that ‘BA’ is ready to ride the talents and athleticism of Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard deep into the game in order to gain and maintain ascendancy through the ruck.

The other consideration for this week’s final is that Blake Ferguson is a likely scratch – even in spite of his inclusion in today’s team list. Should Ferguson’s knee fail to get right in time, Brad Takairangi is expected to bump Waqa Blake from centre to wing with the only remaining question being who plays left and right centre between Takairangi and Michael Jennings?

In a way, the loss to Melbourne prepared the Eels well for the clash against Souths this Saturday. The Storm’s predilection to attack wide early and often will be echoed by the Rabbitohs this week. Parramatta will take damage down both edges without a doubt, Souths are simply that good of an attacking outfit – the challenge will be limiting that damage to manageable levels.

While the Eels obviously need to blunten the strengths of South Sydney’s attack, they also need to stay true to their own strengths. Build into the game on the back of the Paulo and Campbell-Gillard, attack both edges with speed and decisiveness and force South Sydney to grind their way out of their red-zone as often as possible.

The path to victory is not complicated for the Parramatta Eels. All that remains for them is to believe in their own systems and in themselves.


Parramatta Eels South Sydney Rabbitohs
1 Clinton Gutherson 1 Corey Allan
2 George Jennings 2 Alex Johnston
3 Michael Jennings 3 Campbell Graham
4 Waqa Blake 4 Dane Gagai
5 Blake Ferguson 5 Jaxson Paulo
6 Dylan Brown 6 Cody Walker
7 Mitchell Moses 7 Adam Reynolds
8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard 8 Tevita Tatola
9 Reed Mahoney 9 Damien Cook
10 Junior Paulo 10 Thomas Burgess
11 Shaun Lane 11 Jaydn Su’A
12 Ryan Matterson 12 Bayley Sironen
13 Nathan Brown 13 Cameron Murray
14 Will Smith 14 Mark Nicholls
15 Andrew Davey 15 Liam Knight
16 Kane Evans 16 Jed Cartwright
17 Ray Stone 17 Keaon Koloamatangi
18 Oregon Kaufusi 18 Steven Marsters
19 Brad Takairangi 19 Hame Sele
20 Haze Dunster 20 Troy Dargan
21 Daniel Alvaro 21 Patrick Mago
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Colin Hussey

Souths have several young players, for me I will repeat something have been saying for a while now, with the loss of Sivo and possibly Fergs, I would be looking at using Dunster next to MJ, Gennings to right centre with Blake to right wing.

Bit radical but we need more speed in the backs, while Blake is fast but the opposition know how he plays but not about Dunster.


I suspect lane will play the middle with Davey starting on the left edge. Stone in to control the ruck and provide that energy after the forwards come off?

Achilles' Eel

The Rabbitohs have turned into an attacking juggernaut ever since Wayne Bennett’s release from quarantine. Obviously he spent his time constructively whilst confined to barracks.

Meanwhile, Cody Walker has become a real-life Br’er Rabbit on the footy field. His guile and wiliness have been mesmerising these past two months. Hopefully he leaves his bag of tricks at home this Saturday.

‘Now be a good sport and save your tricks for Origin, Br’er Rabbit!’


Moving forward 60s do you think honestly we are anywhere near the top three teams overall I’m hoping we can pull off a miracle this weekend and keep working as a team but what worries me that we aren’t going to be any stronger next year if anything weaker we may buy a couple friinge first graders for backups but that ain’t gonna improve our side moving forward into a premiership force I was hoping that will be in the market for genuine good first graders, Because our team hasn’t been mentioned in any recruitment possibilities


Isn’t that comforting Ray? Still no leaks coming from inside the organisation at the Parramatta Eels!

The rev aka Snedden

I like most was thinking why stone instead of Oregon kaufusi. Then I thought he will push brown into the middle with stone at lock. My side would also be this if Ferguson is ruled out. Smith to full back gutherson to Centre n push Waqa to wing. But the way ppl are talking is Waqa Blake to wing n takarangi to Centre. If Brad Arthur “was” not that he will move Gutherson to Centre n Smith to fullback then that’s why stone is There to be backup hooker. But I just can’t see Ferguson playing surely that won’t give… Read more »


You don’t weaken a strength to strengthen a weakness – so no to shifting Gutho for mine, he’s wasted at centre. I could see Stone or Lane at lock though (Lane did it for at least part of a previous game, and was solid).

Both Gennings and Blake in the side together gives me the heebie jeebies, but Gennings has a lot more match fitness than any other choice.

The rev aka snedden.

Gutherson will end up being a centre but ppl forget he was a centre b4 a fullback. Gutherson also played most of his career at centre

The rev aka snedden.

If you strengthen aweak spit then fullback doesn’t become weak. Its our right edge that is weak


Brilliant Rev, reminds me of the innovative commercial construction systems that emerged during the 1990’s. There were so many of them and R&D so cheap in china just about every hair brained new idea got a gallop as long as you could get a prototype onsite somewhere. As long as it passed muster re AS/NZS and the building code which made it an NRL quality player, then it didn’t matter if it was impractical and detracted from the unity of the whole which wasn’t actually broken in the first place. Cheap and nasty always looked to have potential in someones… Read more »

greg okladnikov

I’m not sure how you would use both Smith and Stone off the bench in a rotation? Unless there are concerns on Dylan or Reed ? And Kaufusi has to be in ahead of Evans….plays with more energy, better defender and competes on every play.


When I first saw the list I was surprised. There obviously could and probably will be more changes, Fergo? But the more I think about it the more sense it makes. Stone is such a good defender in the ruck. I know Cody Walker is very good but I actually think Cook is the Rabbits most important player. He normally does damage later in each half. He got the Rabbits back on the roll against the Knights and then Cody took over. Possibly Stone will come on and Brown shift to replace either RCG or Junior when they go off… Read more »


Agreed Shelley, I’d have dropped Evans for Kaufusi. Both are prone to an error, but Kane tries to compensate for his and inevitably does something stupid that actually compounds it (eg gives away penalty, throws a stupid offload, flies through and misses a tackle). Oregon is steadier, and a damn sight less lazy.

!0 Year Member

Have we stopped trusting in BA?


That’s an awfully big leap. No. Do I question some of his decisions? Yes. But, he’s presumably got a game plan that we’re not privy to. And he definitely knows the strengths, weaknesses, physical and mental state of his players each week better than we do. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speculate or offer our own opinion. But doing so doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition, where I either support him or I don’t.


Great food for thoughty forty. I have been thoroughly stimulated by some of the comments and suggestions made to alleviate and or alley our potentially devastating injury crises. I may submit my own herewith. The fact that Fergie is still a chance of recovery by his selection in team, also has an element of subterfuge for mine. I believe BA has shown his hand by the blokes who ran around at training and in what positions. It contained no rocket science. Gutho played FB, centres played centre, Waqa ran on the wing opposite side to GJ. Sivo out could well… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Rowdy

We really have to get on top early as we did on Saturday because like Melbourne, Rabbits can blow you away with ease.Plug those holes and defend defend defend. Despite the thumping they gave us a few weeks ago I think we can up the tempo and match them.A win gives us a shot at Penrith without Kikau.


Good point Eggman, we need to be up for these guys and said in the posts, we need to be up early and cover Cook, as he is their go forward man. Forget the rest, stop his running in the mid half and we have a decent chance.
We have to play our best game of the year this week! and again next week and week after that! Its that simple.
We win this week, and Pennies are there waiting minus Kikau.


Sorry but lost complete faith in BA with this team selected. That he keeps Blake in the team is beyond belief, can anyone here imagine one of the top coaches doing the same? And why Stone over Kaufusi? We have Will Smith and now Stone, two similar players, so what does Stone offer over Kaufusi? To me nothing! Not at all confident of a win this week based on this team.


Keeps the opposition guessing. Good for mind games.


Glenn i was like you yesterday and was scratching my head. I am thinking today that our game will be different to what we have played last week; and maybe the middle forward rotations too; as others have said here Blake is more a winger than centre and he may end up there this week if Fergo is out; unfortunately Souffs are on a roll and we have a few guys out / suspended so its backs to wall and we simply need to lift for 80 mins and not around 40-60. We definitely have the team to beat them… Read more »

jack herd

Massive game this weekend. As much as I think we will miss Sivo’s try scoring ability, I feel as though we gain G.Jennings yardage game. He may have a mistake or 2 in him, but like Fergo, he is always willing to do the hard carries as opposed to Sivo. If Fergo is replaced…massive call by BA as to whether he brings in a like for like winger or shift Waqa to the wings and bringing Takas in. I would be tempted to play that card to hide his horrible decision making as Centre is probably the position which requires… Read more »

Salty Pete

As BA has had a lack of rotation in the backs for most of the year, it will now haunt us. W. Blake on the wing is worse than the centres for defense as he is the last in the line and instead of having to make one decision – get in front of your man – he would have to make several. Salmon and Dunster both should have played multiple games by now. Salmon or Taka should have come in for D Brown as they both offer more positional options at centre than Smith or Field. Salmon or Taka… Read more »


Salty I hope you are wrong on a few fronts but i see your points.

Salty Pete

I hope I’m wrong too Milo. I genuinely think that the players are performing to the best of their abilities given the opposition, and should be commended for it, but the team is a little out of kilter in just a few areas, and I don’t think BA has truly addressed it.

Last edited 3 days ago by Salty Pete

I can see your point Salt and I had to be measured in my comments and I am grateful that I was not on here come Sunday morning…..there were some choice words used by me on Saturday night.

!0 Year Member

If we are good enough we will win, if we are not, then we are not good enough.

Longfin Eel

I wonder if BA is thinking Smith to centre, as he did last weekend if Fergo is out. That leaves Stone as backup hooker and utility and Kaufusi comes onto the bench.

Brett Allen

And now no Jenko

Salty Pete

And regrettably, I think I might be right…..

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