The Cumberland Throw

Bumpers Up – Christmas Edition: Trials, Farewells, Partnerships


Christmas is almost upon us, but that hasn’t stopped the Eels world from turning. So forget the old red and green decorations, there’s Blue and Gold to add to your tree this week.

Announcements have literally arrived on a daily basis, so there’s plenty to review, plenty to discuss.

Bumpers up!

Merry Riffmas?

The Eels have confirmed that their traditional “Battle of the West” trial against the Panthers will take place at Panthers Stadium on Saturday, February 27.

If you love your footy, it’s a day not to be missed with three grades on show. The main event kicks off at 7:30, but I’ll be getting there early as the Riff are strong across their lower grades and always provide a decent gauge for Parra’s depth.

Panthers supporters also offer a solid warm up for Eels fans. They aren’t partial to their Blue and Gold brethren and definitely aren’t shy about expressing their feelings.

I first visited the ground when it was a no better than a cow paddock back in 1976. I’ve had a couple of “entertaining” recent visits to the venue and this will likely be no different.


Eels HQ Development Continues

The Hills Shire Council this week announced that their ongoing commitment to the Eels headquarters at Kellyville will next include the construction of two more elite playing fields.

There are currently four fields at the complex, with three of those added as part of the Council’s development partnership with the Eels. This next phase will see a $1.4 million construction tender awarded to replace the older existing field and build another alongside it.

The dressing sheds at Kellyville.

Parramatta have been in their new Hills home for a year now, and the facilities are a far cry from the not too distant past. Though only temporary, the large modular building houses the club’s administration and provides a modern gym, recreation lounge and kitchen, dressing shed, physio treatment areas, coaches’ offices and a meeting/presentation room.

In coming years a grandstand will convert one of the existing fields into a pathways match venue, before the construction of the permanent Centre of Excellence building finalises the project.

Exciting times.


Polar Bear Migrates

It was a bitter-sweet moment for fans of Daniel Alvaro this week when his long rumoured move to the Dragons was finally confirmed.

Since debuting in 2015, the 27 year old prop has notched up 89 NRL appearances for the Eels and has thousands of admirers in the Blue and Gold Army.

Daniel Alvaro in action for Parra

Polar has always been a fine ambassador for the club, on and off the field, and was rewarded by being named the Ken Thornett Medal winner in 2018, an award judged by his peers.

His six appearances on loan to the Warriors in 2020 takes the Italian International’s top grade tally to 95 games, right in that sweet spot of around 100 appearances that a club looks for when recruiting. In this mutually beneficial deal, the Dragons have added a terrific player and role model, whilst Danny has locked in greater security for the next two years.

For the Eels, Alvaro’s departure opens up a roster spot and provides a bit more coin for future signings. Do they add a middle or look to splash more cash on a quality back?

I like the competition for first grade places in the pack that now exists, and the questions that will be asked from the bench. But extended depth is never a bad thing so is the answer found internally or will Parra recruit?

There’ll be no arguments from supporters if the Eels go on the hunt for a strike centre. The obvious question – who is available for 2021?

January could hold the answers.


Nothing Beats The Eels

Another exciting announcement on the Eels partnership front was made when Gatorade was confirmed Parramatta’s Official Hydration Partner.

Gatorade Hydration

In a powerful endorsement of the club’s strength and direction, the world’s leading sports drink brand will provide hydration products for players from pathways to NRL.

Eels Chief Commercial Officer, Andrew Mikhail, has been kicking more than his share of elite partnership goals with Lending Association and Macron also linking with the club for the 2021 season and onwards.

With the Brad Arthur coached Eels continuing to produce consistent finals appearances, and the construction of world-class facilities, the club is building its identity as a destination place on the Australian sporting landscape.


Community Mattas

Parramatta supporters should feel proud of the club’s community partnership with Ronald McDonald House at Westmead.

RMH ambassador Dylan Brown and friend

The Eels have been associated with this fine organisation for 27 years, doing their part in providing brighter moments for children and their families who are facing tough times through their health challenges.

During the week, the players and staff visited RMH to deliver Christmas gifts donated to the Eels giving tree and to spread a bit of festive season fun.

I reckon this is a partnership in the truest sense of the word as every visit sees the players gain at least as much as the young people do.


Preseason Hiatus

The players and staff are now in their annual festive break, meaning that official training shuts down for the fortnight.

Of course, whilst many of us let our hair down and add a few kgs to our frames over this time, NRL players cannot afford similar indulgences.

Each will be given programs to follow and you can bet that measurements and tests await them on their return. Any who lose their discipline make their task harder in the countdown to Round 1.

“Enjoy” the break fellas. January 4 will be here before you know it.

Eels forever!

Merry Christmas



Images courtesy of Eels media

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Cheers 60s and the entire TCT team. As always I remain eternally thankful for the outstanding content provided to our Eels Family. Expectation is high for season next. Simply put, I cant wait to take my seat at our magnificent Bankwest.
I wish all your team and your ever growing faithful a very Blue & Gold Christmas and an Eelectric New Year.
Bring it Boys.

Big Derek

Great strides taken by the whole club during this extremely difficult year, yet there are still those who will take every opportunity to denigrate the coach, players and board with little attention to what is actually happening. Its refreshing to be able to read what is taking place without a perceived negative agenda from so-called supporters. The names that are now happy to be associated with the club is so different from a relatively few years ago and we must take some encouragement for those associations. What is the bewitching question remains the Jennings saga, it’s outcome and the time… Read more »

John Eel

I am building in enthusiasm for the season ahead. Finally we are starting to build the quality of our bench and backup players to the point where there is real competition for places. Why we may even be able to have an NRL quality backup for Reed if they can get Nathaniel Roache fit and injury free. The other thing that is making me excited about the prospect of the season ahead is the commercial advances for the coming season. Including the good work done on sponsorship and the fact that at this early time of the season ahead we… Read more »


I guess it’s hard for us to make a move on a centre until the Jennings mess is sorted,but I see Corey Allen is still on the market,we could do worse,although I suspect his form last year has boosted his asking price though.Merry Xmas guys.


Tks sixties, very best wishes to you and all at TCT. I spent a few decades going to games, but now it’s TV, the occasional attendance and TCT. That mix gives me the NRL and Eels hit that fits with my life.Your efforts are much appreciated. Panther fans should remember they were all Eels before they were Panthers. RCG, Blake, Cartwright have just come home. Also worth remembering that Cartwright has royal blood, grandfather Merv is about as big a figure in League as you can get. I think Bryce gets the importance of this re-set opportunity. Good luck to… Read more »

Colin Hussey

sixties and all. Its been a good year really for the eels, hopefully next season will see a further step up and with the players on the roster no reason why we should languish below where we finished this year. The players are getting rolls royce facilities and need to play to those standards at least. In some ways I am sad to see Polar leaving, but like many others I cannot see him getting much time playing NRL as against in the CC team next year. While not spectacular as a player he was however honest and could be… Read more »


Merry Xmas to all the staff at TCT and hopefully the new year will be COVID free. Always look forward to your articles.


I think you may see Braidon Burns lying up at centre for us next year.

Jimmy Corbo

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to the TCT crew and your respective families. I’m sure we all have asked Santa for a Premiership (again….).


Compliments to all for the season, and new year. Thanks for the wonderful stories and background information like always. How many years now has the TCT been up? 5??
Good for Polar and wish him all the best. Good honest player.
Good Olaf pen riff trial will always be tough and show us where we are.
We need a decent centre i feel for the future so, someone younger may be a good pick up.


Milo ooops


Merry Christmas Sixties! Power On to 2021!


Thanks for the content this year Sixties and team TCT. Looking forward to more of the same next year. With all the discussion about centre next year, has Taka been signed by someone else? If not, why would we not resign him? Has rarely let us down and wouldn’t cost too much.


Happy Jesus birthday celebrations to all TCT, Parra Eels fans and all The Parramatta Rugby League club staff, administrators, players and especially the coaching staff, who will be under the most scrutiny to carry the load of expectation that will justify their recruitment of newcomers and incumbents by performance as the year unfolds. Prayer works, my prayer for all the above is for the forgiveness that brings peace and joy and for restoration of unity in their families and with displaced friends.

Colin Hussey

Rowdy, than you for putting the real Christmas greeting out there for all to look to at this time of the year. May the true reason for this time of the year be what is celebrated, in peace and harmony for all people in the world. Last night I sat in front of the computer and my wife came in, and we watched a clip on Youtube showing a re-enactment of the Christmas cease fire of 1914, well worth a watch, even though the language is not English. (322) Christmas Truce of World War I — Joyeux Noel [2005 film]… Read more »

The rev aka snedden

After yet another disappointed year of going out in str8 sets let’s hope we can win more semis then lose. To the player’s that have left n signed else where good luck at your new club’s you all will be part of the blue and gold family.

Sixties n the crew at tct May you all have a very merry Christmas n a happy New year.

Last edited 7 days ago by The rev aka snedden
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