The Cumberland Throw

Bumpers Up – February 15, 2021: The Good News And The Not So Good

Anyone with more than a passing interest in rugby league understands how fired up supporters can be about news or events in our game.

I’ve certainly been no stranger to mixed emotions over the past couple of weeks.

There’s been the good news surrounding the junior reps returning to the field after their competitions were abandoned in 2020, and the outstanding success of Parra Leagues when confronting the challenges of COVID last year.

Conversely, I have some strong opinions about the Payne Haas controversy and the ridiculous injury rumours that regularly circulate around social media.

Fortunately I have this column to vent my spleen.

You can add your two cents worth here too.

Read on, then please add your hot takes.


Is Haas, Is Not So Good!

The recent atrocious behaviour of Payne Haas is something that can be forgiven, but it should never be forgotten.

Moving forward, the NRL must ensure that future punishments suit the indiscretion, be it on field or off.

Haas and Walters

Forget Haas’ public apology with the coach by his side. That sort of stuff usually has club media all over it, and the public hears enough similar statements from repeat offenders that it just washes over the majority of punters.

The fine and the community service was a decent place to start for reparations, and hopefully the proceeds of fines like this can be directed towards charities or community groups.

However, we need to get serious about the suspension.

Players receive longer time out of the game for tackles that go wrong!

Let that sink in for a minute or two.

In a brutal contact sport, a momentary lack of execution can receive a longer suspension than this bloke’s vile and threatening approach to a female police officer.

Just today, young Dragons forward Eddie Blacker has been charged with making dangerous contact with the neck of Sharks player Jack Williams. It is alleged that in trying to palm Williams, Blacker instead used an elbow. He faces a four week ban.

Jack Williams suffered a significant injury, and if guilty, Blacker will deserve the four weeks. But how does a palm gone wrong attract a longer suspension than an offensive act against the police?

The actions of Payne Haas, and any similar actions in the future, require a response that puts players and clubs on notice. If supposed role models want to engage in behaviours that are an affront to community standards and bring disrepute to the code, then they need to pay a much higher price.

And that means significant time on the sidelines.

If the game wants the message to really sink in, remove offenders for a period that impacts their immediate career. It’s not a mistimed tackle, it’s behaviour with intent that deserves punishment commensurate with that intent.

Maybe then, clubs will think twice about signing these blokes to rich deals or even signing them at all. Maybe then, the NRL can get closer to their goal of zero off-field incidents.


An Amazing Success Story

Last week TCT brought you the latest in our series of “Parra Stories”. It’s one that we hope many readers familiarise themselves with.

Parra Leagues Annual report was released last week, and the bottom line of returning a surplus of over $2m in 2020 was astounding.

But that wasn’t what most interested us.

Parra Leagues President, Greg Monaghan

Having the opportunity to speak at length with PLC President, Greg Monaghan, Forty and I found out more about the value that the club places on being part of the community within the football club’s catchment area.

From club grants to junior clubs and community groups, through to financially supporting the Eels, the tougher times of 2020 only seemed to sharpen that focus. And when the club had its doors suddenly closed during the shut down, the first thought was to ensure that the food in stock went to Mission Australia.

The Directors, Management and Staff of Parramatta can feel deservedly proud of what they have accomplished.


Junior Reps Already In Action

I trust that everyone has been enjoying TCT’s live coverage of the Eels 2021 Junior Rep campaign. You can catch up with Round 1 here and Round 2 here.

As a Development Club, the Eels place a high value on their pathways, and we’re proud of the coverage our site provides. Our thanks to Joey Grima and the staff and players for their support and for the recent invitation to the Round 1 Captains Run and jersey presentation.

On the footy front, the Eels Harold Matthews (under 17) , SG Ball (under 19) and Tarsha Gale (under 19 girls) sides all suffered first round losses, though each team was in a position to clinch victory during the second half of their matches.

The Ball team celebrate a try

Round two saw the Matts and Ball teams secure victory over the Bears in waterlogged conditions at Macquarie University. The Matts really flexed their muscle in a dominant display of intelligent wet weather football.

The SG Ball clash was a much tighter affair, and it took nearly 50 minutes for the Eels to find their groove and play to the conditions.

Unfortunately, the Tarsha Gale team couldn’t hold out the powerful Newcastle Knights in a home match at New Era Stadium. I spoke with their coach, Ryan Walker, and he is very encouraged by the resilience that the girls have displayed in their matches. The combinations within the team are continuing to develop and they’ve played some enterprising football in their first couple of rounds.

As an example, check out the deception in this try from Loreen Luamanuvae.

Looking ahead, the Matts and Ball teams have a bye this week, whist the girls travel to Mascot Oval to take on the Dragons.


The Bryce Cartwright Injury (and ignoring rumours)

The jaw injury to Bryce Cartwright has been confirmed by the Eels in a media announcement this past weekend.

Bryce Cartwright

Cartwright is expected to miss between 4-6 weeks after a training mishap last Thursday. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in the week leading up to the first trial as the back row recruit had really impressed during the preseason.

I’ve gone on record as saying that his conditioning work has been close to the best I’ve seen from an Eels forward and I’d tipped Carty for a huge year.

Fortunately the former Titan should only miss two NRL rounds. We wish him well during his rehab.

On another note, there’s been some crazy injury rumours floating around over the weekend. I won’t give them any further oxygen other than to say it was complete crap.

I’m not sure who makes this garbage up, but I can only advise supporters to wait for the club to make official statements.


Do The Math?

Will 16 plus one eventually become 17 minus one?

Whether it be the Dolphins, Firehawks, or even the merged Bombers/Western Corridor bid, a 17th team by 2023 might just have some unwanted consequences.

I’m not opposed to expansion, though I believe that it should be two extra teams and it should include Western Australia. The old chestnut argument about whether there are enough quality players to support more teams will undoubtedly raise its head in any debate on the topic, but let’s leave that for another day,.

The immediate result of a one team expansion will be the introduction of a weekly bye – and multiple byes in some rounds (probably around Origin) to equalise bye points for the season.

But here’s the critical factor. Adding one extra team maintains the 8 matches per round for the majority of the season. It also safeguards this number in broadcast contracts should a team withdraw or be removed from the Premiership.

Over recent years, the NRL has flagged that it will no longer bail out financially struggling clubs. A 17th team removes any pressure from broadcasters about the potential loss of a weekly match.

Are there any teams with their heads currently on the chopping block?

Will the NRL revisit reducing the number of Sydney clubs?

Personally, I believe that nothing will be forced. The reality is that the loss of a club results in the loss of supporters. It’s never a popular decision.

As for the prospects of a second Brisbane team, the timing is interesting. If an entry date of 2023 is agreed upon, the franchise will have just over a year to secure players. They’ll likely be doing so at a time when the Broncos will be looking to improve their roster.

Ultimately, the game itself will benefit from the media coverage that’s sure to unfold. The battle for talent north of the border, and the quest for the hearts of south east Queensland supporters places a new rugby league soap opera on the horizon. And who would want to ignore such drama!

The Eels/Dragons Trial

Maika models the white jersey

If supporters aren’t yet aware, Thursday night’s trial will be live streamed by the NRL. With the match taking place behind closed doors, it’s terrific news for all supporters.

I caught some of the live stream of the Sharks and the Dragons last Friday, and was impressed with the quality of the coverage. How good will it be to watch some new recruits and up and coming players in action!

Eels training this week is likely to move into regular season mode.

In other news, the new Eels apparel from Macron has dropped this week. I’m tipping that the white alternate strip will be a huge seller.

You can almost smell the opening round right now.


Eels forever!



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Colin Hussey

Good post sixties and nothing to disagree with, if I said my real thoughts as to my real views I would cop a ban methinks regarding a couple of areas in your post, which are somewhat harder than what you have already said.

Colin Hussey

Mate its not just Haas, there’s a heck of a lot of stuff that is swept under the carpet & goes with the carpet for recycling.

John Eel

Agree completely on the Haas issue . Abdo has handed out a few suspensions since taking on the CEO role. No doubt the decision on Haas would been made in consultation with Valandys. In my opinion they have not got one right yet. Regarding your suggestion about a team in Perth. Well I agree with that as well. I am very agreeable today. Without getting too long winded, I have spent a lot of time living in WA and I know from experience that there is a lot of support for the NRL in Perth Since Iron Ore mining kicked… Read more »

Colin Hussey

John Go back to when there were teams in WA, also in the NT that would play against each other towards end of the year. There are so many areas where RL was played and now the ovals are now either covered in weeds or just dust and only good for kicking stones along the dust.

John Eel

Colin I have not lived in WA for a long time however when I was, there were competitions around the state primarily in Perth but also in the mining areas of Kalgoorlie and the Pilbara. When I first lived there I used to follow the Wichham Wolves. They used to play against Karratha and Port Hedland. From memory a six team comp. Our very own Waqa Blake played for Rockingham in the Perth competition. Rockingham is full of Kiwis and Poms. In 2013 I worked with a train driver in the Pilbara who played for Leeds. He also played one… Read more »

Colin Hussey

John late in replying but, I also believe that WA should have a better system or something to enable a RL to get going again (not sure how it is in regards to local RL over there now) I did make a post a little while back that when the old RL week was doing the rounds with a Newspaper size edition, there was two full pages that had the various comps in each state and across Oz, at the time WA had strong comps in Perth and Kalgooli. The NT was not quite as strong but did have a… Read more »


Have to be honest , attended the nines in wa 2020 , the only people there were the clubs and a few stalwart supporters and family followers , the response and interest from locals was dismal to the point of non existent , actually the whole thing was a dismal waste of time , they actually had canned cheering over the loudspeakers , its a big no for me im afraid but a beautiful state i would visit again , NRL in WA ,, not in my lifetime .

John Eel

Higggsy not surprised at that response. However Nines is not a good comparison. I went to the Reds first game at the WACA against the Dragons and there was a crowd in excess of 25,000. I went to a number of games after that and all were well attended. Prior to SOO being broadcast live into WA I used to go to a hotel called The Grosvenor. They were the three best nights of the year for that pub. Every year. They got a coverage via satellite. I go to every Eels home game. Have done for years now. I… Read more »


G’day John Eel, Very sensible observations on a Perth team in my opinion mate. My eldest son has lived there for a decade and he has always said there is a terrific fan base of NRL fans over. The non AFL fans probably out-way the pro group too, many “Rugby followers, whether league or rah rah have to follow AFL because there is very real footy played there. Perhaps V’Landys’ perspective is influenced more by the economics and logistics than any lack of potential support? I would love to see another footy team established in WA.

John Eel

Sixties one other angle on this is that it is looking increasingly likely that Nine will not have the NRL from 2023 onwards and that Seven is a likely option if they can ditch the cricket

Given that Kerry Stokes lives in Perth he may be open to the idea of a Perth team


I’m not sure if this is the place to ask – but is Sam Hughes still with the club? Despite being named in the top 30 I haven’t seen him in any training pics or noticed he’s name in the training reports.


Thanks Sixties on point as usual!

John Eel

Anything yet on whether Hipgrave will play against the Drsgons on Thursday. He played more than the mandatory 12 games last season and the club was applying for an exemption


Regarding HASS , bad enough the police charges in themselves but his threat towards the female police officer is the real issue , read what he said , total disrespect of women is emphasised here , VLANDYS and ABDO completely missed the real issue , so much for women in league campaign , then theres the excuses of the unnoficial advisor to the nrl offering cultural issues and every other excuse known to mankind , honestly its just one cop out after another with these guys , their gifted golden opportunitys in life and they abuse them and the people… Read more »


As a general observation around rumours and Payne Haas and other incidents this off season, it is worth noting that there has been very little Eels coverage in mainstream media. Usually we’re ripe for the picking regardless of the legitimacy of the story, so that has been refreshing way to spend the summer.


Life is never going to be perfect for NRL, just like it is never perfect for lawyers, accountants, politicians etc etc. NRL is mayhem on the field and because of this has to seek the other extreme off it. I can apply my own judgements to incidents, ie I didn’t flog big Nelson AS for wanting to dust a bloke about to use a bottle on a team mate, but the reality is that society will pass judgement and that will have consequences eg think sponsors.mums/kids. Haas needs to grow up real quick, he’s been hit with a feather, given… Read more »


And will focus the club on zero tolerance.The Broncs will be stoked with only 3 games.

Jimmy Corbo

Hey Sixties, I strongly agree with your comments on Hass, the NRL got this one wrong and badly at that. If it was a lesser squad member or a Junior, it would have been a harsher penalty or a likely sacking for the latter.

Like Colin I have very strong thoughts on these types of incidents, very poor by the NRL.

I always enjoy this column, nice work.

Geoff Cooper

Thanks again for your contribution. In relation to Hass i believe the Broncos should have issued the sames fines as the NRL ie 6 weeks and 100k total


Good point ,hoped someone would mention it , say has is on 30k a game ,thats 90k the clubs paying to a player who cant play because of his own stupidity and disregard for his club,fans and team mates , its a case of the club paying his fine through player payments and they still cant use him ?????


Thanks Sixties, great read again. Haas, and co, well here we go again. This type of decision again seems common from the NRL, and again Abdo / Vlandys have come in with a wet sail but I am afraid this is all ……. and wind. Soft touch and not unlike our court systems it seems. Our game is meant to be a privilege for these guys at NRL yet we see the same inconsistent decisions made. Great comparison Sixties. The game does not need guys like Haas who bring the game into disprepute again, ban him for a season and… Read more »


Im mixed on this , for every player that makes it in nrl theres 9 others just as good that dont for a whole multitude of reasons , the most notable one since 90,s is the emergence of 20 stone islanders in under 12 comps , there finished by 16s but the amount of kids they drive out of the game in meantime is unfortunate , the old weight divisions had merit , examples would be the amount of times we read where players were informed they were to small at junior level , thankfully slater ,papehayzn etc didnt let… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Milo, not in agreement with you on the quality player aspect. Each year we see how many players who have first grade experience and while maybe not permanents in the top grade are still more than good enough to support and play in expanded competitions, maybe not the NRL to start but RL in so many areas have lost teams as there is no or very little support from the top. Australia is growing in population and while many are from migrant families the aspect of numbers that could play RL is growing and we see it in the jnr… Read more »


Hi Colin, always respect your views mate and while I have an alternate view I see your point. I guess I see a disparity between the v strong clubs, the clubs consistent but not at the top end and those struggling from year to year. For me the cap has been good but it also has been allowed to be flawed / rorted in some respects. Time will tell if and when a 17th team comes in. I guess my point is relating to the game overall. Is it stronger in my view than 5 – 8 yrs ago? Not… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Where does one start in that arena 60’s? I ask owing to how many players debut at different clubs as they chase them hoping they can be at any club longer than a year or two.

When one looks around all the clubs how many have players that have been one club for the whole of their careers? IIRC, while there has always been players who start and finish their careers at one club, what would the percentages be on that in the past 20 years, or even going back to when the eels first played in 1947.

John Eel

Colin just picking up your point about promoting the game to kids. My grandson goes to a Catholic school in the South West. I have got to know the principal and talk to him often. He is a mad leaguie and a season ticket holder of the Sharks, no one is perfect. They have footy clinics at the school. The AFL runs them. I have not asked the reason for AFL clinics and not NRL But I feel certain if he was approached he would be open to it. Going back to your other point the school has a large… Read more »

John Eel

From what I understand Sixties you are correct on those points My grandson was involved in Auskick

The NRL has begun a similar program I think called little legends or something like that. However I have not spoken to anyone who has been a part of it.

I thought it was very rich of the AFL to include those attendees in their participation numbers.

I understand the NRL now includes touch players in their participation numbers.

Colin Hussey


John Eel

Sixties I don’t have a definitive view on the subject of whether there is enough quality players to fill an extra team or two I am happy to leave that to the experts. But I am old enough to remember Cronulla and Penrith coming into the NSWRL. You won’t believe this but the same argument was put then just as it was for Canberra and every other new club to enter the competition. What I do think is the critical issue around successful clubs is not how long they have been in the competition but the quality of their administration… Read more »


Problems in juniors were exacerbated when fox invaded rugby league , put a bit of money into elite schools but have never done anything for so called grass root clubs , thanks are owed to a lot of mums and dads and hard working footy loyalists , another catalyst in the problem is todays employment environment especially in bush towns , .think vlandys recognises this , hes here for the good of footy not himself as the others were , jurys out!


hi is there training today, as I would like to attend a session

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
!0 Year Member

To quote sixties….aka……Nostradamus…. “I’m tipping that the white alternate strip will be a huge seller.”……i got pinged by the memberhip team yesterday that the Macron gear was available….low and behold, the white alternate strip only have small and 5x left…..I dont get it..I guess people will be using a lot of bleach to keep their whites white this year….lol


10 yr member, I can see your point. TBH I would not buy the white gurnsey, and am a traditional type gurnsey person.


Sixties, awesome article! Haas, should be sitting on his HAAS for the season. Disgraceful behaviour that has no place in society let alone our game, as father of a Cop, I fear his every shift.


how do I become a patron


In regards to Haas or any other boof head,
1st offence 5 weeks and 30% of their weekly wage while suspended.
2nd offence 12 weeks and 60%
3rd offence, one season plus 80%
Plus all offences incur a complete ban from all representative games for 2 years.
What I don’t understand about the NRL, they go lightly on someone threatening violence against a women, but ban someone quoting text from the bible.
BTW, I’m an atheist but believe in free speech.


Did anyone else see Tim Lafai’s name on our team sheet ??????

John Eel

That is an exciting lineup for the trial tomorrow against the Dragons. There are some good recruits and good young development players as well. It will be good to see how they gel and what hidden talent BA has uncovered. This could be a good preview into our future roster. Tim Lafai on a CC contract is an interesting development. As a young player first coming into the NRL for the Dogs he showed a lot of attacking skill. He also has a great offload. I think he is a left side centre so if he can improve his defence,… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Agree John, on the eels webb site of note is the bit that says we have 4 players now unavailable to play, a reason that there are 3 NRL players listed in the squad, plus Tim Lafai, when I checked the players listed as playing 12 matches last season I noticed that Ray Stone was listed as 11 games plus one other game making 12 appearances which would have made him eligible. Looking at the team though it is very much a CC list and points a bit towards the future with a few of the named players with good… Read more »

John Eel

Noel Aukofolau, is he a former junior rep with the Eels, a centre?

Sam Hughes is missing. I wonder if he is injured?


Sixties, with regards to Haas, I too agree the suspension is a complete joke. Don’t worry about tackles gone wrong – what about a few years ago when George Burgess copped 2 weeks for throwing a water bottle near (it didn’t come close to hitting) Kane Evans when he was still at the Roosters. 2 weeks!!! for throwing a water bottle NEAR an opposition player. When you compare that to what Haas did, he’s lucky he didn’t get life….

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