The Cumberland Throw

Team List Friday – Three Grades Of Eels In The Battle For The West


When it comes to trials, the Riff are positioned as the Eels pinnacle opponent. Even more so on their home turf.

The club at the foot of the mountains would also self-identify as a development club, with their influx of young talent over the past couple of years providing testimony to the effectiveness of their systems.

Therefore, an event which features three grades of trial matches offers a useful early yardstick for assessing the Eels preseason.

It’s not to suggest that a single trial will be an indicator of premiership success. That would be ridiculous. However, being able to measure all three grades against a similarly positioned club just before round one would be a valuable tool for all of the Eels coaches.

The trip to Penrith is also a fun warm-up for Parra supporters.

For some reason, Panthers faithful detest their Eels neighbours. Plenty of Blue and Gold fans have been made to feel very unwelcome once they walk through the gates of Penrith Park. It creates a home ground advantage for their team, which is fine as long as certain lines are never crossed.

Finding our voice in enemy territory is a good way to ready ourselves for the season proper.

It should be fun.



NRL Team List

1. Clint Gutherson

2. Maika Sivo

3. Tom Opacic

4. Waqa Blake

5. Blake Ferguson

6. Dylan Brown

7. Mitch Moses

8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard

9. Reed Mahoney

10. Junior Paulo

11. Shaun Lane

12. Ryan Matterson

13. Nathan Brown

14. Oregon Kaufusi

15. Isaiah Papali’i

16. Keegan Hipgrave

17. Marata Niukore

There are no surprises here. Marata Niukore was suspended for a grade 1 offence, leaving him eligible for a spot in this team.

I’m expecting these 17 players will feature for the first 50-60 minutes. After that, the reinforcements from the earlier trials will hit the field for the closing stages.

It was in the corresponding trial back in 2019 that Eels fans got their first look at Maika Sivo. Coming off the bench late in the game he posed a threat in attack, then showed determination in defence chasing down a Panthers break. It earned him a round one starting spot.

With injuries causing the omission of other players from this trial, I’m expecting that this team will be named in round one of the premiership – with the exception of Marata Niukore. That leaves one bench place up for grabs.

Perhaps that will go to Joey Lussick.

Perhaps that will be determined in the Canterbury Cup trial.


Canterbury Cup Team List


1. Jordan Rankin

2. Solomone Naiduki

3. Will Penisini

4. Tim Lafai

5. Haze Dunster

6. Will Smith

7. Jakob Arthur

8. Makahesi Makatoa

9. Joey Lussick

10. Dave Hollis

11. Ellie El Zahkem

12. Marata Nuikore

13. Tasi James

14. Dylan Clifford

15. Daniel Sakisi

16. Grant Taufalo

17. Toa Mata ‘Afa

18. Charlton Schaafhausen

19. Noel Aukafalou

20. Harry O’Toole

21. Charbel Tasipale

A blend of youth and experience has been listed in the Canterbury Cup side.

Young guns Jake Arthur, Will Penisini, Solomone Naiduki, Dave Hollis, and Tasi James are all in the starting side, and all have completed the NRL preseason. They are joined on the bench by fellow rising star, Charbel Tasipale – my selection for most improved over the preseason.

Marata Niukore has been named in both grades so it will be interesting to see whether he gets any time at all in this game.

Tim Lafai makes his first appearance in the Blue and Gold and Eels fans get to check out those on second tier contracts with the club.

Don’t be surprised to see some Flegg players get a run late in this game.


Jersey Flegg Team List


1. Sean Russell

2. Marli Townsend

3. Josh Tuipolotou

4. Sam Loizou

5. Matt Komolafe

6. Clayton Faulalo

7. Nick Tilburg

8. Albert Etu- Faavae

9. Kyle Schneider

10. Lachlan Poko

11. Peni Tohi

12. Oliver Clements

13. Jayden Yates

14. Ethan LeBlanc

15. Jack Colovatti

16. Mark Tepu-Smith

17. Tevita Massima

18. Jayden Skinner

19. Sione Tapaúsi

20. Joshua Doughty

21. Leonard Skelton

22. Jay Wong

23. Josh Thompson

24. Caleb Coroneos


As predicted, a number of young players who completed the NRL preseason have been named in this grade.

Sean Russell, Josh Tuipolotou, Sam Loizou, and Matt Komolafe are all young enough to play SG Ball this year, so it’s no surprise to see them named in an under 21 team. That said, I’m expecting them to get game time in the Canterbury Cup during 2021, and possibly late in this Saturday’s trial.

Despite being listed as a club departure, Kyle Schneider has been retained. The talented rake still has many years of football ahead of him, as evidenced by his listing in an age qualified team.

Some eagle-eyed fans might notice the name Josh Thompson on the bench. The big forward is Jarryd Hayne’s cousin and attracted some publicity for his family ties when signing for the Knights and then Canberra.

If this backline is retained, they could have some fun in 2021. I like the look of the bench players, so coach Dean Feeney might have some fun headaches when it comes to selecting his team most weeks.


Whatever the outcome of these matches, let’s wish the players from both clubs a day free from injury. They’ve all done the hard yards of preseason and deserve to be available for round one selection.

Eels forever!





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What’s the happenings with young Sam Hughes I’ve not seen any signs of him?


Great read.
Do you know if Sam Hughes is injured Sixties?



everyone is asking about Sam Hughs. He was touted as our best prop prospect along with Hollis. For that reason we maybe didn’t put a bigger offer towards Utoikamanu. Now we don’t even know if he’s at the club or training. No training sightings or rehabilitation. Nobody knows anything. Not even.
100 % . they know. Or why didn’t we speak to Grima as to what happened

I remember when I think it was RCG saying that Hughs had the best football attributes that he had seen from a prop at his age.

Last edited 16 days ago by Anonymous

Agreed can we get some clarity on the Sam Hughes situation


Just to clarify for you Anonymous. Sam’s mum knows what is going on with her little boy. But She’s keeping it “dark”. Not unlike Joey Grima when he goes into his 40ft gear container, no lights talk about dark? It’s like looking up a buffalo’s bum at midnight in there, but we have a solution, it’s called solar panel, battery storage, converted to 240v LED lighting. Proudly brought to us by Easily Green Solar Solutions. A half brother to the sponsor of this article, and there’s another foster brother about to join the wonderful team at TCT. Easily Green Pool… Read more »


My pleasure Sixties.


Yes I must say, the more the club plays ducks and drakes regarding young Sam Hughes , the more sus it looks. If he was injured, they would have said so. Perhaps the fans deserve some sort of clarity here.


What if its personal or family ,no ones business!!!

matthew sweeney

makes sense, manoa thompson. how good is the CC team backline,
if will smith repeats his last trial game form, it will be very hard not to include him in gm1 17

Achilles' Eel

Sione Tapausi or Sione Tapu’osi? If the latter, then I think he might become a bit of a crowd favourite, reminiscent of a young Tony Williams when he was still playing on the wing.

matthew sweeney

about marata being in the run on team tomorrow, well I understand
they want to give him a little game time before rd 2 but also it could of been an opportunity for a younger player to shine from the opening bell, besides because of the limited pre season and only 1 real trial , then I think that coaches will almost think of round 1 as a pseudo trial, albeit with points on offer.

Achilles' Eel

Runs strongly as well. I wonder what other surprises the new recruitment team has in store for us. Been shopping at the nation’s capital by the look of things.


Well said Sixties from the heart the pen speaks.
Interesting note on Kyle. He seems to have plenty of heart and conviction. I hope he has a great injury free season.

These teams also give us a good look at our depth. When you think there is Stoney and Nathaniel Roache running around in rehab out on the field together each day, add to that Carty with his broken jaw and Michael Oldfield with a strained MCL. That’s 4 potential top 17 players.

Last edited 15 days ago by Forty20
Trouser Eel

I feel I should call you out in that casual racism there Rowdy. I’m not sure it’s suitable anywhere but I’d rather not see/hear/read derogatory terms such as kraut being used to describe people.
Being the good Christian man I know you’d not want others to feel bad because of your words.


Fair play Trouser, thanks for pointing that out. Comment has been edited to reflect your point.


See your point Trouser and your confirmation Forty, but personally I saw no racism in it. Do we no longer see beyond our ability to take offence in someone else behalf to see anything of virtue in the intention that it’s written. Without my reference to the word kraut there would be no linking of his hereditary German name with the type of courageous soldier I made comparison with. A “Storm Trooper” (see below dictionary definition) of the German military kind (thanks for editing out my sincere reference to the storm trooper Forty, it certainly puts the whole argument in… Read more »

Colin Hussey

The term Kraut that was applied to German soldiers in both World Wars comes from insults from their enemies, especially those from the UK & USA, the last lot took it up a notch but few knew where the term came from. It comes from a popular and seen as a part of the German food diet of pickled cabbage and called Sourkraut on jars label if purchased in a store, but most German families the mother was the one who did the pickling and from family traditions. The Yanks, proved to be the worst in the way they demeaned… Read more »

Achilles' Eel

You fellas are too fixated on modern political identities and the jingoistic taunts of soldiers under fire that cruelly linger to this day. Identities are not fixed; they just seem that way. While racism is but the pernicious offshoot of a bloody-minded and competitive zeal to keep them fixed in the face of historical change that most of us find difficult to keep up with.

Now I’m not a religious man myself, though I’m suddenly feeling buoyant enough to recite GK Chesterton’s hymn, ‘Oh God of Earth and Alter’, it being Sunday and all…

Colin Hussey

Mate, having done a fair bit of research regarding certain areas of WW2, a lot of the problem is basically ignorance from those who don’t want their feelings hurt which is often related to many who have family members who were part of what went on during conflicts of more than one kind. Its not just a matter of pointing ones finger at one area either, as if one points a finger at someone else, all he/she has to do is look down and see how many fingers are pointed backwards to the pointer.


The Panthers gradually became a measuring stick last year. Most games I saw of them, you had to keep up with them in intensity, they did everything hard and fast, and when they controlled their errors, they were a handful. Will be interesting to see if that persists into 2021, they’ve had some roster/cap issues,lost some valuable experience.I always remember when we gave Jarryd Hayne big money, we went backwards.

Achilles' Eel

Regarding your bit on Hayne: as I recall, it was during a time of great factional upheaval when coaches, who’d only come through the front door, and had yet to settle in, were quickly ushered out the back and dealt with almost as had been Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi embassy.


Totally agree, there were many factors at play, you could write a novel. A chapter on Fui, who never quite got comfortable with his pay grade.


G’day BDon, interesting comments you’ve made there champ, but clearly within the realms of possibility if not certainty. I am though, unaware of what you mean by the Fui Fui comment, did he want More More or was he overwhelmed by $350K and the fact that he had to train for the full session to play NRL?


I’ll bow to your knowledge/memory Rowdy, but my recollection was that Fui was on $250k In the early days of Hayne’s big contract and he made a few public comments, in that tongue in cheek, throwaway style he was known for, like at Souths when he told them he’ll train for 10 minutes if he only gets 10 minutes on the park(as you indicate).
My intention started out in the world of the Panthers resetting their roster and how that might play out.


Sorry BDon, if my guess at Fui’s remuneration appeared to be some reference to fact. Your guess is as good as mine mate. And yes Fui was prone to get his message out without causing too much offence.

Paul Taylor

I am expecting Penrith to drop back a bit this year. EVERYTHING went there way and they had momentum, youth , good injury run, softer draw…. WE have to show we have learnt from the 2020 season. Our attack was poop and defence was all over the shop. I hope we see direct play, runners hitting lines and nice defensive shapes. Tonight could be anything. Panthers could blow up apart or we could do the same. Shame about CARTY I actually rate him.


I’m sorry but I know its only a trial but we always look very predictable attacking the opposition line, From one out plays to an obvious spread – nothing has changed. It’s either give it to Sivo or wait until the last for a lottery kick.

With the amount of fatigue that’s going to be in the game you need to play straight and run at angles first. We are ultra predictable.

Colin Hussey

Here’s hoping sixties. Also hoping that we will see a huge improvement in the refereeing standards compared to last night. Absolutely pathetic, and if this example is of the speeding up of the game, then I see no co-relation to the old days and games that Annersley has been promoting in taking the game back to the old days.


Hey boys now that Michael Jennings contract has been torn up, what does this mean with our top 30 as March 1 is tomorrow we have to announce 29 players ?



Brett Allen

Why would we not be throwing any shots in attack ? If we’re not playing to win, why are we playing at all. Yes it’s a trial, but you start how you meant to go on. If that drivel is what we can expect this year, then the very best we can hope for is top 4. We showed the same issues that plagued us last year, we’re playing too wide of the ruck, Reed Mahoney is not getting better at asking questions of the marker defence, Mitch is still going sideways too much, Dylan’s decision making is still poor.… Read more »


Gee I’m glad you’re back Brett. I was starting to think we were a chance of improving on last year, especially with our first half defense in our red zone. Holding the Panthers out for 18 tackles in a row and then only being down by 6 points at halftime after conceding 5 x 6 again calls to nil. I guess that was an error of wishful thinking. Thanks for putting me straight Brett. Imagine going into a new season so delusional that I might have some hope for my footy team. 😉

Brett Allen

Rowdy, we were defending our own line because our midfield defence is poor. So yeah, we scramble well in defence, but we’re in a poor position to offer anything in attack.
What if, and I’m just spitballing here, what if we showed that kind of defensive intensity higher up the park ?
We aren’t better than last year, that’s the reality


Brett, I’ve always watched the attention to detail factor, in close games particularly it only takes 2 or 3 lapses to make a difference. The Panthers learned this from us Rd 1 2020.
Two examples Sat night…Kikau changes angle, and Koriosau catches 2nd marker daydreaming…tries off both (but 1 called back for forward pass). Both these players are renowned for what they did. On the other hand, it’s impossible to play a perfect game, moreso under fatigue, but we do have some tendencies.

Brett Allen

BDon, that’s the thing that bothers me, that attention to detail, call it mental application if you will, it hasn’t improved in BA’s time, except when there has been an upgrade in talent. After 8 years, it’s hard to believe that’s going to change in 2021.


Have they rung you yet , you seem to have a vast knowledge and obviously the coaching credentials to match

Brett Allen

No they haven’t Rowdy, nor do I expect they will, but I don’t need to be a coach to know what I’m seeing.


Brett, I’m seeing exactly what you are. To be fair, you have always in the past, been one of the first to support BA. Your analysis of the game, especially the lack of support play is spot on.


Not Rowdy Brett, Anonymous, whoever he or she is. I have the courage of my convictions as you have seen.

Brett Allen

I thought it might have been you and you forgot to put your name to it. No matter.

Gil Carter

Can anyone provide a Canterbury Cup trial result & performance review? Just hoping, love this site tho’.


40 nil to the Panthers


The good thing about trials is if you loose its just a trial
If you win that’s a good start positive signs.

Saturday didn’t ease my concerns I said at the end of last year we won’t make the 8 in 21 and I think I maybe right.
I’m on record as saying the BA should be moved on and I’ll stand by that till proven otherwise.

I think this year’s team to beat is south’s the way the game is evolving cook, Reynolds, walker, Latrell are the perfect spine.
Our spine simply doesn’t measure up to that


Watched the game on streaming without sound. Can anyone tell me what the 6 again/10 mtr stats were? They didn’t show on screen, but I saw Klein waving his hand a few times. In that game, I didn’t notice one side infringing more.

Brett Allen

0-0, Ashley Klein swallowed his whistle


I call BS Brett. My numbers in above reply to your post was spot on 6 again went 5-0 to the Riff in the first half with penalties not appearing significant in my mind until we got one in the second half.

Brett Allen



Stay on other site with your stupid know all whingeing mates please brett

Brett Allen

It’s hilarious, on 1EE I’m called a unicorn, here I’m called a hater. I’m confused.


Unsurprising !!


Anon, at least on the other site there’s a two way conversation, where here it seems to head in the one direction.

John Eel

I think that first try came off a repeat set


I’m not too concerned with the overall performance on Saturday night but there is a few things that I’d like to point point out. Firstly I have real doubts about Sean Lane. He has a reputation of going missing when the going gets tough and he is very lazy in defence. The try early in the second half was directly caused by him allowing Korisau to run past him after the ref called him offside. Your taught in under 8’s that it’s better to give away a penalty than allow a guy to run straight through you. I also noticed… Read more »

greg okladnikov

Hi TCT team, have there been any thoughts on the NSW Cup result, or an assessment from anyone who was at the game. Seemed like a very big blow out score?

Micky D's

I think everyone is jumping the gun a little. Sure we looked flat in attack, but you need forwards to penetrate the line first & in trials, no forward is going to give 110% to lay that platform- its natural- it’s a practice match and that’s exactly what we lacked.
I think the main purpose for ba was to get our defense right, as we did some major swaps on both sides, and for mine we looked very good in D.

I’m not blowing ba’s trumpet but look out Broncos


G’day Greg, at the game it the NSW Canterbury Cup looked like a contest between men and boys. My opinion is that we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous when it comes to promoting our local juniors. Imo, half of them need to go back to Flegg Cup and a couple to even start the year in SCG Ball if they still are eligible to get a bit more experience to make up for last season. The Reggies need about 3 or 4 grown men to show the young blokes they way under pressure as they did in… Read more »


Which ones go back to what grades , names ?


That’s what we have coaches for Anon, not my place to go into that detail, I only made a general observation of the overall performance. It’s only my opinion I could be wrong.


From “half of them need to go back “ it was a statement not an observation so back it up with detail !


Rowdy, I think a few of the young boys are from BA’s junior Rhinos team that he coached a few years back.


Is that the team where they recruited kids from Windsor and Minchinbury in under 13’s


Which ones , names ?


Still waiting , names , facts ??


Yes it is.


Jobs for the boys? Wouldn’t be surprised lol

Brett Allen

I have no issue with promoting them a bit younger now, because our senior team is loaded with players in their prime years. We need to start building into these 17-19 yo’s whilst the likes of Gutho, Mitch, Junior, RCG, Brownie etc are still in their primes, so that when those guys start to age, these young guys will 21,22 and ready to step up.


Couldnt agree more and if you dont give them a go they just go .


About half a dozen of them are from BA Rouse Hill Rhinos team. Some of them played in a under 20’s competition park football last year and were extremely lucky to win the GF. For them to go from a under 20’s to Canterbury cup / Jersey Flegg in less than a year is a significant jump.

Jimmy jnr

Mate did you watch the cc game v Penrith.?
The young players were out of there depth.
But facts are facts.
Jake and his friends are being pushed for higher grades at Parra due to Jake’s dad
Yet non of them are even ready. Non of them would even stand out in Jersey flegg
Say what you want but the facts are the facts non of those kids are ready for NSW cup. And if it wasn’t for Jake’s father being Parramatta NRL coach non of them would be given opportunities here at Parra or at any other club…


You can not compare those players to Dylan brown at the same age. Dylan had extensive representative career in juniors, and no offence how is he traveling at present with NRL. So comparing all the juniors to Dylan is unfair.. I also watched the CC game. Yes it was terrible by all involved, but the younger ones were man handled and right now are not physically ready for CC. In my opinion. Time will tell, let’s see the make up of round 1 teams and go from there, I’m confident a few younger players will be there whether they deserve… Read more »

Jimmy jnr

Just saying it how it looks..
I have watched enough junior games and I have read enough of your acticles.
I understand your position with the club, but sometimes you need not to be so bias or show favouritism.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion whether it’s in line with yours or not
Speaking to a few people who watched the same game have formed the same opinion as I.

If it looks like chicken
If it smells like chicken
If it tastes like chicken
Then it’s prob chicken.

Just saying..


So True Jimmy Jnr

Colin Hussey

Twood seem to me sixties that we have an invasion from the other site with the new arrivals venting their knowledge of what they don’t know. Seems to me that there is little toleration as to losing a game, the worst of it is that the eels have not really played a game that is other than a trial. The first trial was won, and won well, the next was played without or with very little rules and constant offside play, with it also being played at a pace likely as fast as the GF is played, and this was… Read more »

Big roy

Well spotted col , they played sept footy we sensibly stuck to february


couldn’t agree more Jimmy. Was it wise to get rid of both Field and Salmon at the same time. Not much choice/depth to choose from if Moses and Brown get injured

Brett Allen

That’s how they get better.


2 things, I really hope you are not comparing D Brown to J Arthur at the same age and the difference between Jersey Flegg and Canterbury Cup is significantly more than 1 grade up.


Your dealing with a coordinated bunch of fools mate , dont bother with them , they will look stupid soon enough !

Big roy

Sixties You should have stopped at “i dont think you comprehend “!!


Your comparing apples to lemons IV watched plenty of junior games. I just don’t agree with the opinion BA has on the current crop of young players either Exception penisini. Great talent and deserves all acolades.. The connection with BA and his bulls team and the Parramatta SG ball team of 2019 Tupilupou Arthur Penesini Kamaloffa Tohi Russell Liziou Apologies regarding spelling… Now tell me why Jon fonua didn’t get the opportunities that Sean Russell is getting.. Now tell me why Joe tiparai didn’t get the opportunities Jake Arthur is getting.. Now tell me why Jessie Cronin didn’t get the… Read more »

Big roy

Just guessing , not good enough ! Thankfully your not a talent scout nor do you have salary cap knowledge , all players you mentioned unfortunately just havent got it my opinion , apples v lemons !!

Last edited 10 days ago by Big roy
Colin Hussey

Good response sixties, the migration over here continues it seems.


Well gents. Either way time will tell on the boys in question.
Does anyone know where Tyler field is playing.??


How is that even allowed without being questioned by O’Neill?


How is what allowed ,explain ??

Big roy

Welcome back terry , weve missed you since you lost those grand finals 👏


At least back then there’s was a GF we could talk about.

John Eel

Great to see that Will Penesini has been upgraded to top 30

John Eel

Sixties there is something about him which I can’t explain. He looks like an NRL player when he is on the field.

John Eel

I also like the way that he runs. He looks very balanced,a little bit Billy Slater like.

I know many have compared him to MJ which is fair but I am just talking about his running style.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x