The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 5 vs Dragons

Parramatta Eels 12

St George Illawarra 26

There’s not a lot of Good to come out of tonight’s clash, but here’s 5 little things to take away from Round 5:

1. There’s still plenty of games to go, and tonight’s loss will not define our season; one way or the other.

2. Isaiah Papali’i is still a very good pick for buy of the season.

3. In the carnage of 2021, it’s worth noting that we avoided getting bitten by the injury bug for another week.

4. We get a shot at redemption next week, facing fellow “you’re pretty good, but probably still another Tier 2” team next week in Canberra.

5. Thanks to some undeserved generosity, my good mate Bondy (left) and I (right) got to sit in a catered box. Ok, most of you won’t care about this; so maybe it’s just 4 little things in Round 5; and we both know that doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The Parramatta Eels are the Boy Who Cried Wolf of the NRL; the team who over a period of 20 or so years have demonstrated just enough footballing nous and credibility to drag all Eels fans to the top of the hill of collective hope, only for us all to once again realise it was another false dawn, another let down, another time we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and look towards next week with adjusted expectations. I’m not sure just how many more times we will continue to fall for the same trick, but you get the sense that fans are starting to simply not believe the words that come out of the mouths of any player, coach, journalist or handsome Pre-Season Training blogger (read: Sixties) regarding any hype for the Eels until we see greater consistency of form and results.

With that said, if Parra can get all this rubbish and kinks out of our system now, it would be genuinely better than the opposite form trajectory we lived through in 2020. Tonight was certainly our worst game of 2021, and it would rival most contests of 2020 in that department, too (other than maybe that Souths shellacking) .

As for tonight, we simply lacked venom on both sides of the ball until it was too late. The Dragons simply played like they wanted it more, and they won the big moments tonight, in a landslide.

In patches tonight the Eels attack looked like they were being controlled by a kid who just got a new Xbox but doesn’t yet understand the controls. For a team hoping to be taken seriously in the Premiership race, tonight we couldn’t get our attack together to beat the Dragons with 12, players, let alone any contending team who would put them away 13 on 13.

In short, and I mean no disrespect to any Dragons fans reading, but tonight we were outplayed by players with far less talent but far more effort.

Needless to say Bryce Cartwright was not the X-Factor many were hoping him to be; more on that below.

Now, as much as I detest harping on about the officiating, I will admit I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the standard of refereeing tonight. I thought the Dragons were constantly offside in the first half, the pass for the last try was forward and Grant Atkins officiated the ruck completely differently between the first and second halves (still, thought the second was how it should be, and the 10 in the bin was exactly what was needed).

The Dragons simply played smarter than us in defence, and bent the new rules to their will; they dared the officials to give us 6 again and simply frustrated the Eels, effectively exploiting our frantic and panicked attack.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the Eels need to play wet weather football, every single week. Use our power game right up the middle, bash the opposition in defence, kick it to the corners, encourage our halves to run as much as possible and keep turning our edge players back on the inside (see tonight’s attacking game from Lane, Shaun).

In stats land the Eels had less possession (47 to 53%), a pretty average completion rate (29/43, 67% vs the Dragons’ 33/41, 80%), and less metres (2151 to 2398). We had less missed tackles (25 to St George’s 39), but on the other hand, we also sucked more. It all added up to a very disappointing night at the office for the Eels.

In an otherwise depressing evening to be an Eels fan, at least Isaiah Papali’i can be rightfully crowned MVP in back to back weeks; securing the title with his 15 runs, 133m, 6 tackle breaks and 41 tackles. He also celebrated his second four pointer in two weeks in fine style.

Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

Tonight’s game started reasonably enough, showing collective respect for the great Tommy Raudonikis with an old fashioned kicking duel between Moses and Norman; that was until the Eels blinked first when Clint Gutherson got tipped on his head (?) and dropped the ball.

Other than this moment I thought Gutho was what we’ve come to expect from our great man; getting through 20 runs and 209 running metres to go with his linebreak, 4 tackle breaks, 1 offload and 1 disallowed try.

However tonight wasn’t just the end of the Eels perfect win loss record, but yet another beating to Gutho’s already average Captain’s Challenge record; throwing the dice at a Bryce Cartwright ‘offload’ and another pretty average strip call.

Maika Sivo

2 – Left Wing

It might have been different in the past, but in the battle of the big Fijian wingers, the 2021 scorecard reads Ravalawa 1, Sivo 0; and it wasn’t particularly close, either.

Maika had 17 runs for 163m, 5 tackle breaks and *checks notes* 1 tackle tonight.

Tom Opacic

3 – Left Centre

Assuming they can make the timing work, I hear Tom Opacic will be collecting the rest of his ribcage from Mikaele Ravalawa’s place some time tomorrow afternoon.

Despite the upper body trauma, Tom still ran 11 times for 93m, and had 4 tackle breaks. Opa-check it out.

Marata Niukore

4 – Right Centre

Well maybe he is human, after all. Tonight the man I like to call ‘Crash’ was held to 8 runs for 75m, 2 tackle breaks and 17 tackles. Maybe we should hold off on all those “Marata: The Next Immortal” billboards for the moment.

Blake Ferguson

5 – Right Wing

Well it wasn’t spiral bombs this week, but Blake Ferguson once again demonstrated a clear allergy to ball security and an affinity for general football stupidity. Outdoing the Easter Monday debacle, Fergo went above his best efforts this week and clocked up a game high 5 errors, effectively negating his otherwise monstrous 205 running metres (from 21 carries), linebreak assist and 2 tackle breaks.

Dylan Brown

6 – Five Eighth

Despite a poor team game, I thought this was close to Dylan Brown’s best game of the season. Not only did his defence save a couple of line breaks and a certain try early in the game, he was much more potent individually in attack, and did very well to get the ball to Gutho for the try/just kidding it’s a no try movement in the latter parts of the second half.

He would know this better than I would, but there’s still some improvement to come in his pass selection; there were times tonight when overlap opportunities not seized as he might have liked. Still, it’s early in the season and 10 runs for 123m, a linebreak, 3 tackle breaks and 29 tackles is no ordinary game from any half, let alone one who still looks young enough to still get carded at the movies.

Mitch Moses

7 – Halfback

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as the undisputed leader of our offence, if we’re going to give Mitch Moses credit when the attack is humming, he also needs to feel the heat when our attack is frantic, impatient and overall chaotic.

Other than the moment below, I thought Mitch had a respectable game individually (9 runs for 71m, 10 kicks for 357m, 15 tackles, 2 from 2 with the boot), but first half aside, the Eels needed to settle it down in the second forty; if anything we became less patient and clinical when the Dragons were reduced to 12. We don’t need to score off every play, we don’t need to score off every set.

Finally, I’m sure we all felt plenty of air go out of the comeback balloon when Mitch’s pass to Sivo sailed over the touchline; I know hindsight is 20/20, but a simple through the hands movement against that huge overlap sees us at 18-10 KTC, rather than the 20-6 we found ourselves 60 seconds later.

Based on his continued improvement since he started wearing the Blue & Gold, I know tonight is yet another learning moment for the Prince of Egypt, and not a defining moment.


8 – Front Row

I thought Reagan Campbell-Gillard was of the handful of Eels tonight who looked up and charged as hard as he could into the teeth of the St George defensive line (12 runs for 101m, 2 offloads, 35 tackles).

I heard that after every game, RCG sheds his skin like a snake.

Reed Mahoney

9 – Hooker

Another early season star who crashed (somewhat) back to Earth tonight. Although we can always rely on Cash Mahoney to tackle everything in sight (an incredible 60 tackles tonight) and his running game was relatively effective (3 runs for 38), the crisp and creative passing and kicking was still left a little lacking for mine. Then again, I’m not Reed Mahoney.

Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

The world’s biggest man was very much kept in check tonight by the Dragons‘ defence; limited to a mere mortal 9 runs for 85m, 1 offload and 26 tackles. Oh and he also ran into a Dragons defender to take away what was otherwise a pretty great Eels try.


Shaun Lane

11 – Second Row

It feels like almost every one on the Eels had at least one terrible moment tonight. When it came to the milestone man, Shaun Lane thought he’d try his hand at a grubber kick.

It did not go well.

Other than that unpleasantness, the much maligned Laney was actually one of our better attacking players tonight (11 runs for 116m, 1 linebreak, 4 tackle breaks), finding plenty of success turning inside and running over the Dragons’ left edge. He also made a whopping 45 tackles for the good guys.

Overall, it was a much better game from the man who has felt quite a bit of Post Game Grade scorn of late.

Isaiah Papali’i

15 – Second Row

I don’t think any of us were ready for this jelly.

Just when you thought we were salvaging a serviceable second rower off the Warriors scrapheap, it turns out we actually signed a man who would prove to be one of the best players in the Blue & Gold in the first 5 rounds, and eviscerate any reasonable expectations even the most optimistic Eels fans could have thought up. Ice Papa is legit, and should be a shoe in for that stupid “better give 1 point to the best player on the losing side” trend in Dally M voting.

Nathan Brown

13 – Lock

I’m told some people thought Nathan Brown had a good game tonight; I am not one of those people. Admittedly his pass for Ice Papa’s try was outstanding; he thoroughly deserves all the plaudits for a crisp and well timed pass to a fellow running forward, this is Cyborg at his best.

But I also saw some pretty average plodding from our lock forward, particularly in the first half. Statistically it wasn’t a disaster, ending up with a high involvement but relatively low input 17 run, 123 running metres number game. But I wonder how the new rules have affected Brown’s effectiveness if he doesn’t engage the line before distributing to his outside men; as right now the defence simply waits for him to telegraph his intentions, either scramble past him as he passes, or run up and meet his small frame front on.

I was also less than pleased with Nathan’s inability to corral Mitch Moses’ tap back early in the first half and think that penalty try was relatively stupid stuff from him, but I guess we were likely beaten on that play one way or the other.

Oregon Kaufusi

14 – Interchange

I’ve got absolutely no problem in the world with Oregon Kaufusi, but surely we need more from our key bench middle than 5 runs, 39 metres and 15 tackles in 24 minutes.

Will Smith

16 – Interchange

I feel a bit like a broken record, but playing from behind, I would have liked to see what Will Smith could have done either side of half time, rather than just 8 minutes to go. I guess BA gave that opportunity to Bryce Cartwright, tonight.

Bryce Cartwright

17 – Interchange

How wild that in his debut game, Bryce Cartwright not only managed to strike a blow to all those who believed in his Rugby League resurrection, but also to somehow win a Captain’s Challenge by giving away a penalty with ball in hand? Incredible.

When Bryce is playing well, he tucks the ball under the arm and charges into the defence (12 runs for 100m); almost as if he weighed 110kg and was 6″3′ (which he is). However, too often tonight Bryce instead opted for that weird float-across-the-field thing he’s been known to do. It turns out what didn’t work on sunny green grass of the Gold Coast also doesn’t work at Bankwest. I imagine that key missed tackle leading to the Dragons’ final try tonight won’t look so hot on the CV, either.

To even the ledger, Carty did have 1 (successful) offload and 38 tackles (only 2 missed); so I mean, statistically it was actually a pretty good night. But games of football aren’t played on paper (as far as I’m aware).

Ray Stone

18 – Interchange

I figure we really need to give Ray Stone more game time (9 minutes) in order to better justify asking him to keep his nights and afternoons free.

The Eels remain undefeated with Keegan Hipgrave in the side. Stay woke, people.

I figure you can look at our Season 2021 in a couple of different ways. Did we simply trip up tonight on our otherwise perfect start, or is the more alarming reality that we played well in the wet to beat Melbourne, squeaked out 3 pretty average wins and then demonstrated our true capacity by losing to the Dragons this evening? Tell me where you sit in the comments below.

As touched on above, next week we travel to Canberra to face the 8th placed Raiders. I’m reliably informed the Eels haven’t won in Canberra in 16 years. Put another way, last time we won in our nation’s capital, Glenn Morrison and Josh Cordoba wore the Blue & Gold. How good! bad!

It will be a good test to determine who exactly we are in 2021, nonetheless.

Whatever happens, I’ll see you then sports fans.

Go you Eels,


Photos courtesy of the Parramatta Eels. Stats courtesy of Champion Data.

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54 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 5 vs Dragons

  1. Fathead

    How many times has BA and others commented that the Eels need to play the simple uncomplicated power game ? Why do they go off script and go rogue ? Why do our game managers , Gutho and Moses not manage this ?
    We have the best power game in the league but if your game managers are not only failing to arrest this going off script behaviour but are responsible and participating – what hope do you have ?

  2. Prometheus

    We again appeared not mentally ready for this ambush. That problem haunts us. No plan to overcome a more enthusiastic opposition. Oh for a Sterlo !

  3. Offside

    Not a happy night and some worrying signs of what could potentially happen this season.
    Watching in the stands it felt we were out coached the dragons read every one of our obvious attacking structures we had no composure or plan b.
    Alot of people including parra supporters feel we are pretenters the last 2 weeks only add fuel to that.

    As for Cartwright I wasn’t happy when we signed him and I was less happy when I saw him wearing our jersey and as of last night nothing has changed.

  4. BDon

    Good calls Mitch. Papali’i was a standout. Another standout was the massive hole in the middle that Dufty accelerated through in the penalty try. For replay watchers, watch who was walking and not pushing across, no names. I hate that one.

  5. Dave

    Got to agree with you about Nathan Brown i listened to the game and didn’t sound to me that he had a great night. Officials were atrocious and need to be looked at, didn’t think it was the bunkers call to penalise Cartwright on the captains challenge obvious perenara still got it in for the eels. Hopefully we will learn from tonight, dragons better team

  6. Sec50

    It was a frustrating game to watch. Dragons were very impressive with their positive attitude in all aspects of the game. We were extremely passive in defence with a myriad of mistakes in attack, some of them incomprehensible – enter Fergo. No team can afford a player who commits continuous errors. Time for Dunster? I know his defence is a little suspect but he is fairly mistake free.
    Our bench, when used, were largely ineffective. Hipgrave was excellent in reserve grade and Grieg continues to impress with great go forward. There must be changes to the bench in both personnel and use.
    The Raiders are there for the taking but it will have to be against the Parramata team that played against the Storm. The one that was positive in intent and action.

    1. poppa

      Time for Dunster? are you watching the same Dunster I am seeing, frankly I dont think he is up to Reserve Grade. Fergs had a game we would all like to forget but we have no one remotely capable of taking his spot.

      Disappointed in your commentary Mitch, seems like you have been injected with the negativity needle. I am not a Cartwright fan but I thought he was ok last night and nothing like the picture you painted or Moses either for that matter.

      May being a guest in a sponsors box was a little too much for your ego and judgement. That would be the worst write up I have seen on this site since you started…..not every game can be seen through rose coloured glasses but your report smacks maybe that any glasses would help you. Myopia is a terrible disease.
      Maybe the gradings can be done by someone with constructive objectivity.

      Then again everyone is allowed to have a bad one every now and then, even you Mitch.

      1. Anonymous

        Poppa, what were you watching if you genuinely felt Cartwright was OK, I spoke with his dad Dave after the game walking out, even he said he did himself no favours tonight. He was awful! How could BA leave Hipgrave out for him, Hipgrave was a standout in the reserve grad last night. WE LACK MENTAL TOUGHNESS and that comes from the coaching staff!

        1. Poppa

          Brissy Eel and Brett Allen thought he was OK, don’t know what sort of a parent would say that about his son to a random walking out of a football stadium. Probably the best thing he could say and be safe, can you imagine him saying he went Ok and the random tears strips of him. Mental toughness is more putting your name on a post on a social media site and not calling yourself Anon.
          The coaching staff are doing OK, have you got someone better in mind?

          1. Anonymous

            Poppa, I’ve been called many things, but a first time Random! But no mate I played many years at St Mary’s with big Dave! Oh and by the way is POPPA not anonymous! Mitch didn’t quite deserve your spray, he does an awesome job.

      2. Colin Hussey

        Pops. I think you have some sort of mental phobia regarding Dunster, his game yesterday was quite good really. He played for 80minutes, scored try, was good under bombs and combined well with Penisini also thought Russell finally showed his abilities as well, as the players blend more they each will add to the reserves and future NRL squad.

        Ferg’s has had his day, his talking about leaving things and not remembering them says a lot.

        1. Poppa

          The standard was very poor Col, Dunster was OK but he is a long way short of first grade. His defensive miss for one of the tries Saints did score was pretty ordinary.
          Ferguson is shaping as a problem, no doubt but it is daylight between him and the second graders.

          1. Colin Hussey

            Pops, I think you are too hard on Dunster, if one relates to his age/experience, he played one game last year when called up for the finals we lost and did ok there, especially for a player who had only had training sessions and no real game time. This year he’s played 3 games plus his training? If he was at some other clubs he could have been given a chance in NRL.

            How many other clubs hide their young players without any chance to play top grade? Eels bring in Lafai for the lower grade and totally useless from what I have seen. Finally Russel showed something of ability and about time, Penisini made some errors as well, are they the same in your cook book as Dunster is?

      3. mitch

        Hi Poppa, thanks for reading. For what it’s worth I disagree with your assessment of Cartwright, Dunster, the impact of the catered box and the Grades in general.

        I don’t appreciate you suggesting that my ego got the better of me, I only write this because people tell me they enjoy reading it. If this isn’t you, feel free to skip reading them.

        In short, I don’t think what you have said, simply because you disagree with my assessment of a player’s performance, is warranted.

        1. Poppa

          Get over it Mitch, if you want to write a commentary, get set for some criticism. I read what I choose so the same can be said about the replies….. if I don’t agree with them do you want me to say nothing and not hurt your feelings or tell you what I feel. It is a discussion and different opinions involve people disagreeing and letting the other know.
          If you felt aggravated about the ego comment in the catered box, have a look at what you said. You put it out there, no one else.
          Don’t worry when I don’t comment that means I agree with you, that puts you well in front in an overall sense Lol

  7. Paul Taylor

    Good review Mitch. I was there too and I have no doubt at all, that GRIFFIN, ELLIOTT smacked their counterparts in disecting our attack and defence. Grant Atkins interpretation of the ruck ruined the game as a spectacle. They laid over the players, they flaunted the 6 again rules and they were always a few metres in front of the 10. Every bit of green went Saints way. But they wanted it more.

    WE are in a dangerous hole at the moment. FERGO is mistake ridden and targetted by every team. SIVO is bitched by his opposite Fijian mate every time. GUTHO looks busted. CARTWRIGHT showed no respect for the ball or the grind we needed. Dylan cant create enough for a NRL 6 at this stage. Great Defender but we need to have more in attack then Mitch MOSES and GUTHO back plays or side ways movements.

    I really think the ARTHUR bench selections and rotation is terrible. He gassed RCG and gives a little goer like STONE 9 minutes. I am thinking we need to seriously look at RANKIN . The games I have watched him play in the Reggies, he is very calm, game manages and great kicking game. Might be better 14 than SMITH in the Benji Marshal mould.

    I dont know anymore. They always disappoint us in the end our beloved eels.

    1. Anonymous

      I feel like this could’ve been my second comment I agree with it so much. Rankin is guiding that reggie team of 18-20 year olds with a level head and we certainly could add that to the firsts. I feel that Cartwright should have earned his colours in reggie first or was this not possible with the top 30?

  8. Anonymous

    Last week I had my eyes closed everytime we had to catch so I didn’t have to watch. Tonight, I had my mouth open in shock of how bad we were. Out of curiosity Mitch, is the time when fergo put his hand over the line included in his plethora of errors? Yes the officiating was questionable, even my referee son said same thing. Again we cannot score tries without ball security and running from side to side will also nit result in a try. When we pushed up and thru we scored. My biggest issue with BA is that he won’t drop a player. Penrith NSW Cup know if a player has a shocker there’s a chance they can get a call up. As dismal as Waqa was playing he was never in doubt. Ferguson same. The absolute highlight for me was looking up and seeing what looked like Mitch and Gutho coming to blows over the captains challenge. Not sure that we’ll be seeing Gutho next week with that shoulder charge on Clunes on report.
    Excellent reading as always. Thank you

  9. West Coast Eel

    Well, I’m glad I flew over from WA for that one. My first trip out of the state in 18 months. The stadium is awesome, just a shame the team didn’t show up. I’m all in on the ‘Carty Party’ as long as that party is somewhere in the Mediterranean. A long way from Parramatta!

  10. Mr controversy aka rev

    The NRL n Mr Vlandy’s has made the game gone crazy. Why are we letting the video refs control the outcome of the games. Must be hard being a ref these day’s. They blow try then the video refs check b4 the kick at goal for anything to deny a try.

    On the refs they said they don’t want any ex player’s in the video refs box. What about perenara. His a ex player. If that vlandy’s fella wants to watch NFL then go to America. Don’t stuff our game.

    On the player’s what a piss poor effort simple as that until they learn to put away tje lesser known teams we will only be making up the numbers

    1. Paul Taylor

      REV, you are spot on. The game is now a shit sandwich. fast yes but to watch Mitch MOSES hand over the ball to Zac LOMAX after that GUTHO try was disallowed was enough for me. Seriously, the ref lost control of that game totally. Smart coaches are already exploiting the rules and backing their defence. The fear of 6 again is nothing when you can re set your line and defend 6 metres away.

      1. Mr controversy aka rev

        Look we had enough 6 again calls to win 2 game’s but the officials made it hard for us the game has lost it. Even freddy n Gus hate the video refs check b4 the kick at goal. All we can do is improve n move on to next weekend.

  11. Anonymous

    I like to think we are far better than this. I keep looking to the Storm game as the perfect example. That was no fluke. We fought the fight and came out on top. And I think a lot of that was mental toughness. The Eels did not show that same mentality and got burned. I’m confident this is just a falter in their step to the finals.

  12. Anonymous

    Watched the game last night and they simply outmuscled us. Dragons were coming quickly off their defensive line and must have felt the chill in the air as they spent most of the night lying on our tackled players. Forwards win matches and suffice to say the dragons forwards outplayed ours.

  13. Shelley

    Fergo proves that statistics can be made to tell you whatever it is you want to hear. Every week Fergo gets 200 odd metres. Yes this is true but it is not a credit to him, to me it is actually the definition of his problem. He gets these metres because the ball is always kicked to him, mainly because the opposition knows they will get 3-4 drops each game, either a straight drop or a drop in the tackle. The opposition are happy to absorb the metres, by simply giving away a six again on the first tackle, if it means they get 1-2 attacking opportunities each half from his basic errors.

    Fergo said last week that he has a memory like a fish. Unfortunately the opposition don’t and I am over him making the same basic defensive errors and dropping the ball each week. Him deliberately putting his hand over the sideline was the last straw, we almost left after that. In a game in which we got ourselves into trouble because we were looking for the easy way to win our most senior player, someone who is highly paid in large part because of his experience doubles down on trying to find the easy way. He should have been calling out our poor attitude instead he became the poster boy for it.

    Bring in Haze. He is our future. Sometimes you cannot make changes as there is no one better to come in. Fergo is a liability that is now being exploited each and every week. In attack he cannot stay away from the sideline, he scores the odd spectacular try but most of the time he gets bundled into touch and in defence he cannot get away from it quick enough leaving a free passage to the try line for his opposition. He is all over the shop and I want off the ride.

    Some really good normally reliable players like Junior, Gutho and Nathan Brown had below average games but there is a difference. Fergo has been playing this way for over a year they have not.

  14. Steve Moore

    Seeing this game confirms that today’s RL game is as inconsistently officiated as ever – why did the ref wait until the 2nd half to clean up the ruck & 10mtrs? Unfortunately it was too late and we panicked. Why did he also stop play seconds before Moses took his conversion to have that try disallowed? That new bunker review rule is meaningless. Anyway… onto next week…!

  15. Longfin Eel

    This is a really troubling loss. We scraped home last week against a side we should have beaten well, and carried that attitude into this game. Parra are a confidence team and we have now lost most of that early season confidence. Next week will be really tough, and I doubt the team can rise for that after this comprehensive loss. If I were coach I’d be looking at what worked well so far this season and use that as a platform for success. It’s like we’ve thrown out the game plan over the past few weeks, and we now wonder why errors are creeping into our game, and why we are struggling to score. What has happened to our aggressive middle and our patient attack we saw in the Melbourne game? That needs to be the benchmark, and anything less is not good enough.

  16. Graz

    You don’t get lucky sitting in the shade. Bryce Cartwright tried to make things happen. Execution at times off, like some others, but overall I saw good signs for Cartwright. We need players like him with his ball
    skills. Ball players by definition are never going to be perfect. Let’s get real.

    1. Mr controversy aka rev

      That’s the problem. You don’t want to much player’s willing to offload the ball. We need workers in the team players that will take it up n run hard with the ball. To much fansy stuff time to get down n dirty. Get back to our effort areas.

      I think it’s time we looked at another halfback I’m done with Moses his like the tiger’s still struggling to handle the pressure of playing halfback at the eels.

  17. Trapped in the 1970's

    You encompassed my thoughts entirely Mitch.

    Take nothing away from Saints. They played well and were up for the game and deserved to win even allowing for some calls that went against the eels.

    BA has said in past pressers that he doesn’t want the team play their best football at this time of the year and I agree. I don’t agree with a comment in his last presser that he’s stopped worrying about whether they are up or not for a game because they should be because they’re professional footballers.

    Someone needs to worry about it though as it happens way too often. That 10 minute period when Sims was off was sheer panic and frustration. There was seemingly no game management at all. Dropped balls, poor kicks, wild passes, it had it all. No patience, no plan, just mayhem.

    A 4:5 result isn’t a bad start to the season, but these sorts of games when so many in the team seem off their game and so many contribute school boy errors just stamps the eels as hot and cold and not serious contenders.

    This team needs to start building some consistent character and it needs to start happening very soon or it is another year down the toilet.

    1. Colin Hussey

      Saints and eels games have always been hard, last nights game once more was won by the team that wanted the win the most. The NRL looks at performances in different areas, and one that needs serious looking into is the standard of the refs, consistency in their dealing with both teams the same, very poor decisions can affect teams in the way they play, as it saps morale.

      There needs to be a progressive built up in the teams overall standards, most of the players performed ok, the ratings are pretty fair, we also need our players to emulate the tackling that the Saints Fijian winger put on more than one eels player. Those tackles sap the tackled player in a big way. The simple aspect also is the run to the opposition and that reminds me of the old bash and barge days, where was the running by the forwards into the gaps and getting the ball away as the defence closed in?

      It was a totally different game last night to those of previous weeks.

    2. Prometheus

      I did not see BA say that comment trapped, about not worrying if they are up or not. If he did that’s the real worry ! The Panthers don’t seem to have worries about being UP. They do it for 80 minutes every week. We are still mentally way behind.

        1. Anonymous

          Your take was wrong , what he implied was he thought the team had reached a point where he didnt have concerns regarding thier attitudes nowadays , that theyd evolved mentally but obviously there still not quite there , and any and all nrl games are tough to win if youve turned up with a poor attitude and nope thats not the coaching staffs fault thats straight to the players characters and commitment , its thier JOB .

          1. Trapped in the 1970"s

            I agree that it is the players that need to turn up with the proper attitude and commitment…to be mentally on for a game and if they aren’t is that where it should be left or is it area that needs to be addressed? Sunday was an extended version of similar examples we’ve seen at times in the first four rounds when they’ve been mentally off for a half or some stage in a game, but not all games. If this was a normal workplace then their manager would/should get involved if his/her staff are noted again as lacking in an area of their JOB where they have shown a weakness in the past. I don’t think they’d earned that trust at this stage.

  18. Goodnight Gimbob.

    Nice going miatch. When Fergi stuck his arm over the sideline to fool the touchie had to be the stupidest thing I’ve seen ever.

  19. Mr controversy aka rev

    I’m thinking we chase Morris from the sharks. With a good team who knows what he can do with our mob.
    Brad doesn’t seem to use the bench well at all. His killing jr n RCG they are tired already n it’s only rd 5. Don’t get me started on stone i see him walking out to get more game time. We won’t make the top 8.

  20. Zero58

    Mitch is the same as all of us – loves a win and hates loss and his comment’s naturally are dictated by the result. We take a win anyway we can but at times we cannot suffer a loss when Parra is clearly the better team.
    True Saints really wanted to win – so did Parra but, it seems they wanted it more.
    It seems to me BA doesn’t coach his team to cheat because Saints gave away some many restarts it wasn’t funny. Sometimes back to back. Why? A restart defensively is better than a penalty. The NRL really should have another look at this.
    The referee in my biased opinion had a shocker. I would expect BA to ask Annesley why Gutherson was placed well past the horizontal, losing the ball and no penalty. Really!!
    And, how can a team challenging a knock on be penalised from a review. Did the referee call tackle- I don’t think so.
    That last try not only was it a forward pass but Duffy was already offside when he got the ball. And Atkins was right there – sometimes as a fan you want to question their motives.
    And, finally as stupid as Nathan Brown was – you are allowed to shoulder but, not grab a player contesting the same ball but, Duffy was around 8-10 metres from the ball – could they say for certain he would have got there. I have seen more deserving ones much closer denied. It was not a good decision.
    And when will players learn not to hit another when leading up to a try. They were never going to stop that try but obstruction – that was really pathetic. Just the same if Parra was more patient they might have won it. They did against the Tigers.
    I do think Mitch was too hard on Cartwright but sometimes we can have set against a player and he can do nothing right. I have that same feeling with Ferguson. Ferguson I believe is dealing with personal issues which has affected his form. He should be dropped. I thought Cartwright did well – he tried and he is creative. Parra does not have a creative player. Nathan Brown has become too predictable – he should concentrate on hitting hard in tackles.
    One last thing – we still have 20 games to go – it’s not over with one game lost.
    Watch the Riff for intensity and intent – Parra could learn a thing or two.

    1. Poppa

      Amazing comments from the Rev, he wants to sack the coach (bring in Morris) and has Paulo and RCG out on their feet where they are playing 20 minutes less than last year.
      Zero 58 explains all the bad decisions that were refereeing issues and then excepts that Saints were much better than us. I think they were smarter than us and we will learn plenty……the other site I am on is full of the same negativity and I am genuinely surprised at the negativity here….. sounds like the mental toughness is not restricted to the players and coaching staff.
      We have played 4 games and lost one, after next week it maybe two…..who would have said they were happy with 4 out of 6 to start the year…..MOST yes.
      Everyone stop and think for a few minutes there are 20 rounds to go, shit happens!

      1. Anonymous

        Agree the negativity is invading the site , ive started reading 1ee again ,not much between now ,1 loss and the skys falling in .

      2. Mr controversy aka rev

        Poppa i respect what you have to say along with 40/20 Mitch and sixties. But I’ve hardly seen RCG being interchanged b4 half time.
        The problem is brads selection of the bench.
        Isaiah papali’i should start from the bench along side oregan kaufusi papali’i is more a bench prop with impact along side oregan kaufusi.
        Look i see what brad is doing by starting papali’i because when RCG comes off
        stone comes on to go back row papali’i goes to prop. But it’s not working. I’m not being negative I’m pointing out what i think is not working.

        Look at Moses his running game has gone his not a organizing half back his more a running 5/8. This switching sides stuff is not working. Lane has lost form so much from this switch stuff that even eel fan’s on both sites are turning on lane. Instead tjey should blame brad Arthur.

        1. Poppa

          I think you misunderstand the dilemma that BA found himself in Rev.
          Pappalii was picked on the bench, Matterson dropped out of the starting side, so the bench lost the impact that Pappalii provides and it effectively unbalanced the situation with the starting middles.
          With Nikore in the centres the imbalance was across the team. The bench therefore had only one middle plus Stone and Cartwright.
          BA thought he would get away with it and it failed….. more than any other reason this cost us the game as Saints outmuscled us.
          The refereeing on and off the field made the situation impossible.

          The situation re switching sides has not real application because of this and has not been in contention in any of the previous games.
          Conceptually organising half and running 5/8’s is a load of crap.
          Maloney when he was playing at Penrith did the organisation from 5/8 and Cleary played a complimentary half back role.
          Thurston and Cronk were organisers and managed together, Pierce and Maloney similar…. I am afraid many of you guys suffer from Emporers New Clothes syndrome and believe what other people say rather than seeing for yourselves.
          Dyllan Brown probably had is best game this year against Saints, Cartwright was pretty good all things taken and Moses didn’t nothing wrong other than having confront a total abuse of the six again rule and throwing a bad pass to Sivo.
          BA was effectively outcoached by Griffin and his tactician….. a tactician we do not seem to have.

      3. Zero58

        I never said they were better – I said they wanted it more.
        Not sure you understand my reasoning.
        Parra is the better team but Saints wanted the win more than Parra.
        And yes I have dissected some poor referee decisions which I believe BA should ask about.
        I also said we have 20 games to go indicating this loss is not the end of the world.
        I assume you agree.

        1. Poppa

          Yes, what I am inferring with you was the summation and the contradiction. You say Parra is the better team but Saints wanted it more. I believe this St George is still improving and their 3 outside backs in Lomax, Bird and Rawalla leave ours for dead. The fullback is very dangerous and a game breaker.
          I think our forwards are better but they outmuscled our blokes just the same…… I think St George are a team to watch as long as they don’t self destruct…..the same can be said of us!
          and yes I agree 20 rounds to go is a long haul.

    2. BDon

      Zero, I had a lot of these thoughts but I’m a lazy keyboarder.
      Gutho was beyond horizontal,clear infringement, who knows, that very first incident may have played into each team’s mindset (not saying it’s a match decider, just a tonesetter)
      I didn’t hear a held call for Cartwright.
      Clune saw Gutho coming, was momentarily in 2 minds, Dufty over ran him by one step, ball was thrown forward, but many of these last passes can be suss.
      Penalty try,can’t believe the assumptions made for a try by commentators and bunker. Just opinion based on soft evidence.
      No try would prob see Brown in bin.
      No Dragons forward in the line reacted with any likely impact to Dylan Brown’s break, only Dufty chased Gutho. Obstruction rules need some common sense.
      Another on the list – McCullagh intentionally bunted the ball with his elbow when Reed was well and truly tackled/held.The ball was secure but unfortunately exposed. An elbow strip? Has the same outcome.

      Ive watched all incidents again to test my bias.

  21. John Eel

    I think I need to watch a replay of this game. I was at the game and from my recollection I seen it differently to some on here

    Cartwright played his first NRL game in about 9 months and I felt based on that it was a reasonable performance.

    While the Dragons crept up inside the 10 metres all first half you could sense from the get go the Eels were low on energy.

    Even though Atkins cracked down in the second half they kept testing him and he put the whistle away.

  22. parra-matters

    Went away from what was working and went sideways before we earnt the right in the middle. There were glimpses of it against the tigers last week too. Add to that the many errors in attack and really we are giving ourselves no chance to win games of footy. Dragons were very good and played they way we should have been playing, they pulled our pants down in the first half and expect the Raiders to come out simliar next week down there. If we don’t match them it will 2 losses on the trot.

  23. greg okladnikov

    Dragons were very strong and physical in the ruck – pushed their luck with the refs by giving away repeat sets and it worked. We got punished for our errors = Gutho / Cartwrihght drop the ball and they score next set. One lazy defensive play and we concede a penalty try.

    The concern is still our reaction under pressure – pushing passes / Moses throwing a miracle ball over the sideline when Dragons had 12 players…..and a few other examples.

    I really want to see Mitch run straighter and more direct – the constant cross field does nothing for our attack.

    And the mid field bomb that goes straight to their wingers – i am not sure the reason for that strategy . Maybe need to be better on this

    And the bench – just needs one more big body to maintain momentum when RCG and Junior go off.If Smith is only playing a few minutes, maybe another forward would be better?

  24. Offside

    I think to summarise the feelings from the comments here whilst we know the sky isn’t falling but based on 2 weeks of football it appears we are in danger of being the same as last year and for most of us the biggest fear was that we won’t improve.

    I’m on record as saying I want BA to move on and bring some change but I’m not taking out my pitch fork yet but if we continue to play like that it’s only a matter of time before the calls for change grow

  25. Lynbeth

    I am not saying that the dragons didn’t deserve their win, I do think our eels were definitely out played. What I want to make a comment about is the MRC. Unfortunately from where I was sitting in the grandstand I honestly can’t make a comment about Dylan’s alleged crusher tackle or Clint’s careless high tackle, but I can make a comment on the tackle where Clint ended up on his head , as it was right in front of us. How disappointing that there was no penalty given when he lost the ball. I thought lifting a player was actually against the rules, you know, putting a player in a dangerous position.

    1. Poppa

      Yes you are right Lynbeth, definate penalty to us and they scored a try off the resultant play.
      These little things that Saints won gave them the impetus to out muscle us, if they did not happen i.e. 50/50 calls all one way, then St George may have laid down, whereas they were encouraged to keep going by the referee/bunker.
      Who knows if we struck a few blows at this point, it may have been an entirely different game.

      1. BDon

        Fergo inviting Marata down a 2 metre vacant corridor near the Dragons line. Bird grabs Marata’s jersey and holds him back off the ball.. Right in front of touchie. Nathan Brown grabs a jersey and whistledom erupts.

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