The Cumberland Throw

Stats That Matta – Round 5, 2021: Dragons Defeat The Eels



Sunday 11th April, 2021

Bankwest Stadium

Attendance: 24,384


Eels 12 defeated by Dragons 26

Eels Scorers:

Tries: I. Papali’I, C. Gutherson

Goals: M. Moses 2 from 2

The Eels came back to earth with a thud last night after a poor performance against a Dragon’s side punching well above their weight.

Errors and poor discipline were the order of the night for the Eels as they just could not get a handle on any part of the game.

Dropped balls and poor passing at vital times and in good territory killed any attack and pressure the Eels tried to muster, whilst everything turned to gold for the Red V.

The Eels completed at 67% getting through 29 of 43 sets. Having just 47% of possession showed why the Eels just couldn’t mount any pressure.

Nonetheless, 42 and a half minutes were played in the Dragons half, with 15 minutes 20 seconds in the Dragons red zone. At the other end of the field the visitors enjoyed 13 minutes 32 seconds in the Eels red zone.

The Dragons, by fault or design, won the ruck. They were slow off the tackle to minimise any momentum the Eels could gain to get the effective roll on. The focus on slowing the ball speed to nullify the contributions of Junior Paulo worked to a tee. The Dragons gave up 10 set restarts in executing this very effective tactic.

In attack, the Eels made 1691 running metres from 183 runs. This was nearly 160 more metres than what the Dragons managed with the same amount of runs. However, whatever momentum was achieved was killed off by the aforementioned errors.

This graphic illustrates that the majority of the Eels runs were between our own 20 metre line and the 40 metre line and stretching into the Dragons red zone. Poor decisions then let us down. We need move that red area a bit more forward to gain the ascendency in a match.

The set start heat map also shows the plentiful set restarts The opportunities in the Dragons territory emphasise that word again – ERRORS!

The usual suspects racked up the run metres. Both Clint Gutherson and Blake Ferguson both cracked the 200 run metre mark with 209m and 205m respectively.

Sivo produced a much better performance this week then against the Tigers last week running 163 metres from 17 carries.

Dylan Brown was busy with 123 metres from 10 runs. And in our engine room RCG (101m), Nathan Brown (123m), Shaun Lane (116m) and Isaiah Papali’i (133m) all cracked the 100 metre mark.

Defensively the Eels made a total of 398 tackles, 46 more than the Dragons. The 25 missed and 16 ineffective tackles gave a tackle effectiveness rating of 90.7%.

Our top tackles of the night were (once again) Reed Mahoney with 60 tackles with 2 misses, Shaun Lane with 45 tackles, and Nathan Brown 44 tackles. Isaiah Papali’I made 41 tackles with just 1 miss. It was another big effort on top of his 133 running metres.

Discipline was a major factor in the Eels loss. We made 16 errors to the Dragons 8, but it was where we made those crucial errors that cost us in the end. We gave up 5 set restarts and conceded 3 penalties.

All in all this will be a video that Brad Arthur and his team would have started sifting through last night to pin point the hows and whys.

You can learn more off the video from a game like this than a game where you put on a clinic against an oppostion.

This is where the coaching staff, leadership group and players can all watch and fine tune certain areas and know what to work on during the week.

On Saturday we come up against a Raiders side which is looking slightly off their best form at the moment. But, they can pounce at any time, and we don’t have much success in the Nations Capital. We need to be on guard and not take this game too lightly.

I know the boys will be pumped to repay the faith to the Blue and Gold army with a match winning performance.

Yours in Blue and Gold


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I’m not holding much hope vs Canberra our record stinks against them and with D Brown likely missing were gunna be up against it but stranger things have happened also what with our bench rotation imo it seem an afterthought can you guys analyse it compared to the top teams and come up with a answer to what’s going on there

Colin Hussey

I noticed with the game that Lane was pretty good defensively.

While Fergs may run a lot, does that compensate for his poor decisions and game plays?


Tks Colmac. I checked with another stat set, not much variation, to see if my gut feel was right. Statistically we matched or bettered the Drags in most areas. Even our tackle effectiveness and missed tackles were better stats. Fundamentally, it was errors that handed the Dragons exactly what they wanted to complement their game plan. This is the mode we experienced for second half of last year…we have a good game in us but self damage is the enemy.
A real challenge to BA to ensure this habit goes away.


Good analysis Colmac – that helps understand what went down. Errors stymied our ability to build pressure and agree Saints won the ruck. The week prior BA praised the ‘mature’ and patient attitude of the Eels – I could imagine those video sessions might need to remind the squad about patience.

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