The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Smith Becomes A Front Bencher Edition

NRL Team List


Not only did the Eels drop their first game of the season on Sunday night but they took a significant hit to their available roster for the crunch road game against the Canberra Raiders. Dylan Brown has elected to take an early guilty plea on an exceedingly innocuous crusher tackle on Tyrell Fuimaono, resulting in the young gun missing the upcoming Round 6 fixture.

Will Smith has his number called as a result. The super-utility gets his first start of the season in the important role of five-eighth. Smith has performed admirably for the Eels from the bench and I expect him to do as much on Saturday night but Dylan’s role in the team can be under appreciated – even if you only consider his incredible defensive prowess. Naturally you now look to Mitchell Moses, Reed Mahoney and Clinton Gutherson to shoulder the extra playmaking responsibilities. For Mitchell in particular, the need for him to be involved heavily in every offensive possession will hopefully bring out his best.

Ryan Matterson has been named to start on the left edge once more but given that he has been a pre-game scratch in Rounds 3, 4 and 5 I am considering his presence on Saturday as a bonus if anything. Again, no qualms from my end as I heartily endorse the club’s concussions protocols. Big thumbs up from me. If he is in, it is obviously a massive boost for the Eels but equally his potential absence opens up an intriguing possibility which I will get to shortly.

Before that though, Isaiah Papali’i is scheduled to play from the bench as it stands. We know that he is Matterson’s likely starting replacement but in an ideal world he reinforces the middle for the Eels against a tough as nails Raiders’ pack. Keegan Hipgrave earns a deserved recall amidst the shuffle to replace Dylan Brown. Hipgrave was excellent in the NSW Cup in a robust 80-minute performance against the Dragons. His role obviously differs in the NRL given his highly condensed playing minutes but it showed that he definitely has something to offer if or when that kind of opportunity comes knocking in first grade.

Bryce Cartwright gets a second chance after a subpar club debut and honestly I am not upset at this. I know (and understand why) some fans would rather not see picked but I am erring on the side of optimism in that he takes on board the lessons from Round 5 and produces a far more consistent brand of football.

Now, in the event that ‘Matto’ is still not full go on Saturday night we need to walk through the most likely scenario. While Cartwright could start on the left edge, recent history suggests that ‘Big Papa’ steps up to that plate. That vacant spot on the bench needs to be filled and while Brad Arthur could play it safe with by way of the utility safety blanket in Joey Lussick or Jordan Rankin – if he wants to beef up against the Raiders then Wiremu Greig’s debut looms as an genuine chance.

Greig is very much a raw prospect at this stage after recently joining the Eels from the Cowboys but I can envision a role for him in which he tees off from the bench in limited minutes. Naturally, this is all a big hypothetical that hinges on Matterson’s health but it at least adds some spice to TLT!

1. Clinton Gutherson ©
2. Maika Sivo
3. Tom Opacic
4. Marata Niukore
5. Blake Ferguson
6. Will Smith
7. Mitchell 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. Bryce Cartwright
18. Joey Lussick
19. Haze Dunster
20. Wiremu Greig
21. Jordan Rankin


Injury Report


Ray Stone – Shoulder (Rd 9-10)


NSW Cup Team List


I told you all that while the week-to-week results but be frustrating at times that this team was going to be a blast to watch as they grow and develop. They put a damn show on Sunday afternoon as they thumped the Dragons to the tone of 40-8 with young players starring all over the park.

Jake Arthur commanded the team brilliantly and bagged a well deserved double in front of his old man and younger brother. After a scratchy few weeks in the grade Sean Russell finally found his feet and showed the early bird fans (and those watching on Fox Sports) why there is hype surrounding his development. Throw is strong games from the wingers Solomone Naiduki and Haze Dunster and you had plenty of exciting moments.

In terms of this week, the changes to Ryan Carr’s squad are a reflection of the NRL call ups (or potential call ups) more than anything else. Charbel Tasipale is set to start for Keegan Hipgrave in a move that I am very much all about. Tasipale dropped back to Flegg in recent weeks in order to get game time under his belt and now I hope he can transfer that momentum into this weekend’s reserve grade clash.

The other deserved promotion, although only billed as 18th man at this point, is Aitasi James who has put himself in the mix in the NSW Cup following a strong showing in the Jersey Flegg. Otherwise the team is looking consistent and ready to try and roll off that big win into a tough road trip to Canberra where they take on the Raiders at 5:15PM on Saturday.

1. Sean Russell
2. Solomone Naiduki
3. Will Penisini
4. Michael Oldfield
5. Haze Dunster
6. Jordan Rankin
7. Jakob Arthur
8. Wiremu Greig
9. Joey Lussick
10. Makahesi Makatoa
11. Charbel Tasipale
12. Elie El-Zakhem
13. Ky Rodwell
14. Nathaniel Roache
15. David Hollis
16. Tim Lafai
17. Toa Mataáfa
18. Aitasi James


Jersey Flegg Team List


The Jersey Flegg were the last of the Blue & Gold line-ups to post a win in 2021 but they did just that last weekend in solid fashion with a workmanlike 24-10 victory over the Roosters. As with the NSW Cup above, their changes are predicated on promotions to the senior grade. Matthew Dragisic slides into the starting backrow while Caleb Tohi is starting at prop forward – although he is traditionally at home at lock.

Tevita Masima dons the #1 this week and like Matt Komolafe they are both officially back after rejoining the team last week as pre-game additions.

Unlike their senior counterparts, the Flegg will not be heading down the highway to Canberra this week. Instead they make the trip to the Northern Beaches to take on the Sea Eagles at 12:00PM on Saturday.


1. Tevita Massima
2. Matt Komolafe
3. Peni Tohi
4. Jayden Skinner
5. Marli Townsend
6. Clayton Faulalo
7. Nick Tilburg
8. Caleb Tohi
9. Kyle Schneider
10. Jack Colovatti
11. Oliver Clements
12. Matt Dragisic
13. Jayden Yates
14. Ethan Le Blanc
15. Mark Tepu-Smith
16. Lennox Whittiker
17. Valance Harris

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Prediction Matterson gets ruled out again.
Greig comes into the squad
Cartwright hopefully plays 1 min

Prediction 2
Cartwright comes out and plays and continues to show what a dud purchase he is.

Unfortunately Raiders by 16

Colin Hussey

Sheesh, love them negative vibes Offside, great support for the team!?


No mate im a realist I want to be wrong.
I think we’ve been out of sorts for 2 weeks.
We haven’t won in 10 plus years in Canberra.
Bryce Cartwright is won of the worst signings in recent memory

Ron Johnson

On what do base that ridiculous opinion?

Cash Mahoney

Would have loved to see one of the younger spine players in the 21 similar to Dunster last year. Super impressed by both Arthur, Russell and SOlomone on the weekend. Quick question, are we completely giving up on seeing Sam Hughes again? havent heard of an injury anywhere, weird given I believe hes a top 30 player


Obviously there is a private issue with Hughes and we will find out due course


Why would Cartwright learn any lessons from that round 5 debacle? He didn’t learn any of those same lesson in 4 years at the Gold Coast. He played exactly the same way he always does.


Because he is a crap player despite how well he may of trained the carty party is a giant myth

Mr controversy aka rev

Offside we all thought the same about gutherson but his proved ppl wrong. Your judgement on Cartwright should wait to rd 10 at least.


No difference with Gutho is was he was young and still a unknown quality.
Cartwright has been around for a while and has been very poor for a very long time

Mr controversy aka rev

Was great when he was at the Panthers.


Great in attack the defence issue was still there and half the reason they were happy to see him go

Mr controversy aka rev

His defense was bad because they played him at 5/8 so there for he was coached to attack not defending


So your telling me a 1st grade team didn’t coach halves how to tackle?

Mr controversy aka rev

No I’m saying that they are there to attack not defending


Notice that Sam Loizou isn’t named in Flegg… anyone know if he’s injured? Was hoping he’d see some Canterbury Cup this year as part of his development…

Mr controversy aka rev

I’m looking at us bouncing back into some kinda form yes it will a hard game no doubting that. Will be interesting to see how smith goe’s outside of Moses.

I’ve been stating that for the last 2 weeks that if matterson is out Cartwright should start n papali’i comes from the bench.

I’m really hoping we win. Can’t afford to loose touch with the top 4.

I like the size of Greig wiremo could really help oregan kaufusi n papali’i from the bench if brad uses papali’i as a back rower

Last edited 4 days ago by Mr controversy aka rev

Everyone wanting to punt Cartwright after one mediocre game, but you’re happy to back Brad Arthur after 8 mediocre YEARS!


No would of preferred BA leave at the end of last year


Seriously? We now have a team that we expect to win which causes disappointment when they lose, when previously we expected defeat and were pleasantly surprised whenever we won. Amazing!


We have a team who should be going up to the next level but appear to be in the same postion as last year with zero movement in coaching structures and a style of play that’s not evolving. I the early 2000s the roosters made a grand final and then made the semis Graham Murray built a solid team they roosters wanted to go further they changed coaches put in Stuart/Gould they won a premiership. Dragons were always there or there about under Brown they changed Bennett came in and took them to a premiership. BA has done a great… Read more »


I agree with a lot of your comments today, Offside. I dont want to be negative but I fear the attacking constipation that plagued this team for the back end of last year has not significantly been addressed tactically nor in terms of personnel this year.

I hope Im wrong. This is a good team that I enjoy watching again. I am yet to be convinced it will make a step up from last year.

Mr controversy aka rev

Sixty it’s the game’s we are expecting to win that we lose or struggle to put the so called weaker teams away. I think ppl are still in shock that we got beat by a side we have dominated for the last 4 yrs.


So i have two questions.
Firstly we are forgetting about w. Blake and m .oldfield.
Ba could bring one of them in and shift nikorie to an edge???
Also could you tell me where Sam Hughes is please?


No one will tell you about Hughes because it’s clearly a private issue.
Oldfield is one game back from injury and is behind Dunster in the pecking order


You pretty much answered.


Thanks for the update on the squads and performances Forty, great snapshot for those who are not at the matches. For mine the NRL team looks good; pleased to see 1. Will Smith start, 2. Cartwright go around again, 3. Rankin/Greig as backups for Matto. Bummed to see stone missing with a shoulder – I thought he was in trouble when he miss-timed hit. We need to be a whole lot better thru the middle & I’m sure Canberra will try the rush defence to see if we lose our composure again. And good to hear the Reserve grade are… Read more »


Dylan has been super disappointing to start the season, his kicks always find the fullback or winger, his decision making on when to run and pass has been poor. If it wasn’t for his good defence I don’t think he’d be in the team on form.

Would have preferred Rankin got a got at 6 rather than Smith.

I do think however that providing we run out with the bench as named, it’s the best we’ve had this year.

Also think we need Niukore back on the forward rotation ASAP.


I’m not disappointed in Dylan at all. Besides the fact that he is still only 20, his defence isn’t just good, it has been match saving. Preventing a try is worth the same as creating one. Dylan has always been a running half. He challenges the line and holds the ball when others might send a hospital pass. He was robbed of a terrific line break and try assist last week at a crucial time. My criticisms of Dylan are his kicking game and that it is obvious when he isn’t involved in an attacking play. He needs to sell… Read more »


Thing with Dylan is I think its expectations people saw him as a future 7 and leader.
He is a ball running 5/8 and a pretty good one.
He may not turn into the player people expected but he’s still going ok.

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