How good is the winning feeling!
Victories are there to be enjoyed – so go on Eels supporters, let your hair down just a little.
Every season there’s the journey and the destination. Maybe the end point hasn’t been what we’ve wanted it to be for some time, actually some decades, but if you can’t enjoy the journey then maybe this game or this club isn’t for you.
Right now, our Eels are giving us something to cheer about. Whether you’re dreaming big, or apprehensively awaiting the stumble, you can’t deny the brand of tough, relentless footy that’s on display.
And as usual there’s no shortage of talking points, including a grand final this week.
Pass it to me, I’ll take the first hit – Bumpers Up!
After a four week absence due to concussion, Ryan Matterson made a successful return to footy at Ringrose Park on Saturday.
With Brad Arthur in attendance after hightailing it from Darwin, the high profile back rower left few in doubt that he was ready for top grade selection.
In an 80 minute performance, Matto made two line breaks and crossed for a decisive try. His form seemed to get stronger as the match unfolded.
Speaking of those pushing for top grade selection, Keegan Hipgrave provided a reminder to BA of his value in topping the Eels tackle count with 34 and scoring a try for good measure.
“Keegs” remains undefeated in Parra colours with his wins coming in his five NRL and two NSW Cup appearances.
RSVP To The Carty Party
Unless you completely avoided my pre-season training reports, you’d be well aware of the impression that Bryce Cartwright created during his first Eels preseason.
I was a supporter of his recruitment by the club, and his efforts on the training track only served to strengthen that opinion.
There was criticism of his debut match against the Dragons, focussing on a couple of pushed passes. His 113 running metres off just 12 runs was mostly ignored.
One big game against the Broncos doesn’t make a season, but Carty’s performance should have signalled to even his harshest critics that he can play a role in the Eels 2021 campaign.
Strong running, smart selective passing and effective defence all featured in what was arguably Cartwright’s best game in a number of seasons.
Mark my words – good times await.
Imagine having to select the Eels first grade team in the coming weeks.
The most immediate decision decision concerns Ryan Matterson. After his successful return to action last weekend, will he regain his back row spot or will Isaiah Papali’i remain in the starting team?
Deciding who drops off the bench may have been made easier. The media are reporting a thumb injury to Will Smith, which will likely keep him out of action for a couple of rounds.
However, that would see him returning around the same time as Waqa Blake and Ray Stone.
Will BA move Marata back from the centre position to the bench?
If he does, that means that Niukore, Kaufusi, Papali’i, Cartwright, Greig, Smith, Stone and Hipgrave – all of whom have played NRL this season – will be pitched into a battle for an interchange position. That’s without considering the claims of any other fringe player.
It’s an envious situation to be in, and arguably an unfamiliar one for the club.
Who would you select with the team at full strength?
Mo Money Moses Move?
What do you think about the media speculation surrounding the future of Mitch Moses?
We can’t stop it, but we can ignore it.
Why? Because it is just that – speculation.
Case in point – how many clubs has Adam Reynolds been linked with? He’s even been linked with the Eels, which honestly made me laugh out loud – not text speak, genuine guffaw stuff. The journos don’t know, but if they don’t write or say something then how can they get their clicks?
As supporters, there’s not too much that we can do around the negotiation processes. We might express our opinions, I’ve certainly done so in the past, but those opinions are usually most valid when the outcome is known. After all, if negotiations are taking place behind closed doors, how are we to know what deserves any criticism?
I believe that the best fit for Mitch Moses is at the Eels. He’s grown as a footballer and a person since linking with BA and the Eels staff. I believe there’s still an element of loyalty in footy – if a player is where they want to be and is enjoying their time at a club, it takes a lot more money or opportunity to entice them to move elsewhere.
Ultimately, Moses should make whatever decision is best for him and he’s the only one who should decide that.
Hayze Joins Haze
After impressing the Eels during Round 4, a week in which he and fellow Warriors player Tom Ale were given game time with Parra in the NSW Cup, Hayze Perham has decided to sign with the club.
The 21 year old utility back has nine NRL games on his resume and adds depth and versatility to Parra’s squad.
In his first official outing as an Eel, Perham was given the custodian role in the NSW Cup clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. I thought his carries were very strong during the Eels win and he is certainly an elusive runner.
Welcome to the Eels Hayze.
Four Grades To Cheer
As I said in the intro, you have to enjoy every victory in footy.
Therefore, there was plenty to celebrate over the weekend when the Friday night NRL win was backed up by three grades registering the W in their respective matches.
The Cumberland Throw commenced our Saturday with a trip to Blacktown to cover the Eels Harold Matthews clash with the Panthers – more on that later.
We then dashed over to Ringrose Park where both the Flegg and NSW Cup (Knock On Effect) teams did battle with Souths.
The Jersey Flegg (under 21) victory was particularly impressive. A number of SG Ball players were elevated to the squad, and the team responded with an eight tries to two performance. The 48 to 12 score line will also be a major boost to their points differential.
It was then a game if two halves in the Knock On Effect Cup when Souths 16 to 12 half time lead became an Eels 38 to 20 full time result.
There wasn’t much to praise in an error riddled opening stanza, but Parra definitely found their groove late in the match with young half Jake Arthur imposing himself on the contest.
We can probably expect fluctuations or inconsistencies in form in any NSW Cup team. Players are in and out of teams with injuries and battles for NRL spots taking their toll. This Eels team is essentially a new team. But with the collection of young players on their development jersey, and the players contesting top grade positions pushing their claims, it should be a fun grade to watch.
Grand Final Time
A massive congratulations to the Eels Harold Matthews team for qualifying for this week’s grand final. You can check out Forty’s live blog to read about how this high quality clash unfolded.
The Cumberland Throw has proudly covered the 2021 Junior Rep season, and we will again be in attendance at Leichhardt Oval this Saturday. Kick off is at 1pm.
There’s already plenty for the young Eels to be proud of. After losing the opening round to Manly, the Matts team has since gone undefeated over the following eight matches.
It’s a well balanced team, with players executing their roles incredibly well. It’s obvious that coach Steve O’Dea and his staff have achieved a trust in the processes within the squad.
Let’s bring home that win fellas!