The Cumberland Throw

Bumpers Up – May 13, 2021: Finding The Bliss In Ignorance

Did anyone notice that Parra won a game of football last Friday night?

It was a seriously good performance, strangling the Roosters out of the game by dominating both territory and possession.

In doing so, the Eels got a four point jump on the Roosters on the Premiership table and moved into outright second place.

Somehow the result, and the Eels performance in achieving victory, just slipped into some sort of rugby league abyss.

Not here.

I’m ignoring the garbage and getting on with what needs to be discussed.

Bumpers Up people!

That Winning Feeling

At some stage this week it would be worthwhile acknowledging the winning ways of our Eels.

Yet despite sitting outright second on the table, the Eels have somehow been ignored when recent praise has been handed out.

Nobody was ignorant of the missing players in the Roosters line up last Friday, but few have spoken about the stars still present and how well they had disposed of other opponents prior to  taking on the Eels.

That final score flattered the Roosters. The Eels could have easily added three more tries, whilst one of the tri-colours tries came against the run of play when they picked up a loose Parra pass. As “brave” as they’ve been credited with being, the visitors rarely threatened the Eels defence.

There’s no disrespect meant in that assessment. The Eels were simply much too strong on the night. If others want to ignore it in their search for this week’s happy place, that’s their problem!


Ignoring The Parra Bashing

Has channel switching become a habit in your household?

I love my footy. If I miss any match on the weekend, the weekly wrap ups and panel shows are an easy watch to keep up to date with the trials and tribulations of rival teams.

And when Parra’s winning, I can normally kick back and enjoy the odd positive opinion about their form.

But since Friday night, I’ve progressed from switching channels and hitting radio dials to not even tuning in on regular programs. I haven’t been interested in reading social media opinions.

I’m not angry or outraged. I just can’t be bothered.

The opinions of plagiarists or especially those with agendas have no validity. Their “insights” or takes shouldn’t be put on a pedestal. They merely have a platform, and the fact is that they probably watch less football than many rugby league tragics.

Don’t get me wrong. There are still quality journos out there. Those that know their footy. Those that do their own research.

But, I’ve often referred to the NRL and its dramas as a soap opera. Unfortunately, it’s certain journos who’ve taken coverage of the game down that path, with themselves as the narrator.

Right now, their script is worse than a B Grade movie. I’ll pass, and happily so.


I Won’t Bag Dyl

There’s no avoiding the carelessness of Dylan Brown’s contact on Drew Hutchison.

The outcome was awful for Hutchison and Dylan was quick to express his remorse.

He won’t be the first nor will he be the last player to have contact go wrong. And anyone who’s followed Dylan’s footy would be aware that he just isn’t a cheap shot person.

I haven’t agreed with those who’ve suggested that he’s been out of form.

Dylan Brown

His defensive contributions are in the elite class – up near the best that you’ll ever see for a player in the halves.

And his try on Friday night was a reminder of the potency of his running game.

If there’s an aspect of Dylan’s game that requires development, and it’s something which even he acknowledges, it’s his sustained focus in attack. The moments when he won’t be involved in the attack are far too easy to read. It’s a sharp contrast to his vigilance in defence.

Yet, that collision on Hutchison was contact without thought. It was the epitome of careless. And though it was only one moment, I was stunned to see him lose such focus.

Three weeks out is not ideal, but it might just be a blessing in disguise as I reckon we’ll see a sharper, more focussed Dylan Brown when he returns.


Much Ado About Nothing

So Parra evidently rolled the dice in ignoring NRL advice in playing Top 30 squad members in last week’s Knock On Effect Cup.

Some rival clubs were quick to criticise. Media types rubbed their hands with glee about being able to weave a drama charged narrative out of an easily solved situation.

The NRL had merely advised clubs that they should remove top 30 players from second tier games.

They did not mandate it.

Was it unwise to play such players? Was it a calculated risk?

It’s perhaps easy to understand why some clubs are a bit dirty about a rival not following advice, though it probably had more to do with the Eels being rugby league’s “villains du jour”.

But just like the Roosters players had to pass COVID tests to play last Friday night, the Eels players who played in the Knock On Effect Cup will be subject to COVID testing before taking to the training fields in Queensland.

It was a simple enough solution that makes you wonder what all the fuss was about.


Obstruction Confusion

I do want to talk some footy. But it’s a topic that continues to leave me perplexed.

What constitutes an obstruction? I’m fairly clear in my mind about whether a particular play is an actual obstruction to the defence.

I’m even confident that I understand a technical obstruction – one that might have had minimal impact on the defence but it’s impossible to ignore where a player has run or positioned himself.

But lately, the bunker seems to be swinging wildly between great calls and atrocious decisions. How is it that people who are considered professionals in their field can be so inconsistent in applying such a basic rugby league rule?

In the clash between the Dragons and the Dogs, Canterbury’s Luke Thompson claimed Ben Hunt obstructed his attempt to tackle Paul Vaughan right on the try line.

Maika Sivo

The bunker correctly ruled it was a try, but it was a very close call because the players were in very close proximity to each other

But if that try passed muster, in what universe was there any obstruction from Papali’i in Maika Sivo’s disallowed try on Friday night? Papa didn’t prevent Roosters players from getting involved in the defence. I don’t even recall a single Roosters player voicing an objection.

Yet an obstruction was found.

I’ll go so far as to say it was one of the worst obstruction calls you’ll see this year, and we’ve still not reached the first half of the season. There may have been outcries over the big incidents from that game but little about what was an vital decision that momentarily changed the momentum in the game.

From an officiating perspective, the no try decision was a howler.


Jake Arthur Set To Debut

The Cumberland Throw has been tracking the progress of Jake Arthur ever since he took the field in Eels Junior development squads.

Jake Arthur

Jake has always been a team focussed player. It’s an essential quality in being a game manager. He’s never shied away from contact, in both attack and defence, and his composure is beyond his years.

Much has been made of his kicking game, and it’s definitely a strength, as is his ability to create time and space for those around him. However, the development in his running game during 2021 has added an additional string to his bow.

This debut has arrived much earlier than I anticipated. It probably wasn’t in the 2021 plans of Jake or Brad.

If he’s nervous, I doubt we’ll see it.

As followers of his progress throughout his pathways journey, we couldn’t be prouder.


The Cumberland Throw Live

We promised that this would be an exciting year for The Cumberland Throw.

The latest development has been our “live” features.

TCT live with Brett Kenny

Firstly, it was our live appearance at Parra Leagues at the first home game of the season. The Tip Sheet podcast from Pablos, featuring Mary K, Joey Grima and Eels legend Brett Kenny, was watched by a full house and the feedback was incredibly positive.

Then last weekend, with the permission of NSWRL and the Eels, Forty and I provided live stream audio coverage of the Eels Knock On Effect and Jersey Flegg matches. There was no safety net in going live, but it was quite an experience. My thanks to everyone who took the time to provide feedback on TCT and especially those who sent encouraging messages via phone, text, DM etc.

We are scheduled to again appear in Pablos at Parra Leagues prior to the home clash with Manly.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Eels forever!


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31 thoughts on “Bumpers Up – May 13, 2021: Finding The Bliss In Ignorance

  1. Graz

    At no stage did the Roosters look like winning. At no stage.
    Hang on, I thought I saw the “injury-ravaged” Roosters thrash the Dragons and Knights in the previous 2 weeks. Media worshipped the Roosters after that.
    Media needed a narrative after Parra, in truth, very comfortably beat them.

  2. NickF

    Great article Sixties/TCT/Craig (are you one person, or 50?). I don’t mind the RL community at large not blowing too much smoke up us at this stage of the season (doubt it would be helpful for the players). I think we can just be satisfied with collecting 2 points every week and staying as fit and healthy as possible. Disappointed Marata is out as I was looking forward to see if BA was going to keep him there in front of Waqa, to send Waqa a message. Have to disagree about Dylan’s form, I think he’s def. lacking a bit of confidence this year – which is totally normal for someone his age- and has been responsible for two tries in the past two games (one from an error in defense, the other from an error in attack – while contributing few TAs himself), I don’t think it’s a huge deal as our left edge is on fire and when Gutho pops up on the right we still look dangerous. Dylan will be fine in the long run, it’s nice to go through some rough form when your team is still winning. I’m very relived with the form we’ve seen from Moses, his general play kicking cannot be understated, nor can having one of the form hookers in the comp. Keep up the articles/podcasts and Go The Eels.

    1. sixties

      Cheers Nick. You can call me Craig or Sixties, happy with either. I’m also happy with flying under the radar, i just thought that the near complete ignorance of the footy played On Friday was a bit rough. As I said, my criticism of Dylan relates to that telegraphing of his involvement which has made it much easier for defences to read him. We saw what he can do with space around him. He’ll get more space whenever the opposition defence is in two minds about whether he’s getting the ball or not. All that said, I’m not up in arms about the criticism coming his way because like you, I think he’ll learn from this period. Moses is finding a new level in his form. Definitely.

  3. BDon

    Tks sixties. When you go through all teams, you might find a couple of No. 6s inbetter form than Dylan B, but would you swap him for any of them? Papali’i actually ran through the line then stopped,the play gathered him in, the Roosters player was never going to prevent a try. There was more interference in the Dogs/Dragons incident. The suspension of 2 players probably impacted our Magic Round decisions, whatever, the media response was all rubbish, don’t drill into it just go with the cheap story.

    1. sixties

      Cheers BDon. I’m still stunned by that disallowed try. I reckon the Roosters were as surprised as us by the decision.

      1. Eggman

        And the player who was obstructed was young Walker, how I would love to see Walker as good as he is try to take down Sivo a metre from the line.He was probably glad he didn’t have to try.

  4. John Eel

    The commentary on the Eels got to me this week and I should not let that happen. It felt like shades of 2016. Of course it wasn’t in that league but I was surprised how quickly the commentary turned on DB.

    The Try of Sivo that was disallowed was a real disappointing outcome. It was a well worked move and deserved better. It was a poor decision.

    Shelley made the point that no team has put more points on the Roosters this year than we did. It was good analysis. I then looked a bit further and found that the only team to score more points than the Eels so far this season are the Storm. We sit second on 260 points with the Panthers.

    Listening to SEN radio and Scott Sattler, he made the point that all the commentary is waiting for the Eels to fall over as the season progresses. He feels that the Eels are a real dark horse this year.

    Having said that we need a lot more than a Sattler endorsement to make an impact in the finals.

    1. sixties

      If we aren’t good enough come season’s end, then so be it. So many are setting their narrative up for the “I told you so”. I can live with that. The “bad boys” narrative after the game had me switching off. As I said, I can’t be bothered with who said what after that. My only gripe is whether anyone wants to talk about the actual footy played. Not many, if any…

  5. greg okladnikov

    Great analysis as always. Will Pablo’s be a pre game show ? will have to come in and check it out !!

  6. Shelley

    Nrl media hypocrisy alive and well this week. Brad Fitler blasted the Bulldogs and journalists for not protecting the well being of Flanagan ( by the way it was hard to watch Flanagan- terrible decision to put him up for the presser). Fitler said about Flanagan “ there’s a real time pressure playing first grade. He has not had that much practice” He also spoke about giving Flanagan time because he is young and it takes years to learn how to play in the halves consistently.
    This is coming from a man who took the opportunity two days previously to publicly kick Dylan when he was down and pile more pressure on him about his so called poor form even when he knew the hatred coming his way. Dylan is younger and has played less first grade when compared to Flanagan.

    Fitler has been terrible this past week, I actually think the worst.He also used the Flanagan situation to praise the Roosters by saying on his podcast “It’s most probably a lesson to Canterbury. I still haven’t seen (Roosters teenage star) Joseph Suaalii in front of a camera yet, the good clubs like the Roosters get it”. Wrong again our great State of Origin coach is , they wheeled Suaalii out for a charm offensive presser to prove he should get an exemption- but we all know Fitler does not let the truth get in the way of talking up the almighty Roosters and Panthers.

    Dylan could not be at a better club to get through this and come out the other side. Think about it. BA is stubborn and will simply ignore and give the media nothing.

    Then the entire leadership group will circle and help Dylan.
    – Gutho can tell him all about how to ignore the experts who point out everything you can’t do and ignore what you do well.

    – Nathan Brown can help him deal with being called out by the commentators as a thug.

    – Junior can help him deal with the pressure off field stuff being exaggerated in the media can bring.

    – Matto can help him deal with the hatred and vile comments from opposition fans

    Finally Mitch. Seriously who better to help Dylan by showing him how he did it. Ignore, don’t over engage on social media, put you head down, work hard and come out the other side.

    Anyone with open eyes can see Dylan is very popular in the playing group. There is not a better group to help him navigate through this media created crap. He will come back bigger and better for it.

    I am heartened by the past week for two reasons. More and more supporters are realising and calling out loudly the NRL media as being the boy who cried wolf when it comes to Parra. Every exaggerated or straight out fabricated story gives them less and less power to influence our fan base. I could not care less what other clubs, including Mr Solly think about us.

    Finally if our players ever did read the media reports and take them on board surely this week will remind them that it is death spiral and they need to simply ignore and stay away from it.

    1. Eggman

      Dylan said himself in an interview after a couple of games that his form was down, but he has never put in less than 110% all year and friday was his best game of the year,but a rest may do him good,and how extremely awesome that we get to see Jake get a run in FG.I didn’t read anywhere in the media about how well we did despite the loss of Reed.Reed touches thd ball basically every set and tops the tackle count,but no we don’t get called brave or resilient or even deserving.However I actually like that we are being essentially ignored in all calculations for the title,long way to go,and not sure even beating Panthers will make a difference but at some point at least opposition teams are going to have to take notice.

    2. Colin Hussey

      Good post Shelley, nothing to disagree with. I have said in previous posts that the game rather than being on an upward path is going downhill in a big way. I refuse to watch a game on 9, and rarelly watch 9 for anything. For footy I now watch on Kayo, but! here again is another prop up table with mouths that know not when to shut.

      Where do all these so called experts come from? Flapper-Fitler is the most annoying expert (in his own mind) I have struck, even compared to Gus, yet here was Gus this week taking out the NRL’s decision in regard to the treatment of young Jakob Arthor and him being chosen to replace Dylan in magic round its worth reading.

      The match reports and after game media was 99.5% focused on the 2 incidents that have left us 2 players down, hardly a thing said about the win, but the media promoted the number of injury excuses for the chicks, yet they still fielded a side that has beaten most teams they have played so far. Tedesco’s head was fine with his post mouth showing clearly there was nothing in the tackle and hardly missed a second, maybe he should look at his running style that not dissimilar to another team that loves to drop low as they come into the defence line.

      One would think that there was one team only on the paddock last Friday Night by the lack of match reports, feather dusters of multi colours.

      I am absolutely proud of the eels and how they have progressed up the ladder since BA has taken over as coach, along with the club itself, I would think all the opposition are in many ways totally jealous, & the game goes backwards in so many ways though.

      Here is what Gus has to say regarding the Jakob & NRL decisions,‘Absolute farce’: Phil Gould slams NRL over Jakob Arthur contract saga | Sporting News Australia

      1. BDon

        I tried to explain Dylan Brown incident, judiciary process, Magic Round, Covid bubble, NRL 30 squad, 6 Development players, BA/JA relationship,,10 game restriction to my wife after she read all the garbage media. She suddenly said ‘stop now, that’s all too complicated, I feel sorry for the guy in hospital’.

    3. Longfin Eel

      For years Parra fans were the ones giving it to the club and team. Often rightly so. This year we are finally seeing the fans behind our team and supporting them through good and bad. It’s the media and other clubs that have turned their unwanted attention on us. In my books that’s not a bad thing as it means they are scared of what Parra can achieve, and the shift to rugby league strength towards Western Sydney in both juniors and seniors. I don’t know what the media’s agenda is at the moment, but if they are not careful the NRL public will increasingly ignore them. It’s so easy for fans to generate their own journalism, which is what many fans are now flocking to.

      Keep up the good work guys.

      1. sixties

        Cheers Longfin. I guess it’s that thing about Parra generating reads, whether it’s good news or bad, but there was a real agenda towards making the team into the bad guys of footy this week. The truth is, the Eels focus on discipline.

  7. Lynbeth

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you have said. As Parra supporter’s from way back, we have been used to the knockers, but after last Friday night it went to a new level. Parra won and they beat the Rooster’s get over it people.
    The criticism of Dylan from some in the media seemed very personal, and we know it was careless, but it was not intentional.
    Wishing Jakob all the very best for the game on Sunday. If Andrew Johns says he is ready, I will believe him.
    Go PARRA

    1. sixties

      Joey has plenty of knowledge about what Jake brings. He’s worked with him for a season and a half now.

  8. Glenn

    I agree the commentators are very biased and listening to Kayo you’d think that Braith Anasta had plenty on the Roosters. Similar to Gus who said during grand final with Storm ahead about 22-0 that Penrith were on top. Commentators with agendas just shouldn’t be on TV imo.

  9. Brelogail St Boy

    G’day Sixties !
    All I want to say is I agree thoroughly with you on almost everything you have just said. And particularly so the obstruction stuff.

  10. Glenn

    Also jurnos have been surprisingly silent regarding Roosters officials contacting the NRL putting pressure on the bunker to do something with Dyl Brown. Are other clubs able to do this? One would doubt that and imagine the furour if they did.

  11. CraigT79

    I totally agree the latest on Manly is they are a top 4 threat even though the only current top 8 team they have beaten is the Titans don’t get started on Penriths Draw Melbourne by 2 is their only top 2 victory/match. Yet we aren’t even being considered. I do however think DBs tackle was correctly judged on the field. The resulting injury was terrible but to say he lead with the knee is a joke. To lead with the knee would require some Kind of Lunge or slide DB was upright at full pace trying to prevent the try. His only mistake was trying to stop if he runs through there is no issue but he made a bad call and in trying to pull up his leg buckled and knee made contact. Zero intent and far from reckless just a pure accident.

  12. Mr controversy aka rev

    I’ve been trying to tell ppl all along that Ray Hadley has engender towards the eels. Ever since Dennis Fitzgerald introduces brian smith motor mouth Hadley at the league’s club. I remember it clearly. Fitzy invited Hadley to the club for lunch what Hadley didn’t expect was smithy being there. So Hadley got up Dennis Fitzgerald the next day n told Fitzgerald next time he did yhat he would walk out.

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