The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Not The Change You Were Looking For Edition

NRL Team List


There are going to be a whole lot of upset fans of the Blue & Gold this evening and I really can’t fault them. Waqa Blake has survived the dissection of the carcass that is Sunday’s 28-6 loss to the Sea Eagles. Blake’s defensive struggles at right centre have long been a very pointed and vocal issue for the fandom. Given how solid the entire edge looked throughout early 2021 when Marata Niukore was holding down the same fort, there was a definite buzz of expectation for Round 12 that Brad Arthur would make the big call now that Niukore is back from suspension.

Instead, ‘Simba’ is back on the bench. It is a position in which he is also hugely valuable to the team but given how effortlessly the Sea Eagles carved up the Eels’ right edge there is a very strong argument to be made that the needs of that portion of the team supercede those of the middle forward rotation. Doubly so when you consider that the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta’s Round 12 opponent, is a prodigious right-to-left attacking team and will be salivating at the defensive tape the Eels put up on Sunday.

Naturally there is still the chance that there is a pregame switch in the works but the composition of the shadow bench limits what is possible. It is unlikely that Will Penisini will make his debut given that ‘BA’ has invariably named his rookie starters in the starting lineup when their number has been called.

The most probable swap involves Niukore jumping back into right centre and then bringing someone else onto the bench. With three backs named in the extended roster it seems fairly improbable that any of them would come into calculation in a week where the Eels are already are light on the bench. That leaves another rookie in the mix in Makahesi Makatoa. Makatoa has been in outstanding form for the Eels in the NSW Cup and looms as a potential Andrew Davey-esque mature-age rookie for the Blue & Gold. He would beef up the bench and give Arthur more depth to his middle rotation.

However, with all that said I think it is fair to suggest that BA is a relatively straight shooter. He has played the odd switcheroo in the past but usually he picks his 17 on Tuesday and sticks with them through to game day. That leaves Parramatta with the terrifying prospect of how they are going to slow down the left edge of the Rabbitohs. I certainly don’t have the answer to that question and I hoping the Eels can execute the countermeasure on Saturday. I guess we are left hoping against all hope that that pregame switch is coming.

In other important team news, Reagan Campbell-Gillard has taken an early guilty plea for a grade 2 high tackle charge and will miss this game. Oregon Kaufusi gets the second start of his career as a result. Kaufusi is the natural promotion here with the young bookend stepping up in 2021. Oregon’s elevation to the starting team in response to RCG’s suspension means that there are no other changes to the lineup due to Marata’s return.

The Eels face the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a triple-header at Stadium Australia on Saturday.

Finally, I fully understand if any frustrated fan wants to vent about Waqa’s selection. Feel free to do so in the comments but keep it civil to all parties and constructive towards a conversation about the game.


1. Clinton Gutherson ©
2. Maika Sivo
3. Tom Opacic
4. Waqa Blake
5. Blake Ferguson
6. Jake Arthur
7. Mitchell Moses
8. Oregon Kaufusi
9. Reed Mahoney
10. Junior Paulo
11. Ryan Matterson
12. Isaiah Papali’i
13. Nathan Brown
14. Marata Niukore
15. Shaun Lane
16. Joey Lussick
17. Bryce Cartwright
18. Haze Dunster
19. Makahesi Makatoa
20. Will Penisini
21. Jordan Rankin


NSW Cup Team List


It wasn’t a great Sunday for the Eels with the NSW Cup team also falling prey to the Sea Eagles in a 34-24 upset result. As with the main event at Bankwest on Sunday the Blue & Gold simply could not win the collisions and were outmuscled in the physical contests enroute to the loss.

Ryan Carr has tinkered with his backline and forward pack, due in part to injuries and suspension, to produce a tweaked roster to take on the Rabbitohs. Sean Russell moves back to his preferred role of fullback but Hayze Perham isn’t demoted by any means. He takes over another senior role in the team as the five-eighth which sees Lalotoa Mata’afa get bumped back to the bench. Rewinding all the way back to the Russell switch we see big Solomone Naiduki make his return to open-age rugby league to start on the left flank.

Makahesi Makatoa is named to start in the front row (along with Will Penisini named at centre), lending credence to the idea that Waqa Blake will play in the NRL but an injury to Ray Stone sees Charbel Tasipale claim a starting spot on the edge while a two game suspension to Keegan Hipgrave allows Kurt Dillon to get in on the starting action. Aitasi James and David Hollis gives the Eels both youth and beef on the bench while Samuel Loizou is in the mix as the 18th man.


1. Sean Russell
2. Haze Dunster
3. Will Penisini
4. Michael Oldfield
5. Solomone Naiduki
6. Hayze Perham
7. Jordan Rankin
8. Makahesi Makatoa
9. Nathaniel Roache
10. Wiremu Greig
11. Elie El-Zakhem
12. Charbel Tasipale
13. Kurt Dillon
14. Lalotoa Mata’afa
15. Ky Rodwell
16. Aitasi James
17. David Hollis
18. Samuel Loizou


Jersey Flegg Team List


The youngest of the senior squads is back in action this week after a bye on the weekend. Dean Feeney has adjusted his roster in light of returning troops and promotions to the NSW Cup. Tyrone Harding is back in the #1 while Luke Bain takes one of the starting prop forward slots with Aitasi James’ call up to the Cup. There is a distinct SG Ball flavour to both the backrow and bench with 5 of the 7 positions taken up by young talents as Oliver Clements and Kyle Schneider prove to be the exceptions here.

With the Eels facing the Bunnies on Saturday they have the chance to reclaim a spot in the all important Top 6.


1. Tyrone Harding
2. Matthew Komolafe
3. Samuel Loizou
4. Jayden Skinner
5. Freuan Easthope
6. Tevita Masima
7. Josh Chappell
8. Luke Bain
9. Jayden Yates
10. Jack Colovatti
11. Oliver Clements
12. Peter Taateo
13. Caleb Tohi
14. Kyle Schneider
15. Jontay Betham-Misa
16. Larry Muagututia
17. Brock Parker
18. Penioni Tohi

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Sneaky Pete

There will be tears from Arthur again. Unfortunately they will be courtesy of his days being numbered after the rabbits tear apart that eels right edge. What a stupid decision.


I’m no expert in the matters of coaching. I’ve trusted BA in all the decisions he’s made over his years in charge, even when I didn’t agree. But this decision to keep Waqa in the starting line-up against Souths this weekend is a bridge too far for my faith to stretch. How I hope to be proven wrong!


I was a strong advocate for BA to coach this club but seriously this is an extraordinary decision, it beggars belief to play Blake against Souths in the centres.


At the end of the day, we as fans just have to trust BA. He’s the head coach and I’m sure he is all over it.


Poor choice in waqa blake he has had enough chances


Hard to fathom but ultimately not surprising. The ghosts of 2018 linger.
From the outside it makes no sense, I can’t imagine what grounds there are for Waqa’s inclusion.
Fingers crossed, I just hope there’s a Plan B on the day.


How long can you all back BA if he continues selecting Waqa Blake in first grade? He was horrible in the back half of last year and has now taken that to a new diabolical level.

Murray Cod

As long as you continue to hide behind anonymous as your pen name I’m sure we can continue to openly support BA.
And don’t give me any crap about none of us using our own names, I reckon at least twenty people who might read my comments on here would know who Murray Cod is. As do friends/enemies or associates of Sixties and Forty. We’re not always right but have the courage of our convictions to say “This is what I believe” under a known and recognized nom de plume.

Last edited 2 months ago by Murray Cod

I hope picking again Waqa tomplay First grade is not another mistake and learning experience in BA’s Book of Knowledge. It is very obvious that Waqa have some seriousnissues with his defence especially when he runs out of the line and miss a tackle which opens up wide the right side. I hope this is just a BA smokescreen but id not and we get clobbered on that edge again, then he should be asked to do a “please explain” to the Eels members and fans.


I’m really hoping there’s a last minute change. I just can’t see any reason to keep him in a side that was playing so well without him. I will always support Parra but I really don’t understand this decision & it frustrates me to no end 🤬


I really can’t believe that BA continues to put his coaching career in the crosshairs by sticking with guys like Waqa. His defence has been terrible for a long time now and yet we are expected to believe it will turn around in the space of a week.

I also feel for the other players. Imagine your Nathan Brown busting your gut in the middle of the field only to see the opposition run in try after try on the edge. It can’t be good for team morale.

Mr controversy aka rev

Picking Waqa would be like Brian smith picking Paul carriage in 1997 then again in 1998.


A real head-scratcher. But let’s hope Waqa and Brad prove us wrong.

Mr controversy aka rev

Can any one tell me what has happened to Tim lafai ? On Waqa Blake surely we didn’t expect any thing else. It was clear as day brad Arthur was going to pick Waqa Blake since RCG was going to be out this week. Marata niukora was always going to be a bench forward to take Oregan kaufusi’s spot with big reg out. The only happy ppl to see Waqa is souths fans. Marata should be playing in the centre’s he can be our justin olam big strong hard to tackle instead brad Arthur sees Waqa Blake as our Justin… Read more »


There were a whole bunch of reasons why we scored only 6 points, but why they scored 28 had heaps to do with poor defence out wider. I don’t reckon our forwards were dominated, our middle was tight but pedestrian and Manly just had a good day at the office.They scored from all points of the park, many of their wide shifts looked like training runs,and we”re going with the same defenders.Fingers crossed there’s something here I can’t see.


I do not blame one player for the loss last weekened; it was the team and coaches issue. But we have seen some poor defensive reads and plays for a while now…and i am talking about a couple of experienced players. This week is very imprtant for momentum wise and we have a few guys out….huge game.


Finally some sensible comments Milo! I don’t disagree, Waqa has been bad but he is one member of the right side. There needs to be more inside pressure so he doesn’t feel like he has to jam.

I’ve thought for a long time that it’s too easy to go around us, on both sides of field. It happens to Miaka too because we compress so much.

After saying all this, I will be very happy if it is a game of ducks and drakes by BA because I fear the outcome otherwise. Cody Walker and Latrell will rip us apart.


Thanks JonBoy, I guess we have a couple of days to see is any changes occur. I cannot believe the bad reads we have at times and its criminal they keep on doing it……maybe I am just to practical, but communication, repeat defensive drills, watching tapes of games where we leak like an overseas boat, and of course keep shoulders / body square, and not rushing up one at a time!! In Souffs we do not always know what they will do but after a flogging they will no doubt have some mongrel. Souffs may have some internal issues…..Old Boy… Read more »


Before I rant I will say I’m on record as saying I’m not a BA fan I don’t dislike the guy either I judge on results the results show BA is a good coach he will never be a premiership winning coach this I believe. This year I have been impressed in some subtle changes to his selections the Marta to centre decision was a masterstroke in fairness I may of been brought on by a lack of options but it worked. Blake had shown enough to warrant being dropped he has cost us games he simply isn’t performing is… Read more »

greg okladnikov

The challenge with Waqa is that it is the same problem for most of 2020…and has continued this year. If the defensive coaches cant get an improvement then surely a stint in reserve grade is warranted – or do the coacxhes need to change his role / technique? These defensive issues cost plenty of tries last year and will continue this year as teams continue to hammer that side which just leaks points and line breaks. If Waqa was creating tries, running big meters and creating more points than was let in then maybe it is a different situation but… Read more »


You guys are aware that Blake’s inclusion on the right edge has coincided with a teenage halfback defending on the same edge? The same week Blake came back in we lost Dylan Brown.


Question for you Pou, I haven’t seen Haze Perham, is he capable of playing fullback in FG if Gutho became unavailable? or if say Gutho filled in at 5/8.


Turn up to play stick to basics and discipline we should be ok . We can beat teams if we want.

John Eel

The unavailability of RCG, Keegan Hipgrave, Dylan Brown and Will Smith was always going to make this weeks TLT an interesting one Who replaces Blake well the only real option is Niukore. However the problem there is that he is needed just as much in the middle. The fact that this occurred at a time when Dylan Brown was suspended makes the situation even more complicated. The right side defence had improved substantially this year with Brown and Niukore on the right. However Niukore is also needed to make the forwards stronger. What I do know is that I am… Read more »

Longfin Eel

It seems that BA is giving Blake one more chance. At least this time if it is not working there is the option of putting Niukore in the centres. Not ideal though – what do you do with Blake then? We already have Lussick on the bench who will only play limited minutes.

I can’t see Parra fixing this in one week, and can see another loss coming. That will be devastating for team morale and will undo all the hard work to get to where we are now.


Right edge leaked the points but thats not where game was lost , the forwards are supposed to lay the platform , the only thing they laid was DOWN , mitch decided to revert back to his old self and butchered the 57% of attack we enjoyed , not a waqa fan myself but they all contributed to the mess on that edge but waqa is the catalyst for sure , think his short term future hinges on souths game but his long term future belongs anywhere but here !!


I love BA because he is Parra through and through… various times I have suggested that he should be managed out, notwithstanding. Now his record is 9 from 11 this year and that is hard to argue with. BUT he has bigger problems on the horizon, his wingers are too slow (as are all our three quarters) and I think that Fergs is playing busted, his turnarounds on Sunday were terrible. I believe the opportunity was there to spell Fergs and play Waqar on the wing, where his pace may be very useful against a side like Souths. Obviously Marata… Read more »

Achilles' Eel

I wish to know how our club can turn the NRLs current crackdown on high shots to its advantage. I can think of one way off the top of my head, though it does come at the risk of one’s duty of care for the players. I won’t spell it out, however Brian To’o’s penchant for ducking under tackles is but one example of it. I ask you, what would the ruling be if he were to be clipped on the head while in the act of ducking under the arm of a defender?


it’s with a heavy heart that i write this comment because Brad Arthur is a Parra man through and through and i want our club to be successful with him but sadly we ain’t going to win a premiership in my opinion with him as coach, i believe his tactics and team selections are wrong. this power game we continue to try and play isn’t working. every single set we start the first 3 tackles with the same repetitive pattern one out hit ups after another the opposition just load up and smash either Sivo, Ferguson or Opacic, then we… Read more »


So should be he ringing you for team selections and tactics based on your credentials which are ???? Or is it just based on opinions .


When both you blokes post under Anonymous, I don’t think anyone can or should take notice of you.


Your not wrong
From the stands at points last year you could almost predict what was coming next.
This year at times its been diffrent then we fall back into familiar shapes and patterns and it’s predictable.
BA is a good coach much like Griffen or Brown good coaches to build a club but not to win premierships.
He will see out his deal and if we haven’t got a comp to our name it’s thank you For your service and good bye

Murray Cod

Ladies/gentlemen like you are always impossible to please Annoyusmuch. It is apparent that when you get a bee in your bonnet rational thought disembarks from your headspace.


Niukore to centre Blake out n Dunster on bench

John Eel

You don’t think we need Niukore in the forwards?

Mr controversy aka rev

How can we believe you if you don’t have a name. Maybe we should call anonymous after birth instead. No name.


Waqa just can’t be there as he has shown he is not up to it. Marata needs to be put there this week or we will be torn to shreds. I’m a big supporter of BA but this time he has got it very wrong.

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