The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 12 at South Sydney


Parramatta Eels 20

South Sydney 38


Before I begin proceedings, I owe a big thank you for Forty20 for his last two weeks of service; the young man did an absolute brilliant job of filling in and writing Grades while I was unavailable this last fortnight. Thank you, sir. *tips hat*

Nonetheless, like pulling on a trusted old pair of tracksuit pants on a cold winter’s night, I’m slipping back into the soothing comfort of Grades after a demoralising Eels loss against the Bunnies. Join me sinking into the depths of this familiar misery, won’t you?


After the Sea Eagles ended their 5 game losing streak last week, Eels fans were no doubt hoping for a better showing come Round 12. Despite the Bunnies having conceded 128 points in the previous three weeks, the Eels still could not overcome their seemingly perpetual demons of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. It’s enough to make the colour red feel blue.

Two tries from a scrum (which should be noted, are rare as hen’s teeth in the new NRL), and a plethora of pathetic efforts on our right edge, the Eels are now rightfully saturated in the collective doubt of the NRL public, and the familiar cries of “sack Arthur”, “Moses’ fault” and “I blame Gutho’s hair” will no doubt echo across social media walls this coming week.

The biggest issue I can see (other than the defensive bushfire which is our right edge), is that as Dylan Brown disappears so does our entire right edge defensive structure. The best teams, your Melbournes, the Roosters and the Panthers tend to lose players and don’t seem to miss a beat. These are issues one and two for mine.


The Bunnies came into tonight’s clash with their Top 4 rivals after 50 point thrashing in both Rounds 9 and 11 from the other two teams in the Top 4.

Yet tonight Souths somehow had 13 linebreaks tonight to the Eels’ 2, had 51% of the ball, 350 more running metres (2216 to 1927), but only missed 2 less tackles (21 to 23) and had one more error (11 to 10). I also thought it was nice, albeit too late, when the Eels starting getting expansive against a compressed Souths’ defensive line; overall it was a shame we couldn’t take advantage of their weaknesses which would have been so clearly demonstrated in the last three weeks of competition.

Finally, for what it’s worth, I thought Papalii’s sin binning was fair; his hand was clearly on the ball; but the NRL has gotta stop this rubbish of going back 2 minutes to give away a penalty. It’s absolutely ridiculous.


Yeah, no thanks.




Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

Remember when Clint Gutherson dropped our first touch of the football and then watched Damien Cook stroll past him for the Bunnies’ first try 2 minutes in? Yeah, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.



Maika Sivo

2 – Left Wing

In the first half tonight, the big Fijian (once again) discovered what happens if you continue to amble into the defensive line of an NRL opponent like a pedestrian on a Sunday stroll. Warming into the game, Maika Sivo did well to kick the ball dead late in the first, take a bomb early in the second, and then score an absolute barnstormer in the 71st minute. He also ran 14 times for 141 metres (39 post contact), had 4 tackle breaks and didn’t miss any of his 5 tackle attempts.



Tom Opacic

3 – Right Centre

The switch to the right didn’t seem to phase the world’s most sensible man in the first half, however Tom did come up with thin air on Dane Gagai’s try early in the second. Tom Opacic had easily his worst game of the season when paired with our bald winger.

Coincidence? You be the judge.


Waqa Blake

4 – Left Centre

For Eels fans, finding Waqa Blake’s name on the teamsheet this week was about as welcome as a bad case of gout, but if you’re blaming the much maligned centre for the issues tonight, you might find you were actually watching a replay of last week’s clash. Tonight he got through 9 runs for 73 metres, 2 tackle breaks and a try assist.

Despite all the pressure in the world, defensively Waqa was no real issue out there tonight, either. And this is actually one of the most ridiculous tweets I’ve ever read.

Yes, he was horrific last week, and the need to swap sides is far from ideal, but Waqa’s defensive stats tonight read 22 tackles, 1 miss.


Blake Ferguson

5 – Right Wing

You didn’t need to be a detective to realise that last week Fergo enjoyed his partnership with Waqa Blake about as much as Melbourne is enjoying another partnership with COVID.

However, it was interesting to see that even sans Waqa, the other Blake (and the right edge) still continued its paper-like resistance against opposition left attack. I don’t care about his attacking stats, you just need to know that he had one of the best defensive centres in the NRL on his inside tonight, and the Bunnies’ right edge still scored 6 tries without breaking a sweat.

Whether the issue the players inside are Dylan, Jake Arthur, Tom Opacic or Waqa Blake, there’s a similar theme to the right edge each week; Blake Ferguson standing there in defence by himself on the wing looking like Simba when the wilderbeest stampede into the gorge.



Jake Arthur

6 – Five Eighth

The try assist was nice, the individual try even nicer; but I don’t think anyone will be mounting a convincing case that tonight’s clash was either of the Arthurs’ finest hour.



Mitch Moses

7 – Halfback

I actually saw people putting tonight’s loss at the feet of our halfback. I’m here to tell you that The Prince of Egypt was not the issue.

Last week’s issue aside, as it is with those blaming Waqa’s on field performance tonight, those who can’t dance tend to blame it on the music. 



Oregon Kaufusi

8 – Front Row

Tonight Big Country started, had a HIA inside the first 2 minutes and never really recovered; only getting through a paltry 5 runs for 34 metres in 17 minutes. He’ll be better next week.


Reed Mahoney

9 – Hooker

Reed Mahoney did have some good moments tonight (5 runs for 46m, 49 tackles with only 2 misses), but that kick for Cartwright on the first tackle of a repeat set was not it.

Last week, Mary K of Ladies Who League fame told me that her Nonna refers to Reed as “the little one with the hat“; and that sort of wonderful anecdote reminds me that despite tonight’s result, the sun will still rise tomorrow.



Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

There was very little wrong with tonight’s performance from the biggest man since Goliath, getting through 10 runs for a rare sub 100m game (94m), an offload, 2 tackle breaks and 28 tackles.


Isaiah Papali’i

11 – Second Row

We lost tonight, but very little of it was due to Isaiah Papali’i. Although his running statistics (12 runs for 88 metres) aren’t to his usual standard (he did try quite a few of those crash plays close to the line), his try, 3 tackle breaks and 34 tackles without a miss, are.


Ryan Matterson

12 – Second Row

As a fan of the NRL in general, I was pretty disappointed to see Ryan Matterson get stung by the video ref in the second half for something he did in 2019. Elsewhere it was 12 runs for 82 metres, 2 offloads, 2 tackle breaks and 29 tackles for the marbled carved god. Thankfully Matto also had zero headknocks tonight; here’s hoping that stat in particular continues going forward.


Nathan Brown

13 – Lock

Although he had 15 runs for 109 metres and made 38 tackles, tonight Nathan Brown got put on report (2) more times than he had tackle breaks (1) and offloads (0) combined.


Marata Niukore

14 – Interchange

Irrespective of tonight’s result, I will always feel more comfortable when Marata Niukore is one of the 17 names in the Eels lineup. Some stellar charges (11 for 82m) only made me want him for more than his 36 minutes of playing time. If there’s an apocalypse, I’ll be rolling with Marata.


Shaun Lane

15 – Interchange

I’ve decided I like bench Shaun Lane better than I do starting-on-the-edge-and-playing-80-minutes Shaun Lane.



Joey Lussick

16 – Interchange

Tonight Joey Lussick played 11 minutes in a game of football for the Parramatta Eels in the National Rugby League. He passed well, and ran the ball zero times.



Bryce Cartwright

17 – Interchange

Nothing silly or too fancy for Bryce Cartwright tonight, and his only error came as a result of that misjudged kick from our nuggety rake. This (3 runs for 32m, 1 try assist and 11 tackles) is pretty much what we want and need from Big Boy Bryce, and should hope for from him going forward.

In short, tuck it under the arm and charge into the defensive line, save the passes and tricky kicks until we’re running downhill.



You know, I’ve decided I prefer to watch the games that the Eels win.

Next week we take on the Newcastle Knights sans any players suspended or playing Origin. It should be wild.

Whatever happens, I’ll see you all at some point, sports fans.


Go you Eels,



Photos courtesy of the Parramatta Eels. Stats courtesy of Champion Data.

If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.

62 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 12 at South Sydney

  1. Dday

    That read was much more fun than the game! A few Bs, couple of D’s and a F about sums it up.
    Having a midseason stumble is where we are at. We didn’t really recover from the stumble at a similar time last year, now the test to see if we are a better team than last year.

  2. Colin Hussey

    I am not trying to gloat, as the loss today was most unpleasant. But, for me, I feel a bit vindicated by my comments regarding the “Old right side backs combo. I have been saying for some time now that the right side defence which has been pathetic for some time now, some is being mild.

    As a result I have pushed the idea of a swap of sides between Opi and Waqa, my reasons were simple, I believed that Waqa, despite his issues in defence was not the problem on that side, rather I had believed Fergo was the primary problem. My concerns with the swap though was how Opi would handle it, and had he played much, if any on the right side.

    Well it was show against the rabbits for all to see. Waqa went to the left wing, swapping with Opi to the right & to play inside Fergs. With a couple of exceptions a try from the first scrum for souths, and another one a bad miss from Gutho and a couple of others on that right side as Gutho was badly wrong footed.

    What I saw though was the terrible show that has always been there of Fergs coming in from protecting his wing/sideline, leaving a huge gap on that side of the field, that was where pretty much most of the souths attack was put to owing to Fergo’s terrible positioning, but perfectlly grabbing hold of the souths inside centre who passed to the winger for an uninterupted run to the line. It was like that all the game, in other ways as well. The move I believe worked and showed the Waqa should not be the scapegoat he has been called out on rather the problem has been Ferg’s.

    It will take some time for the swap to prove, but it should not be needed if the primary culprit goes back to the grade that he should be in until he retires at years end, and that being the NSWcup, but will that hurt the young players in that team as well.

    1. Big roy

      100% fergo is the problem ,weve all been blaming wrong person inc me , when you think over 2 and bit seasons hes always been the problem , waqa defence with haze was impeccable against souths , not a haze fan either but he holds his line , fergo out the door now !! Fergo even made opacic look bad and hes bee totally safe !!

      1. jimbob

        Brad Arthur is the problem not fergo who is following the coach’s orders, you can see it’s the same defense plan on both sides with Sivo also jamming in, Brad needs to go its simple

        1. Colin Hussey

          Sivo rarelly jams in but he does come in at times to run the ball further infield to keep away from the sideline to a degree.

          Fergs, is another matter altogether, I would doubt that any coach would put a player into an impossible position that is constantly seen in every game, that being how far in that Fergo comes from his sideline, where he’s supposed to defend from not 10-15 mtrs in. He’s also useless in most of his runs that he takes when he gets the ball given him from dummy half.

  3. Offside

    It was bad
    Young Jake will go back to reserves and work on his D he currently make defensive reads like a dyslexic reading a dictionary. He will learn and come back when he is ready.
    Fergo it’s simple times up.

    No I know This page is unbiased BA fans but it’s becoming clearer that this team will not go forward with him at the helm the 21 eels are the same as the 20 ones and that’s the problem

  4. Mick

    The teams we are losing to, the fashion in which we are losing, the mid season decline and right edge defensive issues are very deja vu 2020. I did not enjoy 2020 ….. here’s hoping the lads get back on track sooner rather than later. Thanks for the write up.

  5. Trapped in the 1970"s

    No surprises at all tonight. That was the sort of result I expected with souths targeting the right side as manly did the week before and like last week the team seems incapable of late of being able to defend an error and instead lurch from a missed opportunity to standing behind the try line within the next set.

    The right side has been an issue for so long and its not going to fix itself by picking the same players when those same players can expect every team to send increased traffic that way.

    The last two weeks are missed opportunities to stamp some authority on the comp and instead it feels like its back to square one.

    1. mitch Post author

      I’m actually a bit relieved the right edge has been sufficiently exposed that something is being done about it.

    2. Anonymous

      They did the exact thing to us last year all but Parra first try the game could of been a repeat

  6. Mr controversy aka rev

    My wife’s in a tipping comp n i increased her win margin for souths vs eels game by 10. She had the bunnies at 8 for margin. Look at the end of the day it’s a no brainer that brad Arthur must put marata niakora in at centre. We have more then enough backrowers to cover marata.

    Mitch i have to agree with you about lane his not the same with out jenko down our left edge.

    Since Waqa has come back not only have teams smashed our right side of the field but Ferguson has stopped scoring tries. How long left on Waqa contract can we tell him thanks for your services to the club but your not in our future plan’s.

    Just a question should we chase dufty n shift gutherson to centre from next year ? Or we just grade pensini for the long term n have a complete new edge of dunster n pensini.

    We miss Dylan brown goes with out saying. Sorry guy’s n girl’s but i think we should chase father time benny or Flanagan. Will be happy for Cameron caroldo. We are in big trouble if we keep waqa. I’m over him.
    I hope none of our boy’s get picked for soo we don’t deserve to have player’s in the soo.

    Next weeks team should be as is.



    18th man. Lussick.

      1. Grunta

        Exactly. Ferguson has been crud for 18 months. Drop him and get Waqa on the wing. Penisini in the centres. Also, we have about as much pace as a three legged turtle.

      2. Mr controversy aka rev

        Fergo was scoring tries when Marata was inside of him. Simple really Waqa Blake comes back we lose.

        1. Colin Hussey

          Well I guess that means all our losses are the fault of Waqa?? And he was also the cause of all the tries scored down the right wing that Fergs had problems even getting to their centres.

    1. mitch Post author

      You’ll need to minus Reed, Jr, and consider replacing Nathan Brown, RCG and maybe Gutho; they’ll all be in Origin or suspended.

      1. Offside

        No way Gutho gets considered for origin he only got a shot last year due to injury every postion he plays has at least 3 better options ahead of him.
        Same for Brown.
        I wouldn’t pick Paulo either his stat’s for the last month have been dissapointing

          1. Offside

            Well if I did RCG would be playing origin instead of junior fourtunatly for us Reg is free to play next week

  7. BDon

    Tks Mitch, well done when most of us are still in a fog. Niukore and Papa looked like they could actually hurt someone with or without the ball. The grades sort of reflect that.
    I’d like to ask Oregon if he thought that a raised forearm sent him into Gaga Land in the first play of the night. The bunker obviously didn’t. We got pinged for a strip at the 20 minute mark H2, which was no better or worse than the one let go on Gutho in our first set ,which went to a scrum and, well, you know the rest. Not a dream start, and downhill from there.

    1. BDon

      I’ve watched that again, Nichol’s hand is cupped, playing at the ball in a backward direction. It only looks like part of a tackle because he reaches into the ball with his arm in a swinging motion. Maybe one of those ones that the bunker would have gone wth the ref either way. Gutho thought that he would trust his fresh defence so early, but after that thought was trashed, I noticed he approached Sutton to explain. The problem is that even a good start won’t fix our defence out wider.

    2. Colin Hussey

      I would really like the club to take those two incidents to the NRL and appeal the players who have been charged by the MRC and put to them the inconsistencies shown in the charges against the eels compared to the other mob.

      I know it wont happen as we have never/rarelly challenged in the past

      1. BDon

        Yes Col, it was pretty clear that Nichols’ forearm raised with ball at the last second and banged Oregon square in the face.
        Spilt milk now, but I had to laugh how Anasta on Kayo completely ignored it but jumped on everything else we did, never even offered a thought on the later strip for which we were penalised but looked so soft.

  8. Wilhelmina

    How many times did Souths line up an overlap at a scrum, we didn’t match them, and they scored on that side? I counted at least three, with one pulled back. They aren’t the first team to do it to us either. If it’s a coaching instruction, it’s not working. If it’s the players’ decision, they need to be told otherwise. As a fan, it’s infuriatingly preventable.

    I’m confused by the refereeing at the moment (not just this game). They seem to have totally put the whistle away on things that were getting called for the first 8 rounds, in favour of the high tackle crackdown – Souths lay all over us in the ruck, which currently looks like a simple recipe to beat us, so we really need a strategy to combat it. Don’t get me started on going back an entire set for a penalty for something that should be dealt with by the MRC.

    I haven’t seen a replay of the Papa binning to judge it. What irritated me was that Souths had a second effort on a player after we’d made a break, and we got a repeat set out of it, not a binning. We were no chance playing with 12 for 20 minutes.

    But after that game, I don’t think Souths are anywhere near a premiership either.

    1. John Eel

      Des Hasler was blowing up yesterday about Ben Cummins. He got the rub of the green the week before. Des you win some you lose some

      1. Wilhelmina

        Des is right about the play being pulled back and Matai binned, that was as ridiculous as Matto. However, the non-binning of Funa was as baffling and wrong. How can you get that level of inconsistency in one game, with the same ref and same video ref? Where is THEIR accountability?

  9. greg okladnikov

    the right side defence has been an issue for 2 seasons – if the defence coach can’t fix it then maybe we need a new defence coach, or we need players than can learn how to defend that side and work the system. I know Dylan is out but one player out shouldnt cause a system to collapse. Example – the Storm had their whole spine out for 2 weeks and still defended and attacked brilliantly…..players just learn a job and do the job ( eg – George Jennings, Reimis Smith).

    At this rate every team will just follow the game plan of the last 2 weeks – get to the posts and then attack our right side.

    WIth Marata there it was definitely more solid defensively

    And moving Waqa to the other side – is that an admission that he wouldn’t handle the attack that came his way and all today was about was hiding him on the non lethal side

    And with the bench – we seem to be carrying a hooker / utility that only plays 5-10 mins. Seems like we are then only playing with 16 players. Surely a Greig / Hipgrave / Stone….would another forward would be a better option to add to the rotation?

    1. Offside

      Difference is the Storm are a top shelf organisation with a great coach.
      We are pretenders with a average coach.

      You can’t compare the 2 teams

        1. Offside

          No coach has had a job for this long without winning something. How long do we accept being good but not good enough?

          1. Colin Hussey

            So we ignore the robbery inflicted on us when BA was coach and we won the 7’s or whatever it was called only to be stripped of the award, money and all owing to the brown paper bag day.

            We won, but we also lost

      1. greg okladnikov

        I think BA is a good coach and great man man ager and his players obviously respect and like him. My question is around our defensive coach – I think Kidwell still has the gig but he obviously hasn’t been able to fix it . We definitely need someone who understands how edges / wingers should defend and get them in to fix the problem…..Sterlo’s comments today on the footy show said a lot.

        1. Offside

          Kidwell is the problem I said it before he was the tigers defence coach and nofaluma looked average and always caught out.
          We operate with the same type of system

  10. Murray Cod

    Your ignorance of how the game is played is entertaining Mitch. Fergo didn’t cause those try’s on the right edge anymore than Waqa did not being there. How you can give JA only 1 try assist? Surely JA should get credit for some of the 5 TA’s Cody Walker threw? JA numbered up against CW for his last pass on 5 of souffs’ 7 try effort and never tackled him once? Just up and hold while all Walker’s runners got into position to run into a hole or outside our defender. Blind favoritism is a wonderful gift but warps ones perception of reality. JA will improve with experience and years to develop his physical body, not so sure about your knowledge of the game though Mitch. Thanks for the laughs.

    1. mitch Post author

      Thanks for reading mate. I actually did make reference to JA’s less than stellar game, and only gave him a C+ despite assisting on our first and scoring a pretty brilliant individual try.

      It’s fine to see things differently, but next time you disagree with someone’s assessment (particularly one that takes them a few hours to put together each week), don’t be such a jerk about it.

      1. Anonymous

        The only thing that soothes my sole after a loss & makes me laugh after a win are these reports. Mitch you’re a champion and keep doing what you do. Murray Cod c’mon man.

      2. Murray Cod

        You’re a bit sensitive there Mitch? I apologize for making my opinion of your footy intellect personal and offensive, not intended. Unlike your jerk tag? In ignorance crafting what was meant to be a a closing joke about how differently we see things. I didn’t take offence at the name calling though, if you know any school teachers it might be worth asking for their opinion on the impact that “sticks and stones” might have. I hope most of the criticism was directed at my disrespectful public exposure of your bias Mitch. I do appreciate the time and effort you put into the gradings and the platform it creates for debate and conjecture.
        I also apologize for making my opinion of your footy intellect personal and clearly offence, not intended, unlike your jerk tag.

        1. Wilhelmina

          Actually, if you read what people have written, they’ve commented on your behaviour Murray, not you personally. Whereas you had a pretty personal go at Mitch. It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.

          Maybe own the fact that you crossed the line, rather than debate everyone who called you on it.

        2. Anonymous

          By your tone Your starting to remind of someone who use to post on here previosly , bit fishy .

    2. Alex Eels

      No need to be such an asshole about it, Murray Cod.

      Mitch your grades are compulsory reading each week. they’re both insightful and incredibly entertaining. Thank you for what you do – don’t listen to this clown.

    3. Richie C

      Gee Murray, why all the hate.

      Nothing Mitch has stated is wrong. He eluded to JAs less than stellar game. You can disagree, but don’t be a prat about it.

    4. Big roy

      Complete disrespectful idiot , i dont always agree either but do us a favour and go back to the fools site where you belong , as for knowleddge of game yours 0

  11. Glenn

    Poor effort and I could tell from the first set that Bunnies were on and our first (completed) set that we were not. Jake was directly responsible for Souths 2nd try with his poor read and still think sin bin was harsh. Stopped watching after Souths 3rd try with our defence leaking like a sieve. I’ll say it again, you listening BA? We need a new defensive coach!!! Will the stubborn man ever listen?

  12. Dave

    My boss was an eels supporter and started following the broncos when they come in to the comp. Every week he watches the eels games still and still got a spot in his heart, he says everywhere that fergo has to go and I defend him over his work rate in attack but after last night I have to agree with him I think it’s time for fergo to have a break. We missed Campbell Gillard last night to and Dylan dack next week, he has been missed too

  13. West Coast Eel

    Ughhh! Thanks for the grades. It must’ve been tough to do after that dismal performance! I switched off after the try from the scrum in the 2nd half. I immediately deleted my Twitter and Facebook accounts too for a break. This site is the only one I’ll look at for a while. As I missed most of the 2nd half, who will be missing next week due to suspension? Surely after that performance, we can’t have too many guys in origin. On a side note, aren’t Newcastle wearing their 2001 jerseys next week and having an old boys day? That should be fun!

  14. Shaun

    I always appreciate the grades especially after a loss. Didn’t see the game as I was at a gig where the singer from one band kept asking for a score update as he was a Bunnies supporter. It was the only song I didn’t like. Hopefully this is just a mid-season slump. The Eels are still in third place. Not going to panic just yet. I’ll save that for next week if they lose.

  15. John Eel

    It is difficult to find upside after this loss. However if there is any it is that we only lost Junior to SOO

    1. John Eel

      Make that 2 with Reed being selected in the Maroons.

      Congratulations Reed getting your first SOO cap.

  16. Anonymous

    Marata plays Centre, no matter who is outside him he will make em look good ! And he also steadies the bloke inside him. It’s that simple. Yes he is needed in the forwards but comes in for plenty of hit ups anyway.
    surely we have enough depth to cover his absence in the Pack.
    Newie are on a high and its old boys this week I think? We may not survive this week if Coach does not make some proper changes. Put Opacic back, bring Wirremu back and maybe blood Makatoa, Smith??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: