The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Jimmies Russelled Edition

NRL Team List


Ah, nothing like a good old 40-12 victory. You can shift focus to your next game safe in the knowledge that your entire team should be backing up barring any injuries or suspensions. Case in point, the Parramatta Eels circa Rounds 14 and 15 where they only need to cover for the suspended Maika Sivo.

Let me just check my notes for a quick second…

What the? Three changes? Two of which are unforced. Two debuts? A rookie and a club debutant? WHAT IS GOING ON? Strap yourselves in folks, this is a W-I-L-D Team List Tuesday.

Brad Arthur woke up today and while he didn’t quite choose violence he settled for one peg lower as he wreaks carnage on the team sheet. First up is the surprise debut of Sean Russell. While I campaigned for Will Penisini to get the call in my most recent musings, both Sixties and I discussed the possibility of a Russell debut in our most recent reaction podcast when discussing who could or should replace Maika Sivo.

Russell is in the process of converting from fullback to wing in order to solidify his pathway to first grade. He possesses both swiftness and a rare smoothness to his play that plays perfectly into his classy play-making ability. He certainly won’t feature as a core member of the spine this week but with ‘BA’ showing a willingness to gamble on his young blue-chippers I am looking forward to how they incorporate him into the game-plan.

The selection of Russell does mean that both Tom Opacic and Waqa Blake will need to continue to chip in considerably to help ruck the ball out. I don’t believe Russell would shirk his responsibilities there but he is far from fully grown yet and could use the assist.

Obviously all of this does not bode well for Blake Ferguson but there remains plenty of time in 2021 for opportunities to come his way and all he can do is give the coaches reasons to pick him with strong play in the NSW Cup. Personally, I do love the bold call by the club and Arthur. Succession planning is a non-stop battle and I believe the Eels are using the right windows to blood their new talent. Even if it backfires I won’t be upset because it is the right call.

If you are sparing a thought for ‘Fergo’, you can probably splash out on the neural currency and toss Oregon Kaufusi and Bryce Cartwright some loose change given that they both got hit with the drop-stick this week. I am not sure if we will get any sort of official rationale from the midweek pressers to clarify if this is based on form or some sort of rotation policy but either way it injects some fresh faces onto the bench.

Keegan Hipgrave makes his return to the NRL after a great game against the Magpies in the NSW Cup while Nathaniel Roache makes his club debut for the Eels. Hipgrave will be a solid contributor from the bench for Parramatta but Roache’s selection is genuinely exciting. Joey Lussick did a stellar job against the Tigers in Round 14 but having an attacking dummy-half option on the bench opens up some serious offensive options for the Blue & Gold.

PJ Marsh was a personal favourite of mine back in the day so if we can anything remotely close to the energy that he used to bring then I will be stoked. Roache, like Hipgrave, is coming off an excellent personal game and was a preseason standout.

With all these changes, Parramatta will certainly be on notice as they take on the Bulldogs in Round 15. Canterbury are coming off just their second win of the year but also their most complete performance in their 28-6 spanking of the Dragons. The Eels eased past the club formerly known as the Berries when they met in Round 8 and will be looking to secure their second sweep in two weeks when the clubs meet on Sunday.


1. Clinton Gutherson ©
2. Sean Russell
3. Tom Opacic
4. Waqa Blake
5. Haze Dunster
6. Dylan Brown
7. Mitchell Moses
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
9. Joey Lussick
10. Junior Paulo
11. Isaiah Papali’i
12. Ryan Matterson
13. Nathan Brown
14. Marata Niukore
15. Shaun Lane
16. Keegan Hipgrave
17. Nathaniel Roache
18. Oregon Kaufusi
19. Blake Ferguson
20. Bryce Cartwright
21. Jakob Arthur


Injury Report


Ray Stone – Ankle (Rd16-17)

Reed Mahoney – Shoulder (TBA)


NSW Cup Team List


The little team that could keeps chugging away in the NSW Cup with the Eels upsetting the 2nd placed Magpies 28-26 on the weekend. Parramatta claimed a stake of equal 2nd as a result and while they will be annoyed with themselves that they let the Magpies make the final score that close it is a ringing endorsement to the talent and determination of the squad.

Brad Arthur’s spree of TLT terror has greatly influenced Ryan Carr’s team this week with changes all over the park. Utility players Hayze Perham and Will Smith are chopped and changed as Perham moves from bench utility to fullback and Smith from fullback to dummy-half in order to cover for the loss of Nathaniel Roache.

Oregon Kaufusi and Bryce Cartwright take over starting roles in the pack while Sean Russell is replaced by fellow young wing prospect Solomone NaidukiWiremu Greig is shunted to the bench by Oregon and he is joined there by Samuel Loizou who gets the call-up from the Flegg.

Even with all the changes it is still a damn good looking team and I expect Kaufusi and Cartwright to lift in response to getting dropped to the NSW Cup. The Eels are taking on the Bulldogs by way of proxy via Mounties to kickstart the double-header at Bankwest on Sunday. Mounties are one of the few teams to best Parramatta in reserve this year and the Blue & Gold will obviously have revenge on their mind.

Kickoff is at 11:30AM and should be televised and/or streamed.


1. Hayze Perham
2. Blake Ferguson
3. Will Penisini
4. Michael Oldfield
5. Solomone Naiduki
6. Jordan Rankin
7. Jakob Arthur
8. Makahesi Makatoa
9. Will Smith
10. Oregon Kaufusi
11. Elie El-Zakhem
12. Bryce Cartwright
13. Ky Rodwell
14. Wiremu Greig
15. David Hollis
16. Charbel Tasipale
17. Samuel Loizou


Jersey Flegg Team List


Parramatta let a golden chance to upset the competition leaders slip out of their grasp on Saturday with their 30-14 loss to the Tigers. The Eels burst out of the blocks to a 12-0 lead but second half struggles saw them botch a number of crucial chances and allow the Tigers to swing the game.

There is another new face this week with Leonard Skelton making his club debut at the Flegg level. Skelton shares a common name with one-time Wallaby talent Will Skelton so perhaps there is a relation between the two. It looks like Leonard has made his way to the Eels from Cronulla’s nursery and I don’t really have a grasp on his build or play style so stay tuned there.

Jabriel Kalache finally returns to the centres to replace the promoted Samuel Loizou while most of the Flegg mainstays in the pack seem to be in place like Aitasi James, Peter Taateo and Caleb Tohi

The Under 21s are on the outside looking into the Top 6 in their grade and a win over the 4th placed Bulldogs would go a long way to getting them on a roll. They will play on their lonesome on Saturday at New Era with kickoff at 1:00PM.


1. Tyrone Harding
2. Leonard Skelton
3. Jabriel Kalache
4. Jayden Skinner
5. Freuan Easthope
6. Connor Garrity
7. Josh Chappell
8. Luke Bain
9. Jayden Yates
10. Aitasi James
11. Peni Tohi
12. Peter Taateo
13. Caleb Tohi
14. Kyle Schneider
15. Jontay Betham-Misa
16. Larry Muagututia
17. Oliver Clements

If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.
Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Big roy

Trying to make a winger out of sean and a centre out of will , winger out so which do you pick ??


Hey mate Flegg at New Era 1PM Saturday not NRL curtain raiser

Big roy



Canterbury cup is the Curtin raiser to the nrl game

Colin Hussey

The selections have raised a few eyebrows across Eel land, I for one was happy with Dunster getting a spot in the team in place of Fergs, was only really a gut feeling for me but also the aspect that I had seen in several games over the past 3 odd years. His elevation to the top side a couple of weeks back showed his young class.

For those who have not seen it, here is Sterlo’s comment on Dunster and his elevation.


Who cares what he thinks

Colin Hussey

Same applies to you Anonymous. Have a look at the link, the first one failed.

Mr controversy aka the re

No name who cares what you think your not even worth talking about because ypu can’t put a name to your comments.


What a made up name , ok

Michael Formosa

Thanks for sharing Colin.
I like the way Dunster going too but our last two games have been against weak (to super super weak) opposition. Hopefully he can keep it going, he doesn’t get the meters coming out of our end like Fergo does but we have other like Waqa who is doing a great job.

Colin Hussey

No probs Michael, I thought it was an interesting short video from Sterlo as he does make some good points, and I would see it is a good encouragement for Haze as well, will help his confidence. What I see with Dunster is that he holds himself back a bit which makes his defense work better, as he has enough speed and slight enough to turn, chase and catch the opposition and bring them down. That was something that was not seen with Fergs. He came in too far and was too slow to respond and get back to position… Read more »


What I like about Dunster is when he jams in he can turn around very quickly,different to Fergy

Longfin Eel

Yes that defensive read that Sterlo highlighted was just class. If Dunster had no confidence in his centre and 5/8 he would have come in and the Tigers pass to the winger would have been on – hard to defend if that were the case. In the end he forced Wests to take the tackle and shut down their attacking raid, just by trusting that his players had the situation under control, and he could focus attention on his marked player.

Michael Formosa

Very interesting to say the least.
It’s always exciting to see one of our talented juniors getting a run. One of the comments made by Trent Barrett last time we played them was how much bigger and stronger we looked compared to them. With Sivo and Fergo being out that brings it back a little.

Mr controversy aka the re

No not really Michael as long as our forward pack roll thru the middle of the bulldogs forward pack. I really think Moses n Dylan are really starting to step up along with gutherson.

I see nothing but a big win for our boy’s. I’m thinking another game were we score 40.points.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr controversy aka the re
John Eel

So who picked these changes. BA was a little unhappy at the presser. Said there was 30 minutes of the game he was not happy with. It has been conspicuous that Cartwright has been coming on later and his minutes were less but this is a surprise. Thinking BA was not happy with the grubber. Oregon has also been getting reduced minutes. I am sure they both will be back at some point. On the positive side a young debutant on the wing, especially one that is as quick as Sean Russell is, always an exciting moment. With regard to… Read more »

Colin Hussey

John, I wonder if the pulling of Carty was to make him wake up, well & good as he says how happy he is at the eels and wants to stay, but he needs to play according to what the coach has put in front of him, same with all players and little doubt that he had the poo’s on Sunday regarding certain things with certain players, for me its pretty much about time he was to show his anger towards players not doing their roles properly. Oregon to me needs some bulk as for a prop he seems a… Read more »

John Eel

With Carty I had the feeling that BA was telling him with his reduced minutes that was not happy. I didn’t expect to see him dropped this week

Oregon is a similar story. With regard to his size Oregon is one of those that looks much bigger in the flesh than he does on TV. He is a big boy.


Listed at 114kg so certainly not small.

John Eel

He is very much in proportion and his athletic build disguises his size. Very big legs

Colin Hussey

Thanks John & Glenn, I had not looked at Oregons screed on the eels team page, but as Glenn says, 114Kg’s shows he’s 4th heaviest in the eels team. I also am surprised at how heavy Shawn Lane is, he looks like a grasshopper in large scale.

John Eel

Colin I reckon that he is playing his best football in a couple of seasons. The move to Middle has extended his time at the Eels

Mr controversy aka the re

Great line up. Sixties what can you tell me about this sean Russell all i know is that his a fullback/winger. What’s his defense n attacking like. Why your at it this young solamon his Fijian if I’m not wrong who would you say he plays like is he more in your semi or sivo mould. Really happy for Nathaniel roache his a really good DH. I’ve seen a few games during his time with the New Zealand warriors really classy. Glad his injury free. I think brad Arthur is trying to tell player’s either perform or your out the… Read more »


didn’t see that coming, interesting changes and well done to BA giving the rookies some game time. There’s a few guys unlucky to be playing reggies but it does send a message and keep the team from resting on their laurels.
Pleased to see a back up to Lussick who went well on the weekend but 80 mins is a big risk, look forward to seeing what Roache has to offer.


Good thing for Oregon and Cartwright is they get more minutes playing rwggies then they would in 1st.
Plus adding more 1st gradevfor Hipgrave and Roache this will help later in the season if players get injured tired etc..
It seems BA is learning from last years mistakes where as players needed rests/dropping we didn’t have players ready.

Much like JA Russell will be better off for the experience of 1st grade

Longfin Eel

I suppose with no reserve grade last year that made things hard. There was nowhere else for players to go to work on their game. This year we have a pretty well balanced squad, with players able to step into the first grade team and slot right in. That’s what’s needed if we want to be a top team, we can’t afford to have any complacency in the team.


Thats why storm Panthers and roosters rested players at times.
We couldn’t do that because we were out of form and scraping home ugly wins its why we limped into the finals and bounced straight out

Colin Hussey

Good move by the coach really, as Russel getting the next opening he does have a good centre inside him now that he also has had the shackles taken off him. From what I have read Russell is fast so that compliments the speed that Waqa has. Also as he is now the 2nd rookie from within, having Dunster in the team can also give Russell confidence playing in the same team as one of his team mates who is in his 3rd full game this year.


This team is definitely a reflection of how we see the Dogs, I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same team if it was the Panthers this week. Interesting that you framed this as a demotion for Kaufusi and Cartwright Forty20 – my assumption was that they were being given the chance for more game time, while allowing some young guys to step up against less strong opposition. A bit of a win-win, without compromising the victory. I am surprised by Russell, but more that I thought it would be Penisini if they decided not to go with Fergo. Like a… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Wilhemina, I think it could be a combination of both players, not performing as well as they should have, they have a chance to redeem themselve in the Reggies, as I think that we have skilled players needing an audition which can be seen in both grades. Hipgrave and Roache need a spell up higher than just reggies, and a kick up the butte for the two demoted as well. From what I have gleaned from the team lists each week, I think Matakoa is in front of Greig, as the few games I have seen of Greig is his… Read more »

!0 Year Member

BA did say we were a team of 30. Glad he is true to those words this year. We don’t want to and coming players to be making their debut in a semi. Bravo BA for throwing all is supporters into a spin. Glad to see BA growing as a coach.

Colin Hussey

We are now a team of 33, & that includes MJ who is still on the team page.


I’m really looking forward to seeing Russell and Roache. In past seasons I probably said that BA sticks for too long with underperforming players. But that cannot be said this year. Good call on Fergs, gives him a chance to get back in form and Haze has done well holding his spot and has shown the development is working. Russell in for Sivo, Roache cover for Lussick…presumably. I thought Waqa would have been the one dropped before Fergo but BA got that call spot on as Waqa has played his best games for the club in the last 2 weeks…… Read more »


BA rotates his forward so Oregan and Bryce can have more game time.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x