The Cumberland Throw

Stats That Matta – June 22, 2021: Eels Defeat Bulldogs

Sunday June 20th, 2021

Bankwest Stadium

EELS 36 defeat BULLDOGS 10

Half time: Eels 6 – 10

Attendance: 17,276

Eels Scorers:

Tries: S. Russell 2, R. Matterson, M. Moses, S. Lane, Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Goals: Conversions: M. Moses 6 from 6

This was the quintessential game of two halves for the Eels who stayed patient and put the boys from Belmore away in the second half.

The first half would be what Brad Arthur will be focusing on over the next fortnight in the lead up to the blockbuster against the Panthers.

A look at the first half numbers shows that the Eels were not on their game.

Was it the conditions?

Was it a tough Bulldogs team fired up against the Eels?

Or was it again a game where the Eels didn’t show their opposition the respect they deserved?

The poor numbers backed up what we all witnessed during the Eels opening forty minutes. The Eels possession was only 43%, and it was coupled with a completion rate sitting at an abysmal 65% (15/23).

Time wise the ball was in the Dogs half for 24 and a half minutes but only a tick over 5 minutes of that was in the Dogs 20 metre zone

Throw in 8 errors and Brad Arthur would have been tearing the walls down in the Eels sheds at break time.

When the second half came, it was a completely different Eels side.

Possession was at 63% for the half, the completion rate jumped to 88% (22 from 25), and the time in the Dogs red zone raised to a tad over 13 minutes.

The Metres Gained in the second stanza truly told the tale of the Eels dominance, with an outstanding 1266 metres to the Dogs 553 metres, including Post Contact Metres of 406 to the Dogs 145.


In total, the Eels made 2273 metres against the Bulldogs 1828 metres.

In terms of run metres, the Eels made 1638 run metres from 184 carries against the Bulldogs 1182 run metres from 149 runs.

Total Post Contact Metres from the Eels was 680 metres.

Isaiah Papali’i was in devastating form. Whether his ears would have still been ringing after Brad Arthur spoke to him regarding his errant knee is not known, but ‘Ice’ has us all quickly forgetting about it with his amazing performance.

Papali’i made 220 run metres from 19 carries, 109 Post Contact Metres and 9 tackle busts. He was the Eels driving force, getting them upfield.

Shaun Lane (177 run metres), Nathan Brown (147 run metres) and RCG (141 run metres) were our other top forward metre eaters.

Clint Gutherson with 183 running metres and debutant Sean Russell with 104 run metres were our top back metre makers. Dylan Brown just missed the 100 metre mark with 99 run metres.

From a team perspective you can throw in 4 line breaks, 5 try assists, 7 offloads and 27 tackle breaks.

Hit Up Heat Map

Not a bad heat map considering our first half display. The game was mostly played in the Eels half, but this does show that we did do the hard yards to finally reap the rewards. Multiple kick offs can also skew this a little.

Set Starts


A healthy dose of set restarts and penalties from the Bulldogs makes for a good looking set starts graphic.

Plenty of set starts in the Dogs territory gave the Eels the ability to apply pressure and finally put the Dogs away.


The Eels made 343 tackles with 16 missed tackles and 8 ineffective tackles. These figures are more than acceptable from our defenders. The tackle efficiency rating of 93.5% would have pleased the coaching staff.

Nathan Brown led the way with 42 tackles with only 1 miss, followed by Joey Lussick (39), Ryan Matterson (33) and Isaiah Papali’i (30).

I’ll give a cheeky shoutout to Mitch Moses who made 0 missed tackles.


The Eels made 13 errors. 8 of those were in the first half, so it was good to see the Eels rein in the errors in the second half.

The boys should also be proud of conceding just 1 penalty and 2 set restarts all game.

Marata Niukore and Nathan Brown were both put on report with Marata having a stint on the naughty chair.

Final Thoughts

This clash could have gone the same way as the Dragons or Sea Eagles games. We didn’t respect the ball, the conditions or arguably the opposition.

Some of the errors in the first half were just poor and lazy and it wouldn’t have surprise if BA had been infuriated.

This is something the whole team needs to work on as a stretch of games against the competition heavy weights is just around the corner.

With one of the more difficult runs home, Parra still has to play the Panthers twice, in addition to the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles and Storm. That run is filled out with matches against a desperate Titans, Raiders and Cowboys teams.

We need to be at 100% focus and playing 80 minute footy to show we are one of the big boys in this competition.

Stats that Matta Player of the Week

This week’s recipient has been banging on the door of the weekly gong for the last few weeks, and after his display against the Bulldogs I couldn’t really go past him.

I have had varied thoughts on this player, and have been guilty of throwing the odd disparaging comment in his direction.

But lately, Shaun Lane has been playing great footy coming off the bench for the Eels. It’s a role I believe he is best suited at. He can play both middle and edge forward against a tiring defensive line.

His ability to create an offload, in addition to his hole running, is exceptional. The amount of minutes he is getting and the numbers he is producing is testament to his current attitude.

Shaun’s Tale of the Tape

  • 41 minutes played
  • 177 run metres
  • 14 carries
  • 108 Post Contact Metres
  • 28 Tackles
  • 1 try


Yours in Blue and Gold


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6 thoughts on “Stats That Matta – June 22, 2021: Eels Defeat Bulldogs

  1. BDon

    Yes Colmac, Shaun Lane is looking the goods, hope he can continue that in upcoming games where time and space will be more difficult.
    The last 20 minutes of first half was like a mirror image, both teams worked the ball upfield into attacking position but for us the mirror cracked with a late error(4-5 times) while the Dogs got to their kick and had so many shots that law of averages prevailed.
    Frustrating to watch, composure in its good and bad forms.

    1. John Eel

      BDon I thought we held our own in the first 20 minutes. Then we began to hand the ball back to the Dogs.

  2. Colin Hussey

    Lane has been improving each week and he’s showing his real abilities like he did in his first year with us, needs to keep at least at the same level.

    If as John has mentioned, that the second 20 the ball went to the opposition, and that was against a team that really is limited in an overall ability, that are hindered by a lack of confidence once things start going wrong for them.

    Our next game, if we show any hesitation/drop attention to detail against the riff, then it could be bad afternoon. The riff will be at their best, even if they have some of their main players out, they showed against the Chooks last game that having a lot of green kids/new faces in the team is not going to daunt them.

  3. Longfin Eel

    I think what is obvious this season is that opposition teams come at us early. They feel that if they can put some early points on us, or at least put us off our game plan early, they are a chance to beat us. BA knows this, and is why he demands effort and execution in the first half. The second half is a completely different game, and we have shown on many occasions that we can overcome tiring opposition and take the game away from them during the second half.

    So yes BA would not have been happy with the lack of attention to detail in the first half. Those sorts of errors could have taken the game away from us with a better opposition.

  4. Milo

    Agree with the majority here. C’bury came out to unsettle us – whether in the ruck / being up quickly etc.
    I am not going to blame the refs for this as I am sick of them tbh….but we as a team need to be better error wise. The first half was avg and could have been worse if we played a big 4 team.
    The next two months or so will show us what we are about…and for me the jury is still out on us in terms of matching it with the top 8 teams.
    We can match them but need to do it on the field for 80 mins.

  5. Dday

    “Eels were not on their game” in the 1st half that’s some understatement! Some healthy run metres and defensive numbers as quoted meant it always felt under control.

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