The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Rookies, Rest and a Recall Edition

NRL Team List


It has been an outstanding year for rookie debuts for the Parramatta Eels. Jakob Arthur made sure Magic Round lived up to its name with late try on debut to seal a win over the New Zealand Warriors while Sean Russell nabbed a brace of tries in his maiden NRL game to complete the sweep over the Canterbury Bulldogs. Now comes the third junior to make his debut in 2021 and arguably the rookie with the most hype to his name as Will Penisini is rewarded for a truly dominant campaign in the NSW Cup with a berth in the centres for the Eels.

Penisini will presumably start at right centre where he replaces Tom Opacic this week. Tom has been given the week off for personal leave, opening the way for Will’s debut. He will partner Blake Ferguson on that sideline in a completely new look right edge against the Canberra Raiders.

The double change means very different things but both for exciting reasons. Ferguson’s recall to first grade signals the solidification of Parramatta’s charge to the finals with the Blue & Gold looking to reestablish their star flanker in a bid to have the team firing across the park. Will’s debut on the other hand is an exciting nod to 2022 and beyond as the Eels continue to develop young talent and manage squad succession.

Penisini gets a cracking first-up duel with the wily Jarrod Croker and while the Canberra centre will test Will’s defensive mettle it also represents a terrific opportunity for the young back to get after Croker himself. Will has been a tour de force in the NSW Cup, churning out metres, tackle breaks and tries alike and equally his defence has come along in leaps and bounds. Now he gets the chance to test how far he has come and gauge how much more there is to learn in a hugely exciting opportunity for himself, the club and fans alike.

Ferguson makes his way back into the team at the expense of Haze Dunster. Haze can certainly count himself unlucky to drop out of the team following arguably his best showing in the NRL last week but this is a topic that Sixties and myself have broached on The Tip Sheet recently. Giving Ferguson the best shot to recapture his top form right now gives Parramatta a better shot of running deep into the postseason.

Mitchell Moses is a surprise absentee as the club wraps their star playmaker up in bubble wrap following Origin 3. Jakob Arthur partners Dylan Brown in the halves as a result with the two looking to build on a solid win against the Gold Coast last week. Junior Paulo on the other hand returns to the starting team to give the Eels their first full-strength front row triumvirate since the match against Newcastle in Round 13.

Canberra are a walking casualty ward this week with the likes of Jack Wighton, Elliot Whitehead and Xavier Savage all missing from an already depleted line-up. We know there are no easy games in the NRL but the Eels will certainly consider this contest a must-win given the state of Canberra’s roster and in light of their own need to stay in touch with the likes of the Storm, Panthers and Rabbitohs.


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

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

Do you know if there’s any truth to Moses injuring his back during game 3 and that’s why he’s being rested?


Para site says “minor back fracture during State of Origin Game III”.

!0 Year Member

That’s the mail I have. Cannot imagine him needing to be rested for any other reason.


Lot’s of things to watch for in this selection, will make for interesting viewing. The bench should allow us to turn up the pressure, the 3 forwards have shown energised running games.


Does anyone know if Fergo was playing on Penisini’s edge in reggies?


No he wasn’t.


Thanks 60s – do u think they’ll end up together on thursday night to keep Sivo & Blake together (or more-so Fergo & Blake apart)?

Colin Hussey

IIRC, mitch got a fair thump in the back early in the SOO game, done well to keep right.

Not too fussed though to see Fergs back, I hope he plays his wing game rather than roaming and leaving Will out on the clothes line. If he plays his own game and that means a sloppy wanderer might be his own downfall.


Please BA give Jordan Rankin a go. He has been the best in Reserve Grade.. Is there an issue there?


I understand Jordan Rankin is not in the bubble….for family reasons he didn’t travel to QLD


That and he’s not very good


Please Offside, He would be in the starting side of a few NRL teams going around at the moment.

Thanks anonymous, didn’t know about him not travelling. Do you have the list of the 30 that went up??


Really is that why he’s never made the cut in NRL or why he wasn’t lighting up super league?
Because he is a reserve grader a good reserve grader his role is to steer that reserve grade team and help the development of JA.
Rankin has been with us 18 months and has not got a look in I’m sure at his age he is content to get paid to play reserve grade


Probably didnt have much choice but good on BA for putting faith in the rookies. Look forward to seeing penisini in 1st grade & JA can only get better with experience. Expect a big game from fergo as a statement. Wonder if the tactics change, maybe forward orientated back through the middle.


Fergo getting a run is a surprise big question marks on him.

Happy to see young will get his shot.

Unfortunately JA is really our only half option the poor kid is out of his depth I hope it’s just 1 more week till Mitch is back.

JA will be all the better for having the experience he had got this no doubt

Big roy

Mitch moses , another victim of dogshot felise kafusi

John Eel

There was also the Knights player who had his head slammed into the turf by Kaufusi last week.

It is also the same Kaufusi that gave Cordner a head bin.

Must have a get out of gaol free card

Colin Hussey

John, there’s hardly a game where kasper doesn’t do his best to maim or take a player out. One can only assume their coach approves what is in reality an illegal tackle, and late at that.

Was his tackle on Mitch’s side, when he had already gotten the ball away and kasper comes in and uses the full force of his shoulder to take him out. Where’s the shoulder charge heading these days?

Longfin Eel

Yeah it’s called a Storm jersey.


He’s got form that bloke. But how tough is Mitch!


I’ve been really impressed with BA’s “squad succession management”. It’s great to have a feeder system where, like the other top clubs, the juniors all learn to play together and develop together and play the same style as the NRL team. Cycling the rookies in one or two at a time, a game or few at a time also seems really smart. And keeping our Reserve Grade players (e.g. Fergo) match fit while the competition is relocated also seems really smart ahead of any injuries. It looks like we’re heading to the same situation as Penrith, where a top Reserve… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x