The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 19 vs Raiders


Parramatta Eels 10

Canberra Raiders 12


Well, Eels junior Will Penisini looks like a good talent.


The Eels came into tonight’s clash down on a few troops with the aim of consolidating a Top 4 spot against a Raiders side short a few stack of players themselves. The Raiders were on a two game winning streak, knocking over an Origin affected Manly side and the Sharks, but were yet to win a game against any Top 4 side in 2021.

Oh, cool.

Last week it was our second half that left Eels fans with a bad taste in their mouth, this week I’d like to highlight the first 40. Although both teams seemed to be feeling each other out in the first couple of sets, you got the feeling that once the Eels were unable to fire a shot after 10 minutes and 70% possession, the Raiders grew in confidence; and not even losing Hudson Young and Josh Papali’i to injury dented their resolve.

At haltime and 0-0, the commentators were giving Raiders defence a lot of credit (and fair enough, too) but to me it was the Eels attack leaving me uninspired; with a reliance on one out plays, clunky backline plays and poor 5th tackle options.

It was the first 0-0 halftime game in years, and closer to home it was the third time the Eels were kept scoreless inside 20 minutes in the last 15 games, with all three resulting in losses.

With that said Raiders linespeed was pretty impressive all night, so you gotta hand it to them.


Although the Eels were let off the hook by Raiders handling errors multiple times in the first half, a trend that did not continue in the second with Canberra completing 17 from 18 sets (94%) in the back end of the game.

The Eels came into tonight’s game with a far superior offload count for Season 2021 (226 to 180), and despite edging the Raiders again in that department tonight (15 to 8), our inability to shut down Canberra’s second phase play seemed to make the possession they did have (Eels 53% to Raiders 47%) more destructive than the Eels are used to (39 missed tackles a piece). Canberra also managed to complete better than the Eels (33 for 38; 87% to Parra’s 33 for 46; 72%) but had less metres (Canberra 2212m to Parra’s 2518m), a devastating blow for fellow subscribers to the “team with the most run metres always wins” theory.

Yes it would have been nice to steal it at the death, and Jordan Rapana’s hip check was a miss-timed shoulder charge that turned into a hip check, but nonetheless, it’s hard to argue that the Raiders were not the better team. In my opinion we were outplayed tonight by a team who were more physical, wanted it more and executed (slightly) better than we did.

I thought Ice, RCG, Junior and the debutant were all very impressive. I’m not in the mood for celebration, however.




Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

There were rumours that Gutho was under a bit of an injury cloud tonight, and it seemed apparent tonight in one of his quietest games of the season. To me, he looked hobbled from the starting whistle with his 16 runs only yielding 113m (he averages 178m), 1 tacklebreak and 1 try assist.

I’m also not going to stand here and blame him for the missed kick; it’s a tough shot that and he’s not the regular kicker.



Maika Sivo

2 – Left Wing

The Fijian Scud Missile continued his habit of picking up both tries and a variety of head related injuries. Doing incredibly well to score his first, but missing out on scoring his second, for such a big man Sivo sure does get beat up a lot.

Tonight he was well contained (and put on his ass a few times) with 15 runs for 106m, 1 linebreak, 3 tacklebreaks, 2 tackles and 2 errors. I don’t know if it’s simply a matter of teams figuring him out, or him now having a target on his back but to me it feels like Maika simply hasn’t been the same since he did his knee in 2020.

Ps – if I was a Raiders fan, I would have absolutely lost my mind when Josh Hodgson sat Parra’s star winger on his ass in an absolutely beautiful hit midway through the second half. Sadly, I am an Eels fan so instead I am sad.



Will Penisini

3 – Right Centre

Will Penisini is a nightmare for both Jarrod Croker and Rugby League commentators everywhere. He was excellent in his debut game; shame it had to be a loss against a relatively understrength opposition who instead turned up and kicked our asses.

Individually Will was outstanding with 14 runs for 135m, 3 tackle breaks and 16 tackles (great numbers for an 18 year old debutant or otherwise), and looks to have a very good NRL career ahead of him in the Blue & Gold. As far as I am concerned, he is the best news to come out of tonight’s game.


Waqa Blake

4 – Left Centre

The good news is that Waqa Blake didn’t do anything stupid tonight (although his decision to let the Raiders’ drop out bounce straight up baffled me), but he does need to get lower when rucking the ball out. His numbers (13 runs for a paltry 66 metres, 1 offload, 3 tackle breaks) isn’t great reading, either.

Defensively, I have better news for you both for tonight. It is worth noting that since Waqa Blake joined his fellow countryman on the left (tonight was their 5th such game), ‘Maiqa Blavo’ have now only conceded 3 tries on that edge, and one of those was against the Wests Tigers when Sivo was in the bin. Not too shabby.

For those wondering, the man outside him, Maika Sivo, has 5 tries in those 5 games, too.


Blake Ferguson

5 – Right Wing

Well the lead up work for Dylan Brown’s try was absolutely unbelievable and if you’re basing his selection for next week’s game on his performance tonight alone, you’d think he’d be one of the first picked. Tonight Blake Ferguson was the only player in our 17 to average more than 10m a carry (13 runs for 147m), a linebreak, a try assist, 4 tackle breaks and no defensive errors? No complaints for me.

It seems weird to be defending him from my tweet above, particularly after we lost; but to be honest, other than not just injured or score a try from absolutely nothing (he basically did that), what more could he have done tonight?


Dylan Brown

6 – Five Eighth

Did anyone actually tell Dylan Brown that Moses wasn’t playing this week? Other than taking a bit more responsibility with the kick duties (9 kicks for 366m), and finishing off an incredible play from Blake Ferguson, Dylan didn’t really get his hands on the ball more than he usually would (36 touches to Jake’s 60), had no tackle breaks.

I LOVE Dylan Brown, but like my wife constantly says to me, I was expecting a bit more tonight.


Jake Arthur

7 – Halfback

Jake is a good halfback for an 18 year old playing in the NRL. However he’s just not a very good NRL halfback at age 18. There were good moments tonight (that bomb he caught with 8 minutes to go, the kick to force a drop out, his passes out to Waqa and Ice in the final quarter of the game), but for the rest of the game I thought it just slow and telegraphed attack and (unsurprisingly for an 18 year old kid who weighs less than my shirt) pretty average defence.
Said defence was devastatingly found out when CHN went over for the Raiders first, but also as he missed a tackle and was left on the ground (with a couple of his teammates, I might add) when Rapana went over for their second.

Fellow Eels fan Ron put it better than I could: He’s been forced in through necessity and people will cry nepotism but our halves depth meant he needed to come in. He’s going to get crucified but I feel for him, not everyone is a superstar at 18.

He’s shown flashes, but he’s simply not there yet. I’m no NRL coach, but in my opinion if Moses is out again against the Roosters next week, it should be Will Smith who wears the 7.



8 – Front Row

RC to the G can hold his head high; was huge in both stints tonight ending up with 163m from 18 hit ups, and an uncharacteristically high 5 tackle breaks to go with his customary 27 tackles.

Despite missing out on Origin selection, you should still call him ‘butter’, because he is on a roll.


Reed Mahoney

9 – Hooker

Like being handed a pile of work upon his inevitable return to the office, Reed Mahoney was tasked with making 56 tackles, but only managed 2 darts for a total of 8m.

Reed looked a bit like I expected him to be playing last week, seemingly blowing out the cobwebs with a couple of poor passes in attacking sets, and a few moments of average service to his halves in the first 20. He was also called offside on Jordan Rapana’s linebreak early in the second half, but thankfully he was able to make up for it with some very clever kicks, one of which went within a whisker of his second 40/20 for the season.


Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

Not unlike his fellow front row partner, Origin representative Junior Paulo was one of our best tonight, punching out a ridiculous 169m from his 19 carries, 5 tackle breaks, 26 tackles and of course his customary 3 offloads.


Isaiah Papali’i

11 – Second Row

Ice had more hit ups (21) than you’ve ever had hot dinners. With those hit ups he grabbed a team high 176m, 3 offloads, 4 tackle breaks and made 36 tackles.


Ryan Matterson

12 – Second Row

After an absolutely incredible (MVP-like) performance against the Titans last week, tonight Ryan Matterson continued his strong vein of form with a toiler’s 17 runs, 125m, 2 offloads, 3 tackle breaks and 39 tackles.


Nathan Brown

13 – Lock

Someone evidently programmed this Cyborg in kamikaze mode tonight as Nathan Brown showed complete disregard for the misery he was inflicting upon his own body. Our very own Baby Faced Killa had 16 runs for 106m, 2 offloads, 2 tackle breaks and 42 tackles, playing almost like a fearless soldier charging into the thick of a battle.


Marata Niukore

14 – Interchange

The unexpected story of Marata Niukore – the middle forward who entered the game early at centre after Sivo had a HIA, before then exiting the middle of field early after a knee injury. Hoping it’s nothing serious and we can see Crash back on the field again soon.


Shaun Lane

15 – Interchange

Despite our differences, I have been intrigued watching BA play Frankenstein with the tall, decomposing playing carcass of Shaun Lane as a second rower; reinventing him and bringing him back to life as an impact bench middle. Shaun once again avoids my wrath this week (as wrath-like as words on an internet site can be) with 12 runs for 103m, 1 tackle break, 27 tackles, 0 misses and zero try causes for the Canberra Raiders. Lane played 32 minutes tonight, which seems about right to me, particularly when you consider he would have had to mop up a few more minutes once Marata went down with an injury.


Oregon Kaufusi

16 – Interchange

Was surprised to see Big Country only ran 6 times for 49m when I looked at the stat sheet, thought he was much more involved. More like Little Country.


Will Smith

17 – Interchange

Was interesting to see Will Smith come on for Oregon Kaufusi, with BA playing Reed, Jake, Dylan and Will out on the field at the same time for a few minutes. Although he didn’t manage to make the impact BA would have hoped for, but didn’t let anyone down, either.


Well now we’re in a bit of a pickle. We still need three more wins from our final 6 games in order to lock in a Top 4 spot. We play the rest of the Top 6 (Melbourne, Penrith, Manly, Roosters, Souths) and the Cowboys in our final 6 games.

Next week we start again with a clash against the Roosters. If we want that Top 4 spot, this is a game we need to win.

Whatever happens, I’ll see you then, sports fans.


Go you Eels,



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

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42 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 19 vs Raiders

  1. Offside

    To me there was very little to like about last night.
    The warning alarms from last year are ringing loudly there is a clear blueprint on how to beat the eels.
    Line speed and win the collision our 5 losses have been very similar efforts.
    Jacob has been mishandled by the coach he should never of been selected last year we lost Mitch and Dylan and we were caught out by a lack of quality depth Jai Field was a player with clear limits we needed to secure a 1st grade slandered back up we didn’t we played a 18 year old kid who isn’t ready and quite simply not to standard.
    I’m not blaming Arthur he did his best once again with Dylan who I’m big fan off but once again he showed his limits as a ball player.

    The sky is not falling but things are feeling very familiar to last year and our run home suggests that we are in for weeks of frustration followed by another early finals exit and then the cry for change (needed change in my opinion) will grow louder then ever.

    1. Poppa

      I don’t believe the situation is different to last year, just tougher. We are undoubtably a better side than last year.
      The stupid part is we now have the backup and essentially buggered it up. With Lussick and Roache, we had the hooker situation well covered. With Rankin, Smith and/or Lussick we had the half covered.
      The only debutant we need this year was Penisini….why? because he is good enough! Why not Jake arthur….because he is not!
      We had a wonderful start with Marata starting in the centres with Fergs in good form. WE move Marata back to the pigs, where essentially he provided more of the same, Waqar Blake is an absolute mystery how he keeps his place in the side and Fergs is dropped.

      All this adds up to poor selections and obviously poor tactics.

      Now everybody can be the judge of this but the reality is BA has stuffed up badly in the process, some may blame his assistants but I expect the real problem is his autocracy.
      Do I have a replacement in mind….short answer No, I have always given my support to BA but he has let himself down badly in the totality of this year so far…..Yes he has done some wonderful things in his 8 years here.

      Let’s just hope he changes and brings us home. I much prefer this than the implications of my criticism, I formly believe he needs a good tactical adviser and some one that can think outside of the square when it comes to selections.

      1. Offside

        100% agree
        Brad has been rewarded for rebuilding the club now he should be measured on results and the expectations should be higher.
        If we fail BA should be held accountable he won’t be and we will continue to be a good but not great team

  2. Longfin Eel

    We just didn’t seem to get it together last night. Not quite sure what is was, but certainly we missed Moses out there. Agreed that this was an opportunity for D Brown to take control. He has enough NRL experience now to do this, but evidently he sat back a little too much.

    Canberra certainly did their homework and played just the way we don’t like (very much like Saints and Manly played against us). What was reassuring was that we finally started to work out ways to get around this towards the end of the game. Not sure if that was related to fatigue in the opposition though?

  3. Anonymous

    I’m not sure what I’m not enjoying more today. Being labelled as a fake fan for mentioning we played shit or the actual loss. Thank you for a completely non biased assessment of how we played. Jake will be a good player, another year in NSW cup would have seen to that, but Smith would have been a levelling offsider for DB last night. I’m also thinking maybe go Carty for the 6 and DB for the 7. I’m over complacency and would really like to see another GF win while my eyes still work. If Gutho was injured, which he looked to be, why is he playing him? Yes it would have placed more pressure on the team but honestly who the hell knows. Ahhh today hasn’t been kind but thanks for the grades, enjoyed the read!

  4. BDon

    Tks Mitch, it’s unusual that our best players were in the middle and we had no dominance.Our inferior completions and error stats probably say our pack kept us in the game, and only a desperate(and dubious) play in the last 5 seconds denied a win.
    One game only but Fergo looked 100% focussed and Penisini looked 100% an NRL footballer. Canberra’s kick chase was as good as I’ve seen this year.

  5. Anonymous

    JA isn’t there out of necessity. Will Smith in the halves is a better option, as would Matto or Cartwright. And then to hook Mahoney and leave JA out there when chasing points…well that just screamed nepotism.

    He offers nothing in attack or defence.

    1. Colin Hussey

      If MM, is not right next match, I would certainly have Will at Half, JA is to raw at this point of time, he has had the last two games in the half role, and at this point of his career he really is not ready for first grade.

      Smith to 7 and have Cartwright on bench but needs to have more game time than he has got so far.

    2. Jack

      Its just so the coach can say his boy and his mates have come through from the same team in Under 12s to play NRL. Play them when they play bulldogs or Warriors. Parra can beat them with 12 men. When its a good team forget about it.
      There is only one persons fault if Parra don’t make the top 4. BA

  6. Trapped in the 1970’s

    Thanks for the grades Mitch.

    Canberra played well, credit to them, but it was another one of those losses that left a very poor taste. So much to play for and those types of result build pressure and doubt.

    Gutho clearly wasn’t fit and JA has played a couple more games already than he should have. He’s there out of necessity rather than form and did some good things, as a first grade half should, but overall he was poor. I think it would be too much of a roll of the dice to play him against easts.

    Early possession and field position were wasted as our attack is just so tame at times. I accept that Moses being out is a major blow but we can’t be that reliant on one player. There doesn’t seem to be a plan B when things aren’t going our way.

    A tough road to the finals has become a fair bit tougher.

    Go those eels.

  7. Brian

    Well, if there were any non Eels supporters out there thinking we were a chance, they would be gone now. No excuses for that we should have won. But now NO ONE would rate us for the premiership, I would love sneaking through and stealing it from Penrith or Melbourne!

  8. SLWC

    Thanks for your grades again this week. I attended both last week’s and this week’s games at CBus Stadium, and it was like two different teams on the park. We really did need to score in the first 15 minutes with the possession and field position that we had. You could see this gave Canberra a lot of confidence. Mahoney’s service out of dummy half was at times disappointing. The Parra players running off him were quite often having to reach for the pass which slowed their momentum, and made them easy targets for Canberra’s defence.
    Fergo was good, but I’ve always thought that he was more concerned with opposition teams, and the crowd liking him, rather that playing the game. For example, when Marata was down for his injury, Ferguson (accidentally) rolled a water bottle back along the ground which hit Marata in the head. Fergo then played it up for the crowd apologising and it looked as though it was a big joke. I thought he should have his head in the game more as we weren’t winning.
    Pretty disappointing game from Parra, but after the game was also disappointing. I know we didn’t win and there was not a big crowd there, but we did turn up. At the end of the game, Canberra players came over to the small band of Canberra supporters in the crowd and thanked them from afar. The parramatta players went straight to the sheds. Nothing.
    I wont be going to another game as Anastasia has shut the border on us NSW people.
    Hopefully the Eels can go back to their winning way next week.

  9. Clive

    As much as I like Brad Arthur I’m starting to doubt his tactical ability to be a premiership winning coach. He is good at rebuilding a club but taking the next step is starting to look extremely doubtful.

    Again last night our forwards ran 1 out to get bashed and controlled in the tackle. I actually feel sorry for Paulo, RCG, Brown etc cause they are just being used as battering rams.
    BA’s game plan appears to be hit the brink wall with a hammer and hope the wall crumbles before the full time siren sounds.

    For everyone mentioning Moses being out Penrith had Cleary out and beat us and we can’t even beat an under strength Canberra.

    Thanks for the grades Mitch but I have an idea. I really think you should give Brad a grade each week like the players. Judge him on tactics, game plan and use of the bench.

  10. Mick

    Always enjoy the write ups. Thanks for putting in the time!

    A few of my thoughts

    1 Passing was awful in the game, which really stifled attack and sucked our momentum away.

    2 There was a bit more sting Paulos running tonight which I like. As a massive human, he’s most effective when he cannonballs into defensive lines. I really don’t like it when Paulo arse runs, or stops at the line and throws a slow predictable pass for someone else to get tackled behind the advantage line. N.Brown does this too. The tactic needs to be refined, or binned.

    3 RCG has been excellent for some time now. Best prop in the comp along with Haas I think, and he’s really giving it his all each week. Great to see.

    4 I live in hope for a successful year (at least 2 wins in the finals, ideally a premiership) but this really put a dent in my confidence. I’m a fan of Moses (particularly kicking) and D.Brown (particularly defence). But this is a safe-space for Eels fans, so while I’d never want to admit it to fans of these teams, unfortunately I think the reality is healthy Chooks, Storm, Bunnies and Panthers halves combos are the watermark for winning comps.

    That all being said, hopefully they move on from here, start to put some of the other top sides to the sword and march confidently into the finals for a successful campaign.

  11. Mr controversy aka Rev.

    Good grade’s. On the team I think you are partly correct.

    Just saying that Jakob Arthur should never see NRL Action again will be happy if he signed elsewhere.

    His attack was painful to watch no 2nd faze play not taking pressure of Dylan. Always kicking on the 3rd n 4th tackle with out telling anyone.

    The correct part is Will Smith should have been selected at 5 \ 8 n shift brown to halfback or Smith to fullback n gutherson to 5 \ 8.

    With Jakob Arthur playing goes to show how bad we need a player with more experience when Moses is out. I still believe we should have kept salmon why well simple really.

    Salmon has played more Games then Jakob Arthur. Salmon was a young repersentative player. Has a much better passing n kicking Game. Yet for some unknown reason Brad punts him ( salmon ) at the age of 21 to the Panthers.

    Brad Arthur really needs to find a quality back up halfback or 5 \ 8. If salmon stays then Dylan could have went to halfback n salmon to 5 \ 8. Both Young n would have been a great half’s pairing.

    I was confused last night with the flip tackle on gutherson. We only get a penalty n they stay on the paddock yet last week pappali’i gets flipped yet proctor gets 10 in the bin. Consistently inconsistent with the match officials.

    Will pensini how good is he going to be. Yes he made a few mistakes but that was expected with his NRL debut. Look’s promising wasn’t afraid to run it up or pop a pass was good to see.

    The refs got the rapana shoulder charge wrong he should have been sent to the bin n Eels awarded the try. Canberra was the better team on the night. Line speed great hussle was great there defence was great. But in saying that it was a Game we should have won n needed to win but yet again failed to live up to expectations.

    We need a goal kicking coach to help Moses and gutherson. Can we bring back luke Burt.

    Brad Arthur you better get the boy’s ready because our semi’s started last night.
    What a tough run in for our Eels. Rooster’s next week then cowboys then Souths, Manly , storm , then Penrith. These are Games Brad Arthur that we as a club need to stand up n show that we are contender’s not just making up the numbers. Cheers go Parra.

  12. Zero58

    Should Moses not return and BA persists with Jacob, Parra are dead in the water.
    Jacob is a player of the future who needs time to bulk up. He is simply not ready for this time of the season.
    The answer is staring everyone in the face. Move Dylan Brown to halfback and put Cartwright at 5/8.
    Cartwright is a gifted player with skills. He can do it until Moses returns. He has all the skills and will provide that spark for attack.
    Will Smith is okay but better as bench player.
    These changes have to be made if not Parra will drop back to seven out of the top eight.

    Other than that you Gutherson forward and Will Smith at fullback.

  13. Brett Allen

    Unfortunately it’s groundhog day again. Time is running out for BA. I actually can’t believe I’m saying this, but Mark O’Neill needs to start making discrete enquiries to Wayne Bennett’s management.

    1. John Eel

      But there in lies the problem to your argument. Even if you believed that BA needs to be replaced there are no alternatives.

      The other issue is that we are at the business end of the competition and we are in there still fighting for our spot in the four. Why as fans are we having this conversation at this very point in time.

      1. Offside

        Because most of us see what’s about to happen with this run home and our team looking like they are on the slide

        1. John Eel

          So you are Nostradamus now as well.

          Even though there is no better coach available, season not over and you have no input as to what is going on inside the bubble,you want him sacked to make yourself feel better.

          Now that is a true fan

          1. Offside

            Don’t want him sacked now if the season goes the way of last year or worse change is needed.
            Who I don’t know
            But based on that performance then yes the predictions for the rest of the season can’t help but be negative

      2. Colin Hussey

        John, the facts are that there is no one with decent coaching abilities that would be available to replace BA next year, lets not forget he’s on contract till end of 2022.

        While I am pretty peeved with the game the other night, one thing that comes out is the aspect that the eels as a team did not play to their usual game plan. WHY not? That in itself is an intriquing question, while we had a real rookie at half, which was a dumb choice as he has failed already, if MM is still out the options really are for Will to go to 7, and have DB in the 6 spot. The bench player should be Carty as he has experienc at 5/8 in the past and its a waste of talent to leave him for short bursts only.

        As for the coaching position, my belief is simple and that is BA to see out his contract as well as a moving on of some of his assistants, the ideal replacement may well be with Carr who has coached locally, & in SL, he would bring some new vision to the team, his work with the CC team has been quite good so he has the runs on the board

          1. Offside

            I’d be ok if BA sees out his contract in 22 but not extended beyond that time.
            Hes done a great job to rebuild us but it’s possible that that’s as far as he can take us and the descion on who builds off of that work is a crucial one

          2. Colin Hussey

            What annoys me in all this sack BA drama is that its not the coach who makes the on field blunders and play how they like, rather than abide by the coaches directions as to the plan for the game.

            Nil all at half time, and within 2 sets the opposition has scored, and not long after another try by the opposition with a clutch try, leaving how many dummy half defenders on the ground.

            If the team is not winning at this point of the season under a coach whom they say the love and respect and want to play under him, then they need to get the waffle out of their mouths and bodies, and get some steel into what they are doing to show they want to win.

            We have a team more than capable that can win, but!!!!! tidly winks never works.

        1. Brett Allen

          Colin, you can’t have a coach in the final year of his contract without an extension on the table. If we go into ’22 with BA entering the final year of his contract, the whole year will be about BA and when he’ll be sacked. If the club believes he is the coach to take us further, then they have to extend him by seasons end, and if they don’t then they have to sack him at seasons end. Nov 1 is BA’s D-Day, so now is the time to be making discrete phone calls, if that’s possible. Wayne Bennett is the guy we need to be looking at for the next two years, he has shown he can get teams over the hump in that time frame, and that then gives the club time to look for our next long term coach.

          1. Colin Hussey

            Fair nuff Brett. I would say that it wont but just BA on notice for 2022 & beyond.

            I am still of the view that his assistants one in particular have not helped the club, when one looks over other clubs, there’s quite a number of ex NRL head coaches that are now assistants, and the move is increasing.

          2. Poppa

            I have come to the conclusion and probably have known it for a while, BA is a good bloke with loyalty to his players and the way he handles them is admirable……… BUT
            being a leader is more than that, I suspect Brad is just not very intelligent in the sense you need to be if you are calling all the shots. People try and defend him by saying his assistants are no good. If a board came to me and said that and I was responsible for their actions….and employing same…..then I would feel that really they are talking about me. Again he is not smart enough to do this or in turn he is not smart enough to employ people that are smarter than him……every basic attribute of every good leader knows that or you become an impotent autocrat!……. I stopped supporting him when he picked his son against Souths, it was the final straw and I thank him for his wonderful services……..and I hate seeing him bow out because nepotism raised its ugly head either consciously or subconsciously.
            Parramatta’s CEO now needs to show the necessary leadership…..BA has decided not to show the necessary leadership.
            The time for Bennett is not out of the question, he has a free year coming up and nobody can be certain of a new side in 2023. It would be the ultimate challenge for Bennett and keeping in the mode of following Gibson’s footsteps.
            Paying out BA’s contract is a worthwhile bonus to BA given his wonderful service.

            Everyone should remember this is a business and such a suggestion is in keeping with it.

      3. Brett Allen

        Because John it is clear we are not improving. I said this 12 months ago and was crucified here. But we are still failing at the basics. Both Sterlo & Joey have given it to us deluxe after the Raiders game, specifically the way we play. If BA won’t change the way we play then the season’s result will be the same. We have to play more football out of the backfield, and less side to side in the final third. We’ve got it arse backwards. And don’t say it’s been good enough till now, that’s not the point. The likes of the Storm & Panthers are lifting now, we don’t have another gear. We’ve got the cattle to do so, but it’s only get harder from here on in. It’s got a real similar feel to this time last year.
        As for alternatives, I just gave you one who will be available. As much as I hate myself for suggesting it.

        1. John Eel

          I don’t believe Bennett is an option. He has given every indication that he wants to return to Brisbane with his sights set firmly on the new franchise

          That leaves Flanagan. No thank you

          I reject your claim that they have not improved since last year. Some astute recruitment with bargain buys and they are looking better in 2021

          However my biggest concern is why people want to have this conversation in the middle of this campaign.

          Imagine being a player or worse the coach reading some of the rubbishy trash that is being written on social media by so called Eels fans

          Free speech is a positive in a democracy. Which means we are all entitled to have and express our opinion. But you can never convince me that you are right to have this conversation now

          1. John Eel

            Remember Colin when Justin Holbrook was all the rage to replace BA.

            That has not turned out so good for the Titans. Good NRL players have big egos that need to be managed.

          2. Brett Allen

            Yes, but the NRL has all but confirmed that it is going to delay expansion for at least 12 months due to the uncertainty around Covid. Bennett maybe happy to sit on his hands for 12 months gif the new team, but he won’t be for 2 years. Flanagan is no better than BA, his teams play the same way.

    2. Clive

      Wayne would actually be the ideal guy to come in as a coaching director to help BA take the next step. It might actually achieve two things in winning us a premiership and saving Brad’s career.

      1. Brett Allen

        I don’t believe in coaching director’s for professional clubs. If your club needs a coaching director, then it means you need a better coach. Coaching Director’s are for junior pathways where you are dealing with amateur or unqualified coaches.

        1. Clive

          When you have a guy like BA who obviously has some strengths as a coach someone like Bennett could build on those strengths while also working on his weaknesses.
          Lets not call it a coaching director, lets call it a mentor if it makes everyone feel better about it.

          The reality is its looking like we need an experienced premiership winner to take the next step and there are not many of them around. We can either take a punt on someone else or try to improve what we have.

          1. Brett Allen

            The problem is that the narrative will be all about who’s really in charge, BA or Bennett. If you bring in Bennett over the top of BA after 8 seasons, you’re basically saying that he’s not good enough.

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