The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 20 vs Roosters


Parramatta Eels 0

Sydney Roosters 28



As was the case in Round 19, the Eels came into this Thursday night clash without Mitch Moses, facing an underperforming pre-season favourite facing a horror injury toll. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Considering the context, the value of a win, what happened last week and what was on the line, tonight was both the worst and most disappointing performance from an Eels side I’ve seen in years.

I was thinking most of this column would be filled with first half horrors (including a frustrating inability to take advantage of the Roosters’ mistakes), little did I know that second half would be much worse.
In good news for the rest of the NRL, if you EVER want to rattle the Eels, simply rush up on them and we will effectively hand you the ball. As always with our losses, tonight our attack was simply too sideways and too predictable. Despite basing our best wins on wet weather football, our losses consist of the same old pattern – an inability to establish any sort of dominance in the middle of the field, before shifting long and wide to flat footed outside men who are out of room. Oh and short of that, we’ll just drop it.

The popular stat in the lead up to this game was that the Eels had not defeated the Roosters twice in the same season since 2007. Well you can forget the Roosters, tonight our attacking patterns wouldn’t have put a try past the ’99 Western Suburbs Magpies (and most of their players would be in their 50s by now).

As I understand it, the NSW Government will be tomorrow recommending that people avoid saying they support the Parramatta Eels in public, even if you are over 50 and have been fully vaccinated.

Let’s dot point it tonight:

  • Roosters 52% possession, Eels 48%
  • Roosters 82% completion rate, Eels 66%
  • Roosters 11 errors, Eels 14
  • Roosters 8 linebreaks, Eels 1
  • Roosters 2315 running metres, Eels 2110

Despite the lopsided result the Roosters only had a marginal advantage in Post Contact Metres (564 to 538) and actually missed MORE tackles (53 to 41) than the Eels. I think that just makes me even angrier.

Tonight’s Eels stat sheet is out here looking like:

I’d like to think my relentless support of Brad Arthur has been justified by the team we have put on the park and the regular season success we’ve tasted in recent seasons. I stand by that support and do not regret it for a moment. At the end of 2020, I maintained (both on here and on Twitter) that I would assess BA’s coaching abilities on the results of Season 2021.

It is now the business end of 2021, and unless a miracle occurs, surely questions need to be asked about how on earth a professional Rugby League team could be so poorly prepared for either this or last week. Anything resembling a threat to the 2021 NRL Premiership is quickly reaching miracle territory, and unlike previous years, there’s really not all that much left to lean on.

Well, Mitch Moses might be back next week.




Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

As far as his on field play, tonight Clint Gutherson was safe at the back and he never stopped trying.

However there was something else that caught my eye (or my ears, as it turns out). A few weeks ago, in the heat of battle, Mitch Moses went too far in the manner in which he spoke to his captain; Gutho was 100% right to tell him it was not on. Tonight, Gutho needed to take his own advice. Belittling teammates after they make a mistake (as he did to Tom Opacic) is not the sign of a leader, nor indicative of a captain in control. To be honest, you’re better than that mate.


Maika Sivo

2 – Left Wing

I’ll be honest, the 2019 Maika Sivo was one of the most exciting players in the NRL; I would have signed that player for life. However, the 2021 edition consistently either looks tired, confused or disinterested. He is a shell of his former self and is going backwards fast.


Tom Opacic

3 – Right Centre

As I said above, I’m disappointed Gutho spoke to you the way he did, you don’t deserve that. I do think you deserve this grade, however. I mean, just catch the ball, then put it down. Also, shave off that ridiculous moustache.


Waqa Blake

4 – Left Centre

Other than not passing the ball to his outside man, I thought Waqa Blake was actually having a pretty good first half.


Blake Ferguson

5 – Right Wing

I feel sorry that the two halves of his head parted like the Red Sea, and even before then I’m not sure he’s 100%.

Tonight Blake had 10 runs for 90m, 1 tackle break, 2 offloads and went through 2 headgears.


Dylan Brown

6 – Five Eighth

If anything good happened for the Eels tonight, it was normally off the back of something Dylan Brown did. I’m not saying everything he touched turned to gold, but without him, Gutho, Ice and Will Smith, the Eels wouldn’t have scored any of their points tonight.

*checks scoreboard*

Not unlike Maika, I must say I miss all the raw potential of Dylan Brown’s 2019 season. You could make a pretty good argument to say Dylan has also gone backwards, whether your measuring stick is try assists, organisation, or an inability to step up in the absence of Mitch Moses.


Jake Arthur

7 – Halfback

It will no doubt be a miserable mood in the Arthur household tonight. Good judges tell me that Jake will be a pretty great player one day, but that day is not here yet. Whether it was stepping out of the way of a passed ball, kicking the ball dead for a 7 tackle set or simply not effectively creating opportunities for the Eels attack, it was not a good night for the Eels stand-in halfback.

To be honest, Jake is actually probably fortunate that so many other Eels played so poorly tonight; his performance will be diluted by the width of our disappointment and disdain. If your health ever gets as bad as Jake Arthur’s form, I think it would be time to start considering a juice cleanse.



8 – Front Row

It’s almost like RCG’s hamstring knew what was coming and wanted no part in the worst performance from the Parramatta Eels in years. Get well soon, Reg.


Reed Mahoney

9 – Hooker

Until he turned his back on Joseph Manu, Reed Mahoney wasn’t playing all that poorly tonight; merely looking regularly confused about which player to pass it to.

However, he then turned his back on Joseph Manu and cemented this grade.


Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

The errors (2) weren’t helpful, but Junior Paulo is still a threat whenever he touches the ball. With that said, we’ve lost a little bit of the magic recently, and don’t seem to be capitalising on his incredible ability to offload the ball (another 4 tonight, to go with 16 runs for 107m, 3 tackle breaks and 35 tackles).


Isaiah Papali’i

11 – Second Row

The only time we really looked good in attack was when we went short to Isaiah Papali’i, and he did manage a pretty impressive 130 metres from his 18 carries, as well as 6 tackle breaks. Tonight my heart is black, but Ice Papa nonetheless lights up my life.


Ryan Matterson

12 – Second Row

Although his attacking game wasn’t on tonight (10 runs for 68m, 3 offloads, 2 tackle breaks), and it would have been nice for someone (anyone?) to step into the breach, tonight’s loss wasn’t your fault, mate.


Nathan Brown

13 – Lock

I thought Cyborg was ok (15 runs for 116m, 2 tackle breaks and 34 tackles), too.


Shaun Lane

15 – Interchange

Which of you had Shaun Lane for “Eels most effective forward” tonight? The Lollipop Man ran 137m from his 15 hit ups (a team high for our forwards, second only to Gutho overall), adding 2 offloads, 4 tackle breaks and 29 tackles.


Oregon Kaufusi

16 – Interchange

Tonight Big Country did more good things (11 runs for 95m, 3 tackle breaks, 25 tackles) than bad (1 error), which is more than I can say about most of his teammates.


Will Smith

17 – Interchange

Despite the never ending disappointment of tonight’s result, Will Smith should hold his head high. The Hollywood star did nothing wrong tonight and was one of the few Eels who looked threatening in attack .


Ray Stone

19 – Interchange

Look, I’ll continue to root for Ray Stone to absolutely gut opposition teams, but I’m just not sure 6 runs, 38 metres, 16 tackles and 4 misses is getting it done at NRL level.

On the bright side, we’re going well in the Olympics. Jess Fox’s Gold this afternoon had me celebrating like Dean Boxall, desperate to hump the nearest glass fence. Unfortunately the nearest glass fence happened to be at my neighbour’s place, and Edith was not impressed.

In NRL news, the Eels are playing another really good team next week. Gird your loins.

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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93 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 20 vs Roosters

  1. Offside

    I suspect you will be turning off the comments section on this one.
    Absolutely pathetic performance that unfortunately we all saw coming now we head into the hard run home dreadfully out of form.
    Without direction
    And a playing group that for years has shown no form of fortitude when things go against us.
    Strap in its a rough ride ahead of us.

    I’ve said my piece on the need for a coaching change I won’t add to it I’m to fed up with this club to care.

    1. Forty20

      There will be no need to turn off the comment section so long as everyone behaves. I issued my warning earlier this week and it still stands. Everyone is obviously hurting badly after a loss like that but it is not an excuse to be a dickhead. Say your piece, call out bad plays, bad form and bad preparation but separate legitimate criticism from personal attacks.

      1. Electric Analysis

        I will call out the good play. Dylan’s line break but Teddy with the try saver. I will call out the bad play. The rest of the 79:50 minutes.

      2. Poppa

        40/20 if the players can be rated, why not the coach…..I suggested an F and requested can anyone come up with a higher rating, must have been accidently deleted. Surely the option is there for him to be rated higher by someone?

        1. Mr controversy aka rev

          Poppa why would we rate the coach 🤔 what tackle or hit ups or try did he score. Everyone would rate him the same every time a A+ for a win or F for a lose.

          1. Poppa

            Well Rev, I would have thought match tactics, selections. bench usage woud have a pretty fair effect on the game outcome, otherwise why bother rating anyone.
            If you don’t want to make the coach accountable then I am not sure where you are going with this whole concept…..Most of the time I would think he would have similar variations to the players. Many games we jave lost where I would not hold the coach accountable for any of those aspects. Given results specifically against Souths, Manly, Canberra and now Roosters. I think he is significantly responsibe based on his team selection policies.

  2. Avenger

    Brad Arthur being pressured by Sterling (who admitted he has never coached) by pushing the ball wide early to our pedestrian backline shows how clueless he has become. Brad Arthur has run out of ideas and needs to be shown the door especially when you have alternatives in the market that are available and won premierships.

    1. Brett Allen

      His surprisingly petulant response to Sterlo’s quite obvious observations says it all, but the point is he missed Sterlo’s message. We went from playing no footy to throwing it around like mad men. What Sterlo was saying was throw it a couple of passes wide early, get away from the teeth of the opposition defence, then return to our power game. The reality is that without MM, our collective footy IQ very low, there really isn’t anybody else with real footy IQ out there, not even Gutho.
      I floated this plan on 1EE the other day, and I think it should be seriously considered.

      1) Let BA know that his time is up at the end of the season regardless of results. We can’t extend him and we can’t go into 2022 with him as head coach without an extension, otherwise all of 2022 the narrative will be about when BA wlll be sacked.
      2) Start making discrete enquiries to Wayne Bennett about his interest in a two year deal to
      a) try to get us over the hump, he has done it before, and
      b) help us identify our next long term coach and preferably have them on staff for at least 2023, if not 2022 as well.
      The ARLC has all but conceded that expansion will be delayed at least one more year, so Bennett will be twiddling his thumbs at the wrong time of his career.
      3) I would suggest that our next long term coach should be either Jason Ryles or Dean Young, they are the two best young coaches in the pipeline, according to those in the know.

      I so desperately wanted BA to succeed, and for what he has done for our mighty club he deserves a job for life if he wants it, but not as the Eels Head Coach.

      It’s time.

    2. Mr controversy aka rev

      Remember though sterling has won 4 premiership so he knows what his talking about. Brad has no idea his time is up simple really

    3. Brian

      I don’t think throwing around like mad men is new when we don’t have Mitch. It seems without a main single point of attack, everyone wants to be a ball player. When Mitch is there, he’s the main man.

  3. Big Derek

    Without doubt a disappoint evening, what makes it even worse is that it’s the same issue over and over again.

    Generally we get inside the opposition 20, and then what, consistent n
    Block plays, sweeps and a kick on the last. Where is the line running, spacing and apart from Papalili who runs straight. I’ve said it before, if you can’t practice and then bring the right structure into the game, then change who is doing the teaching, because it’s fairly obvious. – they ain’t listening. Roosters, Storm, South’s, Manly do things that create openings and have support on almost every play, anyone seeing that and making notes.

    We’ve watched the slow disintegration for the past couple of years, and it’s so frustrating with a pretty decent roster when they don’t have the structure in attack that we see from other teams in the so called top 5/6. Draw your own conclusions, but seems that until there is change in who is in charge of that part of the game, nothing will look any different.

    When we have the largest fan base, pretty much the highest attendances and we don’t seem to have the best coaching staff, what’s the solution. The past 2 weeks makes you,wonder what they do at training, because they seem like strangers at times . If all we see is the same structures, change them as the players, supporters and even the board are watching a slow and painful end to the season.

    1. Poppa

      Some extremely pertinent points Derek, over the years we have been strong BA supporters, hoping like hell he would change.
      Its this stubborness and seemingly inability to change or consult that is the problem. Its pretty obvious his assistants and the players for that matter have become yes men. ie your teaching example!
      These steps that we are now seeing have been forming for a long time, I believe we will start seeing player descension and then we are in real trouble.
      If Moses resumes this week, I give us a chance against Souths, because Souths have been really up for us in the last couple of meetings, no quite the same this time, normal physcology will ensure that.
      For the people who say the players are happy, don’t believe them, their is still loyalty there but it is cracked. Let’s assume that the paper covering gets us through and BA reads the writing on the wall.

  4. Anonymous

    “I’d like to think my relentless support of Brad Arthur has been justified by the team we have put on the park and the regular season success we’ve tasted in recent seasons. I stand by that support and do not regret it for a moment. At the end of 2020, I maintained (both on here and on Twitter) that I would assess BA’s coaching abilities on the results of Season 2021.

    It is now the business end of 2021, and unless a miracle occurs, surely questions need to be asked about how on earth a professional Rugby League team could be so poorly prepared for either this or last week. Anything resembling a threat to the 2021 NRL Premiership is quickly reaching miracle territory, and unlike previous years, there’s really not all that much left to lean on.”

    Am I right to read this as a shot across the bows and a softening of your support for BA?

    I tend to have the same view. I think BA has done an enormous amount for the club, and there is literally nobody in the world that I would love more to see win a premiership as Eels coach. I am also well and truly convinced that there is as close to zero chance as possible that we will win a premiership with him as our head coach.

    It’s a sad outcome, but I really think the time has come for him to move on. The real question is who is a worthwhile replacement, and that is not something I have an answer for.

    1. Max

      Arthur has had a great run 2014 onwards but I think we all know his time has come unfortunately he will never quit but it’s time to go.

      1. Mr controversy aka rev

        I agree. I personally believe when brad asked who should play halfback n ask the team if jakob should of course the players would agree who says no to there boss with out any rebercutions.
        Simple players had no choice.

        1. Raptor Jesus

          That decision baffled me.
          He said the players chose Jake.
          Who is the coach of the team?
          You let the players choose the team?
          The inmates are running the asylum!

          Oh, how did it work out?
          2 wins and 4 losses.

  5. Anon

    Honest to god all the criticism of Gutho giving Opacic a spray is just where we are as men in this society, soft cock beta males, WTF! Are you worried about emotions and feelings? The players that played with Cameron Smith and under Bellamy get way worse than that, perform or fuck off, good on Clint for showing some emotion, someone has to.

    1. Offside

      Although Gutho needed a spray for soon his play as well.
      Long story short we were shit this week we were shit last week
      We need to stop bring shit.

  6. Max

    Brad Arthur has reached his ceiling he can’t get past week 2 of the finals. If he keeps coaching the eels he will tarnish all the good he has done. CLUB NEEDS
    a premiership winning coach who knows all about finals and winning big games . Are the board happy just making the finals? If so keep Arthur , If they want the premiership they need to make the hard call.

    1. Brett Allen

      It’s not about winning finals per se, that’s too simplistic. We need a coach who is more tactically astute. Even in last nights presser, he couldn’t help himself, he had to refer to effort again.

      BA, effort is a prerequisite for an NRL player, not something to be celebrated.

      1. Mr controversy aka rev

        Effort what effort there was none is brad not seeing what we the fans are is he that blind. Really.

  7. Max

    Just on Sterlings comments he has become more vocal even last year he mentioned the 5 hit up plays and the poor defensive reads but has really been frustrated this season. Does not say one bad word about the coach out of respect I’d say and I’m not sure if anyone at Parramatta listens or cares what he has to say but he makes great points and I’m sure he will add to this on triple m today around 2pm.

  8. The Captain

    That was just… disappointing. For the first time in a long time I genuinely wasn’t looking forward to watching this game. Not because we’re a bad side, but because I know what this side could be.

    BA has done an amazing job across the years and saw our club through some of the darkest days. But his time has now come. His refusal to evolve and baffling stubbornness must be the final nail in his coffin.

    I don’t say this lightly, but this loss was on the coach.

  9. Troy

    We play like it’s a preseason game every week, like no one knows there role in attack yet. I love the passion Raymond brings but to think Carty isn’t a given in our team the way we are attacking is crazy. If Fergo was dropped for what he was dishing up earlier in the year Sivo needs a spell also, could make a strong case for Pensini to come in for Tom, and Fergo even for his extra effort and toughness isn’t 100%, the time has come for Haze to be given a go again, given he was starting to warm into things. Cartwright must play as a point of difference, and obviously Mitch back will help. Will Smith should have been the replacement for Mitch but smashing an 18 year old 7, isn’t fair. Imagine how many metres our forwards could make with some variety and imagination, they make sensational metres one out in the toughness challenge every week, but that won’t win finals. Variety doesn’t mean 3 pass shifts every play it’s mean subtleties around the ruck, people in motion, take some pressure off the ball carrier, create some doubt. Defence haven’t got a thing to be nervous about against us, sprint up whack the big fella, 5 times and watch the cross kick. It’s a tough watch atm unfortunately. But by next Friday I will dust the pain away and become optimistic again, and the Eels supporter roller coaster begins again.

  10. Dave

    Terrible performance and grades spot on
    Supporters keep carrying about getting rid of lane but thought he was one of our best out there tonight. Poor jake Arthur been thrown right in the deep end, he’s not as bad as people make out he just a young rookie that is not up to the main game standard. Yes will Smith plays great when he comes on qnd always has when he comes on fresh but not sure about how he’d go over 80 minutes but can’t be any worse though I suppose

    1. Mr controversy aka rev

      I’ve always said that lane will prove ppl wrong time n time again but ppl didn’t listen. Well they should now.

  11. Sec50

    I love that you have kept your sense of humour Mitch. The glass fence joke gave me a good guffaw and after last night that is exactly what I needed. Thanks

  12. jobe Apogostcogalo

    Brad Arthur F- The time has come people.
    ●Absolutely zero cohesion in attack.
    ●Our defense flaws are still very evident rushing up when there is no need.
    ●his choice of Jake over Smith when Jake hasn’t played well is not smart.
    ● Finals history is below average
    ● Sure he got the club to become finals regulars but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t get the team anywhere near a grand final play off.
    ● Board, the time has come to really think about the future of this club

  13. Michael Formosa

    I can’t believe for the second year in row at around the same time Parra listen to the media and changed the way they played! Talk about jumping at shadows.

    I listened to the Roosters press conference after the game and the first thing Trent Robinson said is “we are very clear on how we want to play” … take note Parra!

  14. Mick

    It baffles me how bad we are starting to play. Generally the real premiership contenders are either warming into finals footy at this time of year, or resting players in preparation for games ahead. We are instead looking like a team of 17 individuals with no answers, who are tired, option-less, and shifting our fans mindset from confidence to hope. Since the second half against the Titans, we’ve looked completely incapable of scoring points, which is a concern.

    I hope this is just everyone in their team getting the junk footy out of the system before finals (albeit Shaun Lane didn’t get that memo, he was good tonight – hoping he doesn’t bottle it when everyone else lifts their standards). While there is no real justification for the result and boobery we saw last night, we did have 4 / 5 key players out, so maybe we will click into gear in the next few weeks.

    With that all said, I do think there are some inherent strategic limitations in the team. It’s hard to pinpoint whether it’s coaching or player execution (more specifically in the capabilities of our spine). No doubt a bit of both but I think you nailed the pre game review – for a team that has been so stable in terms of roster and player fitness for so long, we should be better and it makes me think it’s more to do with coaching.

  15. Trapped in the 1970’s

    Changing a coach is no guarantee of success while the position shouldn’t be a job for life either. Happy to see how the remainder of the year pans out but should it continue as it is then some hard decisions around the coach and some players in the roster need to be made.

    I can not understand the logic around some selections, but I’m not a coach. Lussick was recruited to cover for Reed and that was sound planning and he has been very solid when called upon. Am I wrong that for the halves the cover was Smith and Rankin. Rankin has been overlooked, fine, but why so with Smith?

    JA’s first game was full of emotion and adrenaline and it paid off that one time, but since then he has not been of first grade standard and has been targeted in each game. The eels team simply aren’t capable of covering for him like the storm or panthers could/would.

    JA is not the sole reason for the poor recent form but whether his selection is helping his development I have real doubts.

    If last night was the response to the Canberra loss than what awaits for the south’s game. We struggle in attack in the opposition 20 with Moses in the team but if he is out again then heaven help us.

  16. Mr controversy aka rev

    My wife’s in a tipping comp n she says to me who do i pick parra or rooster’s i said who have you tipped she said parra i said change to rooster’s she ask me why i said parra couldn’t win a chook raffle.

    Not personal attack but brad n jakob should never be seen in anything blue n gold.

    What stand in halfback stands there n looks at a ball being passed to him.

    Please someone explain to me how Jakob didn’t get a “f” rating.

    I agree with you on Waqa Blake was playing great before going off with a HIA.

    Gutherson lost it the plot when he should have been the cool head i Dont see other captain’s calling there team mate’s f @cking dumb c@nt’s.

    What has happened to reed Mahoney since he came back from injury. His not the same player before his injury. Doesnt dart from Dummy half a few long kicks at best.

    Next week n the week after I’m backing south’s and Manly to do a job on us. I live my eels but cant even see us making the top 4 know its all over. Sorry if ppl wana question my loyalty to parra tgere barking up the wrong tree. #eels to lose in straight sets again#

    I think the next time parra win a premiership ill be blind or dead.

  17. Bensville Darren

    I cant work out whether Mitch Moses improves the players around him or masks their inabilities. Dyl Brown’s game hasn’t developed as well as we had hoped. It seems he has been comfortable riding the MM coat tails. Adding the occasional touch of brilliance to have us sitting up and leaning in toward the tele. However, when given the conductors baton, appears bereft of ideas. Young Arthur needs a lot of work. He does appear to be overawed and rushed. His kicking game is as precise and fluid as one of those flailing inflatable salesmen. He’s tasted first grade and now needs to drop back to reserves to fine tune and grow his game.

    So, if MM is not back next round, it will have to be the Fresh Prince into the halves at Arthurs expense or Gutho to seven and Will Smith to full back. Decisions to make here BA. Your son may have a future in first grade but now is not the time to carry him in a stuttering team.

  18. Anonymous

    We miss Moses kicking game massively. His kicks in to their end will generally get us a repeat set or pin the winger in the corner making them use at best 2 tackles to get into the middle third and have an option.

    If you look back at last nights kicks we handed over the ball shallow and infield and they had options immediately. DBrown took most of the kicks last night and he hasn’t stepped up like he did last year in Moses absence in leading the plays, he is young and a great running half but not a game manager. Not a complaint it worked for Milf in his form years.

    When we get repeat sets (and complete them) the pressure leads to points. last night and week prior poor kicking saw us take poor options in their 20, the 2 failed short side plays against Raiders were really low percentage plays out of desperation and last night trying to be too expansive rather than flood the middle and play wide later in the tackle count saw lots of big men passing to little men in the middle.

    Jakob Arthur credit where its due he is a rookie in a tough spot, younger and played far less than Brown and obviously even more so compared to the half he is filling in for. He is filling a gap that has limited roster coverage and shouldn’t be expected to lead around a first grade side (try explaining that to the Facebook coaches)

    Gutho already gives 110% so it leaves ZERO extra to give in Moses absence. I love him as a player but was disappointed in his leadership last night. The spray he gave Tom O was hardly inspirational and what you need from a leader. I way be way off the mark and that’s normal chat on the field but took me by surprise and put it down to frustration.

    Any way onto next week, torch is applied, with Mitchell back I expect a better turnout but then we play a better opposition so still may not be enough.

  19. Brissyeel

    Totally embarrassing and inept performance. I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt last week, but that (lack of) effort has to be called out for what it was – abysmal. I was hoping a few senior players would stand up last night after poor performances against the Raiders, if anything, they went backwards.

    I cannot for the life of me understand some of the players form and tactics the last few weeks. Gutho used to follow behind the ruck and create havoc off the back of quick play the balls and support play, he’s now decided to well and truly overplay his hand and become a wide running ball player – sorry, I don’t like it and it takes away from the strengths of blokes like Matto. It didn’t work last week and it definitely didn’t work tonight. Reed seems to have regressed to 2019 Reed as a tackling machine instead of the player that should have played Origin 1 for Qld. With Moses out again and after a sub-par performance last week, we needed Reed to step up big time, unfortunately he failed miserably. We need him to dart from dummy half like he was earlier in the year, but 5 runs for 20 metres doesn’t cut it. Likewise, he has a great kicking game, but once again 3 kicks for 85 was not enough from him. And that’s just singling out 2 of our main players where our attack is supposed to start from.

    Jake Arthur, well all the talk before the game was his defence or lack thereof, but 21 tackles and ZERO misses put that to bed and he actually quite comfortably handled the traffic being thrown his way. That said, his attack was stifled, with the Roosters simply giving Tupouniua the task of rushing up in his face. Far too many times JA did not advance the ball and was trapped with it. An NRL half needs to able to position himself to avoid that happening, JA didn’t. The early kicks are terrible, but again, I think Gutho may have been calling for at least 1 of them, so what’s the kid to do, overrule his Captain and cop a gobful? Yes, he is out of his depth, but those suggesting he was a major contributor to the loss are sadly mistaken.

    I can’t see the Board, even with more losses potentially to come prior to the semis, sacking BA and I believe he will be the head coach come Round 1, 2022. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that he needs to change his philosophy, his style and his tactics – and that’s just a start. If he is too stubborn to, he will have to fall on his sword under his own terms and he’s the one that has to live with that. We have shown enough to suggest we can match it with the big guns of the competition on our best day, but our best day is a distant memory on current form. I can’t see the injection of Moses into the team next week (hopefully) changing that, but I live in hope. We are about to learn a whole lot about our players, coach and culture in the next 5 weeks. It isn’t too late to salvage a respectable finish to the season and a strong finals performance, but last night’s effort should rightfully have every Eels fan fuming and demanding far more from our Club. On that performance we’re just making up the numbers.

    1. Fathead

      Brissy, check out Brett Allen’s post. The problem with having BA as the coach at the start of 2022 is where do you go from there? If we start 2022 well (like we usually do) he will require clarity by at least half way through the season. If we again fall in a heap at end of 2022 then we will end up in the same position, with a coach who has yet another extension.
      Brett is right. The board needs to make a decison on the coach at the end of this season and that decision has to be relayed to BA. If he wants to stay in 2022 then he has every right to do that as per his contract but the club must be willing to discuss a separation.
      Doing nothing on a rinse and repeat just cannot happen.
      We are just treading water.

      1. Brett Allen

        To me in the modern game, the last year of a coaches contract is a guaranteed club option. By that I mean, it’s guaranteed for the coach, but the club has the option to exercise it. The coach is guaranteed to get paid, but the club can choose to have him as coach or not. The exception is if it is a predetermined arrangement like Bennett’s at Souths. If we don’t extend BA beyond next year but he’s still coach come Nov 1, you can guarantee that every press conference, every talking head will be asking the question about when BA us gonna get the boot. You’ll have Kent & Hooper on NRL 360 telling anyone who’ll listen that it is a fact that the board have given BA 6 weeks or 10 weeks to be extended. It’ll dominate our season and we’ll struggle to make the 8 with that kind of distraction. No, make the hard decision by Nov 1. Extend BA or fire him. Those are our options.

        1. Colin Hussey

          Brett, fair call in the end. The one thing that I would be looking at if the coach is deemed safe for next season is for the club to replace his offsiders, & I point to Kidwell in particular. He was brought here as assistant when BA was on his own, with defense being his primary role. Its really worked hasn’t it.

          1. Brett Allen

            No, it’s the unspoken rule, and most coaches have it explicitly written into their contracts anyway that they have sole discretion over their choice of assistants. And really that’s the way it has to be. Head coaches must have assistants they trust absolutely. Besides, the assistants are never the problem, and even if they are, then that’s on the head coach.

          2. Colin Hussey

            Maybe, maybe not!. Kidwell was brought to the eels not by BA but a decision by the club to provide the coach with help as at the time BA was working with no back office or front office help.

            Kidwell was given a release and basic reccomendation by Bellamy for an assistant, he could pretty much pick any to work with Bellamy.

          3. Brett Allen

            Assistant coaches are merely an extension of the head coach. It’s the head coach who dictates how a team plays, not the assistants. Now, head coaches obviously delegate to their assistants in varying degrees, but at the end of the day the head coach owns the results not the assistants.

          4. Colin Hussey

            Nothing new there Brett, and I have not suggested otherwise. The fact is though with Kidwell, he was brought to the eels following the review going back some years, the option of him was that he was approached, Bellamy agreed to his release and reccomended him as the assistant the prime reason was at the time to work in the defensive areas for the eels.

            The head coach certainly is the one in charge and the assistants are given rolls to play under the direction of the head coach. I would say that the assistant coaches, and was recently said that Kidwell is deemed as forwards coach, with another for the backs, each no doubt have input sessions with the coach.

          5. Poppa

            I’m thinking the problem may be the coach rather than the assistants Colin.
            That is the nut we can’t figure?
            My guess is BA gets his assistants to do what he tells them and the fact that they do means they keep their jobs.

            My problem with that is that his record is fundamentally good and he is therefore hard to criticise from the assistants perspective.

            The time is probably not appropriate for them to be critical of their Boss when the criteria would be one of covering your own arse.

          6. Colin Hussey

            Can’t really comment on that Pops, when I watch games on the box, and there is a brief shot of the coaches box, often when there is something that the coach sees & doesn’t like, there is always an assistant in there, when it goes to the box with BA in it, Kidwell sits to his right hand side and behind him.

            Rarelly do I see much reaction from BA, and Kidwell is very much poker faced, he has a mic in his hand and sometimes seems to say something. On BA’s other side is a younger fella, what his role and who he is I have no idea about.

            My take on it is that as BA is the head coach, with it seems two assistants, (Murf?) and Kidwell, Kidwell is no longer a defence coach as its been put out that he’s in charge of the forwards, IIRC Murf may have been the backs coach, we also have Joey for the halves.

            Looking at the weekly photo shoots of training, rarelly is Kidwell shown & when he is its usually on the sideline, occassionally see him in the huddle when BA is talking to the team also BA is primarilly seen with the team as a whole.

            What I do see is that BA does have a fair degree of interaction with all the players, not much from the others, but I don’t see much else though so its very much an unknown.

            Little doubt that BA is the boss, but if he does not take help/advice from his assistants then there’s not point in having them, Ryan Carr is there for the CC teams, and likely is with them on training days especially when the CC squad and CC teams train together,

            We have 5 odd games to before the finals, how we play I have no doubt that will very much determine a lot of BA’s future, likewise the assistants. While the eels have gone up in the previous two years, this year is getting very very tight for the eels overall.

            While BA cops the primary amouts of crap, I still point my finger at the team, as having their part in what has happened, when they run on the field, they are the ones that either win the match or lose it.

            PS, here is Zero tackles link for the club and the 12 players off contract end of this year. Thoughts?

            Parramatta Eels News | NRL 2021 | Zero Tackle

    2. LSB997

      Well put BE, I think you are right with BA for 2022, either change style and assistants or fall on your sword and go out gracefully.

      1. Brett Allen

        No, the board is there to make these decisions. Don’t make the coach be responsible for his own firing. The board has to make the decision, extend him or fire him. If they extend him they are in effect approving of his performance and that of his assistants.

        1. Poppa

          Agree in principle Brett but also would suggest that once the board has made the decision that BA has an option first to make it look like its his decision. That would just be a courtesy for BA’s great service.

  20. Jason

    I had a gut feeling during the week we were going to really struggle this week. Surely we aren’t that reliant on moses that we would put in a performance on that. Is it the moses factor, is it the mental factor, is it the BA factor, is it a combination of 1 2 and 3. It seems like groundhog day, this time last year our attack fell of a cliff, and our mental strength went with it. I have been the biggest fan of BA across the years and will continue to back him however what happens in the back end of this year will show whether he is the man to lead us forward. Can he get the boys back into the right frame of mind, get them back playing our style of footy and prove all the doubters wrong to finish the year strong. If not, it may be the end of the rd for him at the eels. I hope its not.

    As for performances today, I thought every player was off tonight..Our forwards did not want to run straight, our backline seemed hesitant, disinterested and ineffective. Reed’s service out of dummy half to halves was shocking to say the least…always a foot behind the player which gave them no time once the defence reached to them. Sivo needs a spell..for someone so strong and big he has the slowest play the ball in the league.

    Anyway..its up to the boys to prove everyone wrong now. Onto next week.

    1. Poppa

      I think you will find that BA had some harsh words to say to Reed Mahoney after Canberra and that the rest of the team cannot accept that the coach has continued with his own son.
      Saying does Moses make that much difference is not that simple, it is who he has replaced him with that is the straw that broke the camels back. The service that JA provided was absolutely terrible, even the kicks were slow motion. His defence gets a pass mark, but he is not there for his defence. Sam Walker is not playing for Roostes as an 18 year old defensive half, he is playing as a play maker. Anybody watching Reserve Grade will tell you Rankin has been the playmaker all season.
      Of course I haven’t seen Reserve Grade all season, this is coming from those that have.
      BA has stated Jake doesn’t have too do much other than to steer them round the field…..Correct me if you think that is not a grossly naive statement to make.

  21. Colin Hussey

    Coach Killer can be seen in one instance last night that should be reviewed. I did not see whether Atlkins put a scrum down or a penalty, I switched the box off after seeing what it was for.

    After causing his opposite wingers dropping of the ball right on the edge of the sideline, our wonder winger from the islands stands facing the sideline, as the ball is about to stop from going over the sideline he gives it a nudge with his right foot to kick it enough where it went over the sideline.

    When the penalty is called the camera goes back to wonder winger who has a strange look of Don’t Care!!, what was that for???

    I have watched and followed the eels for that many years I forget the exact number, but I wonder if that match last night is not the worst performance I have seen from the team.

    Coach = Players = Coach = Players Who is the worst and who and how many are at fault???? One thing is certain as far as player recruitment/retention, not a lot will want to stay owing to the way they folded.

    1. Poppa

      Colin, I apologised on the other site for my comment that you wrongly interpreted as a reference to yourself about always being wrong. My comment was self deprecation and I was referring to myself. Please accept my apology.
      With regard to the Sivo incident you referred to, you will find that Atkins actually called it as a Rooster mistake and then they (Roosters) challenged it, that is when you saw the damning evidence of Sivo pushing it out with his foot. There was no penalty involved just a scrum feed to the Roosters.
      My opinion on last nights game, is that the players were not playing for the coach because of his stubbornness.
      Why was Cartwright dropped in favour of Stone, it obviously had nothing to do with match fitness. I suspect we are not a happy club at present and whilst the time is up on the coach, if he picks the right side next week, I wouldn’t be surprised that they beat Souths.

      1. Colin Hussey

        Pops, that bit regarding always wrong was a sarcastic reply to something you accused me of, which I totally forget what it was anyway so no problem there.

        Thing that that got me with the Sivo dribble, shows how far he has slipped as a player also as a person, one only has to look at his face and the demeanor of “so what” when it shows up on the TV, If that is part of his makeup from now, then he needs to be shopped or dropped.

        While it was dumb at the highest level, he has given away the chance for the eels to get the ball, in fact I have found his overall game play this year very very poor at at best.

        I don’t understand how a team that even with the two previous loses had actually played well, with just a couple areas where a wrong choice/missed tackle cost a win, the stuff handed out last night was abjectly pathetic pretty much across the field, Lane who has been lamblasted by many was likely the best forward in the eels pack with Papi the next.

        Why Carty was dropped is beyond me, & I understand there are negotiations going on to extend him for 2 years, I wonder if he will actually accept it after last night.

        1. Poppa

          You make some good points Col, Sivo is turning into a major dissapoinment, actually it has been happening for a while, I am not prepared to say its attitude as much as adjustment. He just doesn’t seem to have grasped his role outside of finishing tries, the poor finish in the Canberra game being very costly.
          Cartwright is fascinating because BA went so far to get him to the stage of an important cog and then continues to show favour to Stone (who I like) but Stone’s injury record is starting to suggest he is made of chalk. Some wag commented on the other site how he enjoys the 10 minutes a game in Ray Stones seasons of the 4 matches he remains fit for!
          Colin as you know I have always been a BA supporter, but I can no longer support him. He has disappointed me more for his lack of lateral thinking and approach to selections than I am prepared to accept and continue to stick up for him.

          His judgement and credibility looks poor in the light of this whole process and as much as I hate the “nepotism” word he is at the very least naive to the consequences of coaching his son and I might add doing him no favours in the process.

          Back to my opening point, I always read your commentary as I understand how honest you are with your views. PS even coming around a bit more to Dunster who I am pretty sure will be back this coming week.

          1. Colin Hussey

            Pops, I never thought I would post again on the other site, but decided to do so, have a read and likely a laugh, or what I have said there may have its ending as an option.

            When Sivo first came he was a beast and one with power, the best memory of have him was the push of a Manly player out of the way and the player was sat on his butte. That year was immense for him but, one swalllow/season has hime watched and worked out. Last year he dumbed down by wanting to be stronger, the result was mass time in the gym bulking up with weights, who supervised him there or was it just his own ego and drive to be bigger and stronger? I suggest that is the case and like many weight only workouts in the end it wrecks much of the body as to its flexes. & its showing that way even though he’s lighter this year.
            This year he’s been totally one dimensional with his try scorings, I watched in one game where he dived for the corner but only one opposition player on his outside, with the in goal area all but empty he could have got to at least half way to the goal post, that showed me that it was show offing, and that diving still goes on.

            He is so one dimensional that its not funny, and in general there is always now at least 1or 2 to take him over the sideline, dramatically shown in the Rapana illegal tackle at the end of the game, in mid air you are devoid of options and totally open to being out.

            My gut feeling re Stone and Carty, is that Stone may well be kept and BA looking at him match wise for another season. Carty, I think has had some injuries and niggles, but should be signed, injury free he will be very valuable as a player going forward. For whatever reason BA has the idea of bringing new players into a side with short game times, and then asses his future value. BA should have had Smith as run on 7, and JA as bench option, he’s lax in giving some of his bench, usually one much if any time on the field, why?

            As for BA & future, perhaps his biggest failing is the amount of trust he puts into his team and individual players, his slow bringing up of players is an example, like a father looking after an orphan, Stone has been part of it, Dunster as well. I believe that Dunster with a build up off season to develop his body and running, will be a better option than Fergs. I wonder whether Sivo will be off loaded to another club.

            Read my post on the other site, don’t mind if its laughable either.

            Thanks for the compliments, I try to be honest and fair in my posts though.

  22. John Bartley

    I openly slandered Shaun Lane before last night’s game, but he was one of the best on ground. My first (and probably only) opportunity to watch the boys play here in my hometown won’t be remembered all that fondly for the scoreboard, but it was still pretty thrilling.

    Yelled my guts out for them, down the tunnel too. I doubt they took any of it in, but I tried to put in an effort for them, even if they didn’t quite return the favour…

    1. Colin Hussey

      John, Lane has I believe been one of our better and most consistent forward we have had, there were some times when he was lost but he came good overall.

  23. BDon

    Tks Mitch. You’re shaping me into something weird, I offered the same RCG scenario to the missus during the game, at that stage it was groin so i was able to play with it a bit more, if you know what I mean.
    Last week the first 15 minutes was an inability to capitalise on field position, this week was an inability to capitalise on errors, we responded with errors. Whatever, these are not the ways of a well prepared team. My wife knits while watching the football, she got a few extra rows done last night.

    1. Colin Hussey

      That’s a positive to come of the game, what stitch was she on? No doubt she was concentrating on the wool & needles, the eels needed the needles pre game, and have the wool from over the eyes, removed.

      1. BDon

        Tks Col. Normally she looks up every now and then and makes a comment I wish I’d said. Last night it was at the 10 minute mark ‘I’m over this’.

  24. Mr controversy aka rev

    As a once great President said brad n jakob your fired. Times up Thank’s for what you have done but we the club feel you can’t take us to the promise land. Good luck with your future Endeavours. But i can’t see our club doing it.

    1. Forty20

      Everyone was courteously warned on several occasions to keep their criticisms within bounds this week. As you can see from the rest of the comments here, we have let plenty fly after last night’s loss. You chose to overstep that mark after doing the same earlier in the week.

  25. Anonymous

    Was Cartwright injured? The team list Tuesday event was questionable at best, but in truth we all knew he was going to stick with JA. 100% players need to be dropped but BA will cut his nose off to spite his face and that is why we will not win a premiership with him running the show. At no point in that game did anyone look like they were in control. The aimless offloads and panicked kicking was not a team focused on a win. At some point some hard truths need to be faced and until that happens we will see the sake result of falling out of the finals week 2.

  26. Offside

    As the rage now turns to acceptance
    Where does this club go to now?

    I personally feel it’s time for BA to moved on keeping him is rewarding him for past deeds you don’t win on sentiment and it’s time to thank Brad maybe offer him a job with the pathways programs.
    It’s time for a new direction new philosophy.
    Arguably The best coach of all time is available it would be good buissines to have a red hot crack at him

    1. Colin Hussey

      BA’s ideal role going forward from next year, unless we reach the Finals is to be placed in the role and head of the pathways role at the club. He has done a huge amount of ground work in that area, and spent much time with the young players, teams and clubs, that would be huge for him and the club overall.

      I would not mind seeing Carr brought in as a coach, he has good form on board in SL and was going well with the CC this year, well at least what there was of it.

      1. Anonymous

        Col, Carrie is a great guy, he is not ready for a team like this, but I agree its time for BA to step aside. As far as the elite pathways is concerned, I don’t think we have seen the massive hole the departure of Anthony Field has left yet, with that said, the one and only Joey Grima, is doing a great job with minimal funds, that Mark O’Neil allocates to the program. BA needs a fresh start!

        1. Colin Hussey

          I doubt that Carrie would be any worse than some of the roookie coaches at other clubs though. I think that his problem at this point of time is the decimation of the Jnr systems that have now had their second year removed, moreso I see the affect with the CC competition not progressing as it should have, just like last year..

          The loss of the comp, really has a detrimental affect going forward, all but the equivelance of how it was when the eels grade was actually playing for a 2nd division team in Wenty.

          I sincerelly hope the NRL can work to have the CC working next season, especially if Covid is more in the background.

  27. Longfin Eel

    At least the Olympics is on – that saved me from having to watch all of the horrible performance dished up by Parramatta. I really can’t see us winning another game this season, certainly not unless the team has a remarkable turnaround. I don’t know what the solutions are, but something major will have to happen for next season. It’s pretty clear now that if we run out with the same team/staff/attitude we will get the same mediocre results as the past few seasons.

  28. MattL

    Love reading TCT, even if the subject isn’t always pleasant. Thx for the hours u put in.
    Like most I’m frustrated. Our game day strategy never seems to have a lot of thought or a plan B (nor C or D). One out up the guts or shifting sideways. Rocks or diamonds. Conservative or sloppy.
    When RCG’s hamstring decided to bail, Jr didn’t look like he knew if he should start running or keep playing first receiver, Reed looked frustrated as did Gutho & as promising as Dylbags & JA are, they couldn’t lead a congaline (sns, why on earth wasn’t Wilbur starting?). What about Sivo & Oppa %!@#?
    Thankfully Lane, Gutho, Papa, Waqa & NB pulled their collective socks up.
    The only way is up (hopefully, have u seen our draw?)… Go the, errr mighty Eels!

  29. AJAX

    I am shattered. I’ve got to go back several years before I find a loss as depressing as this one. If we fade into the distance again come finals, something’s got to give I guess. Some kind of change, tactical, ideological, personnel-wise (players and coaches). Otherwise, we’d just be walking into another ultimately heart-breaking year. I have my fingers crossed that starting next round against Souths, the Eels do us all proud, to turn things around. But against Souths…I am petrified

  30. PittwaterEel

    The question is, would Bennett or Robinson or Bellamy, well ok not Bellamy because he could make a reserve grade side winners, anyway would any of those coaches make our team a better performer? If you think yes, then really you are saying BA is underperforming.
    I think BA has had his time and while I do not know who should replace him, the board needs to be having these conversations.

  31. Anonymous

    I can only express my utter disappointment at the execution of a game plan that was developed to appease Perter Sterling’s justified criticism of the Eels one dimensional attack against the Raiders. I don’t expect to win every game, but I expect a committed effort. I wont even bother saying a word about the coach as I’m sure 40’s and 60’s are done with my opinion that BA can not prepare our team mentally. He’s done his job, he got us through a dire period, but little to nothing to offer, the message is stale, same with Murph, great guy, but he has lost the shed. Shattered Disappointed Despondent, too much time and passion goes into supporting this team to dish up that SHITE!

  32. Raptor Jesus

    Most players deserve an F and the coach deserves the sack.
    One of the worst parra performances I’ve ever seen in 20 years as a fan.
    Brad needs to be put on notice.
    Jakob needs to be blacklisted from first grade for the remainder of 2021.
    Reed and Oregon need stints in reserve grade for letting the quick tap try happen.
    Unprofessional. Weak. Pathetic. Disgraceful. Abysmal. TERRIBLE PERFORMANCE!!!!!!

  33. DDay

    Mitch – good and fair summary as usual. Surprising, that despite the score the main stats were similar – it didn’t feel like that – the Eels were brittle and dominated.

    I did like Lane, Papalii, Smith & Kaufusi’s B grade games – but let’s face it – their role was meant to be a support role to the higher profile players. We lacked composure, we lacked any semblance of attack threat, were again vulnerable to a rushing defence and just split open way too easily – just like Fergo’s noggin.

    I felt it was a good time of the year to test the Eels going into the final series against a good team who had some injuries issues and were potentially vulnerable. But what the last two games have done is provide a terrible sense of deja vu – here we go again just making up the numbers.

    Where to from here? As some have suggested, it’s quite feasible the Board will probably keep BA on the basis he’s rebuilt the club plus he has the loyalty of the current roster but it’s quite clear that the Board can’t keep BA and maintain the status quo. I think last night may well be the catalyst for some kind of change; installing Stirling/other as a coaching director, increasing O’Neill’s role (he’s been very smart in his player pick-ups – could he do more?), changing up the support coaches but with someone as an serious understudy to BA with some tactical nous etc but something must change.

    Here’s hoping for some improved performances going forward – hope being the operative word.

  34. Wally21

    Terrible, embarrassing, awful performance. I think you’ve been generous with your gradings. Time for all Arthur’s to go. Time for SIVO to go. Opacic has shown what he truly is, a backup option.
    Our forwards all look busted. Poor Papali’i is being killed out there with workload. Paulo has lost some of the magic. Don’t even get me started on the players picked on the bench and how they are used.
    We will at best win 1 more game all year. And be out in the finals in the first week.
    Time for the HOF to step up

  35. Anonymous

    The silence of Mitch and 60’s has been deafening, I think they now agree, the coach has to go! Stayed 2 years too long, we had the roster to win the comp this year, but players do not develop under his

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