The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 21 vs Rabbitohs


Parramatta Eels 12

South Sydney 40



In Japan, cooked Eel is known as ‘Unagi’. In the 2021 NRL Season, it is known as ‘Parramatta’

I don’t really know what to say other than it’s remarkable how quickly we have shifted from Premiership heavyweights to competition also-rans. We suddenly have no confidence, no cohesion, no fight, and to be honest looked defeated as soon at the Bunnies crossed early in the second. I don’t know how it’s fallen apart so quickly.

What I think annoys me most about all of this is the ammunition it is giving people to say that Brad Arthur is not a good coach, or that keeping him like we have was a mistake. Aside from whether or not BA is the next Premiership winning coach of Parramatta, what he has done with this club since becoming our coach is nothing short of remarkable. Regardless of your opinions of his position going forward (which are admittedly varied), he deserves our utmost respect for not only turning our fortunes around, but for continuing to bleed Blue & Gold like the rest of us.

I enjoyed the brevity of this last week, so I think I will dot point it again:

  • Rabbitohs 55% possession, Eels 45%
  • Rabbitohs 88% completion rate, Eels 81% (well, that wasn’t the problem)
  • Rabbitohs 5 errors, Eels 9
  • Rabbitohs 10 linebreaks, Eels 2 (there it is)
  • Rabbitohs 2311 running metres, Eels 1985
  • Rabbitohs 517 post contact metres, Eels 383
  • Rabbitohs 26 missed tackles, Eels 35

I will say this. The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks only won 1 of their final 6 games before winning the Premiership, and the “best team” in the NRL isn’t always the team that lifts the trophy. Form is temporary and we get another chance to re-write the script next week against Manly. Hopefully sometime this week Tom Trbojevic gets lost in a forest or something, only to emerge unharmed just after fulltime next Saturday night.

Waqa Blake was our best player tonight, but there will be no celebrations.




Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

Remember when everything was magic? Like most of his teammates, it’s not there for Gutho at the moment, and I’m wondering if cutting off the rats tail has had some sort of Samson-esque effect on his power.

The King under fire was generally hesitant out there tonight, with 13 runs for a paltry 88m, 1 offload, 4 tackle breaks and a pushed pass that put undue pressure on his team.


Maika Sivo

2 – Left Wing

Tonight Maika Sivo had a try, 13 runs for 106m, 1 linebreak, 4 tacklebreaks, and 5 tackles. If I am going to be honest with you, in my own humble opinion without being sentimental of course, without offending anyone who thinks differently from my own point of view, but also looking into it with the proper perspective, I would like to say I have nothing to say about Maika’s game tonight.


Tom Opacic

3 – Right Centre

Thank you for shaving off the moustache.


Waqa Blake

4 – Left Centre

As mentioned in commentary, the Eels evidently liked the match up of Waqa Blake vs Taane Milne, giving the Baby Giraffe a couple of early runs on the left, then a nice offload for Gutho and a half break. Waqa’s stats actually read quite nicely with 20 runs for 177 (easily team high), a try, a linebreak assist, a try assist, 3 tackle breaks and 17 tackles. I dare say that if this is the Waqa Blake we get each week, we don’t have a problem.


Haze Dunster

18 – Right Wing

It was a rough night out on the right wing for Haze Dunster. There’s pretty clearly a systematic issue with our edge defence, one that not Haze, Fergo, Waqa, Sivo or even Opacic are immune from (although the issues on the right seem to be catastrophic). With that said, at least Fergo racks up the running metres. Haze? (13 for 83m) Not so much.


Dylan Brown

6 – Five Eighth

*files missing person report*


Mitch Moses

7 – Halfback

There will be plenty of internet heroes cheering the apparent demise of the Parramatta Eels tonight, and even more be somehow placing it at the feet of our halfback.

Not me. Moses’ kicking game was once again brilliant (19 for 690m) and his try assist for Waqa Blake was a rare highlight.

If you think Mitch Moses is the core of the problem, maybe you’re the core of the problem.


Oregon Kaufusi

8 – Front Row


Reed Mahoney

9 – Hooker

Just when you thought this game couldnt get any more disgusting, our star hooker does his shoulder.


A disappointingly classy tweet from the Rabbitohs, when really all I wanted to do was imagine them as the evil force who destroyed our season for a second time.

Please note Reed’s grade is not indicative of his game, but rather what I think of his injury.


Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

Along with Reed Mahoney, I’d say Junior Paulo is our most urgent re-sign. He wasn’t at his destructive best tonight (12 runs for 108 metres, 1 offload, 2 tackle breaks, 37 tackles), but the giant Samoan international rarely puts in a poor game.


Isaiah Papali’i

11 – Second Row

Remember early in the second half when Gutho flung the ball at Papali’i on the last tackle and Ice immediately volleyed it forward?

That was cool.


Ryan Matterson

12 – Second Row

Mate; 14 runs for 92 metres and 1 tackle break is not getting it done from our strike second rower. Really disappointing game from Matto.


Nathan Brown

13 – Lock

He definitely works hard, but when was the last time Nathan Brown made a good run to metre ratio? Tonight our representative lock ran 15 times for 109m, which isn’t the worst ratio on the team (see Matterson, Ryan) but still not leading our pack like he once did. Also, I don’t know if you saw Cyborg run past Cameron Murray as he scored his try in the 53rd minute, but I did.


Bryce Cartwright

14 – Interchange

It took Bryce Cartwright 7 minutes to create a try with quick hands that few other forwards in the NRL could have created. With our scoring drought looking like the Sahara, if his running game is passable, and his passing game in on a run; he should be on the field in the backhalf of games as much as possible.


Shaun Lane

15 – Interchange

By my calculations, at the moment we tend to have one bad Lane game for every two good Lane games.

Evidently this week is the bad Lane game of the three, with 9 runs for 66m (yuck), 3 tackle breaks and 27 tackles.


Marata Niukore

16 – Interchange

Marata’s name on the teamlist on Tuesday was a pleasant surprise, and he was the only player in our 17 to average more than 10m a run (7 runs for 71m, 2 tackle breaks and 32 tackles). Not bad for a player who is supposed to be out for another couple of weeks. Not the problem.


Will Smith

17 – Interchange

Will Smith was definitely out there tonight, you know just running around and stuff.

You know what’s coming next; and it ain’t pretty.

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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86 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 21 vs Rabbitohs

  1. Sydeel

    No doubt we will trot out the same lineup and same coaching philosophies next week and expect a different result.
    The joke is on us.

    1. Mr controversy aka rev

      No we will front load our efforts. That’s what brad will want us to believe. It’s like listening to the same story over n over again it becomes boring.

      1. Bensville Darren

        He does love to roll out a boring cliche rev. What does ‘front load our efforts’ even mean?

        1. Mr controversy aka rev

          Bensville it means put all our efforts into the opening of the game n if we have a big enough lead we will maintain that effort.

          1. Brett Allen

            No, it means working harder earlier in the moment to be there just in case you’re needed, covering your teammate by moving that first step a second earlier before you need to, just in case you’re needed.
            It’s perfectly valid football philosophy, but it shouldn’t need to be coached, it should be a prerequisite for an NRL player.
            That is what BA is missing.

  2. Mick

    Good one Mitch, must have been painful to write. Thanks for putting in the effort.

    I can handle losing games, and I’m not going to start calling for heads of specific people to roll because honestly I’m not close enough to what goes on to really know and where the problems lie. But what pains me most about what we are seeing is that with all the current variables of what makes up our club (roster, coaching and admin staff etc) is that our fate leading into the finals is becoming predictable – and not in a good way. It also leads me to conclude that the likely outcome going into 2022 with largely those same variables, will deliver a top 8 birth, and again an early finals exit. Better than not making the 8 (tigers, broncos, dogs etc), but only just. If I was a dogs supporter as an example (thank god I’m not) I’d at least have optimism of what a revamped roster might bring.

    I’ll keep watching the games and supporting the team to hope I’m proved wrong, but geez they’re making it harder than it needs to be.

    1. Brett Allen

      Well Mick, you know its bad when after a bad performance like that 1EyedEel is actually relatively quiet. Normally after a loss like that there are 20 blogs about the same subject, now there’s barely a whimper over there. Everybody, including the players know our season is over to all intents and purposes. The players body language screamed defeated. Only BA is still living the dream.

  3. Tooks

    I respect what BA has done in building a competitive roster and he seems like a good fella, but this team is cooked. We may beat Cowboys but the other teams will have a field day against us.

    We desperately need new blood in the coaching ranks. If BA stays, we need to get someone in to work on our attack and defence. We don’t seem to do the fundamentals well. We don’t compete on every play. Every single play should be seen as a micro game that must be won.

    After getting pumped by a team with half their players on the sideline I expected a stronger performance this week (I wasn’t expecting a win). These guys seem to have no resilience. They look defeated.

    In my opinion, D Brown would be a good centre. Waqa may be a better winger than centre. Sivo has gone backwards, Gutho in my opinion doesn’t have the right temperament to be captain. He’s prone to dummy spits as is Mitch.

    I don’t even know where to start with this club. It’s amazing we’re sitting on 4th a month out from the finals and I’ve written the season off.

    Such is the life of a Parra supporter.

  4. Concerned Eel

    Honestly wonder what it would take for you guys to give the players an F?

    Poor Reedy doesn’t deserve an F because the coach left him out there with a dodgy shoulder in garbage time and he sublaxed his shoulder again.

    You guys still double down on BA. You act like the fanbase doesn’t appreciate what he did for us. BA has been rewarded with multiple contract extensions. He has been thanked and rewarded for his efforts. He has no idea how to beat the top teams and the time is up. We are regressing back not to the mean, but beyond it! Down to the bottom!

    You guys also never mention that BA lead us to a wooden spoon in 2018 and the club was generous enough to give him another chance. He is all out of chances.

    If Manly put 60 on us what then? If we lose to Manly, Cowboys, Panthers and Storm, will you still back your man? What threshold needs to be crossed before you change your opinion? I’m genuinely curious how bad it needs to be.

    1. mitch Post author

      If you read the comment you would have seen it said “Please note Reed’s grade is not indicative of his game, but rather what I think of his injury.”

      Also I havent doubled down on BA, and I didn’t explicitly back BA in this post either, I was saying our faith in him up until this point is still warranted, what’s happening now does not mean what he has done for this club is null and void (which is how some people are responding). In short, if there does come a time where BA can no longer take this team forward, it will not mean he deserves the inexcusable pile on many people are giving him now.

      1. Big Derek

        Think it’s fair to look at our coaching ranks as a whole, and the view remains that BA is a pretty decent Head Coach, but ybelieve he needs a change in those beneath him . Our game plans, and must assume the attack coach and defence coach have input are bordering on amateurish and very easy to read.

        Fresh voices and changes to structure are a must, if those are not made then questions need to be asked of leadership from the HC and on to the CEO and Board. Chasing the collision and effort areas are too wearing , and last nights game showed what coaching and more modern tactics can do. Comparing the line ups, we didn’t lose much across the positions, but looked off the pace, so where does the failure resonate, yes around the coaching.

        Overs run after overs run in attack, running a drop off to the centre field on 3rd/4th tackle in their red zone is so easy to defend as the slide defenders just position each side. As for the constant of the winger playing 5/10 metres inside of the side line when 10/15 metres from our own try line,that went out with straw hats. Anyway, go talk to any decent junior coaches and probably get the same response, change structures.

        1. Brett Allen

          No, i keep saying this, the head coach must pick his own assistants. Assistant coaches don’t operate autonomously, they are the extension of the head coaches will. How much each head coach delegates to his assistants varies from HC to HC, but at the end of the day no HC worth his weight in salt ever gives up the final say in how his team operates. Ultimately the performance of the assistant coaches is a reflection of the performance of the head coach.

      2. Glenn

        Concerned Eel makes valid points but what is most frustrating is BA keeps espousing the same mantra which clearly shows he has nFi. Doing/saying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is madness and the performance on the field shows that the players have switched off. There badly needs a change and NOW!

    2. Terry

      Agree 100% with you Concerned Eel, only person that deserves a F is the coach and it ain’t for Fail!!!

  5. Michael Formosa

    To steel a quote from the great Apollo Creed!:

    “It’s over, it’s all over…….. What’s the matter with you!”

  6. Brett Allen

    Waqa was definitely our best last night, and I also think Shaun Lane was close to our best forward tonight. I never pay any attention to stats, especially stats like run metres. I know Bryce Cartwright was signed as depth and we were his last chance, but BA has got to give him more game time where he can make a difference to the result. Putting him on with 30 to go and we’re down 26-0 is pointless. Right now BA should consider starting him on the left edge instead of Papa.
    Bottom line though is our game, or “Parra footy” as it has been coined is simply too limited for the big guns at this time of the year. The problem is we don’t train for any other brand of footy, as evidenced by our frenetic attempts to shift the ball against the Roosters last week. Anyone who thinks that “Parra footy” is gonna get the job done in September is delusional.

    1. Colin Hussey

      Pretty fair call re Carty and Papa, do you swap both of them ie: starting and bench? I honestly believe that Papa is now pretty well contained as a starting forward, especially as he is running straight into the oppositions forward defence, he is not having the impact of his early form. Cartwright would be a much better option to start the game, also more game time would not hurt him.

      1. Brett Allen

        Yes it would be a straight swap. Let’s remember that Papa was signed as a bench middle not a starting edge, he’s probably overachieved a touch this year, which is why I wouldn’t be giving him a massive pay increase. A modest but meaningful increase yes, but not what other clubs are talking about offering him. In the case of Carty, he has done everything that BA has asked of him this season, he’s kept his nose clean, he’s trained the house down from all reports, and he does give us a touch of class with ball in hand which we desperately need. He’s not without risks, but you’re basically hoping that his upside outweighs his downside.

        1. Colin Hussey

          Fair call, I do believe that he should be better off the bench than run on. His couple of games in the front row did not help his game though.

        2. Anonymous

          Are you kidding, he’s been the best second rower in the comp beside Angus critchon, if critchon is on 800k papa deserves at least 600

          1. Brett Allen

            Crichton’s been doing it for years, Papa’s done it for, what 15 games, and his last month hasn’t been as good as earlier. I like Papa, and I definitely think we should try to keep him if we can, but learn the lessons from the Storm, they never overpay to keep forwards.

  7. Anonymous

    BA will be best remembered for winning two things. A spoon, and one finals game in his 8 year coaching career.

    1. Bemused Eel

      It’s interesting that as soon as someone says something remotely critical of BA they get down voted on here.

      Twitter, reddit, front row forum and 1eyed eel have all spoken and unamimously condemn BA for this late season fade. TCT is the last hold out.

      1. Offside

        TCT have been firm believers in the coach and have been given good access to the club and in a unofficial way they help the clubs PR agenda
        it’s not in their interests to speak out or say what we all know to be true.
        We have other platforms for that

        1. Curious Eel

          Thank you. It makes sense now. I am still getting down voted for being critical of BA. LOL.

          I wonder if this will be downvoted…

    2. Brett Allen

      Garbage, I might be calling for BA’s head because I think it’s time, but what he’s done for the club should never be forgotten.
      Let’s remember he inherited a team that had won back to back spoons in 2012 & 2013.
      In 2014 he took virtually the same roster plus Corey Norman to 10th spot.
      In 2015 he lost the best player the club had had in 30 years on the eve of the season to his NFL dreams, BA still managed to get us to 12th.
      In 2016 we were in the top 4 till we got done for breaching the cap, even after the fallout he still managed to get us to enough wins to make the 8 if not for losing 12 competition points.
      In 2017 we finished 4th and came within a dodgy refereeing decision of beating Melbourne in Melbourne.
      All of the above had been achieved despite the club having the most laughably amateurish board and front office environment imaginable.
      In 2018, with the club in ADMINISTRATION, and the football department’s budget stripped back to not much more than the salaries of the coaches, we won the spoon. No denying it, but clearly a fluke.
      In 2019, we rebounded to finish 5th, and yes winning our first finals game since the 2009 prelim final.
      In 2020, we led the competition for the first half of the season and finished 3rd.
      Finally in 2021, we’re still in 4th until we officially aren’t.
      We haven’t finished outside the top 8 at the end of any round since round 25, 2018. We are the only team that can make that claim, not even the Storm or Roosters can claim that.
      I will remember BA’s time for all of the above.

  8. West Coast Eel

    I must admit, I watch most games on delay. Lately I’ve been fast forwarding them and finishing in 20 mins. I’m so disappointed in what has happened to our season. I love BA, and what he has done for this club is great. But the stats don’t lie. We keep having these fade outs at seasons end. Let’s see if we can produce some miracle and do something in the coming weeks, otherwise I think it might be time for the coach to go. We’ve got a talented roster. Maybe they just need a new voice. Frustrated. Depressed. Disappointed

  9. Mr controversy aka rev

    Not commenting on the grades except for Waqa Blake. Our best player by length of the straight.

    I think it’s time to change the team around abit freshen them up let’s say.

    Ill give my Line up later.

    Gutherson looks like his injured limping along all night.

    Sivo looks like he wouldn’t hurt a fly when running.

    Opicac looks like his minds not on the job. Understandable personal reasons.

    Dylan brown should be dropped his passing game running kicking game all gone of the cliffs.

    Our forward pack looks really tired. Brads time is up. Surely the club has to part ways with him. Anyhow that’s my opinion.

    Team for next week should be.

    1. Fergo
    2. Russell
    3. Pensini
    4. Waqa
    5. Dunster
    6. smith
    7. Moses (c)
    8. Jr
    9. Lussick
    10. Papali’i
    11. Matterson
    12. Marata
    13. Cartwright.

    14. Dylan brown
    15. Hipgrave
    16. Kaufusi
    17. Lane

    18th man
    Nathan brown.

    That’s my side for next week n my opinion only.

  10. Offside

    Remember when Paulo and Brown took hit ups with intent and power instead of stopping and pivoting to pass the ball before engaging the defence?

    We are the team everyone else loves to see fail and we are doing that for them so that’s nice.

    Other clubs fans like to say how over rated Gutho is and we always defend the King but at the moment he looks very much the over rated player.

    We have reached a point where Arthur cannot keep his job as much as you guys he at TCT love the bloke and have defended him you can’t really think he’s the future anymore it’s time to say goodbye and thank you.

    I’m done the eels have finally broken me

    1. Mr controversy aka rev

      Hold the faith offside. Don’t be one of those who give after a few though loses.

      1. Offside

        Faith is gone
        Love for the club remains but faith and hope are gone.
        I’ve made the decision that if Brad remains coach after 20 years I will not renew my membership

    2. Glenn

      Hold the faith Offside. I’ve been following this team for more than 60 years and except for a few good years have suffered endless disappointments. It becomes part of your DNA, eventually, unfortunately.

  11. Anonymous

    Reed plays 76 minutes, makes 48 tackles at 99% efficiency and gets an F.
    This joins a long list of absurd ratings this season.

  12. JK Eel

    To me, the team just looks exhausted – physically, emotionally, everything. Sterlo started saying about 2 months ago that the approach in our own half (1 up, 1 up, 1 up) was going to hurt us over time. Hard to watch – I did actually dare to dream this year!

    1. Tired Eel

      Yeah they do. I wonder who’s job it is to manage the players work load, to rotate lineups and think their way around such problems? Hmm I’m at a loss. I cant think of anyone!

      Gee, I wonder why the other top 6 clubs arent having this problem right now?

  13. Anonymous

    BA is the head coach but there is a defence coach and attack coach that just seem to be getting money for nothing

  14. Luke

    So many discussion points around last nights game and the teams slide but I really wonder after 2 years of issues with defending wide so badly why is it not fixed? It doesn’t matter the cattle, the system is WRONG and every other team can see. This to me is a coaching issue and the biggest blot on the BA coaching team. Also D Brown 1 try assist in 16 games is awful for a half. Great defender but has got to offer more in attack.

  15. Bensville Darren

    Questions need to asked about Dylan Brown now. Or perhaps Joey Johns if he still has a role mentoring our halves. Brown was NIA as you suggest Mitch and has been for the previous 3 rounds. We got what we expected from Moses after returning from injury and I thought he had a good game considering. However, these last few games were an opportunity for D.Brown to step out of the Moses shadow and announce himself. But he didn’t. He hasn’t been woeful, just none existent. At least being woeful would suggest he tried but he has been a passenger. Worryingly, there is no better option. J. Arthur is too green for first grade and Will Smith has a big ticker and plenty of courage but hardly a game manager/breaker. Milford is a missed opportunity we certainly should have explored. Just like the coaching staff, I have no idea where to go from here.

    1. Offside

      Brown only offers defense I don’t know if it’s the coaching or the player but his development has stagnated.
      I’d bring Will Smith into the 6 jersey.
      One thing that doesn’t help him is playing alongside Matto who isn’t a hole runner he tends to get the ball deep if brown had marata or papi outside of him then the defence might hold back a bit

  16. BDon

    Tks Mitch, that must have been a chore to write. Yes, I saw NBrown with the Murray try, I reckon he didn’t see the offload at all, I think Gutho was in the way, but it sorta looked like our whole performance in one moment. We ran hard and tackled hard for 20 minutes,then in patches. Souths did it for 80. Any team that constantly turns the 10 into 8, has our measure, and that’s not a whinge. And I can’t offer technical reasons for poor reaction to wide shifts, but we never seem to have the numbers right and if we do, smart ball players soon stuff our numbers up. Is there a problem with middle defenders clocking off, so the problem just gets moved out wider? I give up on this one.And god bless Marata, he tried to inject some sting, Klein thought ‘who is this bloke not playing like his mates, I’d better bring him into line’.

  17. Murph

    Sitting here today trying to come up with any positives, and the Warriors/Sharks game just gave it to me. Imagine how bad it would be if we still had Kane Evans!
    The right side defence is beyond embarrassing. Only time in last two years it hasn’t been an issue was earlier this season with Marata and Fergo – we have to go back to that combo for rest of this season. As for our attaching structures, as has been said repeatedly we are so simple and predictable, which points to a coaching issue. I wish I had an answer but I don’t see how we can fix that this year, especially now with Reed likely out.

  18. Adam Stephen

    Here’s the reality from here. We are unlikely to finish top 4 now and even if we do we’ll play Storm first up and lose.

    We only need to win 1 of our last 4 games to finish 6th.

    Home ground advantage is gone for the semis so here is the plan.

    We go all out trying to beat Manly and Cowboys. All hands on deck.

    If we win one or both these games we’ve assured our spot in the semis.

    We then rest bulk players against Melbourne knowing Bellemy will almost certainly do likewise if they have top place sown up. We almost certainly lose this game regardless.

    That freshens up the squad and bring back the troops for a tune up against Penrith. We use this game to build some confidence and get finals ready.

    We then go in to the finals with a squad that will be freshened up. We play either 7th or 8th first week and if we fire, what out!

  19. Soren Lorenson

    Mitch, Tom doesnt seem the same since his brother passed away. I feel like he might need a proper break.

    1. mitch Post author

      Maybe so. If that is true it would be both understandable and an opportunity for Penisini. I wouldn’t be functioning, let alone performing at NRL level.

  20. Milo

    I won’t comment on the grades as they do little to soften the poor result. My issue is the following-

    1. Every game is tough, but this time of year is where the better teams play stronger, we seem to struggle with this as per last year too.
    2. Injuries to key spots have hurt us, but again Easts for one have got through this and whatever they are coached they seem to do, as one example.
    3. We have played v predictable for a while now, and the media have hit on it (Sterlo for one), and this is the coaching staff issue. Coaching it could be argued shows our play the ball is slow and for me this is because we are not playing numbers in attack at times; we also need the dummy to ask some questions.
    4. Defence again in certain areas are often singled out and punished with tries, this was similar to last season.
    5. In my view we were not a real top 4 team mid season, and this is starting to show. In my view we do not have the steel up front / and in some other areas and Gutherson’s spray last week was a sign of frustration and did not look good. Opacic didn’t deserve it.
    6. Errors….need i say more.
    7. We know how Souths play, ad lib through a big pack, and some tries were predictable.
    8. It bloody hurts to see your team again seem to drop at this time of the season, while other teams aim up.

    We will be lucky to win 1-2 games before the semis.
    There needs to be serious questions asked about the coaching staff, as if we continue to go backwards I can only see us diminishing in 2022, and players becoming restless, let alone managers playing us off, which is possibly already occurring.

      1. Milo

        I think the TCT boys know me after a few years here, DE. I have always respected BA and the team, its just frustrating to see us fall like this. It is not getting easier each week….

  21. Dday

    Thanks for the grades Mitch. MIA put a smile on my face.
    Very disappointing, hopes are fading rapidly. I’d love to see them emulate the fabled Cronulla effort but our confidence is shot & defence shredded.
    It seems other teams have found our kryptonite (test our flanks, look for gutho out the back in attack,
    fast compressed defence when we have the ball, make Papali do lots of defence).
    I really don’t know where they go from here…. maybe selection options or tactical changes?

    1. mitch Post author

      Appreciate you reading mate. I think let’s go all in with crazy changes. Let’s have something fun to watch, because last night was not it.

  22. greg okladnikov

    We will make the semis which is great and I hope they can turn it around but Last night showed a few key weaknesses which every team knows – the edge defence and predictable attack when under pressure. I am a fan of BA, but I think his support crew needs refreshing – our defence and attack coaches are out of ideas as it has been the same plays and the same problems for years eg – in every attacking set Moses runs across feel and just dump the ball to a forward on the inside in the attacking zone has been used for years to nil effect. and eg – our edge defence leaks tries now for years.

    And the physical style wears teams out by end of the year which may explain the fade out , or the inability to just lift that bit extra in the finals

    I think some fresh ideas are needed to help BA….or maybe some voices that will challenge him as well. Sometimes you need people around you who will challenge you to change, and even say no to some ideas

    BA as head coach with some fresh voices may be the tonic to freshen up our approach

    And with our team , we are looking for someone to step up, and when the opportunity has been there the lack of energy has been disappointing ( case in point – a player like Matt Burton – look at his game tonight)

    Who is our player who can lift the team with actions and win the 1%ers, do all the little things , and that inspirational player who lifts everyone – I thought there were some with potential this year who could have done it but when the heat has been on they have not stepped up – the ones that have stepped up regularly – Marata, Papalii – but now we need to see who the real leaders will be

    Go Parra !!

    1. Offside

      No BA is the head coach for 9 years he has had more or less the same coaches with him.
      It falls on BA end of the story he needs to go the majority of the fan base have turned I know of a few players who have lost faith in him once that happens more will follow it will grow like a cancer next year becomes a write off maybe the year after aswell

      1. Colin Hussey

        Kidwell was brought if from the Storm where he had been assistant to Bellamy, go back and one would find that Kidwell had been with the Tigers as assistant and then took over for half a year before being sacked.

    2. Milo

      Some good points, I just wanted to see us improve that little bit more this year and be ruthless particularly in defence. I have been disappointed with the attack to be honest and we know each game is tough and players get injured.
      I hoped we would make a change or two to assistants last year.

  23. The Captain

    I have enormous respect for BA and all that he has done for the club, he has done some amazing things and has taken us through the darkest of times.

    But at the same time in any performance industry you can’t rest on the history of what you have done, you’re judged based on the performance of what you’re doing right now. Brad himself holds our players to that exact standard – just look at what he did with Tim Mannah in the end, and look at Fergo right now.

    Right now it is completely fair to say that on the surface it appears as if Brad and his coaching team are holding us back as a club from reaching the next level. This isn’t a dud roster, and we’ve shown that at our best we can beat anyone. Yet we also seem to have an unaddressed issue of starting strong and falling away at the back end of the year, and that is a team management / coaching problem that needs a team management / coaching solution. Expecting the players to just “do better” is akin to a manager just whacking his/her staff and demanding they “work harder” to increase the profit margin. After a point it just doesn’t work anymore and it becomes a problem with the manager, not the staff.

    BA will always be held as an amazing servant to the club and gave up an incredible amount of himself so this club could rebuild. His goal has always been a strong, successful Parra – and the moment he is no longer trending us in that direction is the moment that someone needs to have the hard conversation with him just as he had the hard conversation with Mannah or Fergo.

    When you have hit your ceiling, you have hit your ceiling. And BA has these next few weeks to prove whether he has indeed hit his. But based on the last month it’s also very fair for the faithful Eels supporters to posture that he has had his run, taken us as far as he can go, and we need to look to a post-Brad world just like Brad looked to a post-Mannah world and landed us Paulo and RCG.

  24. Glenn

    Watching Parramatta atm is like death by a thousand cuts meets Chinese water torture meets bamboo under the finger nails. Personnel changes badly needed, bring in Makatoa and/or Hollis on bench and an injection of speed. Peninisi for Opacic, Niudruki/Russell for Sivo and Fergo back. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for BA to be proactive.)

    With our late season fade for the second year in a row surely BAs tenure is under serious threat. Lets not the ‘Mary syndrome’ (St Merge coach) drag on for years at the detriment of the club and the directors make changes at the end of this year.

  25. Trapped in the 1970’s

    I’m not a change for the sake of change type of person. If the club makes the decision to change the head coach them you need to be damn sure you get the right person otherwise you are resigning yourself to a couple of down years due to the new coach needing to settle in and it’s not his roster type of situation.

    What I do find damning is that it is BA’s roster and support staff and yet in the last two weeks the team has lost a combined 56 points to it’s for and against position to teams immediately above and below it. That in itself is worth at least two competition points.

    Sure the team has been hit in some key areas with injuries of late and that’s going to be the case going forward, but winners don’t look for excuses.

    Personally I’m a BA supporter and I believe he has done more than enough to earn that support, but if the same issues are present over the next month and the same assistants maintain their roles next year then I’d be very concerned.

    I only watched the second half of the manly/storm game last night but that was a stark reminder of how far the eels are off the pace at a time when they should be making a claim. Every set of both sides had purpose that we just don’t consistently. Is it a chicken or egg scenario, the coach or the roster, I really don’t know.

    1. Colin Hussey

      70’s, good post and agree regarding the situation. I have said for some time now that there needs to be a change with the assistant coaches, who should be more accountable within their respective roles.

      IIRC as I replied to offside above, Kidwell was brought in with the tag of defense coach and as assistant to BA, like much and several areas with the team/club things have not really changed, given the way the game is changing which can be well seen watching other games which means the coaching staff, especially the head coach has to also change when change is needed. That also includes varying tactics for every, or most games.

      Watching the first half of the Storm/Manly game last night that was without doubt a view in seeing the variations in both teams, attack as the ebb and flows changed from previous storm games, Manly was good but Storms changed tactics were of a much higher standard.

      The eels though are all but static in their plays, even though we have the players that are more than able to counter most sides, but there does need to be more changes to the team attack and defence, the old military saying that defence is the best form of attack when the conditions are right.

      We simply need new eyes that work with ideas and plans.

  26. Clive

    What we are seeing now is the result of a season where our game plan consists of bash the opposition through the middle with one out hit ups until either they or us capitulate.
    The forward pack looks exhausted and our hit ups and defence have no punch at all.

    Instead of bagging a 21yr old Dylan Brown for his lack of impact in attack look at the style of play the coach has them playing. When we spread the ball we have props playing the link roll and it’s so predictable it’s become embarrassing.

    Other teams with good running five eighths structure their attack to create for the five eight but we link props to Dylan to then focus on getting quick ball to Gutho or the centre’s. Sorry but Gutho is slow as a wet week and Opacic has no attack either. In a good attacking team Dylan would be carving teams to pieces.

    I like BA but it’s time to bring someone like Bennett in as an advisor to teach Brad how to win finals or he can pack his bags.

  27. AJAX

    Did most of us realistically expect us to win the comp this year? I can state that I didn’t expect it (Melbourne and Panthers being the strongest contenders) but I had high hopes and I of course dared to dream. The gut-wrenching thing for me is the dreaded sense of predictability…with that South’s loss in particular. Every single friend I spoke with at the start of the season thought we’d make the 8, if not the four but just could not match it with the best teams. The general consensus seemed to be that we actually are a genuine super-star player or two short of a title-contender team…It always had me thinking…have we actually got the players? Could Wayne Bennett win us a comp with the same players? Christ wouldn’t you love a Cronk…a Cameron Smith. Someone with ice in his veins and the football nous to match. For now I have my fingers AND toes crossed for the game against Manly coming up. I need a win…just so that my kids don’t have to witness their Dad crying in a foetal position anymore

  28. Michael

    Hi sixties, 40/20 and mitch. I know you guys are staunch BA supporters and so am I. He’s a Parra boy through and through but after 7 years I think we need a change. I’m talking coaching staff and players. We clearly don’t have what it takes to go to the next level with the current squad. We have had plenty of chances to prove all the doubters wrong but we can’t. I hope you don’t ignore my thoughts. I would love nothing more than for BA to be our grand final winning coach but I just can’t see it anymore, I think time is up. It really hurts to be typing these words. I have no faith in the current squad anymore.

  29. pete

    Thanks Mitch great read.
    If you look at Melbourne the bench mark…
    They lose Slater they have Pappa and Hynes and Hughes waiting in the wings…They lose Smith and they have Cheese and Harry Grant ready to go… They didn’t have a halfback and Cronk became one…Hughes transforms into Halfback because he’s needed there.. Not to mention GI and Folau…We lose Sterling, Price and Cronin and we spend 30 years trying to replace them…Our current team we lose 1 player and nobody is there to step up… Nobody is digging in.
    Did Fergo pull out because he knew he would be targeted?? Knowing a bad job would mean he won’t be resigned??
    I suspect with all the contracts coming up…the players (via their agents) know if the pressure moves onto the coach they have a better chance of getting resigned. The club re-signs the players, sacks a pretty good coach and the next coach spends 3-4 years building a new roster paying players to leave etc… Is that what we want??? NO!!
    BA has improved the club. But he needs help getting to the next level. We need a Gould like figure…Not sure who would fill that void…But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!!
    Go Eels!!

    1. Milo

      Pete, your first paragraph makes for good reading.
      Bellamy has proven runs on the board, and the players must believe in what he does and his methods. I hate the Storm but very much respect for how they have been the yardstick for ages now.
      If you watched that game last night with Manly, the lines in which both teams ran was v good, Manly particularly. They had some wonderful lines being run and were making huge inroads into Melbournes defence. But Melbourne stayed strong, and believed in the way they defend etc.
      This is what we need. We seem to telegraph some plays and I am being kind. I also noted how much Souths got on the outside of our right hand defence.
      I respect and appreciate what BA and his team have done, and yes I am waiting to see how we go over the next month or so.
      I did not think we would make the GF this year but maybe with luck we could have but the application and belief seems to have affected us in some games.
      We need to get it back otherwise it will be another similar season to the last.

  30. Steele

    Hi people. don’t know where else to post this but here are a few thoughts – hope you enjoy the read. S.

    1. Steele

         Steele’s Season Saver™
      1.      Clint Gutherson ©
      2.      Maika Sivo
      3.      Waqa Blake
      4.      Marata Niukore*
      5.      Blake Ferguson
      6.      Dylan Brown
      7.      Mitchell Moses ©
      8.      Makahesi Makatoa
      9.      Joey Lussick
      10.  Junior Paulo ©
      11.  Ryan Matterson
      12.  Isaiah Papalii
      13.  Nathan Brown
      14.  Will Smith
      15.  Oregon Kaufusi
      16.  Shaun Lane
      17.  Bryce Cartwright
      18.  Haze Dunster
      19.  Tom Opacic
      20.  Will Penisini
      21.  Wiremu Greig*

      1. Steele

        Why is this the best available 17?
        1.      Using Marata in the centres changes the way we defend outwide; As M. is neither as fast as Opa nor as atheletic as Waqa He is more likely to hold and slide rather than rush up and in. This proved effective against the storm round 2, and basically all other subsequent games save for the one occasion V the Sharks where Will Kennedy got around M. Which brings us to the next point; it re-invigorates Fergo; outside Marata, Fergo will have the extra moment or two to decide when to rush or cover in defence – as M. is more likely to hold – Fergo can trust Him to make the tackle and is therefore more inclined in turn to hold His wing. Thus eliminating a large part of our defensive frailty on this side – our rush up and ins, or our compression. In attack Fergo will be more useful as M. is a draw and pass old-school centre which suits Fergs to the ground – he can trail outside and look for a tip on or cut back inside for an offload (See Sharks game).  Cons: we lose some starch up front; but in shoring up our leaky edge D. we need arguably less, the impact M. brings to the middle. Tip on effect: Dylan defending inside M. will feel more comfortable and potentially be able to re-focus on His attack.

        1. Steele

          2.The overdue debut of a hard man; there are a growing number of fans excited to see Maka get a run in first grade – having watched all of his KOE appearances this year and one in person early on – I’ve been able to jump aboard the Maka Hype Train. He should debut this week in the starting team V Manly and play there as long as RCG is missing. Why? He’s never played an NRL game that’s true but much like last years late Bloomer (A. Davey) Makahesi is already a seasoned individual, an overcomer of hard knocks and a traveller of the world in this case – He has lived a life. (Albeit relatively short by comparison to some of us). He brings toughness, he brings effort on effort and He will bring enthusiasm, (ALL HALLMARKS OF A BRAD ARTHUR COACHED TEAM), a breath of fresh air and a rush of excitement to the assignment. He is our closest replacement forward to RCG in shape, performance & toughness (no disrespect to Oregon). But He can also play big minutes, and will not NOT be over-awed by facing the likes of Taupau and Sipley etc. – He allows our forwards to have a more normal rotation akin to what we experience when RCG is on deck.

          1. Steele

            Professional use of the interchange bench; I love the idea of BA as a coach, take no prisoners, fight hard fight early, win the war of by and through attrition – I love it. The mantra of toughness first appeals to the very soul of why I love rugby league – no HOLDS F*CKING barred. That’s what its all about after all. But I feel like sometimes BA gets confused and thinks He has to exercise these above ideas on His own Team and not just the opposition – cases in point see. (Peats, Moeroa, Mahoney) – all victims of the ‘it breeds toughness to leave them out there’ mentality. 

            With the above 17 there must be a professional, planned, proactive usage of the bench – not reactive as we have seen. For example; 25-30 mins in first half You would make first change – Makahesi and Paulo come OFF, Oregon and Lane go ON. These are the fatigue minute before half time where tries are almost worth double – get the fresh legs out there. That’s 2 changes. 35 mins. Lussick OFF / Smith ON.  This move which could be controversial sees us look to maximise the use of our starting Hooker – allowing Him the extra rest of a small breather before the enforced rest at half time. Smith can handle short stints at DH and unless we are down a try or are searching in attack we should make this change, but its arguable without Reedy, we don’t lose much un this change anyway. That’s 3 changes.

             HALF TIME.  45-50 mins. Lussick ON/ Smith OFF – now our starting 9. Can play out the game barring exhaustion or injury. Min 55 – Makatoa ON / Kaufusi OFF that’s 5 changes.  Min 60 Paulo ON / Lane OFF – Cartwright ON / N. Brown OFF7 Changes. 1 remaining. Last change could be Brown ON / Papalii OFF around 70th minute.

            Yes, there are a lot of variables to be considered injury, HIA etc but the above is based on ideal game conditions and the point of this exercise is to suggest there be a baseline of how interchanges occur I don’t think we have that at the moment and if we do it ain’t working. The above maximises the minutes for our key players – I suggest this be the plan and altered only in the event of injury, hia or someone having a ‘hot hand’ and being left out there to cause the damage. It must be adaptable that’s for certain.

          2. Steele

            4. Finally…share the load – don’t blow it; starting immediately captaincy should be shared 3 ways – JP Mitch and Gutho are already part of the leadership group but Gutherson’s load should be lightened by having these other 2 senior players step up to the mark – Mitch is the on-field general for the most part anyway and Junez is so well spoken and articulate and GIANT that what referee could honestly suggest anything other than agreeing to everything He says. 

            Spread the load around, Gutho to address the ref.

            Junez to marshall the forwards and lead the line speed when He’s on.

            Mitch to make the In-game decisions re penalties etc. Unless there is word from the bench.

             Sure, I get it – we only need 1 Captain. But we aren’t the tigers or panthers with a 6 man circle jerk leadership/captaincy crew. We are the Eels and we have 3 genuinely smart footballers who are Rep calibre and leaders of their groups not giving the boys more responsibility and not easing the load of the under pressure Gutherson would be akin to having a full dinner set of cutlery but only using the dessert spoon because it’s the right size for ice-cream – WE HAVE OTHER TOOLS LET’s USE THEM!

          3. Steele

            Concluding remarks;

            I realise this is basically shouting into the void here, but I am not quite ready to give up on the eels season just yet, everyone talks about premiership windows etc. but all it really comes down to in the end is can any given team win 3/4 finals games in a row. That’s it – no more, no less – just win a few in a row. The 2021 Eels can do that. So could Manly, Storm, Panthers or Rabbits – We are there, let’s play like we mean it, stick to what we know and give the rest of those trash talking, no-hoping commentating bastards exactly what they need a big serving of humble pie.

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