The Cumberland Throw

The Preview – Semi Final, 2021: Eels vs Panthers

Game Info

Date: Saturday September 18, 2021

Venue: BB Print Stadium, Mackay

Kick Off: 7:50PM AEST

Referee: Ashley Klein

Head-to-head: Played 102, Parramatta 58, Penrith 43, Drawn 1

Odds: Eels $4.30 Panthers $1.22

Broadcast: Nine, Fox League, Kayo

Last Four Encounters:

Penrith Panthers 40 d Parramatta Eels NSW Cup 6, Gold Coast, R25 2021

Penrith Panthers 13 d Parramatta Eels 12, Penrith Stadium, R16 2021

Penrith Panthers 20 d Parramatta Eels 2, Penrith Stadium, R18 2020

Parramatta Eels 16 d Penrith Panthers 10, Bankwest Stadium, R5 2020


Welcome to season 2021, Parramatta. If you believe the media, the fans, and the first TCT preview of the year (yeah I’m as guilty as anybody) the Eels’ season officially begins this weekend with a week two elimination semi final against the once-premiership favourite Penrith Panthers. Win and we are a success, lose and we’re miserable failures. No pressure, Brad.

COVID has stolen much of the gravitas this game should have, a “Battle of the West” between two bitter rivals fighting for their season, a game likely to have been played in front of 80,000 had it happened in normal times (or maybe not, you know rugby league self interest would have ensured this was played in front of 18,000 at Penrith instead). The Eels aren’t given much of a hope, which, fair enough, Penrith lost one regular season game all year outside of Origin, they’ve handled Parramatta in two of their last three and belted the Eels NSW Cup team in the other. They’re one of the “big two” this year, ambushed by a master coach last week and forced to take the hard path to their rightful premiership.

You’d be “suggest seven tackle sets for kicks into touch” level crazy to call the Eels run into the 2021 finals an ideal preparation, but bizarrely they appear to be at the crest of their performance curve coming into this match. Mitchell Moses is coming off one of his career best efforts, the forward pack are monsters, Ray Stone is our secret defensive weapon and Will Penisini has emerged as an NRL ready player on both sides of the ball. Give me this prep over losing only your second full strength game of the year and your coach being pantsed in a mental battle by the oldest head in the game.

It’s the big time, Eels fans. This is it, get excited and sink your teeth into the meatiest preview of the 2021 season. May it not be the last!


Forty’s Flutter

Full disclosure…I am a terrible punter and almost never take a flutter. Still, circumstance has thrust me into these responsibilities so let’s go!

Listeners of The Tip Sheet will know that I backed the big man Reagan Campbell-Gillard in for first try and Sportsbet are offering a very handsome $126.00 for the most recognisable moustache in the game to draw first blood.

If you aren’t feeling the love for ‘RCG’ to score first but do want something a great deal more exotic than let’s see what a reasonable same game multi can net this week. Opting for an adventurous 5-leg multi:

  • Parramatta Eels to win head-to-head @$4.25
  • Blake Ferguson Anytime Tryscorer @$2.30
  • Mitchell Moses Anytime Tryscorer @$6.50
  • Parramatta Eels Little Win (1-12) @$5.00
  • Blake Ferguson To Score 2 Or More Tries @$8.00

This will net a payout $131.00 for a dollar investment and while a 5-leg multi leaves a lot to ride on the field, there is some logic here. Taking the Eels on both head-to-head and for the small margin is quite straight forward but the Blue & Gold and undefeated this year when ‘Fergo’ nabs a double. Throw in his excellent strike rate in the finals and the imperious form that Mitchell Moses finds himself in and the moving parts start to work in synchronicity.

Be warned for those taking this flutter though, this is an agriculturally educated punt from a noted non-punter!


How we look

Parramatta isn’t getting much credit for their win last week, but it was a strong performance with a couple of blips that the Knights took advantage of to keep it close. Most of those blips occurred on the maligned right edge, but it took some very good plays from a very good player to exploit them. The important part for me was the building blocks for any Eels finals success against the elite teams were in place: the forwards were dominant and Mitchell Moses was in control.

You’ll know the Eels chances are good if Gutho is getting the ball with space on the edge early on.

The numbers confirm that analysis. The Eels had a significant possession advantage despite the Knights completing at 89% and Parramatta beat out Newcastle in average set distance by 5 metres per set. They dominated run metres and post contact metres, and by the eye test you could tell they were in command.

An underappreciated reason for this was the help the pack got from the backs. The entire back five ran for 149m or more, starting sets strong and taking massive pressure off the middle in tough conditions. For the last ten minutes Newcastle looked a lot like Melbourne a couple weeks before: they knew what they had to do, but were too tired to execute effectively. I won’t say I’ll feel comfortable if the Eels are holding less than a 6 point lead in the last ten, this is a side that is susceptible to fluke and “fling it around” plays, but I’m confident it will take that kind of miracle play to break them if they have ascendancy in the late stages.

The blueprint for victory is the same as that Melbourne game. Previously undiscovered discipline in the edge defence, really taking it to the Panthers pack and dominating the middle, reducing their chances and forcing them to play a bit more and open up the chance for mistakes. In attack, spreading off of good ball, getting Clint Gutherson involved in the line when the defence hasn’t had a chance to rush him, and good movement off the ball that opens up plays like the floating NFL passes that Fergo ran onto last weekend. Angled runs and convincing lines were the order of the day against Melbourne, and we need more of that rather than “through the motions” block plays that can be safely ignored by defenders.

The Eels cannot panic. Penrith is a tough nut to crack, and they scramble to the edge well. Parramatta needs to be patient, go for the repeat set when they need to, set up their plays with meaningful running in the middle and springing into action off of good play-the-balls and offloads. Don’t be afraid to get Penisini and Blake early ball in mid field and let them dance around Kikau, Martin and Capewell, then rely on Gutho, Dylan Brown and Moses to be there in support. 



1. Clint Gutherson 2. Haze Dunster 3. Will Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Ray Stone 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Nathan Brown. 14. Will Smith 15. Isaiah Papali’i 16. Bryce Cartwright 17. Ryan Matterson. 18. Makahesi Makatoa 19. Oregon Kaufusi 20. Tom Opacic 21. Jake Arthur. 

We are assured that Stoney will be given a properly sized  jersey come Saturday night.

Only one change to the team from last week, with Ryan Matterson pushing Makahesi Makatoa off the bench and into the reserves. Matterson was controversially and somewhat confusingly demoted last week, and while we don’t really know what went on there I can’t argue with the strategy of playing your best 17 players, even if it comes at the expense of the high effort Makatoa.

Joey Lussick has not returned, which may scare the Panthers more than Eels fans as it means “Stone Fold” Ray Stone gets the start and will be out to snap some runners in half once again. He monstered James Fisher-Harris last time out, and it got to the point that Newcastle players were actively avoiding running at him last week. We haven’t had a defensive difference maker like that at Parramatta since Manu Ma’u, and I am loving every second of it.

Just a reminder to Eels fans that we are going into this game without our starting hooker, who has been one of the top three in the NRL at the position this season, as well as our top try scorer from the last two seasons and the biggest one-on-one threat in the team. On top of that, our second and third choice hookers are out as well. Remember all of this before jumping on the keyboard and calling for Brad Arthur’s head should the unthinkable happen in this one. All of this media talk about trouble if Parramatta lose this weekend is trash, completely devoid of context and put out there to rile up a fan base that should know better than to fall for it time and time again.


1.Dylan Edwards 2. Stephen Crichton 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Matt Burton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo. 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Tevita Pangai Junior 17. Liam Martin. 18. Spencer Leniu 19. Izack Tago 20. Brent Naden 21. Tyrone May. 

Full strength for Penrith here, though a few changes have been made across the squad through the year. Stephen Crichton has been demoted from centre to wing, Paul Momirovski has pushed Brent Naden to the extended reserves and late arrival Tevita Pangai takes a place on the bench. Ivan Cleary has made a late shuffle some weeks between Kikau and Martin, but Kikau isn’t an 80 minute player anyway so you’re seeing just as much of him regardless of where he starts.

I think the NRL rules that allowed Tevita Pangai to join the Panthers for two months and a premiership tilt are a joke, but I wonder what bringing an outsider into this group has done to a team that wears its tight chemistry on its sleeve. It isn’t just throwing a new personality into the mix (one that caused enough trouble in Brisbane to see him punted early);  you can’t think that the Penrith core love seeing young guys like Tago and Leniu miss out on finals games just so this blow-in can play. Pangai is a very dangerous runner and a real threat close to the line, but bringing a mercenary into this tight-knit group of players that came up through the grades together may have upset the apple cart a touch.


We’re up in steamy Mackay at the stadium named after a local business for this elimination final, truly a timeline I never saw coming. Last week I could deal with it, but this week it really hurts to not be out there in the stands for an Eels final, being locked down in Sydney. It will be dry but hot on Saturday night, but conditions shouldn’t have a big impact in this one.

Ashley Klein is again the referee, and I have to say if the NRL is going to continue to pick him for big games, I’m going to start believing they think he is one of their best referees. He’s usually good for an inexplicable and inconsistent six again call or two, but he also missed a massive kick blocker from the Knights during “crack down on kick blockers” round, so I’d expect he will be watching that fairly closely this week. The NRL has certainly encouraged referees to “let the boys play” a bit and six again numbers are down, that plays to Penrith’s advantage more than the Eels as they are masters of exploiting early tackle slowdown tactics.

Incumbent NSW halfback Mitchell Moses will be crucial to the Eels chances

There has been a lot of talk about footballing mind games this week in the wake of Wayne Bennett teaching Ivan Cleary a lesson in finals week media manipulation. Getting the last word and winning the game helps too, but in the end Cleary spent the press conference sooking about referee influence and rules, deflecting a substandard performance from his team. 

Teams take on the disposition of their coach, and while Ivan Cleary was calling conspiracy, as if that was the only possible way his invincible Panthers could be bested, perhaps he should have been looking inward at a tired forward pack and a five eighth whose electric running game and dazzling footwork has been reduced to simple early ball distribution.

Maybe Brad Arthur gets in the ear of refs boss Jared Maxwell every week for a nice chat, but he never says a peep about referees in public and that is something I appreciate. Fans are all too quick to blame officiating for losses, but coaches can’t offer their players an easy out to excuse poor performances like Cleary did last week. Hopefully Penrith spent the week moaning about referees and thinking “we’ll get it this week” rather than in self-reflection about why they’ve played one, maybe two good games of footy since Origin I.

In saying that, Brad Arthur is not the man I would be backing in a battle of mind games, mainly because he’d be like a horse that refuses to jump and wouldn’t participate in the race, and you don’t get a refund from the TAB because your horse won’t run. He got this team up for the Melbourne game a few weeks ago, and they played some good footy last weekend. It appears the Eels are in solid mental shape for this one, so let’s hope BAs understated approach can get it done this time around.

The Opposition

Last time we played Penrith I used this section as an opportunity to dispel the myth around Viliame Kikau. This time around it is Jarome Luai in my sights. The Origin half has managed a paltry five try assists since State of Origin, three of those coming against the Wentworthville Magpies in round 25. He’s shifted from an elusive, darting runner to a basic distributor, not engaging the line and content to feed early ball to Kikau and Burton, unable to take advantage of their strong line running. Most of his try assists in round 25 came from scrum set plays, which shouldn’t be a sustainable method of attack against defenders who have actually met each other before the game (Michael Oldfield was responsible for TEN try concedes in his two games this year, surely an NRL record). If Luai takes the line on early and reverses play then look out, Luai is back, but despite the smug smiles, head rubs and over-celebrations he is playing like a man down on confidence.

That puts a lot of pressure on Nathan Cleary, who still has some question marks over him in big game performances. You know what is dangerous about Cleary: he has the best short kicking game in the NRL, is a dangerous ball runner who picks his moments well, and his decision making is top class. Of course, all of this development has happened in the last two years while he plays behind the best go-forward pack in the NRL. He was quiet last week behind a beaten pack, and it will be no secret that the key to a Parramatta upset is similarly unsettling the Panthers middle.

The man and the mo, who has gone out of his way this week to let everybody know how okay he is with his former team. (I don’t think he’s okay with them)

So why is that middle so good, and why do Penrith dominate net post contact metres? (Thanks Eye Test for this awesome stat) The Panthers do their thing in the ruck like most good teams do, they slow down the early tackles and are happy to give away a six again, but once the set is on an even footing, Penrith are masters at limiting PCM. In the round 16 game I noted how good Penrith were at playing rugby union; they make impressive first contact and are masters at driving runners backward in the tackle. Being able to both push a runner backwards and then wrestle a slow play-the-ball has been crucial to their success in the ruck. It is one thing to put on the big hit and drive someone back, but often the result is a rolling tackle where the carrier can recover and get a play-the-ball against an offset marker. Penrith don’t give that away, they drive the runner backwards and buy themselves the time to set up a defensive line.

How do you beat tactics like that? You throw that extra pass, you dig into the line and get the ball away and you run angles and inside balls at the edges. We’ll talk about the potential to attack the Panthers edge defenders in a bit, but Parramatta has proven very effective at these ruck tactics in some games and hopelessly stuck in their ways in others. Against South Sydney they ran into the brick wall all game, never shifting, never adjusting to the rushing inside defence that the Rabbitohs employ with such success against us. In other games we’ve seen Nathan Brown and Junior Paulo dig well into the line and throw those passes to backs with room to move, and angling back behind the ruck is clearly a strategy the Eels have used to target and fatigue defenders. Backs getting a chance to put footwork on around the edge will also be important, but it will come after strong middle work.

The comments last weekend were that the Panthers looked a tired football side. South Sydney played a similar game to how they’ve dominated the Eels; overperformance in the middle and shutting down post contact metres and quick play-the-balls. Penrith don’t often lose the run metres or PCM battle, and their pack did not respond well to adversity. Parramatta doesn’t have that same pressuring defence that drives teams back, at least not for sustained periods, but the first half of round 25 gave a fairly good indicator of what good line speed, some well timed big efforts and the addition of Ray Stone can do to slow Penrith down.

Penrith is a dangerous left edge side, which is always a risk for a Parramatta team that has had ongoing issues defending their right side for 2+ years. Blake Ferguson should be instructed to never let Brian To’o move outside his right shoulder, just don’t give that space. That puts pressure on Marata Niukore and Will Penisini to handle the dangerous Burton and Kikau, but the Eels have done a great job on Kikau in recent years and Penisini has proven himself a strong defender in his limited first grade chances. Penrith doesn’t mind an early shift either, with Burton fifth in the NRL in line breaks, so trust on that edge will be crucial. The only way I can feel confident about that edge defence is by limiting the times it is needed, hence why field position will be so crucial this weekend.

Special note should be made of Isaah Yeo, who is a key distributor for Penrith and is the man who creates the one-on-one space for Cleary, particularly on the right side. He runs hard enough that he demands attention, and his “dig in and pass” is among the best in the NRL. Getting the balance right of stopping Yeo but not over-committing and leaving the right edge hanging will be very important, but like avoiding the right edge defensive issues, the best way to defend it is to prevent the opportunities.

On the defensive side, Penrith are nearly unbreakable. They have no weak point in the defensive line, conceding tries equally across both edges and middle, and none in notable numbers. The two players most responsible for line break concedes this year are Tevita Pangai, who conceded almost all of those for Brisbane, and Charlie Staines, who isn’t in the 21. One interesting note on the Panthers try concede numbers: where wingers lead these numbers in most clubs, for Penrith the centres Burton and Momirovski are up the top of the list, alongside fellow centre drifters Naden and Crichton. It suggests there is some hope in hitting the short man on backline movements, players like Papali’i and Lane will be crucial to run convincing lines on those spreads, and both Waqa Blake and Will Penisini should get a chance to show some of their elite footwork.

Another ex-Panther who has found form in recent weeks is the much maligned Waqa Blake. 

There are a couple of areas to attack the Panthers pack. Liam Martin off the bench sits fourth in the NRL in missed tackles and fifth in ineffective tackles. He’s a strong attacking player, but he could also be a catalyst for the Eels middle dominance if he falls off a few tackles and allows some Junior Paulo offloads. Martin has a worrying 83% tackle efficiency, only slightly better than Kurt Capewell (85%) and Viliame Kikau (87%). For reference, Nathan Brown has the lowest effective tackle rate of Eels forwards, at 87%, but making 200 more tackles than Kikau. It might be a stretch to call it a weakness, but the Eels could find joy in the ruck battle if they move outside the middle and work those edge defenders.

In what shapes up as a battle of field position, we have to talk about Brian To’o. He sits first in the NRL in running metres, runs longer than 8 metres and one pass runs. He is fourth in tackle breaks and sixth in line breaks, and a big reason why Penrith starts its sets on the front foot. His 2.5 average kick returns per game suggest most teams are more comfortable with the threat of his hard carries on tackle one than risking him running in the broken field, a theory backed up by Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards leading all players in average kick returns per game. Nobody is kicking to To’o.

Like Jason Taumalolo in previous years, I’m happy to let To’o get his and know there are other spots in the Panthers team you can work over. To’o making ten metres on tackle one won’t mean much if you can cut Fisher-Harris or Leota in half on their first carries and stop all momentum. I have plenty of fear of what happens when Blake Ferguson inevitably rushes in on Burton and Luai finds To’o over the top in space, but To’o running it back on tackle one I can live with as a containable threat.

The story

It’s fair to say this will be a game of opportunities. Penrith’s attack will take advantage of their opportunities at a greater rate than the Eels, and their defence will hold for longer than Parramatta’s will. That means Brad Arthur’s men need to win the field position battle and the opportunity battle convincingly to overcome the averages. Good execution and strong defence from the Eels will help to even the odds, but the best path to winning is a lopsided “tackled in attacking 20” count to the Blue & Gold.

The one man the Eels need to contain more than any other is Api Koroisau. He’s been a real Eel-killer in recent games, taking advantage of some lazy defence and striking unaware defenders. He has turned the momentum in several recent clashes, and single handedly ruined Parramatta dominance with opportunistic tries. We can’t overcommit, but don’t make it easy on him. If Penrith win this one, he’s my tip for man of the match.

Penrith looks like a tired football team. Is this the team of destiny, or is it a side that has just two dominant performances to its name since State of Origin, one of those coming against the Wentworthville Magpies (yes, yes, I know Wenty aren’t our feeder team anymore, just run with it for the purpose of the joke, please). The imminent threat of a season wasted will do wonders to their motivation and gas tanks, but I’ll be betting that if the Eels win this game, it will be because they broke through in those ten minutes before and after halftime.

Parramatta is the underdog here for a reason. We’ve been inconsistent, downright terrible at times, and we’ve done little to convince the neutral observer that things are any different to the years gone by where the Eels have fallen short in this very week. The very best Parramatta performance has a good chance to beat Penrith or Melbourne, but those very bests happen only a couple of times a year and rarely back-to-back. The Eels can go on a premiership run, but it requires a lot to go right.

Another man who will be crucial to the Eels chances, and is coming good at the right time of year.

Penrith is a well oiled machine. You can count their legitimate losses over the last two years on one hand with a finger spare to flip the bird at Ivan Cleary from the stands. One of those losses was to Parramatta all the way back in round 5 last year, another was last week, and one more was the 2020 grand final. A game against the Eels, their last clash, and a big game, all three are good omens for Parramatta. 

Penrith has the form on the board, they’ve proven themselves able to back up big efforts with big efforts, they’ve won a lot of close games and dominated fellow top eight contenders. To tip Parramatta here you are hoping for an anomaly, for Penrith to not be as good as they could be, for Parramatta to be near their best. I’m feeling it. 

I was hopeful last year against South Sydney and in 2019 against Melbourne, but I didn’t truly believe in the Eels’ hopes. Parramatta jumped at $3.00 against Melbourne in 2019, $3.25 against Souths in 2020, and are well over $4.00 this weekend. Punters clearly don’t believe in Parramatta, but they should. This is our best chance at making the third week of finals in three seasons.

Some of that is feeling the Panthers aren’t as good as they think they are, some of that is belief in this Eels team, some of that is looking at this game with one blue eye and one gold. I’m pumped, and I believe. Let’s get this Parra, do us proud! Go you Eels!

Prediction: Parramatta Eels 22 d Penrith Panthers 18

Man of the Match: Reagan Campbell-Gillard

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26 thoughts on “The Preview – Semi Final, 2021: Eels vs Panthers

  1. Choppy

    Very thorough write up. I just want to see us stick it to the Panthers, win, lose or draw. We’re not the favourites as you said – massive underdogs actually, so I’m actually calmer about this game than I was last week.

  2. Zero58

    Vary rarely do the bookies get it wrong when laying odds. The punter’s money can influence betting however we are happy for Penrith to start favorites.
    Penrith were disappointing last week but, the question we must consider is – will they improve on last week?
    As we well know, like a well propaganda machine they have been indoctrinated to hate Parra. That is where their lift will come. Will that make them better? No!!!
    Parra’s defence last in the middle was ruthless and if they turn up with that same mindset – Penrith will fall.
    Not a lot of points in this one. Parra 20 Penrith 12. Mitchell is not going to miss this week.

    1. sixties

      Zero, Manly certainly bounced back last night, but the Roosters had nothing left. Parra have bounced back from that late season run of poor footy and it seems like fresh legs running them home.

  3. Parramattius Eelius

    Kick to To’o.

    Fergo can jump over him.

    Gives Fergo some try scoring chances and also makes To’o carry on play 1 – meaning he can’t take the 2nd tackle meterage run.

  4. Colin Hussey

    Souths did a job on the riff last weekend, and watching the way Ivan was spitting chips still on the tv tonight shows he’s one not too happy chappy. Also watching some of the rif players at training, showing mutted faces until the cameras came on them, is one of two things,
    1: Cocky and over confitent, 2: Cocky, not as much, and somewhat worried.

    I would say that Reg will put some dents & dints into some of the riff players but they also have some players capable of the same. Tells me its going to be a game of real contrition to see who outlasts who.

    API & his DH runs, and Cleary with his kicks are the primary two areas I believe that need to be seriously covered by set players, Stone for Api, and a fast half to go for Cleary, mainly to put him off with his kicks.

    While I am no Kline fan, I though his refing last week was generally fair, if we get the same this week it should equal out aspects of both teams.

    Eels by a couple.

    1. sixties

      Colin, I agree about some of their overconfidence, but then I think that blokes like Fisher-Harris, Yeo, Cleary and Api K are quality players who won’t get carried away, and JL has been quiet and will likely bounce back for a game like this.
      We will win this in the middle but we need Gutho to be at his best, lurking around the ruck for half breaks to support, or the opportunity to duck out of dummy half himself.

      1. Colin Hussey

        Mate. Having read some of the reviews and other experts opinions this game is going to be a tough & hard slogg, the lose of To’o for the rif removes a danger player with speed and great footwork, cannot comment about his replacement though

        I would believe that Cleary will be varying his kicks but also from different spots in the team, the vast number from behind a riff cluster of players to block any attempts to get to him. His twirling kicks will be huge especially near the posts and his ability to curve them in the in goal area. Can be lose either way, let it role with the hope of going over the dead ball line or get to it quick and ground it, giving them another set.?

        Its going to be a real witts game for me. Perhaps something similar to last nights game. At least both teams tonight will be at full strength.

  5. Peter Prediction

    To’o is out and suddenly, the Eels look a little bit stronger. Cleary will still be under more pressure than usual without the comfort of the block plays and second-guessing himself. Keeping Penrith down at their end and pressuring the kick will go a long way to shutting the Riff down.

    I think one aspect we have improved upon recently is the contribution of our outside backs in carting the ball back. Waqa is back in form; Penisini eats up the metres; Dunster’s early set runs have been surprisingly effective and Fergo is always hard to tackle. If we keep Penrith down their end we go a long way towards winning.

    Parramatta 28 Penrith 10

    First try scorer: Shaun Lane
    Man of the match: Mitchell Moses

    1. sixties

      That territorial dominance is always present when the Eels execute well.
      I’ll be looking for early signs of sticking to those basics.

  6. John Eel

    Should the Eels win tonight it will be the biggest victory of the BA era.

    So long as the forwards do what they have been doing in the last few weeks and we reduce our errors to what we achieved against Melbourne.

    We will win. Eels by 10

    1. Cryptic Eel

      Agreed John, I’d love to see it for BA and the team. “Maintain the rage” and “clinical execution” might be opposing mindsets but somehow we have to blend them to achieve physical dominance with a low error count. Crucial for victory, go you awesome Eels.

      PS love your work Gol!

    2. Colin Hussey

      Looking forward to this one John, and we should win it through the forwards, hopefully fergs will defend his side better and not come in as much.

      Doubt there will be more than 10 in it.

  7. BDon

    Tks Gol, great overview. Last night the Roosters handed the game to Manly through poor, make that abysmal, discipline. I was amused by commentators who were saying Des wanted a good start and that’s what Manly have done. No, the Roosters got a dog of a start and never got much better. So there’s the lesson, composure, discipline, compete hard and anything can happen. Just don’t keep inviting the Panthers to find rhythm vía cheap ball.

  8. pete

    Great write up Gol,
    This is going to be a blockbuster!
    I think our boys watched on while the arrogant Panthers high fiving and celebrating over the top of our young guys in Rd 25. Now it’s payback time!!
    There’s going to be some sore and sorry Panthers tomorrow as Mad Monday is coming early for them.
    Go Eels!!

  9. Milo

    We just need to be v good at our game tonight; simple as that; get a huge run to Cleary when he kicks and let him know we are there every set of 6; belt him each time we have the chance.
    For me, our forwards can dominate them; and Stone needs to be strong around the ruck and just be simple at DH; our spine have to be very good, each of them.
    I am quietly confident. The key is not to allow cheap points..! i know its easy to say, but we just to have to apply and believe like we did against Melb.
    Penrith are there for the taking IMO.

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