The Cumberland Throw

The Tip Sheet – 2022 Ep 1: General Manager Of Football Mark O’Neill Kickstarts Season 2022

The Tip Sheet is also available on Spotify and iTunes!

The Tip Sheet lights the fuse on a huge season for the Blue & Gold with an exclusive catch-up with Mark O’Neill. The General Manager of Football joins Sixties and Forty20 ahead of the upcoming season to talk recruitment and retention, club depth, the impact of COVID and the rise of the NRLW squad.

O’Neill answers a flurry of questions about Parramatta’s hectic offseason which saw the loss of several core players as well as the retentions of club cornerstones in Clinton Gutherson, Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard. Not to be forgotten either are the additions of Bailey Simonsson and Mitch Rein and their potential impact on 2022 is discussed.

The club’s depth and success of its NSW Cup squad in 2021 becomes the next focal point for the show as the trio explore the club’s pathways in relation to the ever looming spectre of COVID and how it could all influence the upcoming season.

The first show of the year wraps up with a look at the additions of Michael Ennis, Paul McGregor and Simon (sorry, ‘Germ’) Woolford to the coaching staff and the outlook for the Eels in the maiden NRLW campaign.

If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.
Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Big Derek

That was an invaluable insight into the work going on at the club, even more valuable was that there were questions asked in a very respectful manner which elicited the answers needed. The positive outlook was refreshing, and the explanation around the salary cap and future seasons showed the complex nature of cap management and the forward thinking needed to ensure it doesn’t overwhelm the planning of future seasons. Bringing the extra resources on board in Macgregor and Ennis , and the growth of Ryan Carr are really positive for the club. As a fan base that is known to… Read more »


Thanks for listening Derek and for this feedback. There is plenty to be positive about and having spoken with Mark in organising this interview, and again at the junior rep trials last Saturday, he is genuinely enthused about the season ahead and about the direction of the Eels.

Colin Hussey

Glad to see Ryan Carr’s name mention, he was one that I could not remember his name in the previous post I made.


He’s doing a terrific job Colin


Fantastic podcast boys. Insightful and intelligent conversation. Cannot wait for the 2022 season.

Parramatta from top to bottom have been building in the right direction the last 5 years and I couldn’t be more excited to see this side to rip in.


Up the mighty Eels


Thanks Nick. There’s certainly some talent coming through and plenty to look forward to.


Premierships are so hard to win but while ever the club continues with its policy of prioritizing keeping itself in the top group the cards may just fall our way , despite what the naysayers think the clubs never been in better hands !!!!


Agreed Anon. Having a flash in the pan year followed by struggle seasons is something that the club will avoid. The intent is to be resident in the top echelon

John Eel

I really enjoyed the interview with Mark O’Neill. He is very considered in his commentary and I think we are in good hands. I particularly like the approach that we aim to be in the top four each season with a GF front of mind. I have heard many Eels supporters who subscribe to the theory that players leaving should be banished to state league. If I may I would like to show why that type of thinking is absurd. As a bit of fantasy If you were to apply the 2023 salaries of Mahoney, Niukore, Papali’i, Kaufusi and Stone… Read more »


Players sign 12 month contracts for clubs and they even sign mid season like Pangai junior in 2021. I see this as better than those 12 month deals because the players have a history with the club and bonds with their team mates. They will give it a red hot crack.

Last edited 1 year ago by sixties
John Eel

Very good point


😁 😁 😁


awesome job guys, much appreciate the effort you put in to bring us eels content. sounds exciting, Mark appears to be a switched on and positive sort of guy.


Thanks Anon. We are very appreciative that Mark was happy to have this chat with us. He was happy to discuss any topic which was quite impressive. And as you noted, he’s really positive about what lies ahead.

Last edited 1 year ago by sixties

Thanks guys that was a top interview. Despite what the flogs on NRL360 & the Telegraph think, I actually think Mark has done an outstanding job since he’s been onboard. Our recruitment & retention is miles ahead of where it used to be and that shows in our consistent performance year after year. Love the addition of some new coaches to help BA out this season. I can feel a very good year coming up!!


Cheers Macca. I agree with you, but I guess that recognition by the critics won’t come our way until we clock up a few more years of being regular finalists. I’m confident of a top 4 finish this year.


Interesting interview.
Still have reservations with the recruitment teams ability to prioritise which players too keep and also the coaching teams ability to win big games.
We need a bit more than the coaches “front load our effort philosophy”.
We have been pulled apart on our edges every year that the coach has been in charge, at least one game every season where we have 50+ put on us.
I hope I am wrong but I see us scraping into the 8 this year and a missing the 8 in 2023.


I reckon we produced more than a front load philosophy last year. Our slump hit with that relocation, and that’s no excuse, just a fact that the team struggled with the situation. When they turned it around to beat the Storm over 80 tough minutes it was a sign of their positive mindset. Parra were ridiculously unlucky against the Riff. If we had just one of those three unavailable dummy halves we get home.


Great podcast guys. So good to hear from Mark O’Neil… We all have been critical at times of the loss of fan favorites. But listening to Mark O’Neil gives a bit of an insight of the balancing act that’s required to manage the cap and the roster whilst trying to keep fans and members happy. It’s basically a high wire act whilst juggling multiple chainsaws as we in the crowd cheer and sometimes gasp as things are caught or dropped…We will invariably lose players. But as he said if we have a system that generates replacement that is a great… Read more »


Appreciate your feedback Pete. And as I said in an earlier response, Mark was happy to field any question.


What a good way to establish where we are for 2022/3. O’Neill comes across as knowledgeable and authorative – perfect place to handle negotiations. The losses must have hurt but he seems at ease (“players leave with the club’s blessing”) with the results which suggests he explored every option but they were worth more to other clubs.  


Thanks for the reply DDay. It’s a tough reality to face for us supporters. But if we were to add up the salaries of the players we lost – what they were on with us and what they have received at other clubs, it starts to give you an idea about the cost to the cap of trying to keep everyone. The reality is that the players wanted (and earned) bigger contracts. We were going to lose some.

Lou Lou

Great podcast guys!
Mark spoke very well and it was nice to talk about that background information on decision making and process that people often don’t hear or understand.
I totally get the balancing act that come with player retention but will still be very sad to see Reed go at the end of 2022.
Let’s just hope its after a cracking year! 💙💛

Last edited 1 year ago by Lou Lou

Appreciate the feedback Lou Lou.
What wasn’t spoken about was how far the club has come in handling the cap. That’s because it’s in the past and as you said, let’s look to a cracking year ahead

Gil Carter

Fantastic to hear that interview boys! The head of football is a big deal in NRL these days. To have no leaks from our club for a couple of years is a bonus. When you have clowns like Phil Gould spouting shit every day, I can’t see the Dogs doing much this year either. One thing I wanted to ask is when will the NRWL become fully professional with a real competition, same number of teams, same rounds as the NRL, they’d be like the old reserve grade before every game. I’d go to that, I love watching the ladies… Read more »


Thanks for your reply Gil. Hopefully you enjoy my NRLW training report.
The NRLW isn’t rushing their growth. Unlike the AFLW who have spread their talent thinly over far too many teams, the NRLW will take steady steps. I’m expecting that the Warriors will come back in along with another club in a couple of years. And I reckon 8 teams might be a good number for a few seasons.


Great to hear from Mark O’Neil. Hopefully we hear from him several times throughout the year. It’s important to get his thoughts & opinions out to the supporters.


Thanks for your reply Troy. I agree. And we’re very happy to be able to bring Mark’s thoughts and the club’s rationale about decisions and processes to the fans.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x