The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Top 4 Thunderdome Edition



Can you feel the electricity in the air this week? Short of playing for the minor premiership, the stakes don’t get any higher for the Parramatta Eels in Round 25. A Top 4 berth is on the line and the only thing standing between them and that coveted prize is the Melbourne Storm. No big deal.

Even considering the impracticality of a Thursday night game for those juggling the responsibilities of work and/or families, I sure hope CommBank Stadium is a sell out this week. Regular season games don’t get any bigger and given the storied rivalry between these two teams, nigh on 30,000 roaring home fans could absolutely be a difference in the contest. Let’s see a flood of Blue & Gold turn CommBank Stadium into the titular Thunderdome.

Brad Arthur has enjoyed as smooth a run into this game as a NRL coach could expect with comprehensive victories over the Bulldogs and Broncos in the last fortnight. It comes as little surprise that he is fielding an unchanged coming into this must-win match up. Indeed the only consideration comes on the bench between Jake Arthur and Bryce Cartwright. Presently, young Jake looks to be in the box seat having been named in the #15 jersey but that could easily change by Thursday.

Otherwise the Eels are just humming along. There are no nagging injury clouds while individual form concerns have largely evaporated. They are as ready as you can be for both this clash and then what lies beyond. On the other side of the field the Storm are close to full strength, well at least considering their long term injuries, although they are quite lucky to be with the services of Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Cameron Munster considering what happened last week. Melbourne are coming off a brutal clash against the Roosters so there could be lingering questions about attrition but there is no way the Eels can factor that into their equation for victory.

This is a huge game for both teams. Top 4 on the line, Parramatta with the recent ascendancy over the Storm but Melbourne holding the edge between the clubs in finals footy. We know what Melbourne are going to bring to this game. From the grubbery to the explosive plays. The emphasis for the Eels remains as it has been for the last two games – dominant the middle, controlled aggression in defence and letting their stars control the game off the back of those two things.

I hope to see you all out there on Thursday night for what could very well be the game of the (regular) season!

The Parramatta Eels take on the Melbourne Storm on Thursday night at 7:50PM at CommBank Stadium.


NRL Team List

1. Clinton Gutherson (c)
2. Maika Sivo
3. Will Penisini
4. Tom Opacic
5. Waqa Blake
6. Dylan Brown
7. Mitchell Moses
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
9. Reed Mahoney
10. Junior Paulo
11. Shaun Lane
12. Isaiah Papali’i
13. Ryan Matterson

14. Makahesi Makatoa
15. Jake Arthur
16. Oregon Kaufusi
17. Marata Niukore

18. Ofahiki Ogden
19. Bailey Simonsson
20. Bryce Cartwright
21. Sean Russell
22. Ky Rodwell


Injury Report
Player Injury Return
Nathan Brown Finger TBA
Ray Stone Knee 2023
Haze Dunster Knee 2023




A borderline transformative effort between Round 1 and 2 saw the Eels very nearly claim the prized scalp of the Dragons on Sunday. Dean Widders and his troops can damn well be proud of that effort but there is little time to rest on their laurels because there is still more work to be done. This week’s opponents are the Newcastle Knights, one of three undefeated teams in the NRLW entering this week. That, believe it or not, is a good thing for the Eels because it means that 4th place is very much up for grabs.

The Knights have knocked over the Broncos and Titans across the opening rounds of the 2022 premiership and look to be the most improved team thus far courtesy of some excellent recruitment. Tamika Upton and Millie Boyle are at the heart of it all bringing a wealth of experience and talent to the team. As with the Roosters and Dragons, the Eels need to battle aggressively through the middle and look to contain a superstar fullback.

Widders has named an unchanged roster to do just that and given what they showed against the Dragons I can endorse that decision. Gayle Broughton gave fans their first good look at her immense talents and she will need to be heavily featured once again and with greater consistency through the game. As I wrote in the latest Gin & Logic, Filomina Hanisi and Ellie Johnston need to build and build from Round 2. So much of the game will depend on their ability to trades blows through the opening exchanges.

Ultimately though, this is a game our girls simply need to win. Find a way to get it done and get your campaign into gear.

The Parramatta Eels take on the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon at 12:00PM at McDonald Jones Stadium.


NRLW Team List

1. Gayle Broughton
2. Zali Fay
3. Tiana Penitani
4. Rikeya Horne
5. Tess Staines
6. Ashleigh Quinlan
7. Tayla Preston
8. Filomina Hanisi
9. Seli Mailangi
10. Ellie Johnston
11. Christian Pio
12. Vanessa Foliaki
13. Simaima Taufa

14. Kennedy Cherrington
15. Brooke Anderson
16. Navjanda George
17. Ruby-Jean Kennard

18. Rueben Cherrington
19. Abbi Church
20. Luisa Yaranamua
21. Cassey Tohi-Hiku
22. Rima Butler




Parramatta secured their place in the finals with a 24-4 victory over the Newcastle Knights last week. It means they now square up with a team that had their number twice in the regular season in the Bulldogs in a sudden death showdown. Captain-Coach Jordan Rankin will lead the team from fullback and commandeer an electric backline featuring Zac Cini, Hayze Perham, Bailey Simonsson and Sean Russell.

In the presumed absence of Jake ArthurBrendan Hands has been called upon to start at halfback in a huge test for the promising young utility. He partners Jack A Williams there and will need to call upon his full repertoire of play-making skills to match blows with a quality Canterbury outfit. He should receive more than adequate support from a big and powerful forward pack mind you. The likes of Ofahiki Ogden, Ky Rodwell and Bryce Cartwright bring big game experience while Toni Mataele’s star continues to burn brightly as he locks down a starting position in the backrow.

These two teams met recently in a pulsating clash played at breakneck pace that saw the Bulldogs prevail 19-16. Parramatta had their chances to win that clash and should enter this game heartened rather than concerned due to it. Should the Eels win the day, they will progress to Week 2 where they will meet the loser of the Panthers and Bears.

This game will be broadcasted on NSWRL TV so make sure keep an eye out for their official stream through the week!

The Parramatta Eels take on the Canterbury Bulldogs on Saturday evening at 5:15PM at St Marys League Stadium.


NSW Cup Team List

1. Jordan Rankin
2. Zac Cini
3. Hayze Perham
4. Bailey Simonsson
5. Sean Russell
6. Jack A. Williams
7. Brendan Hands
8. Ofahiki Ogden
9. Mitch Rein
10. Ky Rodwell
11. Elie El-Zakhem
12. Toni Mataele
13. Bryce Cartwright

14. Jayden Yates
15. Tevita Taumoepenu
16. Dan Keir
17. Solomone Naiduki


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25 thoughts on “Team List Tuesday – Top 4 Thunderdome Edition

  1. Billy

    I’m just here waiting for the faux shock that the coach has dared name JA on the bench again, even though it is completely consistent with his two-week bench rotation approach through the entire season. The good news for the haters is, that means it’s probably Cartwright’s turn next week, but don’t quote me on that!

  2. Clive

    Well at the end of the day Brad’s career will live and die on his selections but to go into a game against the storm which will be a war of attrition with a half that might not get on the field is madness.

    This “rotation” policy is a farce. If he was really using one the first position he should be rotating is a genuine back up dummy half. God forbid if Reed gets injured. We genuinely don’t have a back up hooker that’s had any NRL game time in months. Who would get the job if Reed had to miss games?

    1. Wilhelmina

      So, playing 15 mins of first grade will have you better prepared than a full match and match fitness in reserve grade? Debatable.

      And it would be Rein, who has a wealth of experience in the top grade, and knows exactly what’s needed, even if he isn’t a first choice any more. But you already knew that.

      1. Poppa

        It’s wonderful to be loyal Wilhelmina but what if a winger or centre or even a 5/8 was injured. Jake has never been a 5/8 other than a fill in and a failure at that level in NRL. An early injury means he displaces the whole backline, if he becomes hooker because of an injury to Reed….can you imagine what those Storm thug’s will do to him?
        If we had say Pereham at 14, we would have all the flexibility in the world in the backline and the other alternative of Niukure in the centres, maybe not a luxury with only 3 forwards on the bench.
        I’m very sorry but the “blindness” of the coach is overpowering in this selection.
        I respect BA greatly for everything he has achieved in the 9 years of his resurrection of a dysfunctional club and football team. We would and should be forever grateful. His continued perseverance with Jake will ultimately spoil his legacy and embarrass him in the future. I have been watching Parra for over 60 years and football of every type during that period. I can honestly say that JA is not a NRL first grade player and would not even be a back up half at any other club. I say that knowing I will be rubbished severely on this site but someone needs to say it.
        I believe we can still win the game if the status quo of Jake playing 10 minutes at the end happens…..but who can foresee that and doesn’t illustrate the waste.
        PS I have nothing against the kid and when he first came in I have wished him every success. I’m just not blind to it.

        1. Wilhelmina

          Umm… this was about who is the backup hooker if Reed is out for a game, not during a game. But ok, take another opportunity to spout your opinion on JA, and dismiss anyone who disagrees with you before they even get to present their reasons.

          I’ve stated previously, I’m not sold on Perham. And if you think JA would get slaughtered as the substitute rake (when he hasn’t to date), I cannot see how you believe Perham is an upgrade.

          For me, JA has shown more in his limited first grade opportunities than Perham did, particularly in the context of their relative experience. But again, not actually the point.

          I would much rather we had Stone available, or that Rein had grasped the opportunity he got earlier in the season. But that’s not what’s happened. You act like this was always the coach’s plan, which is just silly.

          1. Poppa

            I’m not sold on Perham either Wilhelmina, but it is the flexibility he offers by being able to play fullback, centre or wing. You see simple lateral thinking means that if he can play fullback that Guth can go anywhere in the backline plus also play dummy half. JA give’s no such flexibility.
            You may think JA has proven himself in NRL but that is just another subjective opinion which you are entitled to just as I am. Substitute Simmonsson instead of Perham, again a disappointing player but he offers a genuine utility value across the whole backline by again utilizing the variations the captain offers.
            So we are now looking at 3 players Perham,Simmonson and Arthur who are all disappointing but two of them offer the best alternatives off the bench. Why not play Rein at 14, Niukure in the centres and Opacic on the bench.
            Sixties makes the point that JA hasn’t failed at first grade, if he hasn’t then I am completely wrong! and admit it.
            Secondly other club’s have chased him, I think more than likely his management has shopped him and that is not a bad thing as he cannot have the divisive role he currently occupies (through no fault of his own) with his father as coach.
            This problem is laid at your feet, his son is not readily accepted as a First Grade footballer by “way more than 50%” of just about every social media commentary you can switch on to. BA needs to understand better the difficult position he has placed himself and his boy in. I do not envy his position, he has another son coming through as well.
            I stepped down as chairman of selector’s in a first grade cricket club for the same reason, I knew I could not make it that difficult by being in that position even though both of my sons had actually played for Qld at that stage.
            I always thought Cleary was crazy in wanting to coach his son at Penrith, but Nathan was so good by the time Ivan got there no arguments really happened. Probably held him back when captaincy came along not withstanding.
            So read this view how you like, yes it is just a view but it has turned the team and club I love on its arse. I know you guys love them just as much, but my view needs to be out there and said without prejudice.

        2. sixties

          I’m not going to rubbish you Poppa. I don’t think anyone will. But I will declare you as wrong about Jake on two counts. Firstly he hasn’t failed at first grade. Secondly he’s had other clubs pursue him for a contract, so he’s obviously seen as a first grader outside of Parra.

          1. Anonymous

            With all due respect to your opinion sixties, what othe club has pursued Jake? and for what position to fulfill.

          2. sixties

            It’s been at least two clubs that I’m aware of. I assume halfback. Look at the lower grades. It’s not flush with young half backs, especially game managers.

          3. Anonymous

            I hope one of these unnamed two clubs who are supposedly chasing JA are successful in their endeavours.

      2. Clive

        So in the event of injury to Reed you are confident that a guy who has played a combined 32min in an Eels NRL jersey will come in and do a good job for the rest of the season? You must have way more confidence in Rein’s ability than I do. Reserve grade is way slower than NRL and if Rein got thrown in now he would struggle big time if he had to play big minutes.

        I am not saying Jake does’nt have a future in the NRL, I would love to see him succeed but he is being thrown to the wolves in situations he is’nt experienced in. It’s most likely he won’t get on the field tomorrow night which is a waste of an interchange and means we play a game against a tough relentless side with 16 players.

        Bench players are meant to be either versatile or have an actual role to play. Not just there in case something happens. The versatility of our players makes the decision even stranger. Carty and Matterson can play a number of positions including the halves and Marata is great in the centres, edge and middle.

        I don’t get it and I think Brad is putting too much pressure on the kid.

        1. Wilhelmina

          No, but he’s the player signed as a backup hooker, so he’s who I would expect to play, which is the question you asked.

          You’re conflating two completely different points and going off at tangents re JA being the best bench utility option. For the record, I don’t think he is. But I can see why rotating players you expect may be needed, so they have both experience and match fitness, is a good plan.

          And by your logic, Jake is currently a better option to play hooker if Reed were to miss a match, which I’m pretty sure isn’t what you think.

          1. Clive

            Exactly he was signed as a back up hooker but is’nt being used as such. He is sitting in reserves getting no NRL game time while a halfback with a dozen games to his name comes on for 10min and plays hooker.

            As for the question of who would get called up if Reed got injured. I asked because I fear Brad would play Jake at hooker if Reed got injured. Everything is leading to that.

            Now you think the rotation of players to give them experience and match fitness is a good idea despite saying and I quote “So, playing 15 mins of first grade will have you better prepared than a full match and match fitness in reserve grade? Debatable.” Haha make up your mind mate.

            As for my logic, the only way Jake should be in the team is if a half gets injured.

            The only people who can’t see this for what it is are the BA fanboys who think he can’t do anything wrong.

          2. Wilhelmina

            Me: Two similar but different hypothetical situations can have different answers.
            You: That’s crazy talk girl!

            Those two ideas are completely consistent. Players are rotated so they get match fitness AND first grade exposure. Either your reading comprehension is poor or you’re attempting to gaslight.

            Either way, there’s no point continuing this. Your opinion on JA is fixed. It’s like talking to antivaxxers.

          3. Clive

            My comprehension is just fine. Your contradicting yourself without being smart enough to see it.

            My opinion of Jake is simple. He is a promising young half that still has a fair way to go to be a regular NRL player. He seems like a great kid with a fantastic work ethic but he is’nt a dummy half option and he is’nt versatile enough to be on the bench.

          4. Poppa

            I could not possibly believe that jake would ever start a game as a hooker. That being accepted why should he be considered a hooker if Reed got injured in the first 20 minutes….. do you expect Jake to play the rest of the match there. No Guth would go there and Brown to fullback or centre or Blake back to fullback. JA slots in as 5/8 and we have a disaster in the most important game we are going to play outside of a final in the past 5 years!

  3. Parra Pete

    Wouldn’t it be great to hear supporters say “Well how could you change the line-up after last week’s big win”?
    I think the coaching staff and the Club leaders know what they are doing.. They are ACTUALLY the people judging the training efforts. I am prepared to have confidence in their skill and knowledge of what is required by the players..

    1. Milo

      Fair point Parra Pete i note that you don’t always change a winning team but i feel the difference between Melb and Brisbane is a lot……but we all hope we win.

  4. Milo

    No surprises with the team here, and the coach and staff can pick who like and for their reasons. I feel we miss the versatility of Ray Stone here and he did come up with that try in our last game against these thugs.
    I would have had four forwards too on the bench but the coach and staff see the team train all week. Carty could have been an option here too, and i just hope we beat these so and so’s. Its a huge game nonetheless, as no one would like to play Easts/ Souffs next week.

  5. Sec50

    My only concern is officialdom. In the last few yrs we have been dudded in the finals against Melbourne and twice against the Riff. And Thursday we have Klein on the field and Atkins in the bunker. Both of whom have been decidedly dubious in their competence.
    Heres hoping for a game decided by the players. I don’t have any doubt Parra will turn up ready to play.
    Go the mighty Eels

  6. N. Senada

    What a block buster this game is gonna be. Nelson VS Reg. That alone will be worth the price of admission. GO THE EELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. N. Senada

        Sixties, massive blow for them but Melbourne’s trademark is to shoehorn capable replacements every time a star is ruled out. They have an unbelievable ability to come good no matter who is in or out of their team. It is the envy of all other clubs I am sure. But their brilliant half-back – that is going to hurt them dearly

        1. sixties

          I never underestimate the Storm. Like Penrith, the next man in simply fulfils the role in their processes. Hughes is a weapon, and it’s his individual brilliance they will miss, but their systems won’t disappear.

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