The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Destined To Do This Forever Edition

Here we go. A whole new season. The NRL finals are upon us and by virtue of a scorching final three regular season rounds the Parramatta Eels have secured both a second chance and a Friday night showdown with the reigning premiers. Yep, for the third (or fourth including the preseason) time this year the Eels and Panthers will throw down in what will be must-see TV. Considering that these two teams could very well meet for a fourth time in the grand final you might even ask if they are destined to do this forever?

For all their idiosyncrasies and inconsistency over the course of the year, time after time this season we have seen that Brad Arthur and Mark O’Neill have put together a roster that is built to take on contenders. Parramatta hold a coveted 2-0 record over the Panthers in 2022 and will be obviously be keen to see that improve to 3-0 by the end of Friday.

Outside of any lingering concerns for Mitchell Moses’ finger, ‘BA’ enters the postseason with a team that is as fit as you can ask after 25 brutal rounds of gladiatorial rugby league. Between their fitness and form hitting all the right benchmarks he has named an unchanged side to take on the Panthers in what is also Junior Paulo’s 200th NRL game.

Of course, we should expect Ryan Matterson and Marata Niukore to swap places prior to kickoff. A ‘trick’ that has worked wonders for almost a full month and one that would have plenty scratching their heads as to why you wouldn’t simply name them that way. I would counter with the fact that footy is weird, players get confidence out of the oddest things. Maybe the two players believe they play their best footy with those specific numbers on their backs. It works and that is enough for me.

With the NSW Cup squad unfortunately bowing out of their finals series, the Eels have plenty of options in the extended roster should they need them. With that said, the formula have proven to be damn successful heading into the finals and I expect Parramatta to turn out 1-17 come Friday.

On the other side of the field the Panthers welcome back Nathan Cleary at halfback while most of their starters will be fresh after a week off. Taylan May is bizarrely eligible to play this week after the NRL deemed they didn’t want to impact Penrith’s finals by forcing him to serve a 2-week suspension of an off-field indiscretion. Theirs word, not mine. Yeah. Tell me isn’t favouritism in our great code. Instead, May will be spectating Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2023 premiership from the sideline in a code-altering precedent that surely won’t have long term ramifications.

NRL stupidity and/or blatant favouritism asides, what it does mean is that these two teams will be full strength and ready to deliver another chapter in one of the most physical and compelling rivalries in the entire competition. Parramatta will have to absorb plenty of pressure from Penrith while simultaneously striking back with withering counterblows of their own in order to take down their opposition. And yet we can be confident that they can do just that after everything we have seen this year.

This is their victory to claim. Own the collisions. Back yourselves to take your chances. Win the day and book your place in the grand final qualifier.

The Parramatta Eels take on the Penrith Panthers on Friday night at 7:50PM at BlueBet 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




For the second week running a valiant effort from the Parramatta Eels was thwarted. Dean Widders and his team can be proud of their effort against the Newcastle Knights as they battled and battled to put themselves in a position to win only to be cruelly denied by a series of incredibly dubious Bunker decisions.

Now they take on the Gold Coast Titans in a must-win clash as they head to Melbourne. Widders has elected to keep the same team that fought so hard in Round 3 – including then debutant Rueben Cherrington. Like the Eels, the Titans enter this week without a win to their name and will be desperate to stay in contention. Armed with that knowledge Parramatta will do well to stay calm against a likely frenzied opponent and continue to build on the systems and efforts that pushed the Dragons and Knights so far.

The Parramatta Eels take on the Gold Coast Titans at 1:05PM on Saturday at AAMI Park. 


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. Rueben Cherrington
16. Navjanda George
17. Ruby-Jean Kennard

18. Abbi Church
19. Cassey Tohi-Hiku
20. Brooke Anderson
21. Brooke-Morgan Walker
22. Rima Butler


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No surprises with the team. 🙂
Are we surprised by the beloved and woke NRL? nope. Policy on the run as it has been for years.
We will beat them with or without Tiny May. It just goes to show how inept the NRL are or arrogant.
I had to laugh at Annesley’s comments re: suspensions etc. being down, as we all know (NAS etc.) you cannot be suspended if you are not cited…..ahh the circus goes on.
Anyway we will win this week and have a week off.


Run 6 run


Go the Eels. I can’t wait to attend the match. It will be a tough match and I have faith we will give it a red hot crack. We need to kick well especially with Sutton will has a history of letting the Panthers stay offside. Every single decision the NRL makes that lacks an iota of integrity reminds me about this great quote: “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” -Dwight D.… Read more »


Beyond a Joke, Shelley. The NRL leadership and officialdom have been disgraceful for years and you’re right, V’Landys and Annesley need to go


In Brad we trust , anyone who knows the man knows he brings out the best in his players 3-0 we have beaten panthers if you count NRL trials or as a panthers supporter said to me last week , trials don’t matter unless Penrith win 🤦‍♂️ Just pressure the kicks and stop the offloads and don’t fall for that little dummy sidestep they all do and we will be fine 💙💛🏆


Absolutely, we have the momentum and IMO if we beat their forwards early and kick well we will be ok. The only thing for me is the ruck and penalties with a referee who is questionable to say the least. We must stay with them early and use our forwards to go through them as well on the edges.


No surprise with the team as yet.
Taylan May – what a disgrace! They were better of giving no games suspension and a big fine. Because to suspend him 2 games next year is either incompetence or corruption. Given what happened last year in our semi with Panthers. I’m starting to think the latter. If we didn’t have enough motivation before. We now have the mother load of fuel for the fire.
We can do this. It’s totally in our hands.
Go Eels!!

Luke Winley

I hope the boys remember what Gutho said to them standing in the huddle when they lost that semi-final to Penrith last year.
I’ve got my tickets ,I’ll be driving down from Lake Macquarie. Hopefully we can make some noise for them!

N. Senada

The NRL is making things up as they go. Taylan May’s case is the tip of the iceberg. The ambiguity in the salary cap/third party payments, suspensions and penalties, is this supposed to be fair? Imagine being a Gold Coast supporter and your team and the Roosters are after the same player. How can your team compete with Uncle Nick’s third party payments? Sonny Bill Williams wants to play for the Roosters and they’ll fit him into the cap and win the comp. Just watch. Bondi is Rugby League heartland isn’t it. As for the Panthers…enough said. I’m sure the… Read more »


NS – you are correct about us all being addicted. We literally accept the uneven playing field, albeit with the occasional moan. And for non favoured teams, they just have to focus on what they can control and on being that much better again. We go into a finals series hopeful that it will be without controversy. The sting of last year still lingers for me.

N. Senada

yes Sixties that Penrith game (poor old Ray Stone…into the deep end) was quite the shocker. I curled up in a foetal position sucking my thumb…tears flowing…finally my 5 year old son spelt it out to me: “it’s just a game”. I mumbled..”a fair go wouldn’t go astray every now and then” under my breath


Just thought BA might be a bit creative and select another 2 players with more mongrel in them. I don’t believe we can beat Penrith using just 15 players.


It will cost us eventually Glenn.


Just on May, didn’t the NRL decide not to carry over points from one year to another yet May is carrying over to next year?

Longfin Eel

I feel that Penrith are going to step it up a notch in this game. We have beaten them twice already this season, but Parra are in for a big game here. We’ll need to execute to perfection to win this one.

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