The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Hollywood Ain’t Got Sh*t On The NRL/W Edition

The next time you watch some schlock from Hollywood and scoff at how unbelievable the story line, how contrived the plot is to set up a seemingly impossible pay off – think first about the NRL this weekend. On the one side you have the Penrith Panthers. Reigning NRL premiers. Marching into their 3rd straight NRL Grand Final as they look to become only the 2nd ever team to win consecutive premierships in the NRL era. As a club they are attempting to make a bid for an incredible quadrella. Having already secured the SG Ball, Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup premierships this year all that is left is the biggest gong of them all. Incredible stuff.

Yet as outlandish as that all is, the Parramatta Eels propel the believability of it all beyond the stratosphere, beyond the solar system and right into the multiverse. The Blue & Gold enter their first NRL Grand Final since 2009 as they look to consign the demons of a 36-year drought right back into the 7-circles of hell. Brad Arthur has helmed this club magnificently through this season to put the Eels on the cusp of immortality. A club that started below rock bottom in 2014. A club that survived arguably the grossed mismanagement seen in the modern era in the 2016 salary cap saga. His story and the story of his coaches, support staff and players damn well deserves to be enshrined in modern equivalent of the Iliad if they prevail on Sunday.

All this before you even consider our gallant NRLW team who have produced an upset for the ages to book their place in the NRLW decider. The self-belief, the desperation, the undeniable sisterhood they put on show to the world against the all-conquering Roosters was as good or better than any classic sports film you can name. Remember The Titans, Friday Night Lights, Any Given Sunday – it has them all beat. Their efforts mean that the Parramatta Eels are the first club since the 2018 Roosters to be represented in both the NRL and NRLW on Grand Final day. They now have the chance to become the first club ever to win the NRL/NRLW double. That stacks up pretty well against the Penrith quadrella!

So tell me there is any better drama than sport. Tell me that rugby league doesn’t produce the most insane story lines. It does not get any better than this.

Thus, with the largest preamble you will ever see on TCT we enter the final Team List Tuesday of the year. It has been an incredible ride to say the least. From the drama of our backline crisis over the first 9 rounds of the competition to the troublesome fly forward position on the bench, there have been some lows. So too have there been the impossible highs. Maika Sivo’s triumphant return and resultant career best form, the full realisation of Shaun Lane’s singularly unique skill set and the explosive growth of Dylan Brown. There is simply no team quite like the Eels and each and every Team List Tuesday has been a thread in their incredible tapestry.

‘BA’ has ensured the last TLT of the season has a bit of spice to it with the shock recall of Nathan Brown to the interchange bench. Brown, who has not played in the NRL since Round 17, comes into the team in place of Bryce Cartwright as the Eels look to match the physicality of intensity of the Panthers through the middle. There has been a notion doing the rounds in the press that Brown will be tasked with essentially playing as a hitman to take out Nathan Cleary. The idea that our club would resort to foul play is frankly disrespectful to the Eels and Arthur in particular but there is a nugget of truth there. Brown, as with every forward, will be tasked with pressuring Penrith’s key man in order to restrict his impact but it will be done within the rules and spirit of the game.

Spare a thought for poor Tom Opacic who despite his inclusion on the extended bench has been reportedly ruled out of Sunday’s game. There is no doubt that Opacic that should the Eels prevail he will be among the first to be awarded a ring outside of the 17 players that won the day. Bailey Simonsson will hold down the left centre position as a result and given the tremendous job he did against the Cowboys I expect him to square up strongly against Stephen Crichton.

It is the same team that has surpassed all expectations otherwise. The same team that the media tipped to bow out against a rampaging Canberra Raiders. The same team that was meant to wilt in the tropics against the North Queensland Cowboys. One last game. 80 minutes of blood and sweat so that tears of joy can rain. Give them hell boys.

The Parramatta Eels take on the Penrith Panthers at 7:30PM on Sunday at Accor Stadium. 


NRL Team List

1. Clinton Gutherson (c)
2. Maika Sivo
3. Will Penisini
4. Bailey Simonsson
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. Nathan Brown
15. Jake Arthur
16. Oregon Kaufusi
17. Marata Niukore

18. Bryce Cartwright
19. Makahesi Makatoa
20. Tom Opacic
21. Ofahiki Ogden
22. Ky Rodwell




It isn’t about how you start, it is all about how you finish. The 2022 Parramatta Eels have embodied that timeless sporting ideology with show stealing victories over the Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters in the last fortnight. Dean Widders, Simaima Taufa and Tiana Penitani have done a brilliant job leading a young and inexperienced team brimming with unrealised potential.

Their spectacular late season surge, coupled with Newcastle’s meteoric rise, have ushered the NRLW into a new era. For the first time ever there are no foundation teams in the Grand Final. The Eels and Knights, sister clubs incepted in the 2021 season, now blaze a new path for the code. A path that hopefully starts with a breakthrough premiership for our brave ladies.

Widders has formalised some of the pre-game charges that have served to ignite the Eels in their last two games. Kennedy Cherrington officially takes her place in the starting front row while Brooke Anderson dons the #9. Filomina Hanisi and Seli Mailangi drop back to the interchange as a result. Cherrington has damn well played with her hair on fire through the 2022 season but that fire has become a raging inferno more recently with the dynamic middle forward taking her game to a new level. Likewise, Anderson has invigorated Parramatta’s attack with her mix of crafty running and incisive short kicking game.

As with Tom Opacic above, your heart is rent in two for Tiana Penitani with the star centre set to miss the decider on Sunday. Penitani, along with fellow co-captain Simaima Taufa, truly stands at the heart of this team and even without taking the field I fully expect her to be a bastion of positivity and motivation for her teammates. Abbi Church did an excellent job deputising Penitani against the star-stuffed Roosters backline and Widders has called her name again to do the same against Newcastle.

The Eels were denied the first win of the season in controversial circumstances against Newcastle earlier this season as the Bunker intervened in several critical junctures. You don’t get better fuel for the fire than that so our girls should be burning to level the ledger in the biggest game of their lives!

The Parramatta Eels take on the Newcastle Knights at 3:55PM on Sunday at Accor Stadium. 


NRLW Team List

1. Gayle Broughton
2. Zali Fay
3. Abbi Church
4. Rikeya Horne
5. Cassey Tohi-Hiku
6. Ashleigh Quinlan
7. Tayla Preston
8. Kennedy Cherrington
9. Brooke Anderson
10. Ellie Johnston
11. Christian Pio
12. Vanessa Foliaki
13. Simaima Taufa

14. Filomina Hanisi
15. Seli Mailangi
16. Najvada George
17. Rima Butler

18. Ruby-Jean Kennard
19. Brooke-Morgan Walker
20. Rueben Cherrington
21. Tiana Penitani
22. Tess Staines


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Great work Forty20.
Brown recalled I think he’ll be primed for his chance. Poor Opa missing out. He’s been solid for us. Bailey played well last week. He may switch to wing if Waqa drops his first one.
We can do this nobody is giving us a chance.
NRLW great effort last week and will back up for an Eels Quinella.
Go Eels!!


Would assume BA is smart enough to move Simonsson to the back when Cleary ready to kick. What they most need is to watch the short kicks when Penroth close to our line.

greg okladnikov

Great last team list Tuesday. Strong team list….I like the inclusion of Nathan Brown – look’s like the thinking is that we have enough creative players who can offload ( Dylan, Mitch, Lane) and that an extra aggressive power player may be needed to match Sorensen / Leinu. Having Simonsson means that if we need to adjust between him and Waqa we can. It is definitely a game we can win. My one observation this year is that we have never lost a game when we have played well. The games we lost, we lost. But when we have played… Read more »


Exactly Greg, each we have put in for 80 mins we have won. Its a simple analogy but true, and i agree the game is ours to win.
I also like the N Brown inclusion, and hope the entire pack play like last week and hunt them as a pack.


The inclusion of NBrown suggests the tactics are to go thru the middle. I like this from a mind games point of view and as an approach, it’s going to be intense.
Simonson did well against NQ so we don’t lose too much.
The Eels are a good chance …


I really like the return of Nathan Brown but I wished Cartwright or Makatoa came onto the bench for Jake. I don’t believe you can win a frenetic war of attrition against the Panthers with basically 15 players. If they do it will be one of the best efforts from a group of players in history.
Fingers crossed.

!0 Year Member

BA gets us to a GF and you still question his tactics….cmon… Even I have moved away from that. Let’s back the bush coach…..(only quoting BA)


Maté winning doesn’t paper over a ridiculous decision. It’s common sense, sharing a workload around 17 players is better than sharing it with 15 or 16.
I’m praying this week isn’t the week it bites us.


Would you say the same for penrith? If things go to plan for them salmon will get less than 10 minutes, he may even get 0. Things went to plan for the cowboys last week and they didn’t use Tabuai–Fidow until the final 3 minutes. Souths were the only team in the final 4 to use a bench player for more than 10 minutes.


No I would’nt say the same for Penrith because Salmon is a genuine utility player who can cover halves, centres, hooker and backrow. Jake can cover the halves and that is it. I love the Father and Son fairytale and fingers crossed it comes off but gee it is a stretch to say that Jake is going to provide anything this weekend.


BA said it yesterday: Reg (Campbell-Gillard), Junior (Paulo) and ‘Matto’ (Ryan Matterson) all play 60 minutes … that leaves me 60 minutes of the game to find time for four bench players, why do I always need four middles?

Longfin Eel

Exactly, and it explains why we can afford the luxury of having a half on the bench, just in case he is needed. The last thing we want in a GF is to try to slot a forward into the halves or dummy half. In the days of replacements it was common to have players only getting a few minutes of game time, if that.


Why do you think slotting the son into half to cover an injury in the halves would be any better than a forward playing there?


Hope our coaching staff have some tricks up their sleeve. Unsurprisingly we have the same match officials that dudded us so incompetently in last years semi. Unbelievable !


And Penrith have the same trainer who conned the linesman. This year he was on the field verballing a Cartwright in red and green.
This guy is becoming a trick shot celebrity.


And I’ve noticed that Luaui has been pulled up once or twice for his annoying off-ball obstructions, but he did interfere with Waqa in the semi in that first Cleary bomb. Let’s hope Klein and his flag people don’t get fooled again.


Grant Atkins is a life member of Penrith Referees Association who are co sponsored by Panthers league group. He is in charge of the bunker. Is that not questionable ?


Not at all. All refs usually come through a district association. He’s a full time NRL ref now. It’s drawing a very long bow to say that where he reffed before he joined the NRL in 2009 will influence his decisions.


In my 75 years of being an Eel tragic I’ve seen a lot of bows drawn. Surely the appointment of officials with no affiliation to either club is the reassuring way to go.

Trapped in the 1970"s

It’s a shame that Rein wasn’t up to speed as I would like have liked to see Reed get a bit of a spell during the game. He’ll again have to do a mountain of tackling apart form his dummy half play and if any position is light on for cover on from the bench its hooker.


Apparently there is a bench player available that covers the spine?

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