The Cumberland Throw

The Tip Sheet – 2022 Ep 98: A Christmas Eels Chat With Mark O’Neill

The Tip Sheet is also available on Spotify and iTunes!

Sixties and Forty20 record the final episode of The Tip Sheet for 2022 on location at the Parramatta Eels’ HQ in Kellyville. Joining them is the General Manager of Football Mark O’Neill as they take on final look at the year that was as well as what lies ahead for the Blue & Gold.

Among a broad spectrum of topics, the trio take a look at the success the Eels enjoyed on the field this year, the impact of new faces at the club and the steps that Parramatta are taking to ensure long-term success in the NRL and NRLW.

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29 thoughts on “The Tip Sheet – 2022 Ep 98: A Christmas Eels Chat With Mark O’Neill

  1. John Eel

    Very enjoyable last podcast for the year. Heard some great commentary on the new faces around the club with regard to coaching staff.

    While Mark gave us a great insight he was not able to tell us what we all wanted to hear however we patiently wait.

    My own thoughts are that I believe that we are well and truly in contention next year. I will be disappointed if we don’t make the four again. In particular I am especially looking forward to seeing how Hodgson stands up to a tough year because I feel he has the experience and guile to make a big impression on our team this year.

    I am also looking forward to see how J’maine Hopgood shapes up in the Blue and Gold in 2023. I have seen a bit of him this year in Cup and to quote Sixties,he is someone who looked like he was too good for that grade of football. Further he is a relatively young player who could have a long and successful time at the Eels. Also feel that best use of his skillset will be in the 13.

    Finally I would to thank Sixties and Forty for their great work in 2023. The contributions of Gol and Spiro have been great, looking forward to more.

    So merry Christmas to the team at TCT and all the contributors over the last season

    1. sixties

      Thanks John. Firstly, our thanks to Mark for this. We had tentatively planned to get this done before Christmas and he made sure that it happened. Also, there are a number of processes and initiatives that he has been responsible for at the club but he doesn’t want to talk about himself in these discussions so I have to respect that.
      That said, outside of the fact that Parra never discusses what’s happening in contract negotiations (I still had to ask) I think it’s important to get internal takes on changes, recruits, staffing, media opinions, pathways etc. For the last few years Mark has ensured that he sits down with us to go through such topics.
      After watching the beginning to this preseason, I am genuinely excited about what lies ahead in 2023, possibly more than any recent season. Much like 2019, there are new faces and a refresh in the club. And much like that time, the Eels will be aiming to prove critics wrong.

        1. sixties

          Thanks Colin. We didn’t go down that path because they are probably a little reluctant to throw too much hype from within on juniors. That said, Forty has it covered in his three part series.

    2. Colin good

      We will all be on tender hooks watching Hodgson hopefully not going down with an injury also watching Hopegood playing against Queensland prior grand final showed promises for the coming season

        1. sixties

          I’ll give Colin the benefit of the doubt that it’s auto correct when he wrote it as two separate words. Damned autocorrect has made me look drunk many times in the past.

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks guys. Very much appreciated. I understand not everything can be covered but I sat patiently whilst listening to hopefully get an insiders opinion on the “Matto” situation. My take is that it should have been handled much better by all involved at our club, player and administration alike. Hopefully its a lesson well learned.
    Merry Christmas and thanks to all for your outstanding contribution towards my support of Our Eels.

    1. HINDY111

      It happened just after a long season and grand final loss. Lot of emotions flying around. Its fair to say Matto may of not been thinking straight.

  3. HINDY111

    I like Matterson at lock but for the balance of the side and defense I feel he should move back to 2nd row and Hopgood at lock. I don’t see Hopgood as an impact style bench player. I see him as big minutes style. We will lose some attack with Matto out wide compared to Papali’i but our defense improves.
    Guys like Doorey,Murchie,Momisea,Matalele,Bryce all could make a case for that 2nd row spot or a few bench positions. As could Greig and Rodwell. All good just stay as back up level players but there is potential for some to flourish and go up a level. Matelele and Momisea are probably the two with most untapped potential.

    We also have 3 spots yet to fill in our top 30. I imagine N.Brown might also be gone before season kicks off which makes 4. I assume we will sign 1 more NRL quality player or look for a few cheap project players and upgrade our halves in a bid to keep them both
    I feel with cap increase, players we’ve lost compared to who bought in means we would have a few dollars up our sleeve.

    Any news on the HALVES?

    1. sixties

      Hindy I’m pretty sure we’re sitting at 28 now. My early tip has changed since Doorey signed. I see him at back row, Hopgood at lock and Matto, Murchie and Momoisea coming off the bench for most games, with fourth spot to be determined.

  4. Tanky

    By the sounds of it I think the replacements will be on par or even better the thing that worries me is concerns me is clubs like roosters and Souths can get signings over the line seemingly effortlessly hopefully behind the scene everything is being sorted we want to be a big club roosters and such get it sorted I’d be amazed if they left but hanging out for confirmation sorry a couple of beers in hence the name tanky

    1. sixties

      Hey Tanky. It’s nearly Christmas mate, enjoy those beers! My only comment regarding us getting things done regarding the signatures of big players, is that I know the club now prides itself on being totally professional in all of its dealings. Negotiations are confidential, contracts are above board. After the dramas of the past, they won’t abide by any dodgy dealings.

      1. Tanky

        Thanks mate for a quick response it’s just that I’m looking every day for a hint of something but at the end of the day if they don’t won’t to play for us which I’d be surprised nobody is bigger than the club fingers crossed I think both stay

  5. Iron Mike

    Great work guys. It’s good of Mark to give up his time like that again and great work from you guys for organising it.

    I would still like to know why are we losing young players with their best football ahead of them. Surely this can’t be a good thing for the club, I mean what’s done is done now and no use crying over players that have left but surely just sticking to this way may not be the best system. Maybe identifying talent and upgrading them before they hit the open market is a much better way to go.

    I’m optimistic for the season ahead, I’m looking forward to seeing how our recruits fit in to our team and who shines. I like the look of Asi but not sure where he’ll fit in. I think he can bring some spark off the bench.

    1. sixties

      Thanks Iron Mike. The loss of which players concerns you? I think we should have got Ice wrapped up earlier. That said, we have secured a returning and highly rated junior in Doorey. Marata and his family wanted to go home. As for others like Reed, Oregon, and Stone, just like Ice they are getting the sort of top coin that we couldn’t pay. Reed will be close to the top paid dummy halves, Oregon and Stone will be on good starting13 money. Can’t blame them for taking what was on the table.

      1. Iron Mike

        I definitely agree we shouldn’t be matching the offers they received by other clubs but the point I was trying to make is with both Reed, Ice and now Penisini they could of upgraded and extended their contracts before they hit the open market so we are not competing with other clubs. I’m real happy with the players they have recruited in return.

  6. pete

    Great podcast guys.
    Really enjoyed HOF insights and really appreciate the access you are getting to club officials etc and sharing via TCT.

    Hodgo = Steve Edge Mk2

    We are not as fit as Panthers. What ever they are doing it is something we should emulate.

    A few questions remain;
    Who was the person leaking the report into junior pathways?

    Who had motives to destabilising the team during the finals?

    Why was BA’s contract bought up during finals?

    I guess we won’t find out the answers?

    Thanks Gain guys!

    1. sixties

      If there was an internal leak, I don’t think it originally got out in the traditional sense ie leaked to destabilise. That said, it eventually found its way into the hands of people who did want to cause problems.
      The bottom line is that the pathways stuff was delivered completely out of context in certain media circles (and we know one of them who has a well documented vendetta against BA) and even some misinformed fans. The club values BA despite this noise, the pathways continues to look to improve and the club isn’t standing still.
      I’ve written about the Riff’s capacity to maintain their line speed for 80 minutes and that surely teams will look to unlock how. It’s no coincidence for the Dogs and the Warriors to appoint Riff assistant coaches, and the Eels have a good and knowledgeable man in Barrett.
      Despite the Panthers beating us in the games that mattered, the Eels performed better against Penrith in 2021 and 2022 than any other team, and based on what I’m witnessing at training this far, I believe the gap will continue to narrow.

  7. HINDY111

    Hows Russel looking ? Has he put on some size. He will be 21 in May. It is a big season for him. Generally speaking by 21 playing in the backs you want to be starting to cement a spot in the top 17 I feel if you are going to be a better then average NRL player.
    I do hope him and Haze step up. It could answer a few problems

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