The Cumberland Throw

Parramatta Eels Round 1 Team List – Final Prediction

Back on October 24 last year I had a crack at predicting the Eels Round 1 team list. Not one metre of preseason conditioning had been run at that stage, but what NRL fan doesn’t enjoy trying to tip who’ll get the nod for first grade?

As it turned out, that post become the most widely read in the history of The Cumberland Throw. It’s currently sitting at just over 8500 views and still climbing. There were also plenty of opinions shared.

Here’s a reminder of my early call.

1 Gutherson

2 Dunster

3 Blake

4 Penisini

5 Sivo

6 Brown

7 Moses

8 Paulo

9 Hodgson 

10 Campbell-Gillard

11 Lane

12 Hopgood

13 Matterson

14 Arthur

15 Ogden

16 Murchie (starting 13 for Matto Round 1)

17 Makatoa

18 Cartwright (Bench round 1)

The first trial is now less than one week away, with the team for that match to be named very soon.

By the time the trials are wrapped up we’ll probably have a fair idea about the likely selections for the season opener. It’s therefore an appropriate time for me to post my revised team list prediction. This time I’ll do so on the basis of established combinations and preseason training form.

Obviously there will be players unavailable through suspension or injury, and hopefully nobody will be added to that list after the hit outs against the Panthers and Knights.

Ryan Matterson becomes the obvious exclusion, and I’m taking Bailey Simonsson out of calculations, even though he has commenced non contact opposed training.


My team is:

1 Clint Gutherson

2 Haze Dunster ***

3 Sean Russell ***

4 Will Penisini

5 Maika Sivo

6 Dylan Brown

7 Mitch Moses

8 Junior Paulo

9 Josh Hodgson

10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard

11 Shaun Lane

12 Matt Doorey *

13 J’maine Hopgood



14 Jirah Momoisea *

15 Jack Murchie

16 Ky Rodwell

17 Makahesi Makatoa/Ofahiki Ogden

18 Jake Arthur **

* Line ball between who gets to start and who is interchange.

** Might be a round 1 consideration as cover for Hodgson. The NSW Cup is played two days later so he could theoretically play both.

*** If Dunster isn’t available Russell could play wing

I feel confident that the new buys of Murchie, Momoisea, Hopgood and Doorey will all be in the 17, with Hopgood winning the 13 jumper. From there it’s a bit of a lottery in determining who secures the right edge role, and who starts on the interchange.

In the forwards, Matt Doorey was the early front runner for the run on team, but Momoisea has made a late charge. With Matto unavailable I also can’t separate Makatoa and Ogden. Maybe Ogden gets the gig given he’s had more weeks of the preseason. Perhaps Woodie (Wiremu Greig) is closer to selection than I thought?

Out in the backs. Dunster and Simonsson are both coming back from significant injuries. Of the two, Dunster is probably more advanced in his preseason work. On that basis I’m giving Dunster the right wing gig.

I’m also giving the left centre job to Sean Russell, who seems set for a big season. If BA selects Waqa Blake, we might see Russell back on the wing.

I think the rest of the team picks itself.

The Eels are now in match preparation mode, signalling an end to my regular preseason reports. As you are aware I don’t report on regular season training as their work becomes too specific.

By way of wrapping up the reports, I’ll posting my preseason awards very soon, so stand by.

Apart from that, from here on in, we’ll be hitting the footy content big time on TCT – junior rep live blogs, trial coverage and of course our podcasts.

Eels forever!


Credit to Eels media for all images used

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Rusty in the centres, I love that idea!

John Eel

When you look at games played and tries scored for Russell it is a fairly compelling case.

I know other factors come into it.


He’s actually a better fullback but as long as he’s in the team – I’m a big fan.


Nice write up Sixties, is Rodwell a certain for a 17 spot you reckon? He has a wonderful motor, suited for NRL. Do you think BA might go with JA for cover for Hodgson in the first few weeks instead of four forwards? Unless BA thinks Hodgson will be fine based on experience. I know you put him at 18, I think he will be either 14 or 18, there were rumours that BA decided for JA to develop more in NSW Cup, but as you said he can back-up for Cup days after in some instances. I think the… Read more »


No room for Blake. I don’t have a problem with that if we can get Dunster and Russell in the same side. Really looking forward to Hodgson leading the side around and watching our new forwards. BA has a pretty stellar record making silk purses out of the proverbial. A bit of football this weekend.Yay
Thanks for your pre-season 60s et al. Always an interesting read.
Go the Mighty Eels

Soren Lorenson

I suspect this is based on Blake having an injury and not being available. Hopefully whoever replaces him plays well enough to hold their position.


Great discussion,
Sixties do you think Hodgson is up to 80 minutes.
I think Rein has to be a chance to give him 10 min breaks?

!0 Year Member

I recall he was not used for 80 in Canberra at dummy but played a back row role when Starling came on. So possible he could handle it.


As long as he’s not thinking Rein


The bench looks a bit uninspiring if ask me. Hopefully these new recruits really step up and show something. I worry that its mainly a NSW CUP level of players.


Hindy, did you find Makatoa, Kaufusi and Nuikori inspiring last season?.


I felt Kaufusi only had a few good games ever and made some horrible handling errors. Nuikori had a below average year and showed little of the venom from previous years. Have them easily covered.


Thanks mate. I hope those two along with Hopgood and Doorey turn heads.
Russel stepping up would be a huge boost for our backline.


Mr Sixties, game day inches closer. I am a little surprised you are picking “The Haze”. My first concern is speed. That was an horrific injury and your thoughts concerning his speed and acceleration, has any of it been lost? Lumelume didn’t get a mention and that man has speed to burn – not ready for a shot? You are our eyes and ears and so your thoughts will no doubt generate some interest but, whoever gets there we are confident they will do well. This year one or two teams will rise above the losers while one or two… Read more »


Zero 58, I’d love a small wager with you mate abt Melbourne missing the 8. Not a fan of them but admire their toughness.

Mark Camman

I like your selections and the injection of some new faces and young blood. BA has shown in the past that he is very loyal to his players (sometimes too loyal IMO) and for this reason I think Waqa will keep his place in the team – prob left centre. I love the passion he brings but he is not without risk. Makes very poor decisions defensively, coming out of the line and failing to nail his opponent puts pressure on his winger. He was also going out under the high ball in the finals series and his confidence might… Read more »

Mark Camman

I’m interested to know if JA has put on a few kilos over the off season and has he bulked up a bit? He is not overly blessed with the speed or acceleration that most halves have and I see him migrating into the backrow as a ball playing forward with the versatility to cover tge halves or hooker if needed. Is he looking any bigger or stronger?


JA takes time to wind up.
His top end speed is OK.

Brett Allen

Which is why I think his future is firstly as an edge and then ultimately in the 13.


Mate is this your predicted side for round one? Or trial side?
I imagine Matterson will play both trials and this is your round one side.


Tks sixties. The thing I’m trying to assess is if we can close the gap. Will Penrith be as good without Koroisau and Kickau? I remember the 2020 trial where they first showed this up tempo style, it took us 20 minutes to find our feet, Koroisau was the driver. Only some Moses magic kept us in the game. Well they’ve had 3 years of it now, and gotten better, but no Koroisau now? They seem machine-like, so where do we find the physical and mental improvement bearing in mind we seemed gassed and clinging on after 20 minutes in… Read more »

greg okladnikov

The cowboys game also had the issue of travel back late at night and playing in very high humidity. That level of intensity and humidity affects recovery and ability to go at 100% . And broken sleep patterns, etc with the travel. . Not the ideal game to be in Townsville the week before the GF . Not an excuse but definitely had an impact. Had we played the Cowboys in Sydney it may have been a different GF

Brett Allen

This season BA has to find more rest for RCG & Junior. They are now at the point of their careers where they are getting a year older rather than a year better. Hopgood will certainly help, but he’s essentially a replacement for Niukore. We need a 4th and 5th big bopper to ease the load in the regular season.

John Eel

Agree Brett. I said the same at the end of the 2021 season. It is even more important now after the 2022 season.


Only 22 days till the first team list Tuesday of the season! Can’t wait to see how close you got!


Yes, I forgot there was a trial on Saturday. Looking forward to it!

Matt Sweeney

will that be televised Shaun




Good points Sixties.
I’m thinking the blend of new and experienced Eels is going to be a great boost to enthusiasm. These new guys all have something to prove. I’m looking forward to it!


Hopgood and Hodgo will be massive for us. These guys will push the tempo and we will be much stronger and more consistent this year.
Go Eels!!


Shame for Asi being injured right when we are already down a couple of centres.


Was about to ask about him, what is his injury? Would he be in the mix for a utility spot on the bench and a replacement for Hodgson if given a break?


I know there were concerns about his attitude but he was one player I was keen to see develop especially if the coaching staff got his attitude right. He has talent and if fit and ready I had him as a good chance in playing 14.

Matt Sweeney

he looks a good size


Is the injury serious ?


He has been named for trial so I assume ready

Martin Pluss

Sensible approach. Well done.

“ The Eels are now in match preparation mode, signalling an end to my regular preseason reports. As you are aware I don’t report on regular season training as their work becomes too specific.‘


Bad news for the training report addicts though.


Any word on Moses contract?
Hearing some snippets that I hope arnt true but they are coming thick and fast tonight.


If he goes, he goes and if he goes it is because he’s found his Alan Bond.


Yes that’s true. Two ways to look at it – if he goes who could blame him but if he stays … what a sacrifice !!! The contract is insane.


I honestly can’t say what I would do I was his age and the rumoured money was been thrown at me. That said, the Tigers are not a sound club and the rather odd Sheens/Benji coaching strategy reflects that. Also the rumoured deal would throw the cap out of whack and lead to other players being let go (probably the other million dollar half they have). Yes, he’d sacrifice cash to remain at Parra but he could profit so much more.

Last edited 1 month ago by Shaun

Yes I would have to agree. I do hope the eels stick firm. Whilst Moses is a very good player if we replicate the Brown deal, we are basically saying goodbye to both Sanders and young Lynn as future Eels. Sanders may be an exceptional player but won’t wait around for another 5 / 6 years. I’m still trying to get my head around the terms of the Brown deal. If he goes bust in 2 years, he can continue to earn great money sitting on the pine for another 8 years !!!. We may be able to carry Dyl… Read more »


Thanks Sixties for the time and dedication shown as always along with your team of Forty and others
I know injuries can be cruel but as long as we don’t get too many and our playmakers stay injury free we will be ok I feel.
Top four is ours to lose I think but never take anything for granted.
I feel if our defence improves as well as our ruck we will be good.


Ill start by saying I’m generally Negative by nature

This team doesn’t fill me with alot of confidence
That been said its not as bad as some pundits would have us believe


Roughly where my head’s at Offside. I need to see Doorey, Murchie,Ogden, Momoisea to get a better feel for forward depth. I’d like to see Greig hit his straps.I have no doubt Hodgson and Hopgood will improve us – skill, energy, tempo, leadership.Can we weaponise Sivo? Sean Russell may be a revelation, Penisini is highly competent and will only get better(we must fix that out wide defence)Moses will flourish with Hodgson, Brown and Gutho will leverage. I like our spine. Shaun Lañe improved so much last year, hard to see him not being even better. Can the big guns in… Read more »

Brett Allen

So BA is planning on playing Hodgson for 80 minutes ? That would seem risky

John Eel

Mitch in a recent interview talked about plans from Bazz about Mitch playing both sides of the ruck.

For me that would be something to look forward to. Seeing Dylan playing off Mitch has produced great plays in the past.

The other thing that you have mentioned before Sixties is seeing Gutho playing off Hodgson. Could be another highlight for 2023


Jake will be in the 17 for sure. BA has repeatedly shown that he believes that Jake is a utility and not just a cover in the halves.


There is no chance dunster is playing in the opening rounds absolutely zero chance

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