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The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 09: Morning After Reaction, Eels Stumble In Season Opener

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A morning after edition of the reaction podcast sees Sixties and Forty20 frank in their appraisal of the Eels following a 16-12 loss to the Melbourne Storm. A poor game from Dylan Brown alongside a string of squandered opportunities from core players are front in discussions before the boys look at the positives to build from – including a gutsy effort from the starting pack.

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61 thoughts on “The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 09: Morning After Reaction, Eels Stumble In Season Opener

  1. Chris K

    For mine, positives:

    We were competitive against an in-form Melbourne spine, when our number 6 was MIA, and Mitch Moses had an off-night (I love Mitch, and want him to re-sign, but seriously I think its about time to ‘sh*t or get off the pot’, as the attendant media circus is becoming a distraction for the playing group, and probably showed in our halves last night)

    Seriously to be in it and nearly win (probably deserved to win, except a 50/50 forward pass call going against us, and Ashely F*cking Klein missing an obvious pass off the ground by Munster which would have given us a 2 point chance to wint the game) against Hughes, Munster and Grant playing like they did in the second 40; playing effectively without funcitoing halves, is heartening.

    Hodgson was very good, though some service issues to iron out.

    Hopgood = immense, and Doorey likewise

    Lumelumue was solid except for his last costly fumble.


    Our halves

    Sivo (after a massive play taking Hughes into touch), kicking on the first!?!?!?! Maybe he thought he was being run into touch is the only thing I can think of …

    Ashley Klein. F*ck me, if he is the best ref going, that is an indictment on our game. The miss on Munster passing off the ground at full time was potentially a game-changing miss.

    Also thought we should have got a penatly for Munster’s shoulder to Penisini’ head (accidental or not, high contact is illegal), plus Nelson Solomona’s facial salon was given free rein last night.

    All in all, it could have been a lot worse – we have a pretty tough run in the next 3 weeks. Some real positives to take out, and if our halves start functioning we are good enough I feel, based on last night’s performance.

    1. Longfin Eel

      I’d have to agree with all you have said Chris. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a Parra win here, especially considering I struggled to identify half of our players. We have new connections to iron out, but I thought our back row was superb, although maybe a lack of cohesion between the edge forwards and the halves, which may explain why they were largely MIA.

        1. Colin Hussey

          Our forwards played exceptionally well, especially when considering the number of newbies that played last night especially the forwards.

    2. sixties

      spot on assessments there Chris. We have to look in the mirror for the reason for the loss, but Klein’s officiating was diabolical at times. I thought that the Storm obstructed on the last play of normal time. But above all else, the way Klein allowed Melbourne to slow up the play the ball was diabolical. They should have been pinged literally dozens of times, and his lack of action was the green light for them to continue. His appointment to Parra games is a slap to the face of our club.

      1. Colin Hussey

        How many counts for Solomona were ignored with his front on fall down on tackled players, lying on their backs and Solomona digs his elbow with his forearm raised into the said tackled player’s ribs???

        1. Milo

          NAS rented some space on our players. Laughable again, and to me BA and the club have to say something and not cop it.

  2. Offside

    I think considering we played the game with our Halves not there to loose in extra time is ok.

    Oh wait what Dylan and Mitch did play oh wow that’s a concern

    1. sixties

      Offside, we didn’t pull any punches with our assessment of the halves. We are huge fans of Dyl but it was by far his worst game, and Moses was very ineffective.

      1. Offside

        They were flat out dissapointing.
        The loss of Lane is going to have a effect on effective Dylan’s running game is as he’s lost the point of difference that attracts attention

        1. sixties

          I don’t think Lanes absence was the reason for his off night. Maybe he might have helped him to focus better after his poor start

  3. Spark

    Note to Dylan Brown ……“Now, I got no fight with any man who does what he’s told, but when he don’t, the machine breaks down. And when the machine breaks down, we break down”

    I was very proud of the effort. I thought the teams basically cancelled themselves out against one another. The difference of course was the 5/8.
    It’s been identified that it wasn’t Dylan’s greatest game and that was being kind. By his own admission, he’s such a space cadet and whilst that’s cute and all, he’s a professional athlete and he really needs to his head right.
    Last night, he was away with the fairies and we need him to be on for the full 80 minutes for the machine to work.
    Cam Munster is just a bloody good footballer. Yes, he conned Klein every time he tackled someone with his theatrics and when tackled he entangles his legs and arms up to fake ruck infringements but if the referee is stupid enough to buy into that – well that’s why we have champions like Munster to take advantage of it.
    The Storm have been conning the officials for years. It won’t change.
    Munsters slight of hand for the Tonipamea try was pure class.
    Cam is so tough and always on – someone Dylan can learn everything from.
    All in all, yes there were brain farts but if the team play as well as that every match, they will play finals.
    I’m very upbeat from the performance.

    1. Poppa

      I think we had the players to win the game , they just did not seem prepared for it.
      You get the impression that Storm came with a plan, Ketoa? was on a mission to stop Moses and most certainly unsettled him, Moses needs to expect this.

      The Elephant in the room and I would like to see more discussion and opinion, Hodgson was Parra’s playmaker last night, was it deliberate i.e., BA plan? he seemed to overcall Moses on occasions who looked bewildered when he did get it as I sensed he was not prepared i.e., set plays were done at Hodgson’s whim and yes, he needs to make decisions outside of his half’s expectations. I thought it was still bad positioning and understanding between them. Brown is not a play maker but last night I am not sure what he was. I would have preferred him to be closer to the ruck and linking with Moses……
      Hodgson’s general game was very good, his service slick (i don’t know how long before they catch up with his forward passes?) His pass to Junior was Cameron Smith quality and I thought his defense was excellent, have not seen his stats, but in the middle with 3 defenders he might be classed as missing a few, but no damage done. 
      Other thing was Cartwright stepped up and had a good game but essentially is just a bench player and not a match winner like we would like him to be. Missed a tackle badly near the end which cost us.
      Throw Matto and Lane back in and using Doorey and Murchie as benches looks strong, I though Greig made an impact but could not judge his defence…..where do people feel we lost the middle when Paulo and RCG were off, anyone notice the specifics?

      1. sixties

        I’ve said this before Poppa. I don’t think Mitch or Dylan’s form had anything to do with Hodgo. Yes, Baz has brought some changes to their shapes but nothing that was remotely detrimental to Moses.
        With Matto back the Eels will be better off the bench. But I thought the pack did well, and even when Junior and Reg were off, the Storm didn’t win control.

      2. BDon

        Poppa, I saw maybe 3 times where Hodgson went to the short side with Moses on the open side, but each time the formation on the short side was in shape,ready and moving, didn’t look awkward, part of our variation playbook I’d say. Moses had the ball in his hands plenty for a dominant player. The only time I saw frustration was in one of the field goal sets where I reckon Hodgson got spooked by Storm rushing early.

    2. sixties

      Good to have this positivity mate. It was a frustrating match to sit through but we will improve

  4. MickB

    Largely agree with Chris K’s comments, and the Pod. In context, its only rnd 1, but geez it was an annoying outcome.

    A few things that stood out to me;

    The difference between the best and worst of our spine needs to be much much narrower. I get players will have off nights, but for the quality of our 1, 6 and 7 in particular (I’ll leave Hodgson out for the time being), for 2023 we really needed to fix this. They’ve been together for a long time, are all on big coin, they’re experienced etc. Really no excuses anymore, they should be in their prime.

    Why is Munster allowed to tackle players in a headlock and not get penalised? Aside from the spoiling effect, I don’t see why its ignored as surely wrangling a players head and neck is dangerous.

    Really impressed with Hopgood and Doorey on debut. Hopefully they will just continue to get better. Plus the broader forward pack were resilient in working hard and continuing to lay the platform. Also impressed with how fresh Reg and Junior were given the short off season and high workload through 2022, into what seemed like long minutes last night.

    It felt like Melbourne was making more basic errors, and were gifting us the game. In classic style, when you don’t punish them, you are bound to be punished. And it felt like that to me, for much of the game.

    I thought our defensive structures generally looked effective and safe. I’d just like to see us leak less easy metres down edges (Hughes exploited this a few times). So hopefully the squad continues to build on that and we become a solid defensive unit through this season.

    1. !0 Year Member

      What if Hodgson was the problem? He is a very dominant player and integrating him into our spine might not be so straight forward

    2. sixties

      Fair observations Mick. On the Storm tactics they can thank Klein’s many blind eye turns for that. Your comment on the difference between best and worst was spot on.

  5. Iron Mike

    You boys said everything I was thinking. The forwards were outstanding, the halves were terrible, and the game was there to be won. Two points lost.

    And not to focus on the refs and people may have loved how close the score was and what tough battle it was but the ruck was awful and the game was slow which reflected in 12 all score line after 80 mins.

  6. BDon

    Tks guys. Had exactly the same feeling, that wasn’t a disaster by any stretch but we just didn’t take a game there for the taking.I kept saying to the nodding tolerant missus:
    -we’re not taking our chances and 6 points isn’t enough
    -that Moses conversion miss will bite us(but ain’t the reason we lost)
    -Storm are laying all over us, Munster channelling a wombat(I did the count the seconds check, they consistently reached 5 which rarely goes unpunished but it did last night).
    -Storm hitting after the kick (and pass), instructed aggression
    – Nelson always near the face/head..he got Hopgood a nice one in his favourite way..sprawling on top with arm/elbow above the neck late looking like an accident.
    -Storm defence in our face
    In such a close game, I reckon the Sivo first tackle DIY was the turning point, the looks on faces said it all, in fact so befuddled they thought it was the 5th tackle until they realised it wasn’t(that’s what happened on our lounge, had to explain this to my viewing partner).
    All new guys went well, great news, but for some reason I’m still a bit flat.

    1. sixties

      I feel that flatness mate and admit that doing the pod wasn’t easy. We do have to take positives out of the new fellas. 6 Eels debutants

  7. Jason

    The 2021 version of Dylan Brown was in full force last night. He was not interested in getting into the contest. Shied away from what he did so well last year. First game of the year is always the toughest physically…guys were blowing after 15 minutes…We will be better. We will get the troops back soon. We are a different team with Lane, Matto, Russel, Dunster, Brown. I thought Hopgood was on another level last night…so impressed. Doorey really impressed me as well. The other recruits will struggle to make the side. Murchie is extremely slow….Grieg actually had a blinder too, I like the impact he has off the bench. Very big boy and looks a lot fitter.

    On to next week.

    1. sixties

      Yes mate. Quite a few positives. I thought Murchie went ok in his transition from edge to middle. Probably just starting to feel the pinch before he was replaced

  8. Big Derek

    Given the metres made by the forward and their general dominance , what the heck happened behind them.

    The play the ball speed was neutered by consistent holding down by the Storm with the ever useless Klein waving his arms around , yet doing little. Head shots and elbows went unnoticed too.

    The Storm 6 & 7 took control of the game and as a consequence our halves were not up to it. Why is our kicking in general play structure so poor, Moses is constantly under pressure, and we tend to not do that. Their kicks are contested when the defence catches the ball, does Moses kick it too long or is it a problem with not gaining enough ground as the Storm just caught the downfield kick and set off making metres basically unchallenged, Meaney ran for 217 metres for f*#ks sake.

    Ok, here’s an unanswerable question , the most physically gifted back in the team is Waqa Blake, he is almost invisible in attack, doesn’t seem to make breaks and is being outplayed by a 19 year old centre. Simmonson was more effective at the end of the season, will he continue in the centres and with his contract up at the end of the season, and even be extended.

    Moses needs to make a decision and if it’s his manager playing games, then up to him to instruct him, not sure last night helped him too much. Seems like the rest of the playing group has had enough too.

    1. Spark

      Waqa Blake – when we first signed him I thought he was the best centre in the game. He continually tore us up whenever we played against him. i just don’t know what happened to him when he arrived at the Eels. I know that BA absolutely loves him but maybe it’s time we just said adios to him. Our luck, he will sign with someone like the Knights and return to being the best centre in the NRL. He certainly is an enigma but he’s doing nothing for us and there are a ton of young backs in the Panthers system that would love the opportunity.

    2. John Eel

      Derek pretty much agree with all of your comments there. We do not put enough pressure on the opposition kicker. Every time Mitch kicks, the assigned defender is grabbing at him. Why are we not doing the same?

      Further as you point out our kick chase is not effective. The Storm were meandering out of their Red zone making plenty of metres. We appeared to be hemmed on our own try line trying to do kick returns.

      One more thing late in the game Klein went from 10 metres to 13 or 15 metres. To be fair I did not see if he did the same to the Storm but I have not seen a replay of the game yet.

    3. sixties

      Last night was a reminder of why many supporters despise the Storm and their tactics.
      As for Moses, I have had no major issue with how long this contract has taken. I’ve reported on how his preseason has been his best ever. However, a game like last night was not good optics for a player not committing. I’d now like him to make a decision and get on with his footy.

  9. Avenger

    Seeing the game went into golden point and fatigue sent in, is there any reason why BA continues not to play with his full 17?

  10. HamSammich

    Forwards were great. After last night there would be few doubters about Parra’s forward rotation throughout the year, it will take the next step up once Lane and Matto are available for selection. Penisini was great rucking the ball out, strong defensively but I thought he put a bit too much pressure on his winger with that offload early in the game. I still think we need more punch from Sivo, Waqa and the other winger. I won’t put onus on Lumelule as he’d be close to our 6th choice winger but they just don’t give the respite to the forwards like other club’s backs do. With how little work defensively wingers do they really should be aiming for 170m+ per game and centres up around 140m. As you can see with Penisini it’s a mentality, not a technique or size thing. Sivo and Waqa are much larger than Will yet he’s the one making metres, pushing through contact, he wants it more.

    It’s no surprise to me that Gutho, Brown, Moses all had poor games when they were consistently up against a set defensive line due to how slow the ruck was. It’s amazing how I (a pleb) sitting in the stands can see the melbourne forwards not playing the ball with their foot, munster coming up with his hand on the ball, second efforts, working over the ruck yet we have 3 trained professionals not being able to see it. We seriously need more referees (2 on-field, 4 touchies) as the current set-up very clearly doesn’t work. Too much happens for them to see.

    1. Spark

      You are never going to change the way the referees officiate the game. They will penalise you a couple of times but they won’t keep penalising you especially if you protest that the opposition is “doing it all day too sir !”
      we have to stop being the good guys and adopt the same tactics. Stand offside at the ruck like the Panthers and interfere with the ruck like the storm.
      we join them or we die.

      1. sixties

        Spark, I can sense your logic. But, over the course of BA’s tenure he has taken them from most penalised to the least penalised. I don’t believe that we have it in our DNA to be tactically pushing the boundaries. I think it would lead to the sort of discipline issues that the refs would go hog wild over. In fact, I think if we played like the Storm did last night, we would get caned. The Storm was ranked worst for discipline in 2022 and last night they should have paid for their tactics. But it was Klein.

        1. Spark

          That’s true, we do need to maintain discipline but we don’t want to be the ‘nice’ team in the NRL. The officials, being human, will always take the easy way out.
          Who wants the prospect of bellyache ringing your boss on a Monday morning? The refs are deadset scared stiff.
          The panthers were offside all year last year and went alright.
          Maybe as with all things, a balance is required?

    2. MickB

      Agree with comment on wings and centres. There was 1 run where Sivo wound up and came back at a gap in the middle, and I thought “gee good run” …. instantly followed by the thought “what has Sivo been doing for the last 6 sets”.

      I’ve also wondered at times whether tactically they don’t seem to find many of the easy metres anywhere near as effectively as other teams. All too often they are losing the collision and making limited metres, then letting the forwards do all the work.

      1. sixties

        Here’s an interesting stat then Mick. In 2022 the Eels ranked 4th highest in kick return metres. The Storm finished 11th.

    3. sixties

      Ham, we didn’t want to make the referees into the cause of the loss last night. After, we saw the critical errors. But as you rightly point out, the officiating was diabolical.

  11. pete

    Just sign Hopgood already!
    He’s Captain material!
    What more proof is needed?
    If we don’t lock him down now, some else will.

    Great forwards performance tonight. Let down by a couple of defensive errors. But it’s probably the motivation we needed. Because if we won we probably would start getting ahead of ourselves. A close loss gives us some fuel for the fire. The expensive halves needed to step up.

    1. Longfin Eel

      Well said Pete. I don’t think the club would be overly concerned with the game. I’m just disappointed as a fan that we lost a game that we put ourselves into a position to win comfortably. Those Melbourne tries were very soft, and should be an easy fix. We also let Melbourne control the game in the second half because we took the foot off the accelerator. Hopefully with a bit more experience coming in over the next few weeks will reduce the errors, and we can ice the chances that we make.

      Given that everyone has already written us off for losing so many players, I thought the replacements have already shown they are up for the task.

      1. pete

        Spot on Longfin Eel. Our newbies did what was asked of them. With Matto and Lane coming back plus Simmonson, Russell and Dunster should all put pressure on better performances.
        The spine combination will improve 👌

  12. Ferret

    However long moses signs for will determine how long before we have a chance at a premiership ! Mitch cant and wont deliver !!! Never has and never will win the big moments !!!!!!!!!!

  13. Shaun

    On the bright side, before the game Matto and Daejarn Asi mingled with the folk on the Western side of the ground. Both were quite friendly and willing to chat. I did speak to Daejarn said he is a few weeks away from a return.

    As for the game, a missed chance. The forwards were tremendous. The halves squandered the platform. Apart from that one call Hodgson was quite good and the new guys did well.

    I do think the refs are overcome by decision paralysis in close games. They are so fearful of making a bad call blatant fouls are ignored.

    No need to get the pitchforks out and march on the clubhouse…just yet.

  14. HINDY111

    Halves had stinkers.
    Gutherson clogged up the play with silly dummy half run into the markers.
    Lumlume tried hard but ultimately missed a chance to score, dropped a ball that lead to a try and missed a tackle for their first try. He needs work.

    Our kick pressure was poor. And halves never took any leadership or control.

  15. adz4parra

    Here’s a few additional points not mentioned…

    1) We had two impact second rowers required to play 80 (or near enough too). Doorey isn’t an 80 min NRL player yet and Cartwright has always been better in short spells. Both did well considering but we really missed Lane tonight.

    2) We need to get more mongrel. Gutho was asked in the press conference whether the team had talked about targetting Munster and trying to get at his hand. Gutho looked perplexed and then mumbled something about not even knowing about the finger fracture and thinking it was an HIA. Genuinely looked like the idea that we’d be dirty was a foreign concept to him. If the shoe the on the other foot, Melbourne would have made that players life misery. That was an advantage we failed to utilise in my opinion.

    3) There were plenty of positives given the number of new debutants and scale of our injury woes. We’ve apparently still got 9 of the top 30 out of action. Hodgson did well for his first proper game back from an ACL

  16. Peter Cadwalledem

    It was a poor quality match. People talking this up don’t know what their talking about. Melbourne are a poor percentage of their past and Munster missed a third of the match and played with one hand and still outdid our entire spine. Wait until we play the sharks and penriff . Manly would put a score on us. Sharks by 13 + easy next week wait n see

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