The Cumberland Throw

The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 11: Instant Reaction, Eels Slump To Second Straight Loss feat. Graeme Atkins

The Tip Sheet is also available on Spotify and iTunes!

A live edition of The Tip Sheet jumps into the fallout from Parramatta’s second loss of the season as they fell to the Cronulla Sharks in Round 2. Graeme Atkins joins Sixties and Forty20 to analyse how the Eels dropped a second winnable game in as many weeks.

The panel find positives in the loss through the efforts of players like Hopgood and Moses but note the defensive frailty of the left edge and a lack of clinical execution that dogs the team for the second game in a row.

If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.
Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The edge defence of this team is putrid. It has been for years. I’ve officially given up on waqa as a centre. He needs to play wing or be dropped. The parra edges (without matto and lane) are getting exposed (doorey and Bryce rarely wins contact and always lying in play the ball). We have no inside pressure or line speed in defence. Backline is pretty trash (gutho, waqa, simonsson) compared to rest of the comp and yet we still should be 2-0. Will see the character of this team against eagles. If they roll over and let tommy turbo… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Anonymous

That’s a very damning assessment Anon. The team have clearly not aimed up in the two games this year. And I also would like to see a positional change with Waqa. But injuries have impacted options.
In light of some of your comments, what do you see as being the Eels strengths over the last four seasons, especially last year in qualifying for the decider?


I think we rode our forward pack home last year. They worked tirelessly but it was still evident that our defence was pretty bad. We would leak a lot of metres per set in defence and had limited line speed/kick pressure. But we managed to counter that by forwards working hard in attack and Moses long kicking game. If we didn’t have his long kicking game we would be stuffed. Our edge defence last year was bad aswell. The right side couldn’t shut down a simple raid to save their life but opacic made the left a littler better. I… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Anonymous

That was a really good summation of the situation Anon. I enjoyed reading it.
Excellent work.


What has the last four years got to do with this year Craig.We had plenty of time to replace the players that we knew were leaving.We barely have four backs of NRL standard in out top 30 and the Matto decision has definitely hindered us big time but Annon has called it how it is and he is 100%correct..


Thanks guys – I am also interested in 60s opinion on these things as he sees training etc. Also, what frustrates me is, although I watch a lot of footy and played the game, these issues re backline have sprung out to me for the best past of 3 years (as soon as we lost Jennings and then fergo lost form/left). Relatedly, we let utokimanu leave, Sam Hughes went Mia, Hollis is gone, Oregon is gone. In that context, the development of junior props parra has been sub standard to put it mildly. Where is the No.14 that most other… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Anonymous/Ron

The club just has to be proactive in making a decision with Waqa Blake. He’s off contract at seasons end and whilst BA is on record as loving the player, the club just has to understand the relationship is no longer there – not for any amount of money For all his skill, he’s now looking like a footballer who struggles just too regularly. We are in desperate need of a decent centre or winger. There is talk of Brown landing at the chooks, I’d be going hard for an aging Daniel Tupou who is looking for a contract. Perhaps… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Spark

That’s a grim picture painted Spark. Mind you, my responses are also coloured by more recent games and at present I’m desperately trying to see how we can find a win over the next three weeks. I should try to focus on how close the first two weeks have been despite our poor form, but it seems we are finding ways to lose rather than ways to win.


I was going to go for a detailed reply but Anon basically said it for me. The defensive problems have been there for years- not recently- FOR YEARS. Any team that is prepared to employ quick shifts to fast nimble players will always destroy us, that’s why we can never get anywhere near Souths. I’m absolutely perplexed about the bench use. Whilst I think Jake requires an extended time in Cup, I’d rather Jake play on the bench if it means BA uses him ! We just don’t rate quick nimble smallish players yet those are the players that consistently… Read more »


For about 3 years I kept commenting that we were inept at defending smart wider shifts, you just get tired of yourself harping on it. And there, I watched on Thursday night a compressed line to the left with a big space to the sideline, Cronulla form up a bit deeper and quickly move the ball 2 wide of the ruck, we start to spread and try to mark up, not only do we open up at the 2 pass mark (twice in a row) we also look done on the outside if they take that option. NFI. Go to… Read more »

Brett Allen

60’s, we are simply going nowhere until BA starts to trust his bench. He can’t hide behind Reg & Junior’s large salaries as reason for playing them 60+ minutes a week. That is simply not sustainable given that there are now both in their late 20’s. Matto will help obviously when he returns, but these 3 weeks when he was out was a priceless opportunity for BA to get big minutes into Greig, Murchie, Momoisea in particular, to really see what we had. I have to agree with Anon, BA is always behind the trends, he’s never prepared to take… Read more »


On the bright side RCG finally came in as first try scorer! I was at a function and couldn’t watch the game but got a message from mate asking “DID YOU HAVE HIM! TELL ME YOU DID!” The down side was the RCG, Sivo x 2 and a Parra win multi did not get there. I’ve only seen the highlights and it seems the attack was great and the defence the exact opposite. The Sharkies’ tries were really soft but can’t say much more otherwise just disappointed. But how is good is Hopgood? He has added so much around the… Read more »


Shaun, when the tries to Reg and Sivo came in I said to the other TCT boys that you had tipped it. Even just as a two leg multi the result would have been huge.


Oh, if I’d only done the two leg multi. But happy the faith in Reg finally was rewarded. Now I’m at a bit of a loss who to pick next week.


Tks men. Before I listened to this, I thought don’t over analyse just know that 16 errors won’t win any game unless the other team is just as clumsy. The Sharks made 11 and kept us in it but 16,geez! Early on, did anyone else hear Sutton calling our forwards for going early, one ruck it was so confusing that he was calling Junior but pinged Hopgood who tackled a bloke who had easily crossed the advantage line and taken 4/5 mtrs in what looked like an empty 50 acre paddock because our blokes were nowhere to be seen, obeying… Read more »


I agree mate. It had the feel of round one last year against the Titans. Both defences opening up. When others argued that Jake’s presence in the second half stifled our attack, I responded that he deliberately kept it tighter around the ruck. We were heading towards a high scoring loss had he not played. I’m not suggesting we win with him on Friday, not in any way. What I’m suggesting is that we weren’t focussed and it was evident in a high scoring game. I reckon the worst thing for us was two very quick tries.

Peter Cadwalledem

Brad has to go its as simple as that. Our development under Brad is a massive joke and everyone in development should get a massive broom through the joint. Look at our bench full of average purchases instead of trying to develop future players

But don’t worry, we have Jake waiting in the wings to boost our lack of speed


You never fail Chief.


Very disappointing result considering they had two key players out in key spots. Defence wins and loses games; it’s so simple and some players have made the same errors for a few seasons now. What also is hurst ja that the Reggie’s got smacked. Our spine must lead every game – that is what good teams do. Our bench – I don’t follow why we use this as we do…but am just an outsider. I feel we are going to have to make the finals the hard way unless they can sort these issues out. We are already two games… Read more »


Finding a positive is tough.

Trapped in the 1970’s

Not enjoying two weeks of kicking stones from games that could/should have been won but for so many errors. In the storm game there was no issue with taking an early penalty goal yet later on a similar opportunity right in front was ignored and the ensuing set came up empty. As BA rightly pointed out in his presser you don’t need to win by 6, 1 will do and so will 2… regular time. That is probably too simplistic and ignores brain explosions like Sivo’s but they were points for the taking. Two weeks in and the side has… Read more »


Well said. I particularly watched when Cronulla went through behind our ruck and scored. Moylan stepped back inside Hopgood, once again there were already wide open spaces occurring from the prior ruck. Hopgood was one of the few in position, had barely moved back 10 so was flat footed, a noted stepper like Moylan off a quick play the ball was always going to trouble a depleted line. You could see it coming, note there was no one scrambling into the space behind the ruck until the bird had flown. Not much different to when Kennedy stepped Penisini under the… Read more »

John Eel

Your analysis is on the money. They were wide open spaces




My concern is this season is going to be like last season – we won’t know which Parra team is going to show up. Competition heavyweights or Spooners. We can’t have blokes in the starting 13 having absolute clangers of games, and barely use our bench. It puts far too much pressure on 10 blokes to win games. Performances need to be much more consistent week in week out, and it needs to be a 17 man contribution.

With that said, I thought RCG, Sivo and Hopgood were all excellent.

John Eel

MickB I had been at the point that I have been looking forward to N Brown coming back.

However according to the Sunday Tele he is off to the Roosters


Waqa Blake and Simmonson both produced Paul Cariage like performances. It’s becoming a habit. Putrid. As for our new players, only Hopgood is a genuine first grader. Even Hodgson looks pedestrian. I’m not sure what you guys saw in the pre season but his service is slow and doesn’t hit blokes on the chest with his passes. His running game is also non existent. Missed 8 tackles!! He looks every bit an old man. You guys also talked up Momoisea too. Has as much football IQ as Waqa but with less athletic ability. Should be no where near first grade.… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Anonymous

Mate, I think both Murchie and Doorey, are going ok. They havnt had a lot of footy(either has Hodgson) but I see them growing into better players with a few more runs under their belts


Spot on whoever you are.The scary thing is I was told by someone high up that the players coming were better than the ones we let go.Hopgood yes but that’s it rest way off the mark.

John Eel

Gianni not sure I completely agree with your comments about recruiting. Hopgood and Doorey I believe have been good and I think in time Hodgson will prove to be value. I have spent the last two days trying to find some positives but it has been hard. The closest I have come to a positive is remembering last season started the same. Difference being we played inferior competitors at the start last season. Last season BA had planned to come out of the blocks slower in 2022 to counter the criticism of going too hard too early and folding in… Read more »


I think the forwards are able to hold their heads higher. It’s our backs (and unused bench) that are losing it.

Joe Vass

I agree, The truth is our roster has been significantly weakened, In Reed (whose game is growing every week under Ciraldo)), Ice, Marata, Oregon and Ray Stone we have lost 5 forwards of genuine first grade standard and who had been in our system for years. Matterson and Lane’s unavailability merely highlights the lack of depth. I don’t like criticising players but you have to question our recruitment strategy (Hopgood aside). In terms of whats happening on the field, Graeme Atkins made a good point. Continuously putting a high ball up on the 5th tackle and hoping someone drops it… Read more »


The biggest thing for me was some of them tries we didn’t even get close enough to lay a hand on them in defence.Waqa has to be wing or nothing he cannot draw and pass to his winger.God help us if Reg or Junior get injured.


Yes our defence was poor 36 missed and doesn’t include the ones when no attempt was made… Our defence coach should be on notice. A line in the sand has to be drawn.


The only positives are; 1. Lane and Matto will improve the team 2. it was close (both games) 3. Hopgood and RCG and Junior- but they will be spent by September at this rate. The negatives Look at the Bulldogs??? All grades losing 2 weeks in a row?? We get 30 points against!! “Effort was good” was the quote from the Presser? Defence was like paper. Who is the Defence coach? 15 errors 36 missed tackles! Ineffective.. 66% completions… Bellamy didn’t hold back and made an honest assessment. We got “Effort was good” we need to call a spade a… Read more »


I would like to be a fly on the wall looking at our corporate plan. Planning is and should be a 5 year living document and as such. things such as our development club plan should be alive and it is seriously “not well”. When I say a “living document” I mean you adjust it regularly and keeping adding a year on, so its always a 5 year plan. Player and recruitment management falls into the same category. Now I cannot believe that Mark O’Neill would not understand it as it is basic fundamental and so I wonder where is… Read more »


I agree Poppa. Like you I’m a big fan of Moses and Brown…but what they are paid we should have match winners. Those clutch moments nailed. But we are clunky compared to the Dolphins halves basically just met as Milford was axed for round 1. Brown and Moses and Gutho have been playing together for 5 years…Can’t blame Hodgo for that. Waqa has been terrible for years now. How many chances do you get?
1986 was too long ago!!
We need players that put their bodies on the line. Some are not doing basics.

Peter Cadwalledem

Matterson doesn’t want to play.. He’s a contract player. You’ll see know that he’s signed for a long time he won’t give a stuff. The proof being the 4 k fine that he’d rather stay home instead. His hia’s mysteriously disappeared when he was playing for that contract aswell. Watch and You’ll see he won’t add much


There’s no need to panic we lost to the storm in golden point and by 4 points to the sharks. Both of those teams are top 8 teams maybe even top 4 teams. The edge combinations will get better they have only played 2 games together and haven’t looked that bad apart from a few bad reads in defence against the sharks. It’s not going to get easier over the next few weeks with the draw how it is and playing teams that have had byes and our boys having tough games. Even though we are 0-2 they haven’t played… Read more »


Morretti put up good stats in NSW CUP. Hope he can stay injury free and kick on. Him and Matalele look decent to me. Not much else I like in NSW CUP.


Can one play left centre? Someone needs to replace Waqa.
The other thing we need is a PJ Marsh type on the bench. Someone who can make tackles and is quick and get us on front foot whilst Hodgson has a spell. Is that Yates? Or Hands? Rein is too slow. McInnes did it for Sharks but he’s no PJ Marsh…


I’d give cini a go at center and put waqua on the wing if Russell isn’t back I don’t want to see simmison again


I agree mate it makes sense for a zippy replacement without even seeing hands or Yates I’m hoping for either of them reins 5 years too late


I agree Hindy111; elevate Matalele to top 30 to replace Brown and give his development squad position to Morretti.

Big J

Despite all this negatively we can easily be 2-0 Moses missed kick and Brown foward pass against Storm and Gutherson intercept pass was inch higher we win against sharks. Also only Broncos and Dolphins are 2-0 so other teams not looking good this early no need to get upset this early.


How does ba put waqa and Bryce Cartwright on an edge an think thr edge defence is going to be fine? Legit stuff of nightmares having those two together

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x