The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 2 vs Sharks


Parramatta Eels 26

Cronulla Sharks 30

Our halves had good games at least, which is what we’d asked for after last week. We also got another dose of J’maine Hopgreat, who is about three performances like this away from a spot on the Leagues Club wall. Not the inside like those chumps Tim Mannah and *redacted* got; the outside walls, all of them.

We’ve all had plenty of time to chew on the bad in the performance, and certain players are going to be copping all barrels in the grades, so I’m going to focus on a couple of other things.

First up, the Cronulla Sharks play some really ugly football. Not ugly in the old fashioned, boring but effective sense, but ugly as in very much against the spirit of the game. The Sharks have very clearly been coached to control the head of the attacking player at every opportunity. Whether that is an arm over the face or a full side headlock, every tackle that devolved into a wrestle, the Sharks players would have the ball carrier by the head.

It is brutally effective. No player wants to twist and fight to get to their feet knowing they could move their body one way and their head would go the other. It’s why head control is so important in amateur wrestling and jiu-jitsu, though instead of preparing to choke somebody unconscious the tacklers are trying to discourage a player from fighting a tackle by putting them in a spot where fighting it could severely injure them.

Cronulla are very unlikely to be the only ones doing it, but Friday night was the first time I really noticed it. Maybe we can give Craig Fitzgibbon and his team the benefit of the doubt and say it is a natural side-effect of good wrestling: holding the ball-arm, controlling the shoulder, but it looked far too intentional to my eyes. It’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on over the coming weeks, for sure.

The other bad belongs to the Eels club themselves. While I wasn’t at the game this week, I’ve seen multiple reports that the tribute for the Jon Mannah Cup didn’t go ahead before the game. That is simply not good enough, and while I appreciate that a full memorial before every clash with the Sharks would soon lose meaning, there needs to be something, at the very least the minute of celebration and a call to action for cancer research. Do better.

The big moment for me was one out of a “Choose your own adventure” book where you cheat, go to both options and realise in both you die horribly. Mitchell Moses puts in a huge effort to chase down the runaway Ronaldo Mulitalo, and now he has two choices: let him go and give away a quick play-the-ball with no defensive line set, or hold him down and march straight to the sin bin. I’m glad he chose to avoid the bin, but I’d really like to have seen Will Penisini take one for the team with the flop, or even Moses fall off and let another, slower tackle happen. Moses did his best and unfortunately his incredible defensive play was for absolutely no reward.

Possession: 50/50
Completions: Eels 28/42 (66%), Sharks 30/41 (73%)
Run metres: Sharks 1,905, Eels 1,874
Post-contact metres: Eels 674, Sharks 635
Average set distance: Eels 44.6m, Sharks 46.5m
Errors: Eels 15, Sharks 12
Tackles: Eels 327, Sharks 332
Missed tackles: Eels 32, Sharks 24

In my eyes, the pinnacle of grades content was the Ryan Matterson/Four Non Blondes – What’s Up meme (check out round 8 2020 for that one). I thought I’d struck my own version of it with a version of “Hops so Good” to John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Hurts so Good”. Then I went and read the rest of the lyrics and you know what, we’re back to the drawing board. Until then, J’maine Hops So Good will have to settle with the MVP award for round 2.





Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

Last week the King was the end of a lot of half chances, this week he was creating them. Unfortunately for us all, the only one to ice a Clint Gutherson chance was Ronaldo Mulitalo and Will Kennedy. That was a killer, but just one of several backbreaking mistakes that led to points in this one. At least he balanced the ledger on the other side a touch, unlike some others.

His HIA will undoubtedly get a lot of Eels fans on the side of Gus Gould’s ridiculous takes about assessments, but try not go crazy about it. The HIA luck will come our way sooner or later and for too long rugby league sat on the “sorry” side of “better safe than sorry”.


Maika Sivo

2 – Left Wing

Maika Sivo’s game looks good on paper, a lot of metres, two tries, not a lot of red marks in the ledger, but it still didn’t feel like a “big one” to me.


Will Penisini

3 – Right Centre

I don’t think you were the problem here, Will.


Waqa Blake

4 – Left Centre

I’m done. Really, I was done years ago, but his contract was so long that I just kept giving him a chance. No more. I never want to see him in first grade again. My least favourite Eel since Paul Kent.


Bailey Simonsson

19 – Right Wing

My least favourite Eel since Waqa Blake. 


Dylan Brown

6 – Five Eighth

That kick dead was an absolute shocker, but Dylan Brown put a couple of tries on, did his usual thing running the ball and looked much more like himself. A massive relief that he’s not phoning in his contract from now, considering it ends when my infant son will be able to drive.


Mitchell Moses

7 – Halfback

I’d like to have seen a bit more composure in the closing stages, but you can’t really ask for much more of Mitch in his milestone game. The sheer pace he showed both to score his second try and chase down Mulitalo were an example of the X-factor he brings as a half, and if he keeps playing like this the wins won’t be far behind.

As an aside, how good is the NRL’s head high crackdown not applying to try scoring? I guess a concussion copped in the act of scoring does less harm to a brain than one in general play.



8 – Front Row

65 minutes, an early meat pie to get both starting props off “the run” and of course, a mountain of work on both sides of the ball.


Josh Hodgson

9 – Hooker

Throw some headgear on Josh Hodgson this week and you’d have thought he was the man he replaced; a lot of tackles, a lot of missed tackles, no running game, a stupid error at dummy half and far too many crash balls. At least until he spoke and you couldn’t understand a word he said.


Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

Junior Paulo was in battering ram mode this week, his distribution game tucked away for use at a later date. He wasn’t the problem.


Bryce Cartwright

11 – Second Row

While Bryce Cartwright has been getting through a lot more work than we’d expected, this was a bit more vintage from the longest running party in the NRL. Offloads, an error and a bit of ordinary defence. I’m not hating the Carty Party, but I can’t wait for the Shaun Lane-way Festival to come back.


Matt Doorey

12 – Second Row

The Doorey jury is still out for mine. He’s fine, but he’s replacing the “two time back rower of the year” and despite Parramatta’s premiership record for the last three and a half decades, I have high standards.


J’maine Hopgood

13 – Lock

It wasn’t perfect from my J’maine man, and since we lost let’s rib him a touch for that lazy effort late in the first half on Kennedy’s second try. Now, let us praise the man. Putting on tries like a half, offloading like a freak and running like a bulldozer, I thought I’d be the adult in the room and show restraint regarding signing Hopgood up for life, but two weeks is enough: promise this man the world, Parramatta.


Jirah Momoisea

14 – Interchange

D for Dunce. I wonder if the metres he made running behind the 1986 Chicago Bears offensive line count to his total, or if the most obvious penalty this season wiped them off the board.


Jack Murchie

15 – Interchange

I’m going to call Jack Murchie “Good Oregon Kaufusi” until further notice, because he’s filling that bench role like Kaufusi did, without the backbreaking errors. I suppose it is a compliment?


Wiremu Greig

16 – Interchange

I didn’t think this got enough love in the preview, so I’m delivering my own material again hoping for a better reaction second time around. It worked for Craig McLachlan on the Footy Show. Regarding Brad Arthur listening to my complaints about his bench “management”…

Much like the old geezer on the hill who spends the entire game yelling “up, up, get ‘im, get ‘im” I don’t see the coach changing his ways just because some punk a few rows in front gives him a serve.


Makahesi Makatoa

17 – Interchange

You’d think Maka would be better at making the most of his short gametime by now, but he’s certainly not playing like a guy who is only getting 13 minutes.

I’ve heard multiple people compare this team to the ill-fated Eels of 2018, which is the kind of ridiculous negativity that I suppose is bred by not winning a premiership since John Cougar Mellencamp was a thing. While it is unfortunate to start the season with two losses at home, we lost to two teams that should be top eight contenders (this line worked a lot better before the Bulldogs belted the Storm), each time by a single try, once in golden point. We’ve got two representative quality back rowers missing and are playing with a new hooker. Could it be better? Yes. Should you start looking forward to the 2023/24 summer of cricket? Not just yet (maybe not at all, Pakistan and the Windies are coming over. For tests).

You remove the dumb errors from this one and it is an easy victory. Unfortunately we’ve got a couple of pumpkins playing in the outside backs, but Simonsson and Blake have proven before they can at least be semi-competent first graders, and that is all we need. The defensive combinations on the edge were downright shocking, and that is the biggest concern for me. 

This is a good week to steer clear of media, Twitter, Facebook, just about anywhere that would talk about football. The crisis merchants are licking their lips at an 0-2 Eels with a tough draw and an unsigned halfback. That’s thousands of hate-clicks right there for Buzz, Crawley, Hooper, Kenty and co. Rise above it, take some time for you, and sit down next Thursday for the real beginning of the Parramatta Eels 2023 season.

Until next time, stay slippery Eels fans.


Stats and images provided by NRL / Eels media

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82 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 2 vs Sharks

  1. Anonymous

    Waqa and Simonsson lost this one. With Nrown off to the Roosters we need to fill the spot with a solid defensive centre or give Cini a shot and buy another first grade quality prop so we can give our first 2 a decent rest.

  2. Milo

    Look I’ve only seen a replay of the game – if our spine are not having good games then we are going to struggle.
    On the wrestle issue, it’s been here for yrs and again we get dominated in ruck at times / slow play the balls etc. it’s up to the captain and coach to make complaints abt this or copy them…it’s simple.
    We got beaten through some bad defence and losing the ruck at important times.
    Pls don’t mention the bench…if BA does not use the bench more astutely then we will continue to see our props get busted towards the seasons end in my view. He could have given Greig and others some more time to allow them into the game, I don’t get it. These guys have had all off season to learn the plays / structures.
    Really concerned abt next week, as no doubt the refs again will control the game in their way….

  3. Zero58

    This the second week that Parra has a hia with no penalty but with the loss of a key player. Gutherson going off for fifteen minutes threw the team off balance which showed on the score board. Why does Parra end up with the worst of the referees? The bench management is boarding on farcical and there is not a thing anyone except the coach can do about it. Why have a 124 kilo prop on the bench and not use him even if it is just to run into the teeth of the gale. Yes, this is not 2018 – not close and different circumstances. Some of our new forwards are simply not there. That guy from Newcastle won’t make it. And, I hope Mr Selfish who wouldn’t pay the fine is hanging his head in shame. Manly this week who are all fired up. That was an incredible chase by MM – I wish he would just sign that damn paperwork. We need to sign another back. Drop that guy from Newcastle and bring in Jayden Yates. And what is the news on Sean Russell. And I thought Cartwright went okay – he is playing BA’s game not his own. I wish he would play his own game – he can be an extra 5/8. Disappointing loss but still not the end of the world. I let you know when that is coming.

  4. Offside

    Are we as bad as the 2018 team? No
    Are we looking like a bottom half of the table team? Yes.

    BA needs to evolve with the game the HIA situation means you need a back/utility option on the bench our fullback goes down a backrower comes on a centre goes to wing a winger goes to fullback its no wonder we leaked points as you said BA ain’t going to change his ways.

    I have a feeling Manly will put a cricket score on us this week we had 2 close losses against understrength teams this week is a genuine test of where we are at.

    Add to the fact 1st grade and reserve are both without wins shows that we are in trouble.
    Yes Lane is missing and Matto are not playing but our depth and options are not there considering we are a ‘Devolpment club’ where is the next gen talent?
    I’ll be beating the sack BA drums if we go 0-5 first now the GF debacle buys him some time.

    1. Anonymous

      Fair dinkum coaches like Wayne Bennett, know when they can not get any more from his group of men, or his message is stale he moves on, BA has a lottery ticket that lasted 10 years. Does anyone genuinely believe that we had a chance in the GF last year, one must also consider how we treated the players, by having them get their own way to the ground, and knocking back the opportunityto train at the stadium. Poor lead into a GF!
      The Drums to sack Mark O’Neill first and then BA should be beating now?

      1. Spark

        If only we could have grabbed Benny for the organisation! The problem is that at the time he was available, we were an absolute shit show in the front office. A few years ago the panthers did something that set them up for sustained success, they grabbed Matt Cameron from the Eels to set up, well, everything.
        It was probably the biggest mistake that the Eels have ever made.
        They will never get him back but perhaps we can duplicate his success by following his lead.
        I absolutely applaud everything that BA has done for the club but it’s now time for a new coach. A new set of eyes and a new direction.
        This has nothing to do with our start this year and win lose or draw, a tenure of over 10 years at a club is reserved for a select few, a small number of successful coaches.
        It’s time for the broom but I doubt that the club has the stones for such an undertaking.
        We remain … a sleeping giant.

    2. TolEels

      I was a believer before with BA since he was able to have the team play in the finals. However, as time goes on, there seems to be no innovation, same tactics of “bringing in the collission”, “front-loading the effort”, etc. But Junior & RCG are not robots. Even machine has wear and tear. Just because they are paid top $ does not mean you can use them for almost the whole 80 mins. That’s why you have 17 players and 8 interchanges. Bad that he he had not fully utilised these options and worse, tries had been made vs us due to players fatigue especially in the middle. Still hoping that haed headed as he is, he will see the folly of his tactics from the 2 loses.
      Yes, we also need some good backs that eat up meters to provide respite to our forwards. And yes, please drop Waqa and put Bailey in the centre.

  5. PM

    It’s 2023 and still the same issues persist as 2021 and 2022, and the same player is at the centre of those issues. Would have loved to have resigned opacic and sent Waqa to England. Why why why BA? Yes injuries to forwards have us with a very poor bench but why do we have one player not even getting minutes? Surely there was a defensive centre on the market we could have nabbed as cover for Blake when he shits the bed like he does all the time. I’m not even sure he knows what his strengths are so no point telling him to play to that. We all joke that footballers are dumb but it’s no joke here.

  6. Glenn

    Can we rate the defence – F, bench management – F (is there a grade below F?) and coach performance – see previous. Apparently they spent all off season working on defence, according to BA. We must have dumb footballers then as they learnt nothing, Are there shades of 2018 there?

  7. Dave

    Most of our supporters wouldn’t even know who John Cougar Mellencamp is mate, nice reference though

    1. Gol Post author

      Considering how many of our supporters are still living on 1986, you’d think they’d recognise the soundtrack!

      1. Poppa

        For someone that can go wayback past this, can I go on the record for the sound of music and “the yellow brick road” the Judy Garland version….. i wonder how many of our players can remember ‘ding dong the witch is dead’ because she aint yet.

        The constant references to 2018 are not a comparison of the teams, just the circumstances.

  8. Clive

    We still have a left edge that can’t defend, a coach that can’t use a bench and a Centre that can’t pass, catch or tackle.

    Blake’s defence is well documented but he deadset can’t pass a ball. He bombed 2 tries by not passing and his pass to Sivo’s first try was forward. He isn’t a first grader.

  9. Trapped in the 1970's

    The two F graded players certainly deserved their ratings this week. Its not like anyone is expecting anything Herculean from them, just catch the ball without knocking on, fall on a loose ball without knocking on, tackle your man and remove from your game your primary instinct to create space for the attacking player when defending. Do these simple things and I for one will be rapt.

    Simonsson’s knock-on was just terrible. He had time and space and still managed to botch it. Outside of that there was a half break by Penisini who granted delivered a terrible pass to Simonsson who was right on the touch line with the defenders jamming across, but even if Will’s pass had been good there was nowhere for him to go. Why he didn’t cut back inside I have no idea. Just more poor wing play.

    Gol, my thoughts exactly with Hodgson. There was set, a repeat set I think in the second half where he went the crash ball and it ended with Cartwright putting in a nothing kick. I don’t know if that was him overriding the halves but it didn’t work last game, last year, or the year before that. So frustrating to see it again this year with from the new custodian. Is it the individual or the game plan?

    A real test coming up this week for the 16 in the blue in the gold. Number 17 may as well be a chair with a jumper on it.

  10. Anonymous

    I’m nowhere near the president of the Waqa Blake fan club but he went down with a dead arm while gutho was on his HIA hiatus. We assumed he would go off when gutho returned but of course this didn’t happen so there he is trying to tackle with one arm bandaged and the other completely lame. He struggles to tackle effectively with 2 good arms so this was even more useless. Bench selection and rotation are a thing.

  11. BDon

    Tks Gol, good calls. That Momoisea penalty looked so ridiculous. The Sharks players were in no way obstructed, they simply ran to the edge of our wall and were waiting, but it was a clear infringement. Earlier I think it was Tryndall darted left then reversed and ran behind the Sharks forwards disengaging from the scrum…no different really but not pinged.

    1. Graz

      Yes, and Trindall got a clear advantage, as he then was “allowed” to play the ball in the middle of the field so they then could attack on either side. An absolute deadset penalty. Really, it was pathetic from the ref.

  12. Anonymous

    We didn’t even lose this game by a try (5 tries a piece). Disappointing start but it’s a long season. Great write up.

  13. Spark

    I was one of Waqas biggest supporters when he was at the riff but like a really bad marriage, it’s time to let go. We only obtained him because Penrith decided to pay a large proportion of his wage but with that ending , he no longer has any value to our side.
    He can play and may join another team and get back to his past glories but it just isn’t happening at the Eels. We would be extremely foolish to resign him in any capacity – but we do some pretty dumb things….
    Want to see a dumb thing ? Have a look at the side named on Tuesday. It will be the same side and suffer the same problems, in fact, I’m guessing there will be the same bench ‘management’.
    You just have to laugh.
    We have limited excuses with injuries. Many teams have injury concerns. The Storm lost half their side to the dolphins and have been decimated with injuries but still managed to beat us.
    The thing is, both the Storm and the Sharks didn’t play well and were there for the beating. What happens when we run into a side playing well ?

  14. pete

    Completely agree Gol.

    Waqa did go down injured holding his other arm. But he’s injured after every tackle anyway. He’s genetics imply him to be a beast instead we get this…How many chances do you get to butcher a games. His lowlight reel will be longer than Ben Hur. Perhaps we need Luai to speak to him after the game. Like he spoke to the weak gutted 🐕

    The 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.
    4. We scored 5 tries

    The negatives
    The bench WTF
    Look at the Bulldogs???
    All grades losing 2 weeks in a row??

    We are too predictable. When we don’t win the forward battle what happens? It makes playing us so easy because just win the forwards and the edges crumble.

    We get 30 points against!!

    “Effort was good” was the quote from the Presser? Defence was like paper. Who is the Defence coach? He must be on notice! Has to be a line inbthe sand moment.

    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 spade.
    We don’t have a leader of this club! A leader owns their performance and doesn’t shy away. Enter Hopgood!! a match winner that leads by example. But we’ll probably let him sign elsewhere. Mark O’Neil if you bungle this one too??

    Tryndall $300k ? 5 from 5
    Moses looking at $1.2M or $1.3M kicks 3 from 5. Those clutch moments have to be iced! Moses has always struggled to kick when we need 6 points he misses. When it’s not needed he’ll kick at 100%.

    Waqa invisible in defence and attack. Only takes the easy runs. Look at Karaz and the the other Bulldogs centre train and trial basically unstoppable… we looked at Farnworth but apparently asking too much$. But we paid Matto how much and he’s coming off the bench

    Bryce couldn’t back up last week.

    Hodgson who I wrapped big time missed 8 tackles. He’s in need of a spell. Yates on the bench pls. Even, future captain Hopgood was human..

    Forward rotation didn’t get us the Premiership last year and it won’t get it this year. Not like that. It’s an absolute embarrassment not using Greig. I would quit the club if I was him. You ask your family to watch and you don’t even get off the bench. I’m sorry That’s not good coaching!! We need to use the bench.

    Reg and Junior are awesome but 65 minutes is too long this time of year. It’s bad for the club because nobody will stay if not getting game time. Kafusi played 38 minutes for the winning team and it wasn’t us.

    I support BA to turn it around when Lane and Matto return but.. I’m finding it hard to be patient.

    Defence coach F
    Reserve grade coach F
    Pathways head F
    Attack B
    Kicking coach D

      1. pete

        The only winner we have brought to the club is Hopgood. Yes it was reserve grade but still a winner. (Matto won years ago but recent attitudes don’t imply winning).
        Nathan from the Tigers
        Nathan from Warriors
        Defence coach from the Dragons…

        1. TolEels

          And you can see the attitude and culture Hopgood had brought with him from the Panthers. In the last play (which was overturned due to a successful Sharks challenge), you can see him the only guy rushing up to set-up the ruck so time will stop. Some of our players were just standing (maybe due to fatigue) but this is the 1% ter that the coach have to instill in his players.

          1. BDon

            Yep, saw that too. Also when Moylan stepped him and they scored through the middle, he was the only forward near getting into position but the Sharks got such a quick play the ball Moylan had too much space for Hopgood to shut down such an evasive runner. We had started to sink In the prior ruck, and Moylan cashed in.

    1. Anonymous

      You really lost me with the 5/5 from Tryndall. 4/5 were right in front. Moses also kicked one from the sideline and one of the ones he missed he had gotten hit in the head after scoring a try. He also has nailed goalkicks at important times to ice games. He isn’t the best at it I will say, but I think that you are using the wrong game as an example.

      1. pete

        I think we are ranked 5th for goal kicking last year. I’d love to see is rise up the rankings more than anyone.

        1. Anonymous

          I would love to see him improve as well. I am just saying that in my opinion this wasn’t the game where the goalkicking was the factor. If he didn’t do all of the things that he did in the game, we would have lost by more. Last week, 100% his goalkicking let the team down.

  15. Anonymous

    arthur needs to take a look at how gibson handled failure Put them in reserves no matter their Dollar value

        1. Spark

          You want to see Gibbo – see Wayne Bennett. They are identical in coaching and philosophy.
          The history of the Eels would have been so much different if we had somehow grabbed Benny as our coach.

  16. Anonymous

    Our outside backs are the thing that will kill our season. On paper, we have one of the worst three quarter lines in the NRL. Eg Compare to the Broncos – Walsh, Cobbo, Stagg, Farnsworth, Oates! They will utterly destroy us.

  17. Murph

    Agree with everyone that Blake has been hot garbage, but what is the alternative if you’re picking the team this week? Only other genuine centre in top 30 squad is Loizou, who isn’t ready for first grade. Upgrade Cini? A small body who hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in NSW Cup the last two weeks (both also losses). I gather Russell spent time there in preseason but sounds like he’s out injured now too. Lack of depth at centre is a real issue and sign of poor roster management beyond lack of depth in the middles. How on earth did we let Opacic go to the UK without any other centre signing? Genuinely interested to hear who others would pick at centre this week instead of Blake given these issues.

    1. Gol Post author

      Opacic got real good money to go to the UK, better than he deserved in the NRL. 400K a year I believe.

      We’re struggling for Russell and Dunster not being available, and having a guy who isn’t ready in the top 30 is a waste in Loizou. We have to be looking to other clubs for players that are available, we don’t have a ready replacement for Waqa on the roster. Maybe even find an unaffiliated Qld Cup centre. It’s bleak, but it is better than starting Blake again, he’s run out of chances.

      1. Murph

        I saw a rumour linking us to Paul Momorovski today. Doesn’t solve the conundrum for selection this week though!

    2. pete

      Slim pickings. We don’t have the next man up mentality that other clubs seem to have.
      Why aren’t we raiding Panthers reserve and junior grade players and coaches?
      I believe Paul Momirovsky could be looking for a release from Roosters. In the short term he could be ok. He’s won 2 premiership rings.. Someone said Kelly from the Titans…
      If we accept poor performance we are doomed to failure.

      1. Gol Post author

        The Panthers are getting wise, their most NRL ready prospects are signed up now. Jesse McLean they’ve already locked in until 2026.

        Kelly is a massive liability defensively, he’s basically Waqa of the north. I’m on board with Momivroski but if we didn’t get him for Nathan Brown I’d say the Roosters aren’t willing to let him go.

        Next man up is a bit misleading in most cases, how many teams go three deep in decent outside backs? We’re definitely a first grader short in depth (and two decent first graders short as starters which is our biggest problem), but Penisini came in first grade ready, Russell and Dunster held their own from debut as well, which is a pretty good strike rate over a couple of years.

        1. Anonymous

          Penrith are a smart football club, with Ex Parramatta Matt Cameron at the head of Football operations. Bring him home to Parra! Our Management just dont cut it! Mark O’Neill is an imposter and should be walked of the premises, he offers nothing!

        2. Anonymous

          Gol, why is parra never linked to anyone of note, our last major signing was Mitch Moses, I just dont get why, players of note do not want to come to Parramatta, but I am sure the management of the club has a lot to do with it.

          1. Gol Post author

            I reckon because we’ve turned so many of these cheap blokes into big money players. Dylan Brown has gone from cheapie to a big money player, Gutherson, Paulo, RCG, Lane, Matterson, Penisini, Sivo and Moses have all earned upgrades in their time with us. Keeping the guys you already have isn’t as exciting as a big money acquisition but it costs just as much salary cap.

          2. TolEels

            And I think that maybe where the issue is. I reckon that BA is proud of his achievements of turning average players into excellent one. This I think is the reason why we keep signing players with potential. If that is his priority, I reckon he is best suited to be our developmental coach/ manager. He could start them in NSW Cup and upgrade them later into first grade.

          3. Gol Post author

            I’d say it is out of necessity rather than vanity or pride, we sign these kinds of players because that is what we can afford. We’ve struck gold with Hopgood, but in two years he’ll present the same problem to us.

      2. Anonymous

        Sadly Mediocrity has become a part of our DNA as a club, we accept it from the Juniors right through., Whilst ever management accept it we will get it every time.

    3. Poppa

      Maybe play Doorey in the centres, could do worse and you want someone to tackle when Tommy is coming through.

        1. pete

          Marty, yes anything would be beter than Waqa lol.
          Cartwright centre and Murchie edge back row. Doorey stay on his side with Penisini.
          Surely they have prepared for Waqa being injured.

    4. Anonymous

      Murph, you are spot on we dont have much talent coming through the ranks, sadly Nathan Cayless has been given not much to work with in reserve grade, and Brenno in Flegg, has he won anything with his time at parra, I dont think so, we need a winning culture driven through from the U13’s development right through.

      1. Spark

        That’s true. I was thinking about someone we could grab from the reserves or flegg and promote as a
        Hail Mary but there is no one.
        Perhaps Guymer but he’s playing lock now but let’s face it ..
        Is there anyone in reserves or flegg that we could really call a future NRL player ?
        Is there anyone busting the door down ?
        Whereas other clubs have a multitude of juniors in the wings just waiting for a chance.

  18. Joe Vass

    The game against the Storm was intense and very physical. Interestingly both sides had 5 tries put on them in defensive efforts that were in stark contrast to round one. Teams involved in such games quite often don’t back up the following week particularly early in the year when there is humidity and match fitness levels aren’t as high. I don’t like being critical of players but I will say in relation to Josh Hodgson, and to use your words, “the man he replaced” is going gangbusters for the Dogs. Our next 3 games will be a significant test and probably decide our season.

    1. Gol Post author

      Reminds me of a few years ago (might be nearly 10 now, time stops for no man) when we weren’t very good but teams had a shocking record the week after playing us. We might not have won many games, but we bashed teams up a bit. Fatigue shouldn’t have got us in round two though, especially with an 8-day turnaround (9 for the Storm). Maybe it was false confidence?

      A common thread for both teams is that their back row is all new, and barely had any pre-season time with the defenders outside them due to injuries. The Eels and Storm didn’t exploit that against each other, but the Sharks and Bulldogs certainly did. It needs to clean up, quick.

      1. John Eel

        Fatigue was getting them late in the game. I think that is more game awareness than fitness.

        They were not playing well and trying to get back into position became very difficult.

          1. John Eel

            Spark you maybe right but what I do know for certain is that if the players stopped making errors and made their tackles and defensive reads, irrespective of the bench rotation, they would have one the game.

            Under those outcomes I have suggested fatigue would not have been an issue.

            We are only two rounds into the season. Let’s just see what happens before we all turn into Chicken Little impersonators.

      2. Anonymous

        Gol, we cant just neglect the fact that we looked really poor at times against the Sharks, that game could have got away on us on Friday, the Sharks were not all that flash except for Kennedy, Nikora.

      3. Poppa

        I am not sure why we are looking for excuses for our game against Shark’s, offensively they were two quick for us.
        WE scored 26 points which is enough to win all our matches.
        I have a simple rule, I am prepared to let the opposition score 2 tries and two goals i.e. then all we ever have to worry about is scoring more than 12.
        You don’t have to be a nuclear scientist to figure where we failed.
        Now let’s analyse the 3 tries we should have stopped.

        I’ll nominate 1. The intercept at 3 different points.
        2.The kick to Mutalo (spell) ,poor technique defensively! 3. The runaway by Kennedy after Moran opened them up. No cover defense, poor option by Hopgood(our best player).
        That leaves 2………….final score Eels 26 Storm 12

        Simple game if you do the little things right!

        1. Prometheus

          What an absolute lot of garbage. Did you take into account the Sharks errors with our tries. “Slmple game “if you look at both sides.

    2. Poppa

      Reed made many mistakes and he did some good things, to say he was going gangbusters is a little like saying David Fifita is a workhorse!

  19. Wally21

    Great summary. I never want to see Waqa or Simonson in an eels jersey again. Neither are worth half of whatever we are paying them.
    Momosea can go back to wherever he came from. Not going to make it.
    The coaches bench rotation was diabolical. Wiremu should have been given an opportunity when our middles were out in their feet.
    The biggest concern is other than our starting 13, it seems the complete lack of depth, complete lack of juniors development and some truly horrific depth signings over the last few years mean we are struggling in all grades.
    It’s not 2018 yet, but 2023 has a bit of a stench to it

    1. N.Senada

      Agree about Momosea…he has been shockingly underwhelming. I had no idea he was THAT incapable of contributing positively. I don’t want to bag him too much but jeez I was expecting so much more. On the other hand, Hopgood – I had no idea that he was THAT good. Fantastic worker. Applies himself, has a red hot go at it. Every other Eel should look at him and follow his example. The drop in quality from Campbell-Gillard, Paulo and Hopgood is just too huge right now. Hopefully that will improve

        1. Offside

          Unfortunately Hopgood is on a 2 year deal like Ice was
          He will establish himself maybe become a rep player and like Ice he will get an offer that the club can’t/won’t match

          1. Ranga

            Mmm. Cos of course it’s the club’s fault that a player who is on the up has zero interest in signing a contract for unders now, rather than waiting to see what offers he can get in a year’s time. It’s not like there’s two parties who have to think it’s a good deal, after all, eh?

            On the other hand, we can hope that Hopgood might look at the shambles Ice has signed himself up to, and realise that money is not all that.

          2. pete

            If the club offers him unders then of course we’ll bungle the contract. Look at ICE told we won’t match Tigers offer. ICE accepted Tigers deal and at the end of the year we were matching the Tigers deal. #BUNGLED.

  20. avenger

    It’s almost like this site allowed me free reign on player ratings. The Blake and Simonsson assessments are bang on and made me tragically laugh at the same time.

  21. Anonymous

    This wrestling issue will kill the game. Who wants to watch players being put into situations which could do them serious damage? This is a massive issue that the NRL needs to sort out before it’s too late.

  22. Martin Pluss

    Great insights into wrestling, head holding and twisting the body in different directions.

    I got to the game and loved watching the game unfold from behind the try-line on the southern side.

    As per usual – many thanks. Martin

  23. Anonymous

    In Brad Arthur we trust and sign him for another year – Gee we are a dumb footy club!
    Bring dennis Fitzgerald back, he is available!

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