The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 10 vs Titans


Parramatta Eels 24

Gold Coast Titans 26

Magic Round, I’m a fan. On the plane up to Brisbane I heard the weekend described as “Dad Schoolies” and I certainly lived like a man half his age (and am now paying for it). Still, four days of footy, mates, drinks and laughing at awkward stadium Kiss Cam moments was well worth it. 

While results at the festival of footy haven’t always been kind to the Eels, it is undoubtedly a grand spectacle and a lot of fun for anybody with a love for the game. Shame about all the Queenslanders though.

I travelled up as one of a group of ten mates supporting six different teams, and only one of our teams got a win (Penrith, for those wondering). That essentially meant I supported four winners this weekend, but I’d really like to have felt the lasting joy of an Eels victory rather than the fleeting happiness of shouting “up the Bunnies” at a Storm fan for two hours.

Maybe I’m out of touch, but there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of people who bought those team Hawaiian shirts that I thought were a Christmas joke gift. Even the Magic Round merchandise was full of these logo-vomit patterns. I can understand the rebellious factors that drive misguided youths to grow mullets with handlebar moustaches, but is there an excuse for any responsible adult to be wearing a fluoro green Hawaiian shirt with 17 NRL logos on it? No. No there is not.

As for the game? The stats suggest what the eye test did: The Eels should have won. For the numbers inclined:

Possession: Eels 53%, Titans 47%
Completions: Eels 30/35 (85%), Titans 33/37 (89%)
Run metres: Eels 2,055, Titans 1,672
Post contact metres: Eels 531, Titans 364
Tackle breaks: Titans 41, Eels 22
Average set distance: Eels 58.7, Titans 45.2
Offloads: Eels 18, Titans 9
Penalties conceded: Eels 7, Titans 3
Sin bins: Eels 1, Titans 0

Dylan Brown cracked a rare “3 points awarded in a loss” Dally M result, and that is good enough for me to give him grades MVP. The huge running performance, the attacking brilliance and almost pulling the team out of the fire helped too, I suppose. You da MVP, Dyl.





Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

One of my more questionable decisions of Magic Round was to boast to any Queenslander who would listen that Clint Gutherson was the one true King of the NRL, not some Gold Coast reject from 35 years ago. The real King didn’t do a lot to help my argument, playing like the fraudulent, Queensland king would have against Brett Kenny. The sin bin was the difference in the match, and the intercept wasn’t great either.


Maika Sivo

2 – Left Wing

Three tries for Maika Sivo puts him at the top of the NRL try scorers list after ten rounds, and perhaps these Sivo tries have become so expected, so blasé, that people downplay his freak ability to find the line and focus on his early tackle running that doesn’t match up with his size and strength. While we may overstate the attacking contribution of Sivo (in 12 games without him to start last year the left winger scored 10 tries) he’s hardly a serious problem for this side.


Will Penisini

3 – Right Centre

The man of unspeakable nicknames led the Eels in combined missed/ineffective tackles, not what we’ve come to expect from a usually rock solid defender. He looks dangerous with the ball, but this side needs his defensive prowess first, his step and fend second.


Bailey Simonsson

4 – Left Centre

You know what, that was a pretty good game from Bailey “Grass isn’t Greener” Simonsson. Two try assists, a lot of hard running, some acceptably average defence, I liked it.


Haze Dunster

5 – Right Wing

Haze Dunster wasn’t involved enough in his ruck work, not effective enough in the work he did, and not fast enough to be a difference maker in the side. I don’t want to keep piling on the guy but we’ve got a place for players to work themselves back to full fitness, and they usually play a couple of hours before the first grade side.


Dylan Brown

6 – Five Eighth

Huge game from Dylan Brown, who was involved in absolutely everything and took the team on his back and almost to victory. We’ll need more of this from him next week, but for the first time in his career I’m feeling confident he’ll be able to step up and handle it.


Mitchell Moses

7 – Halfback

How hard can a sideline conversion really be? I watched a bunch of eight-year-olds kick them, in the pouring rain, on the kicking simulator out the front of Suncorp Stadium. Mitchell Moses’ goalkicking wasn’t the only reason we lost, but if he’d been on target we’d have taken away a win we could have deserved. Then he got his head in a bad, bad place for the second time in as many seasons and now will sit out at least one week under concussion protocols. To top it all off, the only player who copped a louder round of boos all Magic Round was Latrell Mitchell. I don’t know why neutral fans hate Mitchell Moses, but I bet he’d feel a lot better if he just signed his damn contract.


Wiremu Greig

8 – Front Row

A lighter load for Wiremu this week, who did his job and continued to look like he belongs in first grade. 


Josh Hodgson

9 – Hooker

It is pretty clear at this point that the Eels are a better football side once Josh Hodgson comes from the field. 


Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

Not loving four missed tackles, but outside of that Junior did a solid if unspectacular job as the alpha dog against a big, tough pack. 


Shaun Lane

11 – Second Row

A lot of attack was going through Shaun Lane this week, and while he worked hard the returns just weren’t there for him. When Dylan is on fire I expect Lane to capitalise, but instead we got a lot of runs but not many offloads or magic moments.


Andrew Davey

12 – Second Row

I don’t think Davey really let anybody down, but it was hard to distinguish his performance from the likes of Cartwright, Matterson or Doorey in that second row jersey before him. He only missed one tackle and was on the spot to score a try, surely doing everything Brad Arthur asked, but he’s the least exciting option of the possibles right now. Maybe that’s what we need.


J’maine Hopgood

13 – Lock

The Hopgoat had another big night, improving his defensive efficiency while offloading and generally looking threatening. I always appreciate a man who throws more dummies (4) than passes (2) in a game, but this was a strong, busy performance.


Bryce Cartwright

14 – Interchange

Bryce was making up for the Carty Party starting a bit late this week, making a lot of runs in his 49 minutes and throwing plenty of offloads, but it once again came at the cost of his defensive efficiency. We needed spark and he provided it, but I wish the Party had a setting somewhere between “couples charades and cheese plates” boring and “drunken balcony backflip contest” exciting.


Makahesi Makatoa

17 – Interchange

Not enough from Makatoa, who did little wrong but didn’t stand out like last weekend. I’d put him and Ofahiki Ogden opposite each other in training this week and say the winner of the battle plays on Saturday.


Ryan Matterson

16 – Interchange

The Man Mountain got through a mountain of work in his 52 minutes on the field, leading the team in hitups, running metres and tackle breaks while falling one lousy tackle short of topping that category, too. He offloaded, passed and looked dangerous with nearly every touch, I’m loving the Ryan Matterson apology tour and I hope it plays all season long.


Brendan Hands

15 – Interchange

Brendan Hands’ defensive efficiency isn’t great, but he continues to grade well due to the fact that the team looks better and scores more points while he is providing the service from dummy half.

That was a brutal loss, no doubt about it. The Titans were there for the beating, and even with the two try sin binning that was a game that Parramatta should have won. In a year where a bad start means every remaining game is that more important, you can’t drop them like that. One or two more and that might be curtains on season 2023. I hope the players realise that and, more importantly, start to play like it.

The ask doesn’t get any easier with a cold away trip to Canberra sans halfback. It hasn’t been a brilliant year for the Raiders either, but they’ve won four in a row at varying levels of convincingness. They certainly won’t be going down without a fight or rolling over.

Until then, stay slippery Eels fans.


Stats and images provided by NRL / Eels media


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16 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 10 vs Titans

  1. Spark

    I watched Shaun Lane in the trials prior to his broken jaw and thought he was off the pace, his return hasn’t changed my mind. He dropped the ball twice when we were pressing the line- just attention to detail which we absolutely require from our senior man.
    Offensively, the game changed when Cartwright came on. We wouldn’t have got anywhere near them without his involvement.
    I tell you , the club better have some sort of surprise up their sleeve regarding a fast winger for next year.
    They appear to be sitting on their hands this year just hoping that by some absolute miracle, that either Russell or Dunster will morph into Jason Saab overnight – they won’t.
    I understand we just don’t get anyone but we need to get a winger now.
    Just do it.

    1. MickB

      Bird and Su’A rumoured to be trying to exit the Dragons from what I saw this morning. Admittedly not wingers, and could be some generic Fox garbage, but both those blokes would be welcome additions. Bird in particular I thought had been great in defence.

      1. Spark

        Bird would be a good addition as a centre but we are suffering badly by our lack of pace out wide. It’s literally the difference between winning and losing.

  2. greg okladnikov

    Fair grades – and a game we should have won. We paid dearly for every penalty conceded, and every error and missed tackle. But we had the chances to win but were just not good enough. And we cannot keep relying on 50/50 calls…bounce of the ball, etc. This game reminded me of the Manly game – we got to the position to win but just could not finish it.

    Next 2 weeks – so important to win at least one. We are good enough – just need a bit of grit in our game

    Team list – I think Haze and Hodgson – 2 weak links at this stage. Haze still recovering and i think it is hard for him at the moment, and Hodgson just looks off the pace – we do look better when Hands is on

    And you mentioned Brett Kenny in the intro……I can only imagine what he would have done to that Titans defence in the second half.

    Go Parra !!

  3. Anon

    I’m sorry but a B to Davey can’t be right after his first half stint which saw him let in 3 tries. I know it’s not entirely his fault but he did contribute to them. I guess why a lot of people don’t agree with him getting the starting spot ahead of carty and matto, can’t let someone who has had limited nrl experience this year walk in and start and stay there with a performance like that.

  4. Offside

    The main thing I’ve taken from this season is how much teams like the titans have improved and teams like us and the Cowboys have not we haven’t got worse just haven’t got better.

    A loss this week is a worry because after that is our annual flogging by the Bunnies then season is over

  5. Johnno

    Thanks for the grades mate, some of the trys we let in were so soft, it was embarrasing. Some key moments let us down, Lanes dropped balls close to the line, Mitchs missed goal attempts, Guthos intercept pass etc. I was waiting for some one to stand up when Gutho went off, but they didnt , we cant seem to right the ship once the rot sets in, we just go try for try. Defencive attitude and intestinal fortitude lacking. Hopefully we can get the “W” against Canberra

  6. Sec50

    BA is rapidly losing me. Changing a team that thrashed the Knights never made sense. Allowing Hodgson almost 60 minutes definitely was a tactical blunder as was playing Davey from the get go. Moving our half to fullback when Gutho was sent was ridiculous and in large part cost us two tries. Simonson has played a lot of fullback. Picking Russell this week is not facing facts. He is not up to it in a big way. As one who is perennially optimistic about Parra I think we are unlikely to make the 8 this year.

  7. BDon

    Tks Gol. I try to look at the grades and relate them to the result, but this one’s a bit all over the place. Gutho’s couple of moments were just that, split second calls trying to defend or win the game.
    Never so true that defence is attitude, the 2 tries while Gutho was off, if you look we actually had the numbers but communication and effort broke down, and it was a pretty wide blind side when the Titans put 4 on 3 and shredded us in a blink (Pereira kicked it with his shin but the ball behaved perfectly). No Titans tries came through the middle, the stats show our dominance in the forwards.
    The old adage about the forwards decide who wins, the backs by how much, got trashed

  8. pete

    Thanks Gol,

    Great read as always.

    There are holes in our roster and holes in our defence.

    Our defence was an F.

    Paulo 51 minutes 12 runs 129 m 18 tackles 4 missed. That level of involvement is not good enough.

    1. Anonymous

      100% correct, Paulo’s work rate is well below standard, but few are prepared to call it out. His 2023 effort has been poor and he appears to be carrying a few kegs too many. With his size, he should be bending the defensive line everytime he takes it on.

      1. pete

        Yes. He’s a captain and with Reg out he needs to step up. 20 runs 200m is what’s needed. Matto did it off the bench. Do we need to start Junior off the bench too?
        Tapine, Papalli, Horseborough and Young will be looking for Junior to knock him up in first 30 minutes. Start with Greig and Ogden and then bring Junior on 25 minutes…

  9. Longfin Eel

    We make a habit out of dropping down the ladder considerably following a Grand Final loss (with the exception of the first couple of GF appearances), and that is getting worse:
    4th 1985
    6th 2002
    12th 2010
    ? 2023

    Seriously, the team needs to get their season on track. It’s like they haven’t got out of trial mode, and we haven’t seen them put on a performance worthy of a team that played in the GF last season. In fact they are playing with the inconsistency of a team hanging outside the top 8. The losses might be close games, but I would expect a top team to ice most of those games.

    1. Milo

      Longfin, you raise some v good points.
      I think we have some defence issues and that’s attitude for me.
      I also think again like at times in 2022, we have not got our leaders executing our game plans well and being accountable.
      Quite simply we need to be better and our key players must be consistently good. At times for me we are not getting bang for our bucks!!

  10. Anonymous

    Fair grades. Gutherson and Moses didn’t have their best games. Dylan Brown had his best game of the season and I hope that it gives him the confidence to play to his strengths regularly. For the goal kicks, I can’t really say that they cost us considering that Tannah Boyd who was at 84% before this game was missing sitters. The surface on tv looked woeful. What I do want to see from Moses is torpedoes. Gutherson copped flak, but he is Mr consistent. Just because he went off, the team did not need to capitulate in defence. I was very happy with Simmonsson and Sivo. I will say that Gutherson and Moses getting a C- is weird only because of Hodgson getting a C+ with his defensive stats which I think is generous considering that he didn’t contribute to any big plays in a positive way.

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