The Cumberland Throw

The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 35: Eels Slump To 7th Loss As BA Finally Blows Up At Officials

The Tip Sheet is also available on Spotify and iTunes!

Parramatta’s season has been left in a precarious balance after a lopsided penalty count and some insipid defence saw the Blue & Gold outgunned by the Canberra Raiders 26-18. Sixties and Forty20 are joined by a voice from the crowd this week in Jeremy – a fiercely loyal fan of the Eels – as The Tip Sheet sorts through yet another frustrating loss.

Sixties vents his issues with a sudden shift in officiating over the last fortnight that has seen the Eels concede 17 penalties in their last two games including a backbreaking 10-3 count against the Raiders. Surprisingly, Brad Arthur validates Sixties’ vexation as he lands a scathing criticism of the officiating in his post-game presser. It is the first in his 9.5 years as the head coach of the Eels to do anything of the sort but ‘BA’ was clearly frustrated at the discrepancies between internal correspondance and on-field interpretations.

Defence was the breaking point this week, literally for the team but figuratively for Forty20. Following another game where structurally they were largely sound but a string of lapses and soft contact led to chunk gains for the Raiders, the focus agains falls on why the Eels are playing so soft in defence. Now with South Sydney up next, things can get a lot worse before they get better in defence.

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Chris K

Don’t know what to do after last night. Such high expectations set from last year, my frustration and disappointment feels unprecedented -having been an Eels supporter for over 40 years, there has been precedence, but it just hurts enough to make it feel new. Feels like we have crossed (or have our tippy-toe on) the point of no return for 2023. Yes there was some some hometown bais in the officiating last night, but seriously our discipline and overall attention to detail was poor. The only call that really annoyed me was the ‘escort’ one whee the issue was Wighton… Read more »


i can sum up our podcast. We weren’t good enough, plain and simple. We find ways to lose in 2023. We have a 40% win record under Atkins.

Achilles' Eel

The Eels and Grant Atkins don’t seem to get along. They’re like the Duchess of Sussex and the Princess of Wales.


Please let me know why Jake Arthur was penalised for escort (he only stood his ground); Cartwright unfairly penalised for high tackle; and don’t start me on Bunker Badger re Simonsson ‘hip drop’. All 3 penalties played very significant parts in outcome.
P.S. the Fox commentary by Ennis was disgraceful. Couldn’t help himself and referred to luck in last 2 Eels tries. Yet he was wetting himself in excitement with Canberra tries from kicks, especially the last one, the bomb which was just a lucky dip.


Agreed Graz, fox sports was a disgrace and Mal is a huge dope. Ennis has always been all mouth. Volume down


His side remark about Matterson being a self imposed three games late for his 150th party was a cheap shot. I bet he would not say it to his face without all his back slappers at Fox NRL cheering him on. He needs to remember people into glass houses as he is far from without mistake. His commentary is what is wrong with the NRL. Unfortunately the NRL respond to commentators, you watch the crack down on the Cannon Ball over the next three weeks after the commentators spent Saturday and Sunday talking about it relentlessly. These same commentators will… Read more »


So so true, he was also a bad grub when he played, #EELS4LIFE


I now watch most of my parra games live at the ground or with no audio for commentary. Makes it so much better to analyse and (hopefully soon) enjoy. I notice that as soon as I put the commentary back on the voices and opinions just annoy me as they are too vague, plainly wrong or slyly misleading to perpetuate certain agendas. Commentators like Ennis really lose credibility in my eyes (not that they had much anyway as being a good player doesn’t make you a good analyst)

Last edited 25 days ago by Ron
Longfin Eel

It’s got to the stage where it’s just not enjoyable watching a game anymore with all the crap the media go on with, along with the really poor decisions from the referees. The NRL need to be careful here as viewers could just start switching off.


I stopped watching CH9 some years ago. Now I turn the volume down on Fox because they are all about the ‘Narative’. The Narative is yelled continuously and is more important than integrity of the game. Last 2 weeks the narrative was Jack Wighton crying and then it was about poor Ricky…My kids ask ‘who’s the yelling guy’ because that’s all they do.


Under Atkins Eels 39% win rate
Raiders 62%..🤔


Yes, the referee was poor. In fact even by Atkins standard it was one of his worst. The bloke is so bias and effected by home town crowds that he shouldn’t be in the game. I don’t know where we go from here. We have tried two referees and they contradicted each other on the field so that isn’t the answer. Is there anything else that the NRL can do ? Maybe the game has gone to such a standard that one referee just isn’t capable of being able to officiate the game properly and we really have to rely… Read more »


Geez, again you saw Jake’s game completely different to mine. We didn’t have enough possession in the second half for any player to seem involved and we didn’t complete enough sets for the ball to come to him for the kick. Centre? You’re just looking at how halves position themselves when the middles take the ball as links. All teams do that – ball goes through a couple of forwards then out to the halves who are positioned wide.


Mate he completely disappeared in the second half. He could have played one side and Brown the other in offence. I would love to see his run metres especially after that first 10 minutes. I was so looking forward to him taking the initiative as the halfback and directing the play and being the primary playmaker especially given Brown is usually meek in that regard. I rewatched the game this am and concentrated on Jake to reaffirm my position. Jake as the halfback should have been receiving the ball first off the ruck and directing the play. He wasn’t. Again,… Read more »


Just a wasted opportunity all round. From selection table to final whistle.


Tks men, good, balanced wrap up. I’ve given up watching games again, I just decide things from what I see live, but I had a look at the Horsborough scuffle again and Matto does not , repeat NOT, incite that incident. He actually goes in to push into Hodgson’s back to add weight to stopping the Raider player getting back into the field, he does not attack or even touch a Canberra player. It’s Horsborough who runs in and causes the flare up. Penalising Matto squared the ledger for the home crowd, why didn’t the bunker give Atkins a quick… Read more »


We continue to make our own job hard enough with errors. We don’t need the ref helping things along. I said in the preview podcast that I hoped for a controversy free game from the officials. Ha!!!


You know sixties, this may be my rose coloured glasses, but as that second half wore on I thought to myself ‘all we need is hold the ball and get to our kick a couple of times, the Raiders are dead set there for the taking, or a penalty or error, we just need to get the breeze behind us’…but nothing disciplined or consistent occurred, just a maze of one off hits or misses trying to play catch up. The worth of a penalty when you’re trying to settle/re-set can’t be overlooked, Souths are masters at building from re-starts.


There are things in our control which we aren’t getting right. The officiating decisions last night gave plenty of key moments to the Raiders and they were significant.
PS – the same video official who gave a pass mark to Haas took play back a tackle to penalise Simonsson. Guess which player had a case to answer!


An isn’t is strange that a sin bin is a more heavy violation than a penalty but the Raiders still got the ball after that. The sin bin should negated everything.


Agree, another shocking decision.
Do you think after Worriors complaining about Bias. The NRL has actively looked at penalty count data. They discussed this data with referees boss and referees. Then decided Parra’s opponents didn’t get enough penalties. In an attempt to even up the stats across the NRL Parra had to be pinged 17 penalties in two weeks? 🤔


We’ve got the 5th best for and against in the competition, yet we are sitting in 14th. Just frustrating all year. It’s easy to get biased and look for excuses so that’s what I’ll do! 1. It feels like we’ve had more than our fair share of games where we’ve played other teams at their best – Titans, Chooks, Raiders, maybe some others too – I can’t clearly remember all 11 games. 2. There have been a lot of 50/50 moments that have just not gone our way. Some of the bounce of the ball off kicks the Broncos scored… Read more »


Teams have generally played their best games against us because we allow them to through a variety of errors, poor line speed, minimal kick pressure, mass missed tackles, mass ineffective tackles and outright disturbing defensive lapses. You look at our best players/ higher earners (brown, Moses, junior, gutho, lane, reg) and they have been very patchy this year. This, in turn, hampers the lesser players that have come into the team/starting side. By contrast, south’s big players (latrell, Cody, Murray, Campbell graham, Tetola) have played well consistently and allowed lesser players (host, cheekam, Cartwright, hame sele, tanne Milne etc) to… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Ron
Trapped in the 1970’s

Very true re what we are getting out of high priced players week on week which is streaky form at best, apart from the most obvious in respect of the dropping of WBlake based on his form. The reality is that making the top 8 is looking quite a stretch considering that it’s south’s next game and in the last five rounds include games against the storm, broncos, roosters and the riff. Good on BA for having his say about the ref but going by his usual pressers that was a huge spray and one likely built up with frustration… Read more »


Some fair points here Ron & Trapped. To state the obvious it’s not one thing, it’s many interrelated things. To counter though as examples; the game against the Titans, they learnt how to scramble and tackle rather than capitulate, the game against the chooks their passing seemed to stick and there were less unforced errors etc. I also think Reg has been pretty good all year. But yes, we’ve been our own worst enemy for the most part and allowed teams to dominate us for too many minutes. I’d rather see us start with Hands and maybe bring on Hodgson,… Read more »


Also it was correctly highlighted in the podcast that we make at least as many linebreaks as other teams but fail to score. This directly correlates with our lack of speed on the flanks. Most teams, when they make a break have a fast winger to link up with and score- that’s their primary job. Sivo is pedestrian but brings power and safety in the air so must stay but (as pointed out) the other wing is the big problem. Poor Penisini must be sick and tired of making breaks and half breaks without the support of a wing man… Read more »


What are the issues Recruitment – fairly obvious we only have 1 NRL winger since Fergo left. We are left with no pace, no size on the right hand side. Even that young winger from the Tigers has more to offer, why? Complacency on expecting every player signed will step up like Papalii , Marata etc . We have needed a strike back, an experienced prop and a winger at a minimum since the start of 2022 due to players signing elsewhere, big clubs don’t miss these needs. Membership, sponsorship, attendances , COE mean not a lot if basic player… Read more »


Good points Anon. Recruitment is a failure. 28 players? We got to a GF yet we cannot attract players we need. We have our juniors poached from under our nose and playing for other clubs. O’Neil has created is a slow moving train crash with most players coming off contract 2025. Too many average signings and O’Neil expects BA to turn them all to first graders? Sure, ice was the best of signings as he only took 1 year to show he was an asset. Most others we ‘have to be patient’. After 37 years I think we all need… Read more »


My thoughts on last night are…I had a great meal and conversation in a converted warehouse in Marrickville with friends who have no interest in league. Of course I sneaked a look at the updates and I appreciate TCT and Jeremy doing the hard yards and breaking the loss down.

not sure where from here for Parra. The season can be saved but the draw is not kind. It would be one remarkable turnaround. As a TCT denizen commented recently “Non est semper proximo anno.”

Last edited 26 days ago by Shaun

The elephant in the room has not even been discussed.

Last edited 26 days ago by avenger

Problem is we have a herd of Elephants in the room.
1. Recruitment
2. Defence
3. Tackling technique
4. Lack of speed
5. Mental toughness
6. Strategic thinking

Last edited 26 days ago by pete

Agreed – recruitment and defence would have been so obvious for coaches to pin point as area to improve over the years and lip service was given by parra coaches and players in offseason about “a focus on defence” but lips service only goes so far. The proof is certainly not in the pudding. To me, it’s how predictable this was that pisses me and other fans off. How on earth our management tricked themselves into thinking that picking players off the scrap heap and only filling 27/28 spots with haze and simonsson coming back from serious injury + matto… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Ron

We released N Brown to free up cash for Davey? Recruitment manager must GO!!
Too many bungles. Top players and managers don’t take this club seriously. It’s obvious in Moses signing.. No big announcement no evidence of it being real. Meanwhile Roosters are moving players to clear space for a new half??


Don’t get me wrong we didn’t deserve to win. But we weren’t as bad as the referee officiating. The referee was a joke. 10 penalties? We all want consistency but their wasn’t any. I dred seeing this referee involved in Eels games. Poor effort: Did anyone see Sivo so slow behind our attacking kick by Penisini across to Brown that lead eventually to the Simmonson try. Brown was looking for Sivo on play before and he was nowhere to be seen and later see him jogging into shot? Can Sivo sprint? Unless scoring he’s not involved enough. Is Paulo still… Read more »


I didn’t mention the 4 second play the ball speed. The NRL needs to investigate this in conjunction with the penalty discrepancies. 2 sets of rules!


Pete, I’ll chime in so you’re not talking to yourself. Sivo’s 1%ers can be hard to spot, he’s a player who does some things at elite level and others at ……(fill in the blank) level. I was impressed that he thought he could outjump Rapana by just extending his arms towards the heavens and leaving his feet on the ground, must have thought it was Starling.


True BDon. Sivo is great if he’s only got 10m to run and is usually very good under the high ball. But his carries, defence scramble and support play is pedestrian. Luckily he scores in most games to attempt making up for it.

Danny Crnkovich

You lose a Grand final, you expect your team to come back the following season with a steely look of determination to go one better.
You expect your team to go up a notch in performance after the lesson learned in the GF loss.
Instead look at what we have, same old same old under Arthur.
We are not well drilled, cohesive in attack, consistent or sound in defence, never have been under this coach.
We should be though with the players we have. And that’s the most frustrating thing.


Yep, I agree. The boys try but the talent here is not being realised. I can’t confidently see this team winning any game we play let alone the comp. It is as you say “same old same old “.


Chief, no matter what name you use, you still give away who it is.

West Coast Eel

I could tell the frustration in both your voices. It’s just not our year. Poor retention and injuries are going to cruel us. I’m realistic that it is highly unlikely we’ll make the finals. With a bye in the last round, the off-season is going to seem like forever. Man, I’m depressed!

Paul taylor

This year we are always there but not there . Close but just not good enough . Our back 5 is killing us. No thrust coming out of the red zone . Sivo is purely a finisher . Dunster is not a nrl winger in 2023. He offers us nothing . Junior is a big disappointment Imo. I would be very surprised if he made origin again. We are in desperate need of some outside backs and speed. The way the game is played these days you need the back 5 to create and change momentum. I do not believe… Read more »

Parra Pete

Don’t let it get you down. Take it as it comes. This competition is so close, any team can beat any other team.We hafta ‘dance wif those who brung us’….Things can turn around like ‘that’..Look at the PD of all Clubs..the Eels are competitive, just missing the “W” in the points column.Que Sera, Sera….Ob la di, ob la dah…


For me, bad calls hurt us last night.
Canberra were never policed in the ruck and the amount of laying over / slow play the balls was disgraceful.
I’m glad BA called out these referees and the one upstairs again called us out a few plays later like when we played Brisbane.
I thought we were good last night and it was a credit to the team that they were in it in the final 10 mins. Canberra got more calls than a Pizza Hut in the 90’s.
Some bad calls got Canberra home for me.


all this bull about jake arthur and soft defence, i am looking at our favourite king gutho and his positioning in the in goal when grubbers are aimed in goal area. i didn’t see gutho anywhere neer the ball
. he isn’t reading the play and is always out of position to prevent grounding from opposition, that is my observation over the last several weeks

Brett Allen

It’s too late to be bitching about referees, would’ve held more water when we were winning, now it just looks like he’s deflecting on his own shortcomings. He might want to look at himself for the first time, and his inability to establish anything resembling a defensive identity.

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