The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 21 vs Cowboys


Parramatta Eels 16

Cowboys 24

Other results went our way, with the Rabbitohs and Sharks both going down, so the Eels remain in the top eight for another week. I suppose you could find something positive in the commitment and faux comeback after being beaten and battered all game, but I ran out of patience to reward this team for getting close by about round 5.

The Cowboys put in a big effort here and really bashed the Eels, but the big worry for me was how pedestrian the Parramatta attack was made to look by the North Queensland rushing defence. The Cowboys never needed to commit to edge runners of the threat of the halves running, they just waited for Moses to dig into the line and fling it out the back, then buried the receiver. Maybe it was just poorly timed line runs, but maybe it is that opposing sides have figured out the Parramatta attack, as the Titans last week looked very comfortable in handling the wide shifts of the Eels too.

The X factor for Parramatta is how many sub-standard first grade footballers are currently in the side. Daejarn Asi can’t tackle and Waqa Blake is a sorry excuse for a footballer, but beyond that there is just a lot of mediocrity in the three-quarter line and bench forwards. Outside of Moses and Gutherson nobody is creating anything for the Eels to work off, despite the side throwing a ridiculous number of offloads last night. For the numbers inclined:

Possession: Eels 50%, Cowboys 50%
Completions: Eels 28/39 (71%), Cowboys 35/42 (83%)
Run metres: Eels 1,674, Cowboys 1,553
Line breaks: Cowboys 8, Eels 4
Tackle breaks: Cowboys 41, Eels 37
Offloads: Eels 32, Cowboys 6
Errors: Cowboys 10, Eels 12
Penalties conceded: Cowboys 4, Eels 8

Clint Gutherson put on every try we scored, threw eight offloads and ran for 200 metres. In a win I’d be extolling his virtues, in a loss I’m just glad he was there to keep things respectable like. You da MVP, King.





Clint Gutherson

1 – Fullback

It was a great statistical game for Clint Gutherson, but he also let a bench prop convince him to use a challenge which went about as well as expected. You’d think a King would learn to not be so trusting.


Waqa Blake

20 – Left Wing

I never want to see him in a Parramatta jersey again. We’d be better off playing with 12 than having Waqa Blake out there.


Will Penisini

3 – Right Centre

The only outside back in this Eels side that’d I’d feed at the moment.


Bailey Simonsson

4 – Left Centre

Those couple of weeks that he wasn’t a pumpkin were nice, but we’re a long way from consistently threatening football from Bailey Simonsson.


Sean Russell

5 – Right Wing

He’s fine. He’s just fine. Right now that makes him the second best outside back on our roster. I’d like to aim higher, please.

Logo Description automatically generated


Daejarn Asi

6 – Five Eighth

You can forgive some rough defence from your halves under fatigue or against big bodies, but getting a great grab on the opposing halfback and falling off in the opening sets? Unacceptable for a first grade footballer. You can also forgive halves for having bad defence if they can put a try on, but I can’t remember a notable attacking play from Daejarn Asi from the last month.


Mitchell Moses

7 – Halfback

Was on the spot for a couple of late tries and he kept trying, but he also missed ten tackles out there. He did make some decent defensive stops, but at some point volume starts to count. His kicking game wasn’t at its best, either.


Ofahiki Ogden

8 – Front Row

It was hard going for the middles, but watching the Cowboys forwards lining up big shots and imposing their will on the match, you really wished some of the Parramatta forwards would have gone toe-to-toe with them. 

Logo Description automatically generated


Brendan Hands

9 – Hooker

His tackling is good and his service is fine, but I am looking forward to him getting some help as soon as next week with the arrival of Joey Lussick.


Junior Paulo

10 – Front Row

This wasn’t a bad game from Junior Paulo, but we needed way more than what we got from the captain.


Bryce Cartwright

12 – Second Row

Worked hard, lot of offloads, clean sheet in discipline, Bryce Cartwright is earning that extension.


Shaun Lane

11 – Second Row

Going off the field with a nasty injury is the only thing that saved Lane from an F grade. There is no excuse for not getting across in cover in the fourth minute of the match, and while Daejarn Asi missed the tackle that led to Dearden opening the floodgates, Lane couldn’t even be bothered to get over and lay a hand on the halfback. Not good enough, and now he’s probably gone for the year.


J’maine Hopgood

13 – Lock

Solid game from Hopgood, but solid isn’t getting it done for us right now.


Andrew Davey

16 – Interchange

Game of football for Andrew Davey, that’s for sure.


Luca Moretti

14 – Interchange

I like him. Give him more minutes, BA.


Joe Ofahengaue

15 – Interchange

The first time he tries to offer anything at all with the ball and he not only throws a pass off the ground, he convinces himself and his captain that his arm didn’t touch the ground. Stick to the mediocre running and tackling, at least I can pretend not to notice that.


Ryan Matterson

17 – Interchange

Another classic Ryan Matterson “walking in the background behind a bad line break” on the weak as stadium beer Drinkwater try, but he wasn’t the only one who disgraced himself on that play and he was pretty solid otherwise.

It wasn’t a fatal blow, but we can’t pretend that this was a close game. The Cowboys went down to 12 men and still made defending the Parramatta attack look like a demonstration training exercise for most of the match. They lined up a predictable attack and belted playmakers and runners alike all night long. Then they carved through a weak edge defence like the judiciary through Maika Sivo’s arguments for a downgrade this week. 

There’s excuses, sure, but excuses aren’t going to count for much in September if we’re pretending to care about the NFL instead of watching an Eels finals campaign. We don’t need excuses, we need committed defence and strong performances from our best players. Sadly that number of “best players” has dwindled significantly thanks to injury, suspension and an inability to keep their hands to themselves. 

Melbourne in Melbourne next week, coming off an embarrassing loss of their own, and of course, it’s a must win. Good luck to us.

Until next time, stay slippery Eels fans.


Stats and images provided by NRL / Eels media


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

49 thoughts on “Post Game Grades – Round 21 vs Cowboys

      1. Anonymous

        He basically had all the attack plays g9 to him, Asi had one kick.Need to vary the attack for long moments it was not working

          1. Anonymous

            I feel he needs more, one attack play to put Davey in hole to pass onto Simon, late in game but reading the receipts he got 12 receipts , an unused option, one kick just above the goalposts and got a bounce but no chasers, pre soo he was warming up, now he’s being stunted , from what I can see, gutho gives him the time of day

          2. Brett Allen

            His first game he took on the line, now he simply refused to. Dylan Brown can’t get back quick enough

          3. Poppa

            Your not wrong Brett,re Dyllan cant come back quick enough.
            One comment on the missed tackle stat Moses and Asi…. you need to get into position to even miss a tackle….I don’t think our anonymous friend quite gets missed tackled stats.

            Who was awarded the missed tackled stats for Drinkwater’s walkover try?

          4. Anonymous

            So get in position ten times and miss ten times got it…
            Asi 19 tackles missed 5
            Moses 15 tackles missed 10

            Asi receipts have come down huge since MM come back from SOO, it’s right but the Bulldogs game the receipts were near same.
            Dolphins was close.

            Titans and Cowboys game was landslide receipts Moses.

            Moses is the senior but at some stage use the left side attack.

          5. Brett Allen

            He does nothing with it when he gets it. He’s a back up only. There’s not a single aspect of the game where Mitch isn’t better.

          6. Anonymous

            Never said Asi was better than Moses, I said Asi is another option instead of going to the right all the time.

            Also to note, I dont know how you watch our games but I have noticed since Asi has come in that he gets the pass only plays where Moses gets the option plays ie shape running v line running.

            I’m just saying how it looks and gathered with the recievibg Stats it’s confirmed.

            This is not a Asi v Brown v Moses v whoever thing, they all play for the same team, Thus is a ” oh that’s different ” scenario.

          7. Brett Allen

            The point is Moses is so vastly superior to Asi we want the vast majority of our good ball going to him rather than Asi. We could give Asi the ball on every good ball set and it wouldn’t make any difference. He simply doesn’t take on the line. Watch him, especially the last 3 weeks, he simply refuses to dig into the line and take a whack, and the rare occasion he does it’s at a snails pace with little to no physicality. Say what you want about Mitch, but he’s not afraid to put his body on the line.

  1. Anonymous

    I’m just not seeing anything with gutho. The last 2 weeks I’ve thought he was ordinary. He doesn’t run the ball back. We have zero edge defence which means he will have to cover and everytime he runs up. We have no depth in the backs, anyone who has watched nsw cup would know that so is Blake the best of a bad bunch. Injuries and suspensions happen but it’s what you do that makes the team stronger and unfortunately it has just shown that we are a hot mess. Recruitment and retention have a lot to answer for because until we have a level of depth like Penrith for example we are genuine pretenders not contenders.

    1. BDon

      Food for thought. Our forwards haven’t exactly set a platform for blokes like Gutho, Moses,Penisini to dominate but each has still shown what they can offer. So many issues floating around, here’s another. We rarely overcome in your face opposition when the game is off 8mtrs, fact of life the ref ain’t gonna help us,we make too many errors to be trying early kicks, short kicks, the only 8 mtr game we were able to compete and win was Penrith with 93% completion and 5 (was it 3?) errors. BA needs to fire up Junior, but he’d probably end up at the MRC.

  2. N. Senada

    I am shattered. The game made for horror viewing. I wholeheartedly agree with all the sentiments you’ve written. The frustration and disgust you expressed is palpable and rightly so. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. One of the more bizarre games produced by Waqa Blake. He was LOST out there. The whole world was screaming at him to RUN and dive. That ferocious rampaging collision into Papenhuyzen last year close to the line to score a try seems like a lifetime ago. Why just STOP? Putting the head down and getting shoved into touch would have had the same result, so why not just steam into it and at least have a go? What happened to backing yourself? What’s with the white flag, on the last tackle? It was just beyond baffling. The rest of his game came from somewhere on the dark web. But that one play (or the lackthereof) to me underlined the obvious thought that Waqa should not be out there. It was bad stuff. Far out, it was hard to watch. But I have to tip my hat to Gutherson. He had no intention of ever giving up. Imagine if every player in an Eels jersey had his will to compete

  3. Mr controversy aka rev

    Waqa Blake is a sorry excuse for a footballer,

    These comments i found disgraceful & appalling col. Shocking to read if waqa was my family member. You can have lazy ass sivo. Time to look for another winger. Lumelume n sivo n waqa are not 1st grade standards anymore neither is dunster his slow n lost it. Time for new wingers.

    Easy for us as fans to sit here n rubbish Waqa after last night.

    His 1st game back after a injury n yes its a poor game but the whole team played bad.

    Ppl have to stop n remember asi is only a stop gap back up 5/8.

    Now the forwards mainly paulo. His game has gone backwards to the point i don’t even rate jr anymore id pick RCG over him everyday of the week. Jr lacks aggressive running. He runs 10 metres n turns his back looking to offload. Ffs his 125 kilo’s n should be making 150 + metre’s a game.

    Our attack is failing because our defence is failing. If our defence holds up then the attack will come. Remember we are still the best attacking team in the NRL.

    Will brad Arthur rush lussick straight back i don’t think so. He will need to be doing defensive drills all week brad n the coaching team will be.

    1. Anonymous

      If you watched the Knock On Effect Cup youd see Waqa has been lost at sea, and last night showed it in spades. For a bloke to be in reserves who was a gun youd think he would have tried to play out of his skin to play first grade again.

        1. Billie

          And yet, other players do play out of their skin when they’re playing for a contract… I don’t think your argument holds water.

          I’d say the contract situation was in his head and affecting his confidence, but he was like this last year too. He’s clearly talented, which I think is what infuriates me most – his ceiling is higher than several other players, but his performance is nowhere near it. He’s either not prepared to do the hard work, or in desperate need of a sports psych (which is surely available to him). Or both.

          1. Mr controversy aka rev

            Im not saying i wouldn’t turn up n play like that but the way his playing it’s like if his thinking ill just turn up n put in shit performance.

  4. Brett Allen

    We lost the physical contest, pure and simple, and when you, supposedly, play a power game, that is fatal.

  5. Jarrad

    Can anyone explain why we were going to go for 2 – which was the correct decision – but Moses overruled and chose to play on, even though he’s not the captain? I’m still very confused by this.

    1. Brett Allen

      I think that while Gutho is the captain, Mitch is the chief tactician on the field and even Gutho defers to him. That’s not unusual. That’s what you want from your halfback, they are basically co-captain. That being said, I agree, I would’ve taken the two.

  6. Anonymous

    I love the honesty gol – it’s important to call out the soft underbelly of many of these players. Gutho, Moses, hopgood and penisini are the only ones that consistently have a crack rain, hail or shine. Junior is really struggling this year. He has never been a vocal leader but even the lead by actions route is underwhelming this year. Rcg seems a much more galvanising figure with his intensity and aggression. Hopefully brad, gutho and Moses can get the Moses focused for Melbourne as it’s an opportunity to get back on the horse against a team that, notwithstanding their grubby tactics and slowing down of ruck, cannot defend on edges either.

    1. Brett Allen

      I think that’s harsh on Carty, Russell, Simonsen and one or two others. I don’t know why guys are down on Matto, he’s been our best middle the last month.

    1. BDon

      I hate the switch off on the inside after the ball goes past,I don’t think Billy Slater will be picking Joe any time soon under the ‘keep your feet moving’ policy.

  7. Parra Pete

    I blame the Hands (Dylan) Knees (Reg) and Boomsadaisy (Maika) suspensions for the Cowboy loss. Any chance George Jennings returning on loan?

  8. Offside

    The season is write off even if we scrape into the 8 we offer very little our attack in the red zone is predictable.

    We have zero depth the players getting called up are not 1st grade standard we aren’t developing talent.

    Our recruitment has been diabolical apart from Hopgood not one off season recruit has worked out.

    I’m fed up of our forwards getting smashed and our backs not getting meters. Don’t get me started on my feelings towards Junior and his rapid declining form this season.

    I normally would blame BA but he has bought himself a year of reprive from me but the administration of this club needs a good serve we are supposed to be a Development club yet we have no depth? And our Recruitment has been diabolical at best..

    1. Poppa

      It seems to me that many of our supporters have forgotten or overlooked the circumstances of this year, we are now not far away from the 5 wins in a row and a Origin period that totally disrupted what ever plans we had, throw in Dyllans issues, Hooker availables, the non performances of our juniors coming into this season, especially wingers and really you want to blame R&R ??.
      WE have had some miracle resurgence from forwards we had written off, Emu, Carty, Hands and Maka.
      I can see some positives….but then again, I look for them as well.

      1. HINDY111

        Who’d they beat in those 5 wins? Yes the Souths win was great but the rest was against terrible opposition.
        It’s been a tough season injury and suspension wise. But it is our own fault. Blowing home games early on and a loss to the Titans is what ruined the season.

    2. Gol Post author

      We’ve still got one of the best attacking records in the league, and yes the Cowboys made it look bad but they’ve also been an elite defensive side in recent weeks. I think if we scrape into the eight and are healthy, we’re a side nobody wants to face. We just need to get through a few tough weeks against tough sides without that full squad, and that is proving hard.

      There are problems with recruitment for sure, but to call it diabolical is a ridiculous over-reaction. Our forwards depth is envious, guys like Doorey and Murchie have done a job in first grade but were never likely to be best 17 players, and players people had written off like Simonsson, Cartwright, Greig and Ogden have become good contributors this year. Hodgson unfortunately hasn’t worked out but Hands was a recruit as well, and he’s saved us. The only recruits I’m disappointed in are Momoisea, who was a third drop depth player anyway, and Ofahengaue, who was an opportunistic purchase that hasn’t delivered.

      My main recruitment problem is that we didn’t do enough of it. We needed an extra first grade ready outside back. Maybe if Cini or Loizou had developed, if Dunster wasn’t so badly hurt or even if Waqa stayed an occasionally incompetent first grader instead of the shocker he has been this year, it wouldn’t have been an issue. There’s not a lot out there, but the club should have been more aggressive mid-season in filling out the roster. The Cowboys got Semi Valemei mid-year, that would’ve been a handy get.

        1. Brett Allen

          He’s not gonna give us anything we don’t already have. Besides, wingers don’t turn teams around.

          1. John Eel

            Agree I can’t see what he adds to the squad. If we buy a winger needs to be someone better than what we have and preferably younger than Feldt

      1. Offside

        I maybe overly critical but we all saw issues in the outside backs and the hooker position yet nothing was done.
        Players like Sivo are locked in because none of our options pose any threat to his position.

        I’m hoping at some point Paulo gets a rocket up him this year he just has been beaten up over and over again

  9. Longfin Eel

    Gee we’ve really made life tough for ourselves this year. It certainly looks like the dreaded “year after losing a Grand Final” year (What happened in 1985, 2002, 2010? Can’t remember? Neither can I).

    Seriously, there has been some very dumb decisions this year both on and off the field. We have the team to challenge for the premiership, but instead we are playing like a bunch of also-rans. Yes there are some reserve graders in the team at the moment, but most of those are there because of stupidity of others. Not good enough.

    We’ll probably come out guns blazing and beat Melbourne next week, just to keep the fans with a slightest glimmer of hope… but I really can’t see that happening.

    1. BDon

      Bellamy has always exploited our ‘cleaner’ style and was also the first to shift wide early against us. He’ll have a plan and we’ll need low errors/penalties conceded to even begin to compete.

  10. McFersie

    Well beaten in the first half and as has been extensively noted, the left edge was diabolical defensively. But hey, let’s acknowledge the courage of their second half, defensively and in attack. They must have been running on empty but never stopped trying, off-loading, throwing the ball around until the Cowboys got gassed and some gaps opened that Gutho exploited.

    I love a team that keeps on trying and despite their deficiencies, the Eels did that. I think Brown and RCG will make a difference and Sivo has made some good reads in defence in 2023.

    So here’s hoping for better things, maybe not next game but in the last few. A place in the 8 is still possible.

    Go Eels!

  11. Sec50

    Our team is on a steep decline. 5 wins in a row and the thought of top 4. Then 3 inept performance from most players in the team in a row and the thought of not making the eight. Our recruitment and retention has been pathetic. We do not have one alternative winger or centre or half in the NSW cup. How has it come to this?
    The decision to buy Davies and Offenhegaue were terrible decisions. I have not seen anything from them in the last 2 yrs that makes me think either are a good idea. Whoever makes decisions like these should be moved on. The immediate and short term future of our team is of real concern.

    1. Ron

      Agreed. How can we have severe backline problems last year offensively and defensively (culminating in waqa being dropped and then having a shocker in finals under bombs), opacic leaving, haze being injured and then do nothing about it. Absolutely mind blowing that they thought going in with haze and waqa as “depth” was viable. Penrith play a Backline dominated power game, warriors have successfully adopted it, brisbane have adopted it, Newcastle have revived their season by adopting it with marzhew and young. We didn’t move on from the unsustainable forward centric “power game” and invest in pace/power in outside backs as we ought to have. Somehow, the powers at be went contrary to the trend that has proven so effective in the nrl. And the result is that we get no punch in backfield but to compound that, the backline can barely defend. We comfortably have the worst centres and wingers unit out of top 8 + knights rabbits roosters, titans. Real poor stuff

      1. Trapped in the 1970’s

        Like so many I was so pleased when Waqa joined and it’s so sad to see his form decline to the point it has. Add to that the poor form of Momisea who I can only think must have been recruited to fill a similar sort of role that Marata had so successfully performed. That’s one spot in the top 30 wasted, another is Loizou that has been unused. Add to that Dunster who should have been any serious planning for this year and the depth is tested before injury and suspensions. Leaving a couple of roster spots open is more than perplexing under the circumstances and whether these were the jokers left in the pack to shore up a position later in the year the fact is that it’s been an issue throughout the year including KOE Cup and it’s another hole we’ve dug for ourselves.

  12. HINDY111

    Disaster of a season. Will be lucky to win more then 2 games going off form. Could be time to start the rebuild come Friday night.

  13. Eely Good

    What a disappointing game. Our seats were prime position for watching the left edge defensive failures in the first half, not to mention the clearly forward pass (given we regularly get called back for ones that are much flatter, that was a terrible miss).

    I’m going to raise a slightly different point though. Yes, I know our attacking stats are good. However. Our first two sets on their line had us in good position, but both ended with terrible last tackle options. That left us on the back foot, the Cows marched upfield and scored. Twice.

    Yes, we should have been able to defend it far more effectively than we did, and the fact our left edge was more new combinations was exploited well. But better decisions and execution in attack in that first 10-15 minutes should’ve had them under pressure, instead of us being down by 12. It’s a recurring theme where we are getting good field position but aren’t clinical enough on those last tackle plays in the opening 20. We should be working on fatiguing the opposition through repeat sets, and then the free-flowing Parra can shine.

    The marked difference in the last 15 minutes was not just the offloading, but our play the ball speed was way, waaay faster. The Cowboys were therefore back-pedalling, which allowed further offloads, half-breaks, and more back-pedalling – that lovely vicious cycle that was going against us in the first half.

    Given we’re getting caned in the penalties anyway (and let me tell you, the Cowboys were offside regularly when we were coming out of our 40, and holding down continually while a man down, but as usual we got zip), it seems the only way to counter it is to be holding on longer in defence, and fighting harder in the tackle in attack to get that advantage. It does feel like our tackled players are either too passive or massively overplaying it and getting called as milking, which is part of the reason we don’t draw penalties.

  14. Billie

    Notes from being on the same flight back to Sydney as the team:

    • Apparently they’d had a ten hour trip to get to Townsville, which seems utterly ridiculous and I’m sure wasn’t great preparation – this can be the difference of a few % in performance, which is all it takes. The club needs to do better
    • Carty couldn’t straighten his right knee, although wasn’t in obvious pain (unlike Lane)
    • BA hadn’t heard the stat around our team’s 22 weeks of suspension vs other teams
    • The coaching staff were in disbelief over the low grading on Tapau, and pretty disparaging over Grant vs RCG
    • Nobody wanted a selfie with Blake, and he seemed to be a bit of an outlier in the team dynamic

    Onto the next road trip.

    1. Trapped in the 1970’s

      The 22 weeks of suspensions is a fact but a good chunk of that was controllable to a large degree. Regardless of the circumstances Matto could have/ should have avoided his initial 3 weeks at the start of the season. Brown’s 7 weeks was an off field indiscretion, RCG’s 4 weeks was just a lazy effort and challenging Sivo’s charge just plain dumb. There’s 15 weeks of the 22 in those 4. All of those players are match winners on their day and automatic inclusions in the 17 if available. Things happen on the field and I can’t be over critical of those instances, but Brown’s is the one that really irks. We all saw his game against souths, in indigenous round. That was a setup for a souths win through Mitchell and Walker apart from Murray, Johnson, Cook and Campbell etc playing that night, but DBrown was the difference that game, at least in my eyes. I’m not condoning his actions or whinging about the length of his suspension, but his unavailability has been a telling factor. By the time he gets back the damage to the season might be done and who knows what shape (mentally) he’ll be in upon return.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.