The Cumberland Throw

Parramatta 2023 – A Diagnosis (Autopsy) Of The Season, Part One: An Incomplete Roster

The Eels 2023 season is on life support.

With five rounds remaining, the club is sitting in 11th place on the ladder and away matches against the table topping Panthers and Broncos await.

Forget looking at the mathematics of the remaining games and the bye. Across the Eels last four matches we’ve witnessed their three worst performances of the year. The capitulation against the Storm was so confronting that it left even the most optimistic supporters making alternative plans for September.

Regardless of how the season finishes, or more accurately when it finishes, the club must acknowledge that it has made mistakes. Even the unlikely outcome of going deep into finals football should not overshadow getting some key decisions wrong. Any denial of errors, or aspects of the football program that should have been done better, will only cause the Eels to either stagnate or regress further in 2024.

Earlier this season I maintained that the Eels were producing a more consistent standard of football than they were in 2022, even in their losses. That was true, and yet on reflection, certain decisions were already costly even when the standard of football was high.

In this series of posts, I’ll be exploring where the season has gone wrong for the club. There will be a mix of factors within, and outside of, Parramatta’s control.

Welcome to Part One.


An Incomplete Roster

The state of the roster has been the most telling factor in this season. If you have any doubt, check the ladder position of the top two grades.

A shallow dive into the construction of the top 30 is all that’s required to highlight that any player availability issues through injury or suspension were going to create significant holes.

Looking back to the start of the season, 28 players had been signed to the top 30 by March. This number wasn’t unusual compared to other clubs, but the devil was in the detail.

Let’s break it down.


Nathan Brown, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Bryce Cartwright, Matt Doorey, Wiremu Greig, J’maine Hopgood, Shaun Lane, Makahesi Makatoa, Ryan Matterson, Jirah Momoisea, Jack Murchie, Ofahiki Ogden, Junior Paulo, Ky Rodwell


Waqa Blake, Haze Dunster, Samuel Loizou, Will Penisini, Sean Russell, Bailey Simonsson, Maika Sivo


Jake Arthur, Daejarn Asi, Dylan Brown, Clint Gutherson, Josh Hodgson, Mitchell Moses, Mitch Rein

That roster list included the out of favour Nathan Brown and Mitch Rein. Since the latter part of 2022, rumours had abounded that Brown would be moved on, whilst Rein had seemingly fallen behind Hands and Yates in the preseason pecking order. Interestingly, both Hands and Yates sat outside the top 30.

Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown never took the field in 2023, so the Eels effectively had 27 in their top squad. Rein played his last match in round 7, whilst Arthur left after round 12, taking the top 30 down to 26 (following the acquisition of Davey for round 10)

As an aside, the Eels have only won two NSW Cup games since Jake Arthur moved to Manly.

You don’t need to be a footy nerd to see the glaring hole in the Top 30.

There was not one addition to the Eels list of outside backs for the 2023 season. Furthermore, of the seven specialist players, three had ongoing injury concerns.

A cloud always hovered over Haze Dunster’s return. It was a serious injury and we’ve seen him struggle this year. Bailey Simonsson was in rehab for the entire preseason, whilst talented young player Samuel Loizou has battled injury for a couple of seasons.

Player availability will feature in Part Two, but these known injuries should have provided the motivation to add to the stock of outside backs. It didn’t. From there, significant preseason injuries to Sivo, Blake and Asi took matters to near crisis point.

Waqa Blake

Prior to round one, I wrote about my concerns. With only a few days till the first team list Tuesday of the season, it  was possible that there would only be 18 of the top 30 available for selection.

Supporters and pundits had been concerned about the Eels forward depth following the loss of players such as Niukore, Papali’i, Kaufusi and Stone. The real issue was the outside backs. The impact of allowing Tom Opacic to leave had been vastly underestimated.

In fact, Opacic had not been replaced at all. The club might argue that Daejarn Asi had been recruited to fill that space but he is not a specialist outside back. The Eels weren’t just treading water in that part of the roster, they were in free fall. 

The other point is that it’s not like Opacic was a strike player that hadn’t been replaced. With respect, he was no x-factor. He was, to be succinct, a reliable and professional centre threequarter. In March, I expected the Eels to recruit a centre. They did not.

Tom Opacic

When the round one team was announced, it included both Blake  and Sivo. It was fortunate that both had beaten the clock to be fit given that Sean Russell had been ruled out during the lead up. Nonetheless, the Eels were still forced to select a player outside of the top 30, Isaac Lumelume, in the opening game of the season.

The red flags of the preseason had been joined by screaming sirens.

A glance at the NSW Cup team on that same opening weekend highlighted where the Eels backline stocks were at.

Ron Massey Cup player, Josh Minhinnick was getting his first call of the year to play wing. Future NRL dummy half, Brendan Hands, was at five eighth.

Furthermore, Jordan Rankin, a senior player sitting outside the top 30 who is transitioning into a coaching role with the club, was commencing the year in a key spine position. It’s no surprise that he’s since been relied upon for the entire season.

It’s got far worse since that time. Following the release of Jake Arthur, we’ve had backrowers such as Jirah Momoisea and Dan Keir filling the centre and five-eighth roles.

The Eels NSW Cup team currently sits in 11th place (3rd last) with their differential being the worst in the competition at -239. They have conceded a whopping 619 points, averaging just under 30 points per game.

There is no pressure being applied on the NRL players. Nobody is demanding selection, though to be fair it would be near impossible for any individual to show up when the team is being smashed most weeks.

From a numbers perspective, the Club eventually added to the top 30 but all have been forwards. In the latter part of the season they’ve recruited Andy Davey (a solid acquisition given Lane’s extended injuries), Joe Ofahengaue (coverage for the loss of Wiremu Greig) and finally Joey Lussick (essential after Josh Hodgson’s season ending neck problem).

As for the backline, there was plenty of hype around an x-factor outside back with the potential to replace Gutherson. That’s about as far as it got.

And so the club has hit the run to finals footy with left side dramas that have opposing right side attacks salivating at the prospect of facing the Eels.

What once was a strength has become a weakness.

The shortfall from a purely numbers perspective, both total roster and backline stocks, has been exacerbated by recruitment decisions which have, with respect to the individuals, not added NRL value to the club.


Outside of J’Maine Hopgood, the 2023 successes have come from players who were with the club prior to this season.

Bryce Cartwright, Wiremu Greig, Brendan Hands and Luca Moretti had all been added in previous years. Hands and Moretti even sat outside the top 30 at the commencement of the season.

What of the others?

At the risk off being repetitive, there is not one outside back to discuss.

Daejarn Asi demonstrated that at this stage of his career he is capable of being a short term halves option at NRL level, and looked good in his first three matches. Unfortunately, he has struggled across the last month, something that is not uncommon for any player who is yet to establish themselves in the top grade. His best football might yet lie ahead of him.

Matt Doorey has the potential to be a long term success. His season has been punctuated by injury, but supporters have been impressed by his limited first grade appearances.


Josh Hodgson produced an outstanding preseason, but struggled during the early rounds. He was just starting to find form when injury struck. It now looks likely that he’s played his last game of football.

Despite getting early opportunities in the top grade, Jirah Momoisea and Jack Murchie have been regular fixtures in NSW Cup. At one stage, Momoisea was even named as a reserve for that grade.

It should be acknowledged that the club has invested heavily in key retentions. There will be no exodus of established first graders at the end of this season.

Supporters should also appreciate the confidentiality of negotiations. Very little if anything leaks from the club.

The questions that I have are ones that only the Eels can answer.

Why has the club been unable to secure any outside backs in 2023, even after making a public declaration about targeting an x-factor?

How much control does the club have over the speed of contract negotiations which often seem to be quite protracted?

Finally, are greater resources required in recruitment and retention? I’m not talking about adding to a committee. Rather, are there enough staff to handle the identification process and then the negotiation with targeted players and their agents?

The 2023 roster is locked in. Talented pathways prospects are still some time from a potential NRL debut.

But right now, the Eels must address the shortfalls in the playing group, and possibly the processes in assembling it.

Any failure to do so threatens to undermine what should be a bright future.

Eels forever!


To Come – Part 2: Player Availability

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

145 thoughts on “Parramatta 2023 – A Diagnosis (Autopsy) Of The Season, Part One: An Incomplete Roster

  1. Mr sad

    Wow , most comprehensive and totally correct appraisal of where the club sits and the total mishandling of the squad on a whole , your simply saying what every intelligent fan out there knows and feels , i will say that i believe in taking the club forward financially and structurally we have right people in place but football wise there seems to be problems, our R&R are the recognized as the slowest moving and tightest regime in NRL , if they have a million do they buy two genuine players that will improve the team for 500k each , nope they buy 5/6 for 200k each and pray the coaching staff save their necks , name me 1 genuine strong signing this club has made in 5 seasons that wasn’t a cheap reject , anyway 60s you’ve called 100% correct for mine.

    1. sixties Post author

      I’ve asked some questions, and one that I think needs really deep consideration is whether there are enough staff working in recruitment and retention. It’s a role in an increasingly competitive market. Retention is challenging enough. I see the recruitment staff out and about working hard. I guess only the current staff can say whether they would benefit from having another person or two in their department. But if they feel that they can get by, why not aim to excel?

      1. Brett Allen

        And that seems to be the approach of the current board & management. Everything looks like it’s a smoothly run club on an Excel spreadsheet, and much of that is fact, but there does seem to be a real lack of actionable ambition. They want to win, but aren’t prepared to go all in. And this is where running a pro sports team is different to running a department or division at a big company.

  2. Brett Allen

    I love that our club doesn’t leak anymore, but that also means that there is a perception of a lack of accountability. We know that the R&R committee has five members, but we never hear when there is disagreement in that committee. We know that every decision has to be unanimous, which effectively gives each member veto power over R&R. So, I’m curious as to how much weight does the Chairman & CEO, non football people, have in these discussions ? Under what circumstances would they have cause to veto an R&R decision ?

    1. Anonymous

      Is the committee to big or top heavy with those lacking football credentials brett , it does seem to appear that way , presuming 5 , coach , oniell , rogers ?? , sarantinos , mcelduff , is that how it falls ??

      1. avenger

        No, but you can at least constructively criticise him without fear of seeming to be disloyal. His name has not once been mentioned. Just a R&R committee.

    1. Offside

      It is he holds the record for most premiership games at one club without making a GF.
      He isn’t going anywhere and will end up like Brian Smith 600 plus games without a premiership win
      Unfortunately for us BA will coach all those seasons at Parra.

        1. Offside

          Not laying it at his feet I’ll forgive him this year although we aren’t showing alot this year last year buys him another season.

          The people in charge of recruitment and retention need to held accountable

          1. sixties Post author

            Offside, there will be other aspects of this season that I will tackle in the following posts. As far as the roster is concerned, do you think BA wanted an incomplete roster or one with only the backline options I listed above? I haven’t got his opinion to share but I reckon he wouldn’t have wanted that.

          2. Brett Allen

            So then 60’s the question is, who on the R&R committee is vetoing potential recruits ?

          3. Mr sad

            Think that question got answered on 360 last night brett so you were wrong once again !!!

          4. Peter

            Sixties, when a new coach starts at a club and doesn’t do well he is excused for the first season or two as he basically inherited a team.

            Now after a decade people like yourself are excusing BA saying that others have greater influence in recruitment and retention and that brad is now excused as he hasn’t got the team he wanted.

            Its Brad’s team and he has failed this season and a decade without a comp equates to failure

          5. Anonymous

            BA is a key member of the R&R committee. The lack of depth in our outside backs falls on him as much as anyone else. He has had 10 years to create a team that can win a premiership. He has now built a team that sits in 11th.

          6. Peter

            Thats 100% correct. He’s had long enough to build the team he wants. Just another excuse.
            Excuses after Excuses but the fact is its another failed season

    2. John Brack

      Peter you are spot on any other club and Brad would be out the door 10 years is much to long with out a premiership, last year was our best chance but it didn’t happen this year I think is gone as well. I will keep the faith go Parra. 🤔

  3. Sec50

    And should some or all of the recruitment and retention staff be retained or be moved on.? It would seem to me that someone has to take ownership of this mess and have accountability. And the maddening part is we all saw the deficiencies and the absolute lack of action.

    1. sixties Post author

      As I said, I think it’s a matter of whether there are enough people in that space for what the role has become. The club should aim to be elite in every aspect of its operation and that means putting the resources in.

      1. Sec50

        Maybe it’s quality not quantity. Whilst it can be a commendable trait 6os your penchant for excusing present employees from obvious ineptitude is just wrong. Someone must be held accountable for so many bad decisions and if BA is a big part of the process it must include him. What coach would allow his squad to have such obvious deficiencies.

  4. MickB

    A well thought out article 60s, well done. Looking forward to reading pt 2.

    There’s no other way of saying it, this season sucks. Nothing really seems to have gone our way. Our best 17 consistently on the park should have been good enough to win the comp, but with all the challenges the team has had to face (self-inflicted or otherwise), that’s just not going to be our outcome.

    It was probably about this time last year that Mahoney, Kafusi, Ice and Marata all announced they were heading to other clubs. None of these losses seemed to have been as problematic as the fan base predicted them to be. So with those decisions being somewhat valid in hindsight, and notwithstanding all of 60s valid points, perhaps we give the club the benefit of the doubt again (noting the very healthy dose of thin patience that comes with!) Maybe there were no acceptable options available on market and maybe there are some good ones coming in the offseason.

    Hopefully we can rectify these obvious 2023 deficiencies for 2024 – and early in the offseason, rather than in Feb or Mar next year.

    1. John Eel

      Whilst the recruitment has been underwhelming the club was always going to be up against it.

      Players were holding the upper hand on recruitment given the Dolphins were in the market with a full salary cap, uncommitted.

      1. Sec50

        And yet most other clubs have been successfully in the market. Many quality 3/4’s have been purchased but not by us. Why??

    2. sixties Post author

      Cheers Mick. Yes, there might be people in the club who read this and think, “yeah but you don’t know this and you don’t know that”. And that’s true. I don’t know why we haven’t added to the roster. But the job of a respected site like TCT is to respectfully ask such questions about the roster or any other aspect. I’m not calling for heads to roll or questioning the value of what anybody has done. I’m asking how this has come about and whether more resources are needed.

      1. Brett Allen

        Well if there are any club insiders reading this surely they can see the frustration of the fans who are craving answers, real answers, not pro forma responses that are long on fluff and short on details.

    1. Leigh

      Zac toured with Bradman Best, Stephen Crichton, Jason Saab, Tom Dearden, Jock Maden, Jason Saab & Bronson Xerri in the 2018 Australian U/18 side to England.
      NB: Matthew Doorey and Luca Moretti were also in that 22-man squad.
      Everyone had hopes he would develop the same but has been slow to do so. Its not an exact science.

  5. Liam

    The protracted nature of contract negotiations at the club is deeply concerning, it seems to have seeped into the NRLW team as well. We might save a few pennies here and there but we are going to miss out on players and not to mention the distraction the Moses re-signing brought onto the team

    1. sixties Post author

      Liam, we don’t know why negotiations end up so contracted. Is it the player, the player agent, the Eels? If it’s us, maybe it’s indicative of needing more resources?

      1. Liam

        Totally agree, it does seem to be a recurring theme at the club. Interestingly I remember listening to Mark O’Neill on your podcast mentioning he had learnt some lessons post the Mahoney and Papallii negations last year, I’m not sure they learnt enough lessons! Certainly the hesitancy to complete the roster leading into this year has been a disaster.

  6. Anonymous

    The frustration that perhaps the majority of fans feel is the recruitment vacuum was obvious and nothing was done to fill the gaps. There will always be mistakes is recruiting, particularly when there is a genuine thought that all players would improve once signed, some decent successes but also some regrettable failures that added to the areas of need.

    Not chasing some backs with speed seems difficult to understand and underlines the faults in identifying the clubs needs. Our younger players have a year or two to grow into NRL level players and have not been helped by the basic journeymen players in Cup, who have underwhelmed for 2 years and aren’t doing much to guide the Flegg boys who have been moved up for experience.

    Finally, does it take too long to identify needs, talk to managers and then have a committee to approach for formal agreement to make the offer. Seems we have been in the. Arlen but other clubs have struck while we appear to be slow to finalise our decisions. That doesn’t seem good enough, so the CEO and HOF may need more authority but who knows.

    1. Brett Allen

      And that’s the problem, we as fans simply don’t have access to the clubs inner workings, and whilst the constitutional reforms were absolutely necessary, the side effect has been to create a firewall around the clubs board and administration, a board that we now have a severely weakened power to remove.

      1. sixties Post author

        The Leagues Club constitutional reforms have not firewalled the Board or administration Brett. Most importantly they guard against agenda driven tickets of people without qualification engineering takeovers and dragging the club through the media. Members can vote for change if they aren’t happy, and thanks to the constitutional change, electronic voting means that more members can and do vote. I will also defend the people on both boards because I know that the goal of the football board is to ensure the necessary resources to make the football department successful. I strongly believe that the problems of this season will be addressed. However, as a supporter with the platform of TCT I have a responsibility to raise the issues that I have. There will be other factors outside of Parra’s control, but for me it begins with the roster. For mine, the best way to handle that is by changing processes or resources. Whether the club changes that or something else is what I’ll be watching.

        1. Brett Allen

          I agree that the reforms were necessary, but you can’t deny that it has meant that the members have decreased power to enact change. Again, that was necessary because we fans don’t think with our brains, but, there is an undeniable perception that the current board and administration are not publicly accountable. I do think the club does a very poor job of communicating to the clubs fan base. It may only be perception, but perception has a habit of becoming reality.

    2. John Eel

      Are we missing targets because we are being too slow or other clubs offering more money.

      The good thing about Pathways players as Sixties puts it is that they are “Parra aspirational”. Meaning that hopefully we can retain most of who we want at the right price.

      1. HamSammich

        The problem is we still aren’t keeping our pathways players. Myles Martin was a top prospect and a captain in our junior teams and he signed with Newcastle. We did the hard work of bringing him here from Bathurst getting his signature over other clubs, he should at least be signed up until the age of 21. Michael Gabrael was named the best back in our Harold Matts team last year, he was immediately signed by the bulldogs and is now playing jersey flegg for them. There’s talk of Zaidas Muagutitia signing with another club, whilst which club he’s going to is uncertain the one certainty is that he won’t be with the Eels; hooker is a very important position and when you can pick 1 maybe 2 per aged grade every week it’s a hard position to develop.

        I won’t bring up Sanders as I think the club has done well to retain the 2 elite level halves we already have in first grade long term, so it’s hard to provide a pathway to first grade for a player who would be looking to play regular first grade within the next 2 seasons. What is a concern though is that he wasn’t on a development contract. I’m sad to see him go in 2025 but in 2023 and 2024 your best non top 30 half should be on a development contract in my opinion.

        1. Leigh

          I’ve loved Zaidas and his skills. Unfortunately he was behind Matt Arthur who also looks to have a bright future. You can’t blame him for not wanting to wait. Such is life.

          1. HamSammich

            Arthur is a year older and is playing Flegg. No matter where Zaidas is going he will have someone a year older than him playing the same position. I can’t blame him if he feels he’ll get more of an opportunity elsewhere. I can blame the club for not having someone they viewed good enough to play Harold Matts a year early not signed up for a few years, his signing should not have waited for this year. We identified in 2022 that he was good enough for our rep teams, his signing until at least Jersey Flegg age should have happened then.

            A few years ago the club had Reed Mahoney, Kyle Schneider, and Jed Edwards all as potential first grade dummy halves. Anything can happen at such a young age. The club needs to make sure they have talented players in the spine positions every year coming through.

      2. sixties Post author

        John, that’s why I’m posing the question about resources or processes. I’ll be addressing juniors.

    3. sixties Post author

      Anon, I am deeply concerned about what has unfolded at Cup level this season. But it’s probably indicative of having a shortfall in the roster, coupled with player unavailability and recruits who haven’t produced.

  7. HamSammich

    I think the problem isn’t necessarily that we haven’t filled spots as I think depth players that we could have gotten before round 1 of the season wouldn’t have altered the outcome of any game. Our problem in the backs this year has been the starters. Blake has had problems for a few years now but they were brought to the forefront in round 1 of the finals last year and he has not recovered. Sivo has not provided anything other than putting the ball down and whilst I understand that there’s been incorrect bunker intervention previous to his suspension he has not provided that in the past month or so. In every aspect of being a winger Russell, starting the year as a depth option, has out-performed Sivo. Russell being 20kgs smaller should never make more metres than Sivo or provide better rucking runs, yet he has done this for a few weeks now.

    As for the reserve grade team you were a big proponent of changing the branding from the Wenty Magpies to the Parramatta Eels. As you pointed out this should have been a big change for the club. Unfortunately it seems the club has lost its understanding of what a strong reserve grade team is and should look like. In 2019 when we made the GF we had Hoffman, George Jennings, Mannah, Gower, Terepo all playing in that team. They were supported by young ones coming through: Parry, Marzhew, Salmon, Utoikamanu, Dunster, Kaufusi, Stone. There were some semi-professional players in that line-up too. This is where the rebranding should have made a difference. Instead this year we continue to be picking players that are outside the 30 and also not top prospects. They are park footballers, the same ones we used in reserve grade when we were the Wenty Magpies. It’s good that in more recent weeks we have seen the promotion of Flegg players over ron massey players but we are still seeing the use of players that will not make first grade.

    1. sixties Post author

      Hey Ham, I think you know my thoughts on NSW Cup. We had to rely on players outside of the top 30 and Dev contracts in round one for both first grade and Cup. It’s not just the numbers, it’s who we’ve had to play out of position. Dan Keir has had to fill in at both centre and 5/8. Momoisea has played centre. Cini has played 5/8 and fullback. I’ll be covering player availability next. I could have taken a deeper dive in part one but I needed to keep a sharp focus in each aspect of the season, rather than rambling for 8000 words in one post.

  8. Leigh

    Great post and well explained Sixties. I have also been very concerned with our R & R. 
    As I calculate; we have 25 of our top 30 already filled for 2024.
    – 24 of our current players plus Toni Mataele from our development squad. This number does not include Carty, Emu or Luca Moretti who all deserve an extension, making the number 28 with still no additional backs.
    Traditionally we leave our last two spots for cheap deals or injury replacements early on in the season but as it stands now, our squad is going backwards. (Please excuse the pun. I should say “back”-less)

  9. Anonymous

    My brother and I have been saying the same thing since the end of last year! There has to be a reason behind it and it is definitely very disappointing as a supporter. I’m saying that I don’t envy our recruitment team even though it appears that our club is always behind the play the ball in getting the depth needed to our club. Let’s hope this improves over the summer!

    1. sixties Post author

      Anonymous, we are fighting competing bids that include TPAs the like of which from Melbourne and the Dogs have recently come to light. How do we battle that? If we need to be more on the front foot and ensure players are locked up earlier whilst being more active in the recruitment market, then maybe it’s a case of needing more staff, different processes or more creative deals. What I do know is that we can’t continually expect BA to make gold out of players that don’t exist.

      1. Carmel

        I don’t blame BA at all – I think he has done and is doing a great job – and yes I know it’s up to our recruitment and that’s what I meant by being behind the play the ball. Especially after the issues we had in the past with the salary cap. I don’t envy them at all although there must be some way we can combat it – and I hope the team find it fast! How do these other clubs get away with these TPAs is another question that will be filed with referee and judiciary inconsistencies!! I back our recruitment team will continue trying their best and it certainly will not change my support for the club now or ever. Blue and Gold are in my veins forever and I will NEVER give up my flag or clapping hands or my season ticket.

  10. BDon

    Tks sixties, great summary. Does anyone know exactly what our cap position is? Is there any public info on TPA’s across all clubs?

    1. John Eel

      BDon the deal that Munster is on can’t be a TPA. As I understand it Tripp is either a major sponsor of and/or part owner of the Storm.

      Tripp is also the founder and major shareholder of Betr betting agency which has reportedly offered Munster a share holding in the Betr bookmaking business.

      Having said that if those shares are available to anyone in the public under the same conditions Munster acquired them then maybe it is not an issue.

      If however the Munster shares were acquired under similar conditions to the alleged Tino deal for Laundy shares then it is a major problem for the Storm.

      I wonder if the NRL are looking into the deal?

      1. BDon

        Trivia question JE: Who is Matthew Faulkner? A: The salary cap auditor (unless he’s quietly moved on, you never hear much from him). Perhaps he should publish an annual report.

        1. John Eel

          I don’t think that is going to happen BDon.

          The NRL has a history of only dealing with cap discrepancies when they are thrust in their face.

  11. Offside

    Well put together.

    For me I’ve been overly critical of the recruitment it’s not best to describe it as negligence.
    The Signing of Hodgson was filled with Red flags and they proved to be true.

    Everyone saw the concerns with the backline yet little to nothing was done about it.

    The handling or mis handling of the Nathan Brown situation was terrible.

    Yes injury and suspension hasn’t been good to us but that happens and will happen but you need depth for when the inevitable happens.

    At some point someone will and should be held accountable for how this season has panned out.

    Parramatta is a club that should be in the 8 more than that we should be a club producing talent and depth

    1. sixties Post author

      Cheers Offside. I’ve gone off early because the Eels might sneak in. However, even if we do, everything needs to be perfect for us to make any impact and as we know, rugby league rarely falls that way. I will balance out my diagnosis of the season with other contributing aspects but there needs to be acknowledgement first and foremost about the roster. Without addressing that, next year could be even more disappointing.

  12. Milo

    Very good read Sixties and some poignant comments made.
    I hope people from the club see and read this and actually take notice.
    You could say we’ve gone backwards this season…which is not ideal.
    For me we lack a mongrel in the pack…a back up prop like Tapau was probably what we needed…so where’s the plan?
    Centre for Opacic was needed and not done. It’s almost incompetent and unprofessional how this occurs.
    Our Reggie’s should be putting pressure on the nrl team…and they’re not.
    It’s so frustrating

    1. sixties Post author

      I will address player availability next Milo because that impacts the mongrel points and the NSW Cup

  13. TolElts

    Thanks Sixties. You put into words what probably all us Eels fans are thinking and asking in our minds. It appears we have too many forwards but very low on backs, speedy backs with that.
    Sometimes I wonder, what is the priority of our FO? Do Sarantinos, Mcelduff and other pencil pushers just looking at our financial / business growth, being having more business experience rather than having a good footy knowledge and experience? Is their basis of success the increase in the number of memberships, new sponsors and just making top 8?

    1. sixties Post author

      i have to acknowledge that their priority is the success of the football team. They are astute people. They understand that an NRL team that doesn’t play finals football is not good for any of those other metrics. The board always place a priority on providing the resources needed for the footy program to be successful.

  14. Peter

    Sixties, when a new coach starts at a club and doesn’t do well he is excused for the first season or two as he basically inherited a team.

    Now after a decade people like yourself are excusing BA saying that others have greater influence in recruitment and retention and that brad is now excused as he hasn’t got the team he wanted.

    Its Brad’s team and he has failed this season and a decade without a comp equates to failure

    1. HamSammich

      BA really has had 2 failed seasons, potentially 2023 and 2018. Since 2017 we have made 5 of the past 6 finals series including a grand final. It’s understandable that not every recruit is going to be great, even the elite tier signings are potentially bad. But what we have seen these past few years with regards to recruitment and retention hasn’t given the coaching staff the resources to succeed. Since RCG we have not signed anyone of great note, and even he came across as a player in and out of first grade.

      I don’t think there’d be too many coaches that would succeed (win a grand final in your eyes) given the perceived lack of support our coaching staff has had since 2017.

        1. HamSammich

          I hate to break it to you Peter but you are also making excuses. You are blaming an entire business’ failures on a lone person. That’s an excuse, not a pragmatic approach.

          1. HamSammich

            Another excuse. What about the 10 years prior to that? Can you lay the blame of the previous 10 years down to 1 person? No you can’t. Just like you can’t blame 1 person for the success or failures of 2013-2023.

        2. sixties Post author

          No excuses. Just facts Peter. I’ve criticised what I believe BA has got wrong this year. But when it comes to the roster, he’s been the one who has taken players to the best form of their career. And if you’re prepared to argue against that it means that people like yourself are incapable of seeing the obvious.

  15. Anonymous

    Great write-up
    We have had a lot of things go wrong this season with suspensions, injuries, SOO selections etc which has exposed our poor roster management. Going into the season with a 33 year old hooker recovering from knee operations was beyond risky.
    I could not understand not replacing Opacic who was as defensively sound as any centre and not offloading Waqa just crazy even if we had to tip in some money to see the back of him. There are plenty of good wingers floating around in the lower grades who have debuted this year for other clubs and showed they are at NRL level why we have not been talent-spotting the lower grades is beyond me. Although we did get Hopgood who I have watched for about 2 years now in the lower grades and it was obvious he was NRL bound so big congrats on snaring him.
    Our Reserve grade team though are a disgrace and the sad part is they seem to be using the same poor defensive structures our first-grade team uses which is consistently stripped of numbers on the edge and out wide so often it looks like the other team is having a training run. It is hard to believe at times that these players train and play full time and can look so bad.
    Watch Panthers Reserve grade and see how a professionally run club does things and you will see why they transition so easily into the NRL.

    1. sixties Post author

      Thanks Anon. Some of the other issues you mention will be covered in the next parts of this series. The defensive structures have changed to a slide this year. It goes wrong when players fall out of the structure (see Waqa) or tackles are missed (see Daejarn ). I could go into a deep dive with the NSW Cup but there are now a multitude of issues that probably have their root in the roster and the head space of players in a losing team.

  16. Chris Stone

    Hi Sixties, excellent summary. The future is brighter now in 2023 than it was in say 2019-2022 and it would be really disappointing if the Eels don’t address the obvious issues. The outside back issue has been going on now for Ill say 3 seasons at least. Ever since Jennings and Fergo left the backline has been neglected. We fix the backline we will win multiple premierships mark my words. Also think Junior Paulo’s fitness this season has been really poor, i don’t like fat shaming normal people but for an athlete i think its acceptable. It looks like Paulo is grimacing he must have some injury issue around his Hip thigh muscles and this is compounded by his poor diet. Paulo stop eating 6000 calories a day and get in shape brother and we will dominate.

    1. HamSammich

      Wonder if Paulo’s poor fitness is down to his shortened pre-season? Playing every possible game in 2022: club, finals, SOO, and WC meant he has had a small pre-season compared to a lot of other players.

      1. sixties Post author

        Hey Ham. Shortened preseason? When was our last bad season? 2018. The World Cup was in 2017 and the preseason was shortened. Another reason that we needed a full roster. This will be part of my player availability post.

    2. sixties Post author

      Hi Chris. I hadn’t noticed a lack of conditioning with Junior but I concede his season hasn’t been as strong as 2022. But, aside from one or two times when he was caught out defensively last week, I thought he was one of the few who performed ok against the Storm. I’m going to tackle the impact of player availability next.

      1. Chris Stone

        I’m sure they are training/conditioned fine but you can still be fit and fat (trust me i know lol). I think for me Junior and I could be off the mark but I feel like if he was 5-8 kilos lighter he would be far more effective, he’s got a massive motor but there’s a trade off in body weight vs agility and those misses against the storm were in my opinion down to a lack of agility not fitness which can be fixed by playing a bit lighter.

        1. John Eel

          The fittest I remember Junior being was a couple of seasons ago when he trained in the offseason for a fight with the former Qld origin player.

        2. sixties Post author

          Chris, as a big bloke myself who played a lot of competitive sport until my forties, I too know that you can be carrying too much size yet still be fit. (Sadly there’s no fitness anymore). It’s a decent point about Juniors mobility in 2023.

  17. Galaga

    I think BA and Mark O’Neill need to take the blame for some poor recruitment decisions. I’m happy with our forwards and I think BA’s strength is to obtain the maximum amount of output from 2nd tier forwards. However BA and MON’s recruitment of outside backs to effectively plug the holes left by Tom Opacic and another winger that makes metres is a huge oversight. If we had a winger like Brian To’o we instantly become a top 4 team when you look at our pack and go forward when it’s supported effectively.

    1. sixties Post author

      BA doesn’t do the recruiting. Do you think he wants an incomplete roster with limited options in the backs?

        1. Chris Stone

          Doesn’t mean he can choose from scratch big difference. Cant veto when there’s nothing to veto in the first place.

          1. Brett Allen

            Yes it is true. We’ve been told that BA is one of the five voices on the R&R committee, and we’re also told that every decision that the committee makes has to be unanimous. That gives BA a de facto veto over all R&R decisions. Which means if the rest of the committee want to bring more of our youth into our top 30, but BA wants more veterans, he can simply “veto” the promotion of young players .
            Let’s be honest, unless it’s a lay down misere talent like Dylan Brown or Will Penisini, or dare I say it his son, BA’s record of trusting young talent is spotty at best. Generally speaking, if he has a choice between a reliable 28 year old with a low ceiling or a raw but talented rookie, 9 times out of ten he’ll go with the veteran. Now if that’s for a one off game, that’s fine, but when the team is clearly l lol a king in energy like we have been, BA is always one or two weeks behind the pace in making changes.

          2. sixties Post author

            Brett, I can assure you that it’s not as straight forward as you think. Furthermore, you keep barking up a BA tree for which you ignore all evidence. When you talk about players that have been at the club in age teams (under 21 and below), the list for BA is long. I’ll probably miss some and I’ve debated this with you and others far too many times and the facts just get ignored. But let’s just go the last few years, and this is ignoring players that have made their NRL debut at Parra:
            Dylan Brown, Reed Mahoney, Ray Stone, Haze Dunster, Ethan Parry, Stefano Utoikamanu, Oregon Kaufusi, Will Penisini, Jake Arthur, Sean Russell, Sam Loizou. Whether they are now at the club is a whole other story and each case is different. But the fact is they were all brought through and given an opportunity in the NRL.
            Now look at the SG Ball and Flegg players that are being blooded in NSW Cup over the last couple of weeks, the young players that did the preseason. BA wants pathways players pushing through. His investment level is off the chart. The bloke goes and coaches, along with his staff, sessions at junior reps. He and his staff are heavily involved in the JETS program. In fact it’s based on pathways players getting tuition from NRL staff. Please give it a rest mate. You’re so incorrect it’s ridiculous.

          3. Brett Allen

            Of those, how many has he really trusted when a low rent veteran was otherwise available ? The reality is that BA’s history is generally on the ledger of trusting veterans over youth. Now, given the disarray our junior systems were in when BA was appointed, and the time it takes to get them back in order, I’ll hold back judgement of BA for now, but come round 1, 2024 I expect to start seeing some of these outstanding SG Ball & Jersey Flegg players we’re hearing about making their NRL debuts.

          4. Anonymous

            Well for those of us who watched 360 last night 60s has been totally vindicated in everything hes said 👏👏

      1. avenger

        I’ve read the other responses 60’s. I appreciate that you may know more than I but that committee surely is more in relation to being salary cap compliant. What would they know more than BA in a footballing sense? If they actually do have a say in “who” to recruit I’d suggest the system that we have is flawed. Suspiciously sounds like a Wests Tigers system which is also flawed.

        1. sixties Post author

          Avenger, what are my questions that I’ve ended the post with? Is it not to do with our process and resources?

          1. Brett Allen

            So 60’s, are you saying that our R&R committee as constructed, though well intentioned and in the spirit of good governance, is flawed and needs to be modified ? Legit question, not sarcastic, and if so, what changes need to be made ?

          2. sixties Post author

            Yes, I do Brett.
            Two questions. Are you happy with the fact that the Eels have been unable to secure any backline targets this year? Do you have the sense that negotiations are too protracted?
            The resources are stretched and the processes need to be changed. Perhaps a change to the processes might lighten the load on the resources. That’s for the club to decide.

          3. Brett Allen

            Agreed, for a starters I think it’s absurd that the committee meets only once a month. A month is an eternity in this game. I mean, when there was even a hint that Bradman Best was on the nose at the Knights, the club needed to move rapidly to snuff out the opportunity. That was prior to Origin 3, now it’s too late, the opportunity was missed. It seems to me that the club, again in a well intentioned effort to not be used as a bargaining tool, have taken this to the nth degree and are now almost impossible to work with, because we aren’t on the pace. Whether the club likes it or not, the NRL is a players league, they, and more importantly their managers, have all the power. It’s dog eat dog. The committees processes need to be streamlined, and more transparent to at least club members. Right now, we have no idea what goes on in that room, which only creates the perception that it’s hiding its failures. The club has to be much more upfront with members with its failures, not just its successes.

          4. Brett Allen

            What resources are you referring to ?
            Do we not have enough scouts out watching games ?
            I mean, what are we talking about here ?

          5. sixties Post author

            It’s not up to me to come up with their appropriate structure. They know they need to make changes to how things get done

          6. Avenger

            I’ll tell you what it is and what annoys people the most about what you are doing here. It is quite obvious (and I admire people being loyal) that you have danced around the issue of failed recruitment for this season. That rests on BA nobody else. Not some committee and a process that you are using to mitigate blame on the coach. To suggest anything else is a nonsense. He is a 10 year veteran coach who has the final say in recruitment. Not one player is thrust upon him. This is his side. It rests with him and I’m sure BA would be man enough to admit it, maybe you should too.

          7. sixties Post author

            Avenger, I posted a response to your reply which I’ve now removed. I don’t need to do anything more than stand by my post. If you want to make comments that I’m not manning up in what I write, or that I don’t know what I’m writing about or I’m quite simply wrong, then go ahead and think that way. The club and plenty of people know me well. I’m not writing anonymously, nor am I stating anything but facts. I’m very comfortable with what I’ve written and I’m doing so because I have justifiable concerns about what is happening with the roster and what it will look like next season.

          8. Avenger

            Who I am or who you are is irrelevant here. What we are both is passionate Eels fans and we can discuss this civilly (apologies if you took the ‘man enough’ comment to heart.) All your rumours that you are posting here are just that – rumours. Are you stating this as a fact about BA not having his say and being dealt a short roster with only seven outside backs? Where has that been reported, who/where is your source? And who are these players that he tried to obtain? Without a source anyone can say that even league fans that don’t run a podcast.

          9. BDon

            It’s dumb to name your sources on social media. Totally agree, it would assist in making statements more accountable, but name your sources and you’ll end up with none.

          10. avenger

            Which is why it’s not fact only rumour. We are all speculating but the most logical assumption is that BA has the final say with his squad. Nothing surer. Don’t just blame the R&R Committee when it’s headed by the coach who has a major seat on the table. BA needs to take the ultimate responsibility for going into the season with 7 outside backs not a process by a Committee.

          11. sixties Post author

            Continue to think what you want Avenger. As I said, I stand by everything I’ve written.

          12. Avenger

            Which is both my right and yours. I also stand what I have written because your statement suggests that BA is not to blame for our recruitment this season or at the very least you attempt (the way I read it) in a veiled way to mitigate his mistakes and contribution to recruitment and team selections. BA and the recruitment committee have had a monumental clanger with recruitment and retention this year. We all know who these players are and it’s headed by the player that you most endorsed in the off season (Josh Hodgson). At one stage with the way you were going on I thought we’d signed Cameron Smith.

          13. Namrebo

            Do we trust Hoops report? If so and I was BA I’d walk. The coach is the first to get the punt if a team doesn’t perform, not a retention committee member. The coach has to have the greatest say in recruitment otherwise they are hostage to someone else’s decisions.

            What I read in that report worries me enormously.

          14. Avenger

            I did. My questions to you is who identified the player? BA or the Committee? Who initially wanted him and why is our coach upset? Who has the final say in approving the signing? BA or the committee? Have there been any players thrust upon him? Personally I don’t think so. By you stating that you stand for everything you have written with a statement like “BA doesn’t do the recruiting” is at its highest – ambiguous.

          15. sixties Post author

            Avenger, you are so focussed on taking issue with me. So be it. I’ve tried to be as informative as I can be. I think there are many people reading this who understand the “as I can be” part. As for BA doesn’t do the recruiting statement, I don’t find it ambiguous at all. He can express who would like recruited or retained. What happens after that is up to the recruitment process that follows. How much logic is needed to understand that he wouldn’t map out a roster that lacks outside backs?
            Mate, we’re going backward and forward here to no purpose. I’ll accept that you don’t accept what I’ve presented as factual. I’m not going to debate further. I’m hoping that change to the processes will come.

          16. avenger

            This 60’s is the most succinct statement that you have made so far and the issue is not with you, mate. I reckon you have a great audience here. I am an avid reader and I listen to all your podcasts with 40/20. However the issue is your somewhat blind loyalty to BA. I reckon he is a solid coach and the best we have had since Brian Smith however he has some obvious flaws. When you continually try and mitigate his shortcomings and debate these issues with other fans and deflect the obvious common denominator it can come across as ambiguous and nonsensical.

            And I agree the current recruitment process is as flawed as BA’s recruitment choices in 2023.

            I look forward to your next topic, because this one almost broke the record for comments on a single blog.

            Take care 60’s and go you mighty Eels. 😉

    2. Mr sad

      I would like to know the list of players BA has asked the club get but they wouldnt spend the money , they find out the price first before they worry about ability !

  18. Shane Asi

    The signing saga was a dangling concrete block over the squad as well.

    I am happy reading that there were no forecasts on squad performance and it was all on facts.

    Awesome read mate, noone has the nous and eyes to see and write what you see, thanks for your talents

    1. sixties Post author

      Thanks Shane. To be fair, anything other than facts when it comes to the roster wouldn’t fit with the argument that the roster wasn’t complete. I’ll try to stick purely to facts throughout the series of posts.

  19. AaMar

    I quite like Joe O as a player, but sort of dont know where he will fit for the next few seasons. Im guessing he is on a decent wage as well. One area we are quite stacked is in the FR department, and as youve really hit in the article above, shouldnt this be put into chasing back(s)?? (or use it to wrap up Greig)

    1. sixties Post author

      We do need backs and ones with pace. As for Joe, we’ll get better value out of him when he gets a preseason with us under his belt.

  20. Longfin Eel

    This season is starting to look a little like 1987 – an exodus of key talent without really replacing them, injury to key personnel (and in the 2023 case suspensions), and a general lack of desire. It’s almost as if the recruitment team placed far too much belief in the lower grades despite the fact that not many lower grade players were ready to make the jump to NRL.

    You have to think that the addition of another team has weakened the talent pool available, but Parra certainly seems to have got the raw end of that, especially as you say with the lack of outside backs recruitment. I would expect to see some hard decisions being made by the club for next season, whether players are signed for next year or not.

    The worst thing about this season is that other than a few bad games we haven’t played that badly. The key however is that we haven’t been a dominant force either – hence the middle of the road end to the season.

    1. sixties Post author

      Longfin, yes we have pretty much looked more middle of the road recently (and on last week that’s kind). I reckon we sit at around 26 players currently on top 30 deals for next year, and that will be without a couple of backs. Any signings must be backline players.

  21. michael stevens

    Omg.. Can’t anyone actually see the problem??? There are 3 things to fix.. Full stop!!
    1. Moses is overpaid and overrated
    2. Parramatta keep players on out of loyalty instead of their true value
    And most importantly-
    3. Brad Arthur couldn’t coach an under 10’s side. If you look at the last 200 tries scored against Parramatta, 99 percent of them are due to Brad Arthur’s absolute lack of knowledge and training of the wing defence. Mika Sivu, Waqa Blake and whoever else he’s put there are completely vacant about keeping the wing corridors secure..
    Need I say more????

    1. Brett Allen

      1) Absolute nonsense. Mitch Moses is in the top 3 halfbacks in the game. He is paid accordingly
      2) Isaiah Papali’i, Ray Stone & Oregon Kaufusi would argue otherwise.
      3) Waqa aside, our wing defence isn’t the problem. Wingers are slave to their men inside of them. If their centre holds, they also have to hold till their centre releases them. Wingers are rarely the issue, the issue is almost always further in field, and usually around the ruck. How was our wingers to blame for the tries that Hughes, Grant, Drinkwater & Johnson scored against us the last month ? All of them were scored around the ruck.

    2. BDon

      1) In SOO Moses got caught with Luaui and Cook outside him in G2 but still went OK, in G3 I reckon he played almost the perfect hand to allow Walker to be his best. He can hold his own in Origin, so gets a tick from me.
      2)I can see some ‘overs’ NBrown, WBlake but I don’t think we’re serial offenders
      3) Between 2018-21 I reckon the majority of tries against us were from wide shifts, say 70%.. Losing MJennings suddenly and other teams zeroing in on weakness in our compressed formations didn’t help. I was critical of this like a worn record. It’s better now but unfortunately we’re leaking everywhere because of….(fill in the blank)

  22. Peter

    Sixties, to say that BA doesn’t do recruiting, meaning he has nothing to do with retention and recruitment, is the most utterly ridiculous statement I’ve heard this year. Its like saying that Wayne Bennett didn’t get the players he wanted when putting together the dolphins roster.

    Sixties, your statement is not only ridiculous but laughable. I don’t know where you’ve pulled this idea from but its wrong.

    1. sixties Post author

      Chief. You are like a broken record. He’s not the recruiter. I didn’t say he has nothing to do with it. He’s on the committee. Why would they have a recruitment and retention staff to negotiate with the player agents if it was BA that did it? He might meet with a player because players tour the facilities and meet with the coaches as negotiations begin. That’s standard stuff. He would make recommendations as part of the committee, but he doesn’t deal with contract offers, amounts or negotiations with the agents. He doesn’t decide if the asking price becomes too much or whether or when to increase it. He’s not the one putting deals on the table or withdrawing them. Try talking to player agents or to the club about how it works. I do. Why do you think I specifically asked about the processes (speed of negotiations and offers) and whether there are enough staff handling recruitment? These are real issues. You can try to twist my point all you like to say it’s laughable. But you go ahead with not knowing how things work or who gets the final say. Because you are not informed. You are wrong.

      1. Peter

        Its Brad’s team. Every player in his team has been approved by himself. Everyone knows that a head coach isn’t involved with the nitty gritty of negotiations thats not the point. The point is that you are trying to say that brad doesn’t get the players he wants. But the players who’ve recently signed like Davey, Murchie, Momoisea dorey Ogden ect all play into Brad wanting a forward dominant side to support style, that doesn’t allow much cap space to allow us to purchase some good outside backs like someone like Bradman Best or the like.

        Every player signed must be approved by brad arthur that’s the whole point of the argument

        Its the same with Wayne Bennett or Bellamy, As if Wayne doesn’t get to rubber stamp any player coming to his club lol. That’s the laughable bit. No player goes to the Dolphins without Wayne’s approval mate

        And who’s chief?

  23. 55 years a Parra supporte

    I said exactly the same thing at the start of the season.
    I don’t know whether there was a chance to sign Jake Averillo before he went to the Dolphins but Simonnsen isn’t the right fit. Sivo has gone from top tryscorer to not scoring since they have been paired.I can’t accept that this drop in points scoring capability hasn’t been the cause of games slipping out of reach There are some on field problems that the coaching staff still haven’t worked out.Short dropouts cost us a try in last years grand final and many ever since. I can only remember getting the ball back twice at most. Not squashing that, the most stupid play in the NRL, speaks volumes about Arthur’s game analytics.Likewise the on-line defence needs to be organised. Penrith and Melbourne don’t care about defending off their line, Parra usually cough up a try.
    Brown returning will tighten up defence off the ruck but it’s a big ask to climb back into the eight.
    How much will Moses be ruing his decision not to take the shot against Melbourne in the first round?
    That one mistake will probably be the difference between being in the race and being the first team to mad Monday

  24. Ron

    Great write up 60s. As many people have already pointed out, these issues were obvious before the start of this season and were somehow not addressed. In light of that abject failure, is there any chance of getting mark O’Neil on the podcast and putting some questions directly to him re: roster management and recruitment /retention in nrl + pathways? Some answers from those responsible would be great as it would at least a give some hope to fans like me that those in power see the obvious problems and are already committing resources etc to rectifying them. I’m just not sure how much confidence I have in that recruitment and retention team after what has transpired.

    1. sixties Post author

      Thanks Ron. We usually have Mark on the podcast at the end of the season. I’ve got to know him reasonably well over the years and I believe we have a good rapport. What I can say about him is that he doesn’t rest easy if something isn’t working as it should. He drives accountability. I’d give him and others at the club time to consider and start to implement change before addressing it on the podcast with him. That way he can explain how things will function moving forward.

  25. greg okladnikov

    Great article Sixties. Asked a lot of questions, and has stirred up plenty of conversations. I have thought about this a lot myself.

    Being part of the system for a few years when one of my boys was in Flegg / 20s you get to observe a lot. And I think a lot comes down to judgement of recruiters and what sort of team do we want to build? And what do we want to value in a player?

    Once we know this, then we know what and who we want to recruit. The Panthers know what they want / The Storm as well – its why they are the benchmarks

    One thought of mine is that many junior players were picked early and the system was used to try and win junior comps…..rather than find players. So some players were selected every week in certain positions – sometimes for 2,3,4 years, and others were not given as much opportunity. Some boys in the 20s squads went 2 years without a game because of automatic selections ahead of them. And some of those automatic selections did not progress past 20s, but blocked the progress / visibility /opportunity of others.

    And then after investing in some of these players for years, we then decide to let them go after the 20s -which always seemed strange to me

    Was that because of early identification and focusing on those automatic selections players – and not looking at what others can offer. Or making a decision based on an opinion

    (On purpose I am not naming any individual names of any boys – this is just a general observation)

    And it was also hard to know what the next level NSW Cup / NRL was looking for as plenty of players had talent but ended up playing first grade elsewhere.

    I am not saying that the list below ( and not all played juniors at Parra – some went to high school in the area) could have been the solution to our problems, but keeping your youth with potential, and backing them for an extra year or 2 may have been worthwhile to continue to develop them and give opportunity rather than always trying to recruit mid level players from outside

    Some of these below could have been still in our system ( not including any player who made first made first grade at Parra eg – Ray Stone)

    Greg Marzhew
    Sione Katoa
    Reimis Smith
    Moses suli
    Jason Saab
    Jaeman Salmon

    Hamole Olakautu
    Sean Keppie
    Dean Matterson
    Taniela Paseka
    Josh Curran
    Alex Twal
    Austin Dias

    1. sixties Post author

      Cheers Greg, well noted and thought provoking too. Pathways is such an inexact science. I think we are gradually getting better in identification and retention in that space. There a couple in that list of yours that I’d take to Parra in a heartbeat. Saab would be nice to have on the wing and I’ve always been a fan of Curran.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: