The Cumberland Throw

The Preview – Round 25, 2023: Eels vs Roosters

Whilst there is still technical, mathematical hope for the Parramatta Eels in 2023, this side has proven over the last month that it deserves no such faith. Pathetic barely begins to describe the efforts against the Storm and Broncos, and now our halfback is out for the rest of the season. You are on a hiding to nothing believing in anything from the 2023 Parramatta Eels, and probably have been since the opening rounds of the year.

If anything, a sudden revival here would just make me more angry. If the Eels are capable of lifting, where was this in the last month when the season was also on the line? I just want 2023 to be over at this point, and we’re 160 minutes away from that mercy.

That’s all fairly bleak for the preview, the one that is supposed to be “the positive one”. The grades were so scathing last weekend they mysteriously disappeared, but Sixties has been cutting enough for all of us with his blunt assessments of 2023 and now, 2024. Like the Eels, I’m just going through the motions here, so let’s front load our efforts, win the collisions and move one week closer to Mad Monday.

Game Info

Date: Friday, August 18, 2023
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
Kick-off: 8:00PM AEST
Referee: Ashley Klein
Bunker: Grant Atkins
Weather: Cool, dry
Broadcast: Nine, Fox League, Kayo

Sixties Speculates (Odds quoted are NSW TAB)

Last week I tipped Staggs to score a double and he was one of the few Broncos backs to not score. I have to admit that I was tempted to tip in the total match points market as I feared a big score.

My concerns are similar this week. Regardless of the winner, I think that there will be a lot of points scored. So why not hit the top of the “pick your own total” market.

I’m taking over 57.5 total match points which is paying $6.

Happy, responsible punting,




Parramatta Eels

1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Will Penisini 4. Bailey Simonsson 5. Sean Russell 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Dylan Brown 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. J’maine Hopgood 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Joe Ofahengaue.14. Luca Moretti 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Wiremu Greig 17. Brendan Hands.

18. Makahesi Makatoa 20. Ofahiki Ogden.

You owe us, big man

Daejarn Asi replaces Mitchell Moses, something that didn’t work out too well the last time it was tried but hey, we let our backup halfback leave for nothing in return mid season so we get what we deserve. I hope anybody who sat in the stands booing Jake Arthur really enjoys what the Eels dish up this weekend in a game we could have used him. You’re all a disgrace.

RCG and Maika Sivo return, mercifully ending the procession of failure that has been our left edge for the last month. Brad Arthur has also shuffled the deckchairs in the pack, moving J’maine Hopgood to the edge and Joe Ofahengaue to lock. It leaves Ryan Matterson in his bench role, while Luca Moretti retains his spot there as well.

Sydney Roosters

1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Drew Hutchison 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Siua Wong 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley. 14. Sandon Smith 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Terrell May 17. Angus Crichton.

18. Fetalaiga Pauga 19. Dylan Napa.

The Roosters side is packed with noted Eel-killers, most recently the rugby union and irrelevance bound Joseph Suaalii. Drew Hutchison is the latest Roosters halfback as they struggle to replace Sam Walker, leaving Sandon Smith on the bench in who knows what role.

In the pack, another Eel-killer in JWH takes the start with Lindsay Collins, while Siua Wong continues his late season blooding and has looked impressive. Angus Crichton looms on the bench in a season lost to first mental health and then injury. Here’s hoping they find a way to elevate Dylan Napa into the 17 from his spot in the reserves, though knowing our luck he, like all our opposition this year apparently, would suddenly become incredibly disciplined when playing against men in Blue and Gold.


If the Eels were good enough the Cowboys have done them some real favours in recent weeks, losing their way out of finals contention. Unfortunately, we’ve also lost our way out of contention, leaving a glimmer of hope for our opponents this week to salvage a finals position they absolutely do not deserve. Sometimes deserve got nothing to do with it, and winning when you need to is everything.

This lines up a broken Eels side with a motivated but lacking Roosters side, who could really use some running into form and an unlikely points differential boost. It is frankly a recipe for disaster. It is especially concerning as the Roosters have usually nullified the one remaining solid aspect of the Eels, they’ve blitzed them in the opening 20 minutes. If heads go down early, the Roosters could see an opportunity to correct a very unlikely differential difference, which could be a 60+ result. Sadly, it is a legitimate fear after watching the Eels last week, last month, all year.


You owe us too, bula

I feel it would be irresponsible to breed hope in Parramatta fans, but it is the duty of the preview to consider all outcomes and yes, the Eels season is not finished. The equation was always “win two of three”, and even with a horrific, embarrassing loss to the Broncos, the equation was merely reduced to “win two of two”. Unfortunately one of those is against the red hot defending premiers, away from home, without our halfback, while they are in a must-win battle for the minor premiership. Still, that match is next week, and the ladder-maths to get the Eels into the finals with only one win, while much harder after throwing away so much points differential the last month, still only requires one unreasonable result: the Bulldogs beating Canberra this weekend.

The return of Maika Sivo will hopefully solve the left edge defensive woes, and Reagan Campbell-Gillard will be a man possessed after how badly he let the team down with his idiotic suspension. Dylan Brown playing Mitchell Moses and Daejarn Asi playing Dylan Brown isn’t a terrible solution at half; at least Brown has a kicking game. Maybe the changes in the pack will lead to a more sturdy defence as well.

It is unlikely this game is won or lost by the Eels with strategy however, it will all be between the ears. They’ll be sufficiently motivated or they won’t be. Recent history suggests their motivations are spent, and whatever magic dust Brad Arthur has to sprinkle on them has not worked out. He’ll be reaching for desperation tactics this week, and rarely do those work out any better. Still, if this team love him and each other as much as we’re told, maybe they can dig deep and turn things around.

The Game

I’ll be very blunt, I don’t think we can do it. I reckon we’re facing another embarrassing loss here against a team that has consistently shown character in these situations for years and years. I might be propping up a table at the Rose and Crown by the 25th minute. I’m over season 2023 and the disappointment it has delivered, and after the bleak assessment of our roster provided by Sixties this week, I might be over 2024 already and that is still months away. Football, huh?

Yet it is not a game incapable of surprises, which is why we’ll all be watching, and all of our hopes will rise for every minute we stay in the contest. The hope is what gets you, but it is also what keeps us supporting this team, even in its bleakest moments. That’s all I’ll have tonight, the smallest, slightest hope, and that’ll be enough.

Go you Eels!

Prediction: Sydney 48 Parramatta 10

Man of the Match: James Tedesco


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36 thoughts on “The Preview – Round 25, 2023: Eels vs Roosters

  1. BDon

    Tks Gol, that was therapeutic, like the death row preacher in Alabama. Maybe our lawyer can get us off in the last hour.

      1. BDon

        You know sixties, I couldn’t believe when Will Penisini didn’t ‘keep his feet moving’, not once but twice,when Farnsworth ran 70 and scored. I am 110% on the fact that that is not his go, in fact 200%. So the scope for a mental reversal is huge. I think the key is the wider defensive effort, if we don’t leak we will compete, if we do, then our lawyer won’t save us.

  2. danny

    Can’t help but agree with everything you have said. Has been a clanger of a year, the sooner it’s over the better. i don’t hold out much hope that’s for sure.

  3. Anonymous

    I look forward to all your articles Gol… da best!

    Went looking for the markings of last weeks game and now I know why I couldn’t find them, mysterious disappeared? Love it!

    No sugar coating on this article, love that as well……..nice work!

  4. Anonymous

    If posts were graded this one would get a D from me – It’s a miserable read ahead of our final home game of the season. Let’s hope the boys in blue are gold don’t have the same pessimism. Go the EELS – always

    1. sixties

      Gol and all of us will be cheering for all we’re worth this week. We turn up. We watch to the end. We don’t give up in our support. I’ve still been to training. We still produce Eels content every week. We try to be balanced but we acknowledge that we lean to the glass half full stance far more than most. So for TCT to be critical, it shows our level of concern.
      And you’re right. Whatever fans might be feeling, the job of the players is to approach every game believing they can win. We discussed this at length on the podcast. I also believe that Parra can get it done against the Roosters if their mindset is right and if they execute. The problem has been that in their clashes with both the Storm and the Broncos there was not the slightest indication that they had any self belief. And that’s hard for supporters to cop.

      1. Brett Allen

        And if I stop eating junk food and do an hour a day in the gym I’ll lose weight. Thanks a bunch captain obvious

  5. Dissapointed reader

    Worst one iver read so far, you’re not the person to prop up fan support but at least support the players , the very least, won’t be reading again, you’ve slipped mate.

    I respected your opinion before, I’m sorry you feel the way you do.

    Up the Eels, whoever they put on.

  6. Lucky Lyn

    Wow Gol I hope Iam reading this right and it is a smoke screen for hoping the opposite happens and our Eels team does win tonight yes Roosters have found a bit of form last few weeks but can lose it again as well both Teams have been too inconsistent this year but Cowboys losing last night gives me more hope then I expected miracles can still happen just saying

  7. N.Senada

    This is well-written and spot on. However Gol, I hope you won’t mind. I will not let my young son read it. It is too bleak. At some point he will be experienced enough to handle it, like you and I. But right now, I want him to keep that one element that has been a constant in the Eels supporter’s psyche: HOPE.

    There is a porch light still on, at my household for a miracle. Hoping for a finals appearance to turn up at the door-step. Me, I’ve already got the white sheet ready to cover our season’s corpse at the end of next week. I am a realist. Eels fans tend to be, don’t they? That porch light is for my son. What am I supposed to tell my tyke? The truth? Imagine if I read Sixties’ recent multipart analysis to him and somehow, at his tender age, grasped it? Where does hope go then?

    That porch light, I confess. It is for me too.

    Miracles do happen, you know. I am crossing all my toes and fingers.


  8. Dave Swadling

    Im not confident at all, i will say over 50 maybe even 60 points will be scored combined
    Man of the match probably manu

    1. BDon

      The Roosters were dead set ordinary in the first 20 minutes,inviting us to nail them, so what did we do? We made more errors than them, allowed them to balance and exploit our crap defence out wide. Yep,awful.

  9. Longfin Eel

    Something has to change after this season. This has been a disgraceful season on many counts. I don’t hold any hopes that we’ll see anything positive for next year though… it’s going to be another dreary winter in 2024 by the looks of it.

    1. Brett Allen

      It’s just painful to watch. If 60’s, Forty or Shelley do anything to defend BA they are deadset kidding themselves.

      1. Spark

        The Eels don’t have to employ a media department for BA as there are plenty around to pump up his tires.
        It’s just bad bad , rediculously bad coaching.
        At least some of the lesser teams have an excuse as they don’t have the roster but we do and the fact BA hasn’t fixed the defence out wide after all this time tells us that his time is up.
        Waiting for the same old rediculous platitudes from Brad at the presser…..

        1. Wally21

          The difference between him and Robinson’s press conference said all you need to know about the lack of accountability at our club

      2. Trapped in the 1970’s

        Painful is an understatement. There just has to be some fallout from that sort of season. It’s not a case of change for the sake of change, but you only have to sit in the stands as I did again tonight and listen to the frustration of rusted on supporters, good judges of the game saying “here we go again” to the same defensive deficiencies, the same lack of energy and the same poor options over and over again. If there is any debate about whether the dressing room has been lost I don’t think that there is any question that there is a growing percentage of the fan base that has. Basically the same roster, the same coaching staff in 2024 so will change without changes?

      1. Spark

        Well let’s not blame the referee !!!
        WAITING for the presser – come on BA
        “The effort was there and I’m proud of them – especially Sivo as he was really front loading his efforts “

  10. Wally21

    Well you were right Gol. Thanks for being honest in your assessment. Sorry but Arthur, O’Neil and our invisible CEO need to go.
    We need to refresh the roster next year and tell a number of players they are free to negotiate elsewhere.

  11. Anonymous

    Recruitment F
    Defence F
    Pride in performance F
    Team work F
    Stamina F
    Pay and remuneration A+
    Value for money F
    Fighting for top 8 last 2 weeks and concede 80+ points. Someone is taking the Pi$$
    57 missed tackles 22 ineffective tackles!!
    69% Completions !!

    This club is soft and weak of heart defensively across all grades.

    I’m thoroughly Embarrassed being a supporter of this mess.
    O’Neil must be escorted off the premises immediately!!
    BA will be gone by round 10 2024!!

    1. Spark

      Why wait for round 10 2024 ?? When is the coach going to take some ownership and responsibility for this team ????

      1. Ron

        Weak as piss from parra (especially junior and the other “leaders” in the team) as usual this year. Season on the line for the second week and it’s the same edge defence problems, same lack of line speed, same issue of conceding a lot of metres to opposition per set, Same issue of not numbering up scrums properly. Other teams deal with missing players fine (Penrith, Melbourne with Hughes or Munster, sharks with hynes, broncos with Reynolds, even manly with turbo this year) but I have no clue what defence parra practice each off-season as every year it’s the series of problems. If it our defence is so brittle and dependent on personnel then it’s not really a system is it. “Systems” would suggest the defence maintains structure notwithstanding who steps in. We just haven’t masked our chronic problems well enough this year. And unless something changes in off-season, we will see the same rubbish.

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