The Cumberland Throw

The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 78: Eels Flounder Before They Are Finished By Roosters

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The Parramatta Eels farewelled CommBank Stadium in 2023 with an ugly, error-riddled effort as the Roosters finished them off with a 34-12 defeat. All parties got it wrong for the Eels as coaches and players combined for frustrating repeat failures – including a seeming allergy to defending scrums.

Sixties and Forty20 lambast the lack of effort and the technical failures of the team given the Roosters – who were far from great themselves – were able to run away with the win. The conversation turns to the future and what lies ahead for the Eels in 2024 and beyond. How does Parramatta reinvigorate their roster? Who can they even target?

There was a sliver of light beaming through at CommBank last night though. The NSW Cup curtain raiser saw the Eels knock off the Roosters with a huge contingent of Flegg (and even SG Ball eligible) players carrying the torch. Joshua Lynn and Matt Arthur starred while other prospects like Charlie Guymer and Sam Tuivaiti stood tall in the 22-12 win. Their progress over the upcoming preseason becomes a point of pivotal focus given the state of the NRL roster for next year.

The podcast concludes with our pre-match appearance in Parra Leagues with special guest Steve Ella. The Zip Zip Man is always a class act and he gives us terrific insights into the past and the present.

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66 thoughts on “The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 78: Eels Flounder Before They Are Finished By Roosters

  1. Peter K.

    As a winger in my junior years staying on your man was drilled into us over and over. This aspect of defence seems to have been completely lost on our first grade wingers

    1. sixties

      It’s not just jamming in. It’s jamming in and missing. It’s frustrating when the centre and the winger are on different pages.

      1. Brett Allen

        Tedesco’s first try was so needless. Russell came flying in, but we had the numbers. And then he makes a flimsy hands attempt on one of the strongest ball runners in the game. It was all so unnecessary, and then, then BA comes out in the presser and tells us he was happy with the first half. Just lame excuses about not being good enough. BA never ever says I have failed to install a proper defensive system consistent with the modern game. Not once has he publicly, to the fans, has he ever taken responsibility for his failings. Honestly, I don’t think he believes he is the problem. I don’t expect any change.

        1. Bundy

          i think possibly worse was the try on the other side. a lot of blame coming for Sivo but in many attempts he was just following his centre. Bailey got caught marking the same attacking player as Brown on multiple occasions when Brown had him covered already – there was no reason to jam in at all.

          its a defensive mindset that needs to be whipped out of our players, because i dont expect our lineup to change much in the offseason.

          Bailey is a problem -_-

      2. Brelogail St Boy

        This has got to be an aspect of the coaching that needs a complete overhaul.
        If anyone in authority reads this, I plead, stop coaching this. Every other side in the comp knows we do this …. and more often than not, do it poorly.
        This cost us the game tonight … and does so far too regularly.

  2. Spark

    The only thing really wrong with the team is the shocking defending out wide.
    How this hasn’t been fixed is absolutely beyond me.
    Sivo looked like he had never played the game before.
    One question needs to to answered-
    Why do they jam in EVERY single time and leave their opposition winger free ?????
    It’s a saloon passage to the line and it’s where 80% of the tries are scored.
    Surely if the winger stayed on his man and the centre and winger used a sliding defence then they can defend most of the raids.
    It’s under 12s stuff – very very basic and I can’t believe that professional league players are making the same mistakes.
    BA should have stopped the rot last night and pulled Sivo off the field and put anyone there – it was just unacceptable!
    Talking of nice guy BA – when is he ever going to stop being the ‘nice guy and father figure’ and start being a coach ???
    All he does is give the players an out – a crouch to lean on with his platitudes about how he’s pleased with their efforts etc ..
    Robinsons team destroyed us and he said in the presser that he wasn’t happy at all –
    Arthur got raped and all he said was how pleased he was with the effort – this shows how far the gap is between the expectations and standards demanded.

  3. Anonymous

    I just can’t believe we continued to line up off scrums with 3 on each side in defence all year when opposing sides have 4 on one side and continually score. Twice last night it happened. Just inreibly dumb and poorly coached.

    1. Brett Allen

      That is the correct alignment. That’s why the midfield scrum is so potent, it creates the optimal spacing for the defence to pick apart. Every team splits 3/3 on 50 line scrums, it puts maximum stress on the defensive line. If the team splits 4/2 it just gives the 2 man side far too much space to defend. Even if the attacking team loads up, the defensive team has to split 3/3, it’s the most effective way to defend the 50 line scrum, especially for a speed deficient team like the Eels. The 3/3 split wasn’t the reason we conceded those tries, it was the amateur hour way we tried to matchup.

  4. B&G 4Eva

    Quick points
    Junior reps and Div 1 coaches teach 3,3,4,5 defence spacing, that’s metres between them ensuring the winger is out wide. We look like we space 2,2,2 and the winger stands inside the tram line which is terrible and sees us taken apart out wide. Why is that still a thing. The Roosters wingers in defence stand wide and the defence slides and you see the result.

    Angry and disillusioned sums up the mood in the gold section last night, with a WTF as the opposition spins wide and we get stuffed.

    More to the point , as my daughter left early last night , she said Roosters are thrashing us and they get Dom Young and Spencer Lenui next year who do we have, no,one and Lussick late. So here’s the point, in comparison, Roosters have no junior league, half our membership, lower attendances and more, yet they consistently outperform us from coaching, roster and recruitment and recently have better junior reps too.

    We are possibly the biggest club in Sydney by most metrics, yet we seem unable to sign elite players , and our cap seems close to no room and who has overseen that. Basically fans are looking for change to stimulate the club, do we have the right people in place to get that action.

    Time for the club’s executive to advise the fan base that their ambitions and direction match the size of the club.

    1. Spark

      Mate it’s not apples v apples when you compare the Roosters to the Eels for known reasons.
      In all honesty, the fact that the Roosters don’t win every year is a sad indictment on their coaches and systems given the leg up they have.
      That being said, what I wouldn’t give for a coach like Todd Payton to take over our joint.
      Blokes like Todd demand a standard and won’t let players get away with the bullshit players at our club are pulling.
      For all the fawning that our players say about BA, they just want to win a premiership.
      It must kill blokes like Gutho and Moses to watch BA make excuses for some of the park players we have elevated to the team.
      In spite of themselves, they need a Alex Ferguson/ Ange Postecoglou / Wayne Bennett to really call out their bullshit and set a standard.
      BA is practically stealing a wage at the moment.

      1. sixties

        I’m not sure that Payton was necessarily achieving any better last season or even this season with some of the outside back stars that he has in his roster. How do you know that BA makes excuses for his players? Or are you going on post game pressers where he doesn’t rip his own players to shreds?

  5. Spark

    You are talking about resilience but if you’ve ever played the game at any level you would know that if the forwards are working their ring off and they see absolute ineptitude on the flanks which allows the opposition to undo all their good work, then it’s basic psychology that the rest of the team lose their 1 or 2 % and the system falls apart.
    The team is actually going pretty well EXCEPT for the gross
    Ineptitude of the centres and backs.
    It’s wrong to label the team as lacking resilience when you have such rediculous errors in the backline.
    Don’t look at the stats or the mis tackles from the rest of the team – it all stems from the mistakes out wide !
    I’ll go out in a limb here – if they had fixed this problem out wide I honestly believe we would have given this year a shake.
    We have the team.
    All fault here is with the coaching staff.
    There is no one else to blame.
    These errors have been apparent for over 12 months now and if they have haven’t been fixed either the player has to go or the coach has to go.

    1. BDon

      I know your context is current player group, the problem of inability to consistently defend wider shifts has been around for 5 years or so, with some intermittent relief via Jennings,Opacic and Penisini( clearly one or two players don’t properly solve the problem). High completions/low errors was the only time we weren’t exposed on repeat in games.
      Yep, has to be fixed, the definition of insanity has long been on show.

  6. BDon

    Just about every other team is able to make a fist of not getting repeatedly trashed if the ball is moved wider. I watched the Roosters last night, chalk and cheese, they had numbers, were energetic, were sliding but also cutting down space. Our second or third player out was always pressured and this defined what occurred outside. (Klein bought into their line speed until the 78th minute, and had managed to blow a bizarre 10mtr against us after a number of passes then knock on by the Roosters).We are continually compressed and never look like expanding to cover the lateral space, then to compound it the winger jams in and our line is even shorter. This is so incompetent. Forget about block or decoy plays, it’s only a fluke when we respond properly. Doesn’t bear thinking what the Clearys will foist upon us next week.

  7. Noel Beddoe

    The reason that we’re vulnerable in scrums is that our best defenders as a unit, the forwards are tied up in them leaving our poorer defenders,, the three quarter line exposed. The presence of Tom Opacic last year went a way to solving that problem. We have missed him as much as anyone else this year.

  8. Noel Beddoe

    In fact we haven’t had an oustanding centre since we lost Michael Jennings. Recruitment has largely ignored the three quarters, who in recent years have more been notable for players lost than bought. A factor has been the notable and very sad loss of confidence of Waqa Blake, though even he came to us as a destructive ball carrier rather than an effective defender. In fact dffective defending centres are not all that hard to find; wingers arsn’t goong to be able to do much when confronted with a three man overlap.

    1. Spark

      We don’t need to touch the forwards or the halves moving forward. We have the players and the some outstanding players coming through in the forwards.
      ALL attention, coaching, recruitment and development must be centred on our backs.
      The last thing we need now is to buy another forward !!!
      I’m actually a little more upbeat than the team here. We don’t have to do too much to get back to where we want to be.
      The coaches need an absolute kick in the ass and have to have that one assignment- get the centres and wingers in order for next year or else.

      1. Ron

        It’s not just centres/wingers though. back-rowers usually dictate their edge. Our backrowers need better line speed, communication and importantly spacing. Of course, centres that can read play and wingers that don’t automatically lose nerve and jam on everything will be a god send but, for me personally, the forwards are very much in the firing line along with the centres/wingers. BA needs to rethink his usage of rcg, junior and the minutes of others. The mobility and line speed in middle in non-existent and we are amongst worse in metres metres conceded year on year. A middle with better line speed will allow us to help/give precious time for to edges to make their decisions.

        1. Spark

          That’s true but having a look at the defensive decisions from the wingers usually follow the same patterns- the winger folds in at every opportunity even crowding the centre, forcing the centre to go around him and slide.
          It’s a bloody nightmare.
          If the winger just stood his ground and let the play unfold the centre would have more space to deal with the unfolding play.
          All the winger has to do is hold and use his sideline. If the centre misses his assignment then the cover tackle whether it be Moses or in last nights game – Brown has less ground to cover.
          It’s so easy to teach.

          1. Ron

            It sounds more than doable in theory but, as Shelley said on a previous post, I’m not sure I have faith in the current set up of coaches/head of football/recruitment manager to solve these issues as they negligently let it occur under their watch. What happens next year? It it the same as every year where parra say they worked on defence in off season and come out with some average defence for a few weeks before being exposed once, losing all confidence in their defensive systems and getting pumped for 3-6 weeks. That cycle seems to happen eve try year where our defensive “systems” disintegrate and we go into finals hoping that they, by osmosis, manage to work it out. It’s unacceptable not even have basic systems that work throughout the course of the year. What’s this off season going to change?

          2. Spark

            Actually I watched Russell last night and he had a little more idea of what to do than Sivo. Sivo is just a melon head- he rushes on every play whether he needs to or not.
            Damn players like Johnston, Saab etc must have wet dreams thinking about playing opposite Sivo !
            Whilst that may have something to do with Simmonson next to him, I just think he has no bloody idea what he’s doing!
            To think that Russell with his limited talent and experience is the best winger at the club is really saying something !
            Talking about defensive systems – am I right that we were sliding in the backs including that win over Souths and then reverted to the up and in system that we don’t do so well ??
            Can’t recall – if someone can comment ?
            If we did why did we change ???
            Anyway I doubt that it’s the players so much as the coaches.
            I reckon that even a melon head like Sivo could go into a good system like the Storm and come out looking like a champion.

          3. Ron

            We definitely tried to move to the slide but when we got pumped by warriors and a few others we went back to jam. It happens every year. Teams know we don’t have confidence in our own systems/good communication and spacing and that if they attack edges our players will abandon any system and revert to ad hoc and isolated decision making in defence. It’s not acceptable but it has gone on for years whilst we tread water by making the eight and getting beaten by better teams and putting down to just a tough opponent. Warriors have showed this year that going from one of worst defences to one of best is doable. Any, unlike us, their system looks much more sustainable and less dependent on luck or Gutherson bailing the team out.

          4. Spark

            So the team is making it up as they go ? Definitely sounds like a coaching problem to me.
            This sort of basic stuff should have been squared away in the pre season.
            BAs only had 10 years to get a handle
            on it… we can’t rush the bloke.

          5. Ron

            It’s quite ironic that we use a jam atm as a jam requires higher defensive iq from outside backs and halves than a slide does. As most would be aware, Sivo, simonsson and asi certainly don’t have much defensive iq. But I suppose it doesn’t help when you have no options to drop the players making the wrong reads as we have no outside back depth

        2. Anonymous

          You can’t blame the back rowers for the poor decisions made by the centres and wingers if they choose to jam in there is nothing they can do for there poor decisions when both the winger and centre are jamming so hard

          1. BDon

            I’ve used this example before, worn record. Iwas sitting on the 20 southern end BankWest(back then), can see and hear everything. Manly on their own line, tackle 1 rucked the ball 2 wide to their shorter sideleft.Fergo on our right wing saw what was coming, they already outnumbered him by 2. he screamed to the middle to spread troops, Matto was the edge second rower, he looked at Fergo but too late, they threw the ball wide 10 mtrs out on the 2nd tackle and scored at the other end. Downright poor, not much has changed, and at least I learned that day that Fergo had some idea.

  9. MickB

    Lost for words to be honest. Well done TCT for sticking with it, I haven’t finished watching a Parra game for weeks/months. Our lack of resilience and brittle defence takes away any joy of the unpredictable nature of the game.

    It’s so frustrating the regression of outcome from last year. But my sense of things over the last 5 years or so is we’ve never looked convincing or consistent. Sure results have been on balance positive (more wins than losses, finals footy, even a GF cameo). But the team has always had big form slumps in the season where they go on a run of being convincingly hammered.

    Would be great to see something change in this regard. There’s obvious issues with outside back talent, but there’s more to it than that. I genuinely think moving Junior and Maika on, and switching Dylan to FB and Gutho to 5/8 is worth some consideration. There have to be underperforming players at other clubs that would do better at the Eels.

    1. sixties

      Gutho would be ready to move on if they could attract a fullback talent. Remember his comments when the club declared they were in the market for ax factor outside back/fullback.
      If Dylan was more of an organiser and communicator he’d be a candidate for fullback. But that’s not his go

  10. Anonymous

    Where are the post game grades? They were the best part of the site. You removed them last week because they told some harsh truths. Are we not getting them again?

  11. West Coast Eel

    Man, that was a tough listen. Could be in for a lean year or two by the sounds of it. I actually think the core part of our roster is quite good, but we have a lot of fringe first graders around them. In previous years, parramatta have announced their signings after the season. I can only hope that is the case. We need some outside backs desperately. I’m actually looking forward to a break from watching Parra. The last few months has been pretty hard to watch.

  12. Jack Saunders

    Awesome blog boys. Some really good talking points here. Always helps me listening to you boys after a loss.
    It’s really hurt me watching the last 5 odd weeks. Really reminds me of 2018 again.
    I hate to say it Because I am a BA fan but maybe it’s time to look elsewhere

  13. 55 years an eel

    Beaten before they took the ground.
    We are now at least 4 years into having a bigger freeway than the M4 around the edges and the same plays have been happening every week. Either BA doesn’t know or doesn’t care.
    #2 I’d love to go back over how many tries have been scored in the first 3 tackles after a short dropout in the last 12 months, including the one that finishes in the GF. I can only think of 2times we have actually got the ball back. I reckon we give away a try every third at best. This is pure stupidity for BA to let it persist. Bring it out as a surprise every now and then. Which brings me to
    #3 Stifled creativity. Moses, Brown and Gutho can all kick but there’s only long and high in their arsenal. I’ve never met a playmaker who doesn’t try everything if allowed. Congratulations to Lussick for the attempted 40 20 from dummy half.
    #4 Support play. Penrith always run up in twos. Only Gutho and Cartwright do it for 80 minutes.
    Finally depth.
    We have as good a pack of forwards as anyone but 2-5 are lost. Sivo hasn’t scored a try since Simonnsen has been inside him. Says a lot. I think Russell could make it if the team gave him better than 3 on 1 overlaps to defend.

    Whatever, I’ll be watching next year but my mum’s in her 90s and she’s starting to think she won’t get to see another title.
    It’s up to the recruiters to prove her wrong.

  14. Shaun

    As always gents, thanks for turning up after another frustrating loss. For one moment I thought RCG was going the get a third FTS but was not to be. It was all downhill from there.

    I could handle a bridging/rebuild year but it can’t just be the about players. The club needs to transparent re what they do plan to do. Otherwise I fear more of the same.

    But there is nothing we can do so I’m not going to worry to much. As always go Parra! And for the finals let’s gone Warriors!

    1. Anonymous

      ”What a fall from grace” – not my words but James Graham this morning on Triple M. He went on to say from grand finalists last year to out of the 8 this year, somethings not right.

  15. Anonymous

    Players to sign to get through this self inflicted player deficit. We lack quality depth due to negligent recruitment and poor planning.

    Billy Smith Centre Roosters
    Corey Allen Fullback/Centre/wing Roosters
    Eddie Blacker Prop Panthers
    Chris Smith Back row Panthers
    Charlie Staines Winger Tigers Or Thomas Jenkins Winger Penrith

    Re-sign Cartwright and Wiremu

    Simonson, Dunster and Russell are still not first grade. Another year of development and fitness required.

    Penisini has been good. But he’s probably burnt out hes missing more tackles than earlier in year. He will be better after a tough off season.

    Sivo is not putting in! I question his resigning. Perhaps early release!

    Paulo needs to come off the bench. He’s too easily contained at the start of games. Look at Tomalolo coming off bench now.

    1. sixties

      Billy Smith is a thumbs up from me.
      Carty and Wiremu I believe are signed.
      We discussed Sivo at some length on the pod.

        1. Anonymous

          There’s not much available now. Because Recruitment has been asleep at the wheel we could have signed Staggs or Farnworth but apparently they wanted too much? Not sure about that. But we always shopping in the discount section.

          Recruitment inertia/Negligence cost us the GF 21 & 22.
          Recruitment has also engineered season 23. If pressure mounts on BA, O’Neil escapes scrutiny and will remain employed as HOF. O’Neil is a survival technician his motivation is self preservation.

      1. TolElts

        I reckon Sivo is simply palying for the money. The way he is playing seems he tries to avoid a possible career ending injury that will jeopardise his livelihood. There is no hunger nor aggressiveness now in the way he plays. You might have noticed it after he got his knee injury way back vs Manly. He might realised that he needs to play ‘safer’ to avoid a possibleserious injury. For him it might all be about the money and to hell with winning and the club and its fans.

  16. Milo

    Look we have had the same if not similar defence issues for a few years.
    Firstly this has to be fixed and it comes with attitude / technique and good coaching.
    Secondly, for me on field leadership is another issue…who is our main forward? It’s not Paulo for me and we need an alpha leader of the pack. We don’t have one.
    Retention etc. well it’s been showed up this season in terms of who we bought and we misse one decent hard working centre.,,
    The injuries / suspension are another story and show me there are some disciplinary issues among the group.
    Has BA allowed this? Maybe.
    There seems to be at times too many excuses for losses…
    I go back to the Saints game the other week and for me we were lucky to get that win – it was a win and I feel it covered up our defence flaws…the following games have emphasised this.
    BA has some big calls to make and so does the board and retention group. For me they need to look at moving on someone…or two.
    For me the fans deserve better..,the cost of watching games isn’t cheap.

  17. Ron

    Tanne Milne just kneed marzhew in the head on purpose whilst marzhew was on the ground (I.e dropped his knee head directly and purposely into marzhew face) but no sun bin and just on report? That’s more sangoieeous that what rcg did and he got 4 blood weeks + sin bin. What a joke. Only way to get better outcomes is criticise refs in media like all the other coaches do.

    Latrell just came in with late elbow to frizzells head and the commentary is “nothing in it”. I kind of agree with that but the double standards is wild.

    1. BDon

      And Rapana just led with his knee into the head of Bulldogs winger who was about to ground the ball for a try. Ref cleared it ‘incidental’, replay showed it was far from incidental. Rapana was playing at the ball with his knee, just ain’t allowed in that situation.
      I just don’t know how they get it so wrong.

        1. BDon

          Sorry to rant on here sixties, but ve just read that Ruben Garrick has a damaged vertebrae after Annesley defended the ‘non-tackle’ and said ‘he didn’t land on his head, he landed on his back’. I think I’ve heard it all now!
          I don’t think Nikel Klockstadt is a dirty player, but he stuck his arm out and collected Garricks legs at the worst possible time in terms of momentum impact, but it wasn’t a tackle and he didn’t land on his head…Billy Connelly couldn’t do better.I wonder if Annesley could stand up and admit he got it wrong?

          1. Anonymous

            Agree. It’s very simple was he tackled in the air? Yes! Who cares that the ball bounced. Annersley needs to go back into politics and the Post Truth Epoch we are in now.

  18. Phil

    R&R needs to focus on both current and future squad requirements. Our present roster includes eight forwards who will have turned 29 or much older by the start of next season. The wear and tear of the long season have brought most of them form loss and injuries. Most are probably past their best. I suspect Junior fits that category. How effective will they be in 2024 and 2025 ? Unfortunately in the past year or so it is the younger forwards not re-signed eg Reed, Ice, Oregon and Stefano. Those players should have their best seasons ahead of them.

    1. sixties

      Here are the ages that the following players will turn in 2024:
      RCG 31, Carty 30, Davey 33, Lane 30, Makatoa 31, Matto 30, Ofahengaue 29, Junior 32. So in fact, seven forwards will turn 30 or older next season.
      Then add:
      Sivo 31, Gutho 30, Moses, 30, Lussick 29.

      1. Phil

        Sixties thanks for those figures. It is this aged part of or roster chewing up a major part of our salary cap. Secession planning is nowhere to be seen.

      2. Anonymous

        We should have a mix of old and young forwards and backs. R&R have been too busy patting themselves on the back after the GF appearance.
        If pressure mounts the coach gets the sack. But HOF remains incharge of recruitment.

        1. Ron

          My biggest fear pre season and atm was that we didn’t become the bulldogs after their final gf appearance with des Hasler (a team who capped their potential but needed an overhaul in specific aspects of personnel and tactics). With money tied up in our older players, I don’t think we are the bulldogs but if we are not careful and don’t make really smart decisions in the next 12 months we could end up like bulldogs. We need to get rid of some people and blood younger people whilst recruiting better/younger outside backs in Tass (left centre), Staines , Billy smith etc etc etc

  19. Offside

    We are standing at the edge of a big slide
    Our money is locked into older players with some younger players tied up.
    Our gaps are most likely to be filled by young junior talent the question from that is do we have the right young talent coming?

    This year it showed that in our top 30 only maybe 20 were 1st grade standard and our depth got tested and failed.

    We for some reason we are not a team that attracts outside talent so hoping to grow from within is our plan time will tell if it works.

      1. Anonymous

        Problem is every team knows our strategy and strengths/weaknesses. Being to predictable and easily found out in defence. The way teams do video packages on each player now. We just concentrate on our own game. Other teams know what we will do and when. We cannot adapt.
        Heads must roll

    1. Offside

      Cause we can just go out and get them.
      We need to find a option from somewhere even if it means off loading some players.
      Matto and Paulo are on big money and not quite delivering on it if someone wants to pay to take then we should consider it

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