The Cumberland Throw

The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 81: Eels Upset Everyone With Season Sweep Of Penrith

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It is fair to say that the Parramatta Eels upset just about everyone with their shocking 32-18 victory over the Penrith Panthers in Round 26. Starting with the stunned Panthers and media and right through to frustrated fans wondering where that sort of fight has been in the last month – every man, woman and dog were part of the upset or had a reason to be upset.

The Tip Sheet attempts to unravel that chaos out of the game as Sixties and Forty20 break down not only a last ditch return to form but a return to Parramatta’s iconic brand of footy. It was a surprising way to sign off on the season given recent results and will no doubt have fans even more frustrated about missing the finals.

A gaggle of players stood up and delivered and the show takes a gander at all of them including a throwback effort from Maika Sivo. Clinton Gutherson quite literally ran himself into the ground with another heroic effort and will hopefully be alright after departing the game with a knee injury. Sixties discusses the versatility of Dylan Brown before the boys look at potentially different ways the Eels can use their halves.

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20 thoughts on “The Tip Sheet – 2023 Ep 81: Eels Upset Everyone With Season Sweep Of Penrith

  1. John Eel

    It is a home and away sweep for the last two seasons. 4-0 to the Eels for 2022 and 2023. BA and the players must be doing something right.

    Is that the most points put on the Panthers in 2023?

  2. Ron

    Proud of the effort but, like most, am left with more questions than answers. Where was this effort/mentality/defence last week? Or the week before that? Or the week before that? Hopefully this result isn’t allowed to paper over the large cracks of this year and the players/coaches+ recruitment actually improve their defence and backline options in offseason instead of merely giving lip service.

    1. John Eel

      Without stating the obvious about our shortcomings with recruitment and retention, this current squad is a top eight squad.

      We missed out on the eight this season due to all that has been discussed at great length on here. Not the least of these issues which has been injuries and suspensions.

      The team that ran out last night, notwithstanding the absence of MM, was probably as good a team as we have fielded for 2023.

      We are close to a top four team but need a few recruits to fill in the holes.

      Have to see what the off season recruits brings.

      1. Ron

        Yea it’s a big wait and see type situation atm. But I think tactical changes are definitely needed to improve defence (e.g more wrestling in ruck + don’t force rcg and junior to play big minutes thereby making them miss more tackles in middle and be slower in line speed + fixil spacing and defensive system of edges ). Backline personnel is still needed for seasons all have ventilated. And, finally, a mentality shift is needed. Too often we rely on a Penrith game to lift our intensity and drop it against lower teams. It Has happened for years and surely enoughs enough. We are far too inconsistent between games and even within periods of a game.

      2. BDon

        I have that same feeling JE, we are around a Top 4 team, on paper and with average or less disruption.The 2 things that dwell my head are:
        1) Our amateur efforts at defending smart shifts, particularly in red zone.
        2) It doesn’t matter which year over past 5 or 6, a softness in mentality has emerged for a run at some point in the year.

        I’m at a total loss to understand why 1) hasn’t been properly addressed and fixed.
        2) is a multi-headed monster, you could write a book on it, but til I drop I would bet that it wouldn’t happen, or rarely if it did, if Jack Gibson was in charge. Just to complicate this aspect, I ask if this year it was only the Riff that didn’t once get badly towelled.

        1. John Eel

          BDon firstly you are right I think about Panthers not being towelled at anytime during the season until last night. Certainly Storm and all the others have taken a turn at a diabolical loss. Would need to check Broncos.

          Your observations regarding the Eels having a mid season slump is on the money. I think in an attempt to minimise the impact of the mid season slump BA has attempted to lower the tempo at the beginning of the season. It seamed to work last season where we made the GF. However for a number of reasons it failed to materialise in 2023 resulting in us missing the eight.

          I know there is a lot of negativity around the fan base about our potential and the club needs to start addressing the obvious issues that have been highlighted on this site.

          Last night we made 9 errors. That is a lot better than what we have produced for most of the season. I believe that stat on top of recruitment is one of the areas we really need to improve on.

          Both the issues of recruitment and and reduction of errors will go a long way to improving our defence.

  3. B&G 4Eva

    What do we need to overcome what happened this season, depth and backline recruits.
    Not too many clubs fielded Ron Massey players in Cup continuously and we paid for it, both in KOE and lack of competition to the NRL backline .if the hierarchy at the club don’t see recruitment as the basis for this season’s failure to make the 8, then WTF.
    MON was visible in the sheds after the game last night, hope he is manning the phones to player managers non stop, perhaps not realistic but Bradman Best is off contract at the end of this season – Roosters would be all over him if needed and may still be. The reluctance to pay what is necessary is either a cap issue , or that famous phrase, “ moneyball” . Big clubs do big things , so many questions need an answer.

  4. Shelley

    In my view, the reason we can match it with the Panthers is the fact they don’t have speed out wide and therefore our defensive structure works. We struggle against teams with speed. It why we also have a good record against the Storm.
    Case in point we have dominated the Broncos for years, insert Walsh with his blistering speed and we can’t handle it.
    A few quick outside backs would go a long way towards fixing our problems.

    Questions: If we want an X factor in attack would Dylan be better at fullback, taking all his passing, kicking skill coupled with his flair and speed and Gutho go to 5/8th? It is an interesting idea with pros and cons.

    1. B&G 4Eva

      Shelley , our halves are the quickest in the line up. We need to add speed elsewhere and shift Gutho to centre if we get a fullback, otherwise sign the quickest centre and give some time to the juniors to come through.

      Speed cannot be coached, so recognise that and recruit at the top end, not Aldi.

      1. Ron

        That’s a big factor Shelley. The speed of opposition exposes our slow line speed and isolates edges. Notably, Will penisini has been struggling heaps with fast/agile centres recently. Got his spacing all wrong time and time again so let’s hope he learns from this.

        1. 55 years an eel

          I’ve noticed this too. I blame the structure. I’ve probably been Simonnsens biggest critic but there’s something about that backline structure that would confuse anyone in it.
          What I know doesn’t work is the centres and wingers coming in with Brown and Gutherson rushing out to try and defend the corner.
          If Arthur isn’t smart enough to come up with a defensive structure, he should copy Penriths.

    2. MickB

      I think its an oversimplification to say Penrith don’t have speed out-wide and that’s why we match up against them well. The dragons put on a flurry of tries down our left edge through Rawala and he’s a carbon copy of Maika Sivo (with better effort through the span of the season).

      I also raised the question of Dylan to FB, and it was interesting to hear 60s thoughts on why not – he’d be closer to the communication and ‘thinking’ aspects to Dylan’s games so I’ll take his advice on it. But on his core skills, he looks well suited to FB. Plus with Gutho only getting slower (and being the most critical player in our side it would seem), his (relative) lack of speed and lateral movement would seem less of a disadvantage elsewhere in the backline.

      1. sixties

        Mick, I haven’t changed my mind on Dyl’s communication skills, but I was an interested observer of his performance at fullback. I’m now interested in whether they think he has the potential to play in that position.

  5. Chris K

    Bittersweet not only in the context of the season, but also seeing the social posts about our 66% win rate vs the Panthers in the last 6 matches (vs other teams poor records) – when we didn’t win the one that counted last year.

    Hope we can learn from this year, and get the fire and hunger for ’24.

  6. MickB

    60s / 40 interested in your take on additional x factor and what you mean? Between Gutho, Moses, Dylan, Penisini and Hopgood (all in different ways) we have x factor (I would think). I feel like we’re as blessed as any club in this regard, is it realistic to expect more? Most teams really only have 3-4 ‘stars’ (perhaps with the exception of the chooks, who haven’t really made much of them).

    Sure who wouldn’t take another superstar or two. But what x factor addition is realistic, or should we be able to get the job done with our existing x factor? The Eels epitomise the saying of “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”, and while there is no one panacea to our issues from 2023+, your observations regarding solid NRL quality backline depth resonate more with me than more x factor.

    On the game, good to see the win last night. It was needed respite after a pretty horrendous run of losses and being bundled out of the finals. Most pleasing were the patches of defending inside our 20. We seemed hell bent on gifting the ball away at points, but defence looked confident.

    I was disappointed in BA’s appraisal of missing out by 1 game, as others were too. I get he doesn’t give much in pressers, but that’s a pretty tone deaf comment to me. The team packed it in like a bunch of amateurs over the last 6 or so weeks, and paid the price of inconsistent patchy football within games over the first 4 weeks to go 0-4. Notwithstanding the win, we weren’t making a dent in the final series.

  7. Spark

    Congratulations to the entire team and coaching staff. Where was this during the year?
    Why is there such a gulf between our best and our worst ??
    Hopefully there will be an honest appraisal of the entire operation from top to bottom, not a full review but at least a realignment of our goals and methodology.

  8. Anonymous

    Raises more questions than answers!
    Was that win designed to ease pressure off key figures. So things will remain the same.
    Yes, We can beat Penrith. Just not when it counts!

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