The Cumberland Throw

Live Blog – Jersey Flegg & NSW Cup Round 26 Eels vs Panthers

A farewell and a finals push are the backdrops for two very different games in the Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup today. The Parramatta Eels travel to Penrith to take on the Panthers in a Flegg/Cup double header at BlueBet Stadium with the Flegg squad looking to kick down the door into the finals while the Cup team send off their captain and halfback Jordan Rankin.

While the Flegg need to take care of business against the Panthers they also are relying on the Canberra Raiders taking down the Melbourne Storm in a game that will run simultaneously at 12:30PM. The Eels have been boosted by the returns of Joshua Lynn, Matt Arthur, Charlie Guymer and Sam Tuivaiti after a stint in reserve grade and their inclusions push the Blue & Gold to close to full strength.

Sending Rankin off with a farewell win is the goal for the NSW Cup team. Playing spoilers for Penrith’s battle to make the Top 5 is a neat bonus. It will also be the final game as an Eel for backrower Jack Murchie after news broke that he will be joining Huddersfield next year. Zac Cini returns from a broken hand to boost the backline stocks while Brendan Hands will turn out at five-eighth after missing NRL selection this week.


Jersey Flegg Team List

1 Apa Twidle
2 Matthew Komolafe
3 Samuel Loizou
4 Blaize Talagi
5 Ethyn Martin
6 Joshua Lynn
7 Ethan Sanders
8 Brock Parker
9 Matthew Arthur
10 Toni Mataele
11 Charlie Guymer
12 Max Tupou
13 Nicholas Lenaz
14 Saxon Pryke
15 Noah Reed
16 William Latu
17 Sam Tuivaiti
18 Araz Nanva


Late Mail

Per program.


Match Updates

First Half

Apologies for the delayed start but traffic in Penrith was wildly busy.

Penrith scored as I walked in and the Eels rapidly hit back with a precision backline movement that freed Ethyn Martin up to sizzle down the left sideline and score.

Parramatta Eels 4 trail the Penrith Panthers 6

Now the Panthers tack onto their lead as they crash over down their left edge. A lengthy run of possession on the back of a penalty and an odd decision to take back a dropped ball due to an injury aided the home team there but Parramatta’s goal line defence was brittle.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion unsuccessful.

Panthers lead 10-4

22min gone

Martin picks up a useful penalty for the Eels rucking it out as he snipes a misaligned marker. The clearing kick carries Parra into the attacking half where Sam Tuivaiti gets to work. Brock Parker is up next as the Eels work right and then right again to Blaize Talagi who picks up a penalty of his own.

Tupou restarts play and it takes Sanders all of tackle two to dig into the line with a support runner and a big dummy to cross! Great hit back from the Eels and a sharp bit of play from both edges to build it up.

Try scored by Ethan Sanders. Conversion successful by Ethan Sanders.

Eels lock the scores up at 10-all

28min gone

Parker leads the kickoff set as Max Tupou trucks it up on tackle two. Left to Tuivaiti who carries defenders over the 40m mark. Guymer gets the next run before Lenaz sets up the attacking kick. Sanders heaves it up and a nice kick chase from Loizou and Martin leads to a contest for the ball but it is knocked on by Parramatta.

There is a flashpoint in the game as Twidle shifts the ball wide from Martin on a kick return. Ethyn splits the chasers for a great return but is corralled from behind and the ball pops out. A hint of a high tackle there but the officials are content to rule it a clean hit and the Panthers get a huge spot to take back the lead.

Take it back they do with a very clean last tackle play down a right edge short side. It needed to be an inch perfect pass to beat the rush of Loizou and Martin and the Panthers found it. That was just good footy from Penrith.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion unsuccessful.

Panthers lead 14-10

32min gone

Simple but effective set after point from Penrith as they work to halfway and drive the ball over the sideline. Oh boy the Eels miss a massive play by a half step just before the siren rings out! Sanders knifes down the left edge short side and throws a cutout pass to Martin but the flying winger was just off the spot and tips the ball into touch. He had acres of space ahead of him and 3 or 4 supporting players on his inside! Dang.


Half Time

Penrith Panthers 14 lead the Parramatta Eels 10


Second Half

Eels to receive the ball.

Saxon Pryke leads the way for the first tackle. Tuivaiti and Guymer go next before Pryke has a second carry to centre the ball. Parker brings up the last as he gets to halfway. A good kick chase traps Penrith inside 20m from there.

A promising passage of play begins with a great run up the guts from Komolafe who gets in behind offside defenders but is ankle tapped before he gets fully clear. A 6-again call comes shortly after but just as the Eels look set to attack Penrith’s goal line, Loizou gets driven into touch down the left edge following a long held call.

Komolafe is super unlucky not to earn a penalty in his next possession when he beats the kick chase and is clearly held down to slow the ruck. A Parramatta error follows shortly after but the two teams come together into a swirling fracas. Was there a high shot there to spark it? Evidently not as the scrum is set for Penrith.

A strong goal line stand comes from the Eels. They needed that one as well.

The backs get to work in the next set as they run one after another and put Penrith on the backfoot. Lynn sends a bomb up and Talagi gives chase. He meets the Penrith custodian in the air but is the victor of the contest and races for the goal line from 20m out. The cover chase get to him in time and tomahawk the ball out for a knock on.

Sharp footy from Parra! Big parts of the spine combining across multiple tackles there as Twidle starts it with a halfbreak down the left. Arthur and Sanders leap on the momentum which culiminates in Sanders dancing over on the last tackle! Big play and suddenly the Eels have the lead!

Try scored by Ethan Sanders. Conversion successful by Ethan Sanders.

Eels lead 16-14

48min gone

Big effort from Komolafe! The kickoff reception is a mess and dribbles ingoals but he fetches it and cleaves deep into the kick chase to get into the field of play! Toni Mataele then flips the field with a barnstorming run up the middle that splits the line. He then flicks it to Arthur for a further gain! Right to Komolafe from there who does well to beat a couple of defenders and set up an attack to the left. Arthur is the kicking option with a beauty of a grubber for Twidle who guns after it. It gets pinned against the pads by the Panthers! The Eels swarm and drive the fullback ingoals.

Knock on from Penrith in the contest for the short dropout. Eels stack the right edge but keep it simple from the scrum. Martin nearly scores off a bounced pass down the left and the Eels nearly score two plays after save for some desperate goal line defence from Penrith. There is however a penalty in the play as a Panther goes on report. Sanders nearly puts Guymer over with a short ball but he has lost the ball as he goes to ground short of the try line.

The confidence of Brock Parker! Penrith mistime a midfield bomb badly as it barely reaches the Parramatta defensive line. Parker was never going to let it bounce though as he takes it cleanly!

It gives the Eels favourable field position as they drive the ball to the goal line but Arthur makes an uncharacteristic error on the last as he tries to go up tempo for a burst play on the goal line.

Penrith break free down their left edge in reply but are forced to fling an offload back infield as Twidle collapses on the break. They regather the ball only to immediately lose it forwards where it is dived on by the passer…from an offside position. The officials miss that detail but award the Eels a scrum.

Finally the Eels are able to tack onto their lead! After asking some great questions of Penrith’s right edge defence, only to be answered by some ripping tackles it takes a bold play from Will Latu on the last to crack them. He is parked at dummy half and in lieu of going to one of his main playmakers he has a crack himself. It looks like Penrith have repelled him and he is on track for a roast from all and sundry but he rolls through the tackle to get the ball down!

Try scored by Will Latu. Conversion successful by Ethan Sanders.

Eels lead 22-14

59min gone

Great work from Talagi from the short kickoff! Sensational defusal. Oh you beauty! Big left edge shift comes from that point as the spine combine with clean movements. Twidle holds the ball up perfectly to release Loizou at the final moment and the left centre keeps his arm free to flick it to Martin. Ethyn is hot wheels from there as he scorches down the sideline, breezes past the fullback and plants it down!

Try scored by Ethyn Martin. Conversion unsuccessful by Ethan Sanders.

Eels lead 26-14

62min gone

Another short kickoff from the home team but this one is too heavy and sails into touch. The Panthers try to bat it back into the field of play but did so from outside the field of play and concede the penalty.

It looks like the Eels have crossed again, this time off a grubber kick, but the referee quickly signals a penalty for a push in the back.

Well that was an extremely generous knock back call for Penrith. It keeps them on the attack as they set up camp on Parramatta’s goal line. Arthur tips a crash ball on the last. The right play there I think as it is a try if it gets into the receiver’s hands there.

The Eels make a sequence of last ditch tackles as they somehow hold the Panthers out. Pure guts there. It ends with the Panthers finding the ingoals with a grubber kick and a line drop out from there. A short kickoff is claimed by the home team and from there Matt Arthur makes a huge ball and all tackle to save a try. It is actually a penalty, was it for a double movement or back chat? Not sure.

Great reply from the Eels! They punch it downfield and hoof after a big bomb from Sanders. The kick chase drill the runner and drive him ingoals as they ball squirts out from an offload. It looks like the Eels might have scored but the ref indicates Penrith grounded it first.

That will do us from BlueBet Stadium in the Jersey Flegg as the Eels storm to the win in the second half. They have held up their end of the deal but are left to scoreboard watch. The Raiders were up 16-0 in the second half but the Storm have come back to make it 16-all with under 10min to play.

Full Time

Parramatta Eels 26 defeat the Penrith Panthers 14

Oh my goodness, what drama! We are scoreboard watching the NSWRL updates and had our hearts crushed as it posted the Storm going up 20-16 in the 68th min. It was quickly retracted though as despair turned to elation with the Raiders instead getting credited for the try! The Eels have punched their ticket to the finals! Go you good things!



1 Arthur Miller-Stephen
2 Haze Dunster
3 Jirah Momoisea
4 Zac Cini
5 Waqa Blake
6 Brendan Hands
7 Jordan Rankin
8 Makahesi Makatoa
9 Jayden Yates
10 Ofahiki Ogden
11 Jack Murchie
12 Dan Keir
13 Ky Rodwell
14 Jacob Davis
15 Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa
16 Lachlan Mears-Crabbe
17 Lachlan Blackburn


Match Updates

First Half

Waqa Blake is out, Lachlan Blackburn moves into the centres with Zac Cini going to wing while big Noah Reed comes onto the bench.

A lof of buzz and excitement from the Flegg as the result is obviously relayed to them.

Meanwhile in the Cup, Penrith strike first as they cross through some ordinary defence down Parramatta’s left edge.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion successful.

Panthers lead 4-0

6min gone

Nice charge from Ogden and it leads to a good set. Rankin puts in a composed stab kick to find the grass and put the Panthers deep in their half.

A bit less nice from there for the Eels as Ogden loses the ball in his next possession. It is followed by the Eels getting caught offside from the scrum and Penrith getting a free ride into Parramatta’s red zone.

Sure enough they bank another four points as Miller-Stephens can’t brings down the lead runner resulting in an offload back inside to the Penrith fullback who crashes over.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion successful.

Panthers lead 10-0

13min gone

A much needed penalty for a high tackle boosts the Eels in their next set. They start their following possession in Penrith’s half and on the attack. Murchie gets a crash ball down the left before a big swing of play to the right follows. AMS threads a nice cutout pass to Dunster who sails back in against the wind to keep away from the sideline but loses the ball in contact. Good chance quite literally dropped there.

Courageous catch from AMS at the end of Penrith’s set. He had to know he was going to be levelled by the chaser there. He would have heard the thump of the footsteps but he brings it in like a pro. Lachlan Blackburn returns the favour in kind in the defensive set that comes next with a bellringer! Great hit. It unsettles the Panthers as well with an error coming two plays later.

Alas the Eels give the ball right back as they continue to struggle to find a rythym here.

Trouble here for the retiring man Jordan Rankin for a dangerous lifting tackle. Just a penalty and on report though, I am sure he is happy to serve any suspended games next year!

It does lead to Penrith’s third try though, this one the first down their left edge as a rapid backline move strips the Eels for numbers and see Penrith touch down in the corner. All too easy.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion successful.

Panthers lead 14-0

25min gone

Soft error from the kickoff set for Penrith. Even softer try conceded from the scrum! A good backline movement reaches a crescendo as AMS throws his second quality cutout pass to a winger today. This one finds Cini though with the Eels working from right to left and Zac beats the winger and fullback to get the ball down in the corner and put Parra on the board! Rankin bangs it off the left upright from out wide and is waved away.

Try scored by Zac Cini. Conversion unsuccessful by Jordan Rankin.

Eels trail 4-14

29min gone

Time off for Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa who is banged up after completing a tackle. He looks to be okay though. Blackburn recovers nicely a play or two later when it looks like Penrith are sweeping down their right with an advantage and makes a cracking tackle. Dunster then claims the attacking kick for himself to get the Eels back in possession.

A prolonged period of calm now as the game enters something of a grind. Hands deftly punches the ball into touch from halfway to put Penrith near their goal line.

Now Rankin provides a neat kick as he looks for Cini with a cheeky and well weighted stab. Zac streaks after it but the ball just doesn’t sit up for him forcing him to try and toe it ahead but he had a foot on the sideline. Penrith ball.

AMS gets on his bike next set to save a 40/20 and arrives with time to spare after a good effort. Give him a yellow jersey.

Blackburn produces another cracking tackle down the left edge and Penrith spill the ball playing hot potato next play.

Some big hits from the Eels in the shadow of half time but the last of them gets too loose as Dan Keir goes high and is marched to the bin. Penrith get a solitary play in the first half with the one man advantage but are deep in their half. There is a half break from a big shift but the Eels collapde with plenty of time and space to shut it down. They will be without Keir for a bit over 9min in the second stanza though.

At this point I will tag out and hand the reins to Sixties! Thanks for reading along!


Half Time

Penrith Panthers lead the Parramatta Eels 14-0


Second Half

Forty has other commitments and has had to tag out at half time. My apologies in advance as I’m typing out as best I can on my phone. (Sixties)

The Eels have done their best to fight back despite being one man down. Thy spent some time in the Panthers red zone but it’s now back to defence.

Penrith have an overlap on their left in the Eels quarter. A Parra hand touches the long pass and it’s six again but Penrith don’t need it as they get to the corner and ground the ball.

conversion from out wide successful

Panthers 20 Eels 4 ten gone

im still typing up the goal as Parra’s kick off sails over the dead ball line. Penrith back on the attack in the Eels quarter. This time they explore the right side and it’s just as successful as they cross, this time in the right corner.

conversion unsuccessful

Penrith 24 Eels 4, 25 minutes remaining

It’s a terrific kick from Jordan Rankin as he attempts to nail a 40/20. The Panthers fullback knocks on in attempting to stop it. Eels scrum. Some decent questions asked on both sides of the ruck and Parra run it left on the last. Rankin gets it to Miller-Stephen who finds Lachie Blackburn with a sharp pass and Blackburn crosses out wide.

conversion from Rankin successful

Panthers 24 Eels 10 about 20 minutes remaining

Eels have a penalty 40 out after a Panthers indiscretion on the Eels kick chasers. They work through the six and look to again run the ball on the last. The tackle looks to be complete but it comes away to Rankin who dabs a grubber into the in goal and Hands wins the race to the ball.

conversion from in front successful

Panthers 24 Eels 16.  15 minutes remaining to send Jordan out a winner.

It’s another try to the Eels but I’m not sure how to describe how it nearly didn’t happen. Miller-Stephen slices through the defence on halfway and he’s in the clear. He draws the fullback and passes to Momoisea. Somehow the makeshift centre is caught by the chasers but he offloads to Hands who then finds Miller-Stephen still backing up and he crosses in the right corner.

conversion from Rankin from out wide is a gem.
Panthers 24 Eels 22 about ten minutes remaining

It’s all happening here.

Parra get a penalty in the kick off set and they are back in the red zone. Miller-Stephen has them scrambling as his pace is hard to contain. The Eels now head left and quick hands to Cini sees him dive over in the corner.

Rankin nails the conversion!

Eels 28 Panthers 24 about 6 minutes remaining.

Oh my goodness. Rankin breaks into open field and takes on the fullback but is brought down on the quarter line. The Eels complete the set by forcing a drop out. It’s now the forwards who combine for the try as Ogden finds Makatoa with a short ball in front of the posts and Maka crashes over.

conversion successful

Eels 34 Penrith 24 3 minutes remaining

The Riff go short off the kick off and force a knock on They then lose possession from an error off the scrum and Parra finish in possession

That’s it as Parra send off Rankin as a winner in his retirement game

Eels 34 defeat Penrith 24

It’s a weekend sweep to the Eels over the Panthers!

Who’s your daddy!!!

Go you mighty Eels


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21 thoughts on “Live Blog – Jersey Flegg & NSW Cup Round 26 Eels vs Panthers

  1. Milo

    Great blog and drama fellas! Well done to the Flegg boys beating our rivals…well done. Superb work TCT
    Seems like gutsy defence and composed attack.

  2. Anonymous

    Whos your Daddy!
    Love it.
    Clean sweep. You may win the comp but you couldnt beat The Mighty Eels. Yep. That’ll do me nicely.

  3. TolElts

    Considering everything that happened, it is a nice end of the season for the whole Eels club going out as winners. Better, stronger and much smarter next year. Go Parra!

  4. Rick Jackson

    That was wonderful and meticulous coverage of both contests which had us in the stands watching. Bravo to both reporters and to both our teams. I guess we can claim to be the “Da.”

  5. HamSammich

    What an incredible roller coaster of emotions for just over 80 minutes. With penrith initially leading and canberra leading comfortably it was a sense of what should have been for the Eels. Then once the Eels gained ascendency the storm were also clawing their way back. Once the win in our game had been secured it was all eyes on the match centre. A big month now lies ahead for these young men and whilst they have taken some big scalps over the past month, finals football is always a different beast. Last time we won the SG Ball we also made the Grand Final of the then Holden Cup, not to put pressure on the players but hopefully they can go one better.

    1. sixties

      Very true Ham. And if they can get to the Grand final Ham it will be even more significant than 2017. Back then I think Dylan Brown was the only elevation from SG Ball into the Grand Final team. Yesterday there were 8 players from Ball in that team, plus a host of others to have played matches in the journey to the finals. But of course we can’t forget the cliche – one game at a time.

      1. Colin Hussey

        I have missed too many matches that have shown up the quality of players in these last few games of the season. My hope is that what has been shown with the young teams will shore up our future, and making strong moves towards next season.

        While I see a heck of a lot of angst against a lot of said supporters, for me this season is very much or should be anyway a realization that the players who see a real future with the eels that they can see past this season and learn deeply from this season, and not see it as a loss overall.

        I ache for what from what I have seen this season, and the players in this last season have stood up, but I wonder why its taken so
        long for it to take place. Rather than the blames against the coach and staff, the players need to be the ones who need to look at themselves next season and go forward as teams, not individuals.

  6. Electric Analysis

    I am a bit surprised with the Jersey Flegg finals side. Mataele completely drops out of the side is confusing. How doesn’t Guymer get a backrow spot with Brazel? Talagi at 14 is interesting. Good to see JBBM in the team/

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