The Cumberland Throw

NRLW Preview – Round 6, 2023: Eels vs Cowboys

Although the Eels are still winless this season after facing a series of setbacks, the girls are continuing to impress with their determination and unwavering commitment to improvement each week. 

This was typified in their narrow loss to the third- placed, in-form Canberra Raiders.  The season has turned around from a sense of lost hope and unlucky injuries to using the losses as a stepping stone, propelling them forward on a journey of growth and progress. 

This week’s opponents, the North Queensland Cowboys, have lost two out of their last three games, conceding forty points to the Sharks last weekend and the Broncos three rounds ago. Two weeks ago against the Tigers, they escaped with a four-point win.

For the Eels, it’s a matter of replicating their NRL counterparts and finding that confidence to push for victory.

Game Info: 

Date: Saturday, August 26, 2023

Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney 

Kick-off: 11:05 AM AEST

Referee: Cameron Paddy

Senior Review Official: Dave Munro

Broadcast: Channel Nine and Foxtel

Live Stream: Kayo & Nine Now


Parramatta Eels 

1. Abbi Church 2. Zali Fay 3. Kimberley Hunt 4. Cassey Tohi-Hiku 5. Monique Donovan 6. Pikhua Berryman-Duff 7. Rachael Pearson 8. Talesha O’Neill 9. Rueben Cherrington 10. Tyla Amiatu 11. Amelia Mafi 12. Mahalia Murphy 13. Jade Fonua 15. Noaria Kapua 17. Nakia Davis-Welsh 19. Ruby-Jean Kennard-Ellis 20. Madeline Jones

14. Capri Paekau 21. Lindsay Tui

The Eels are bolstered by Ruby-Jean Kennard Ellis, Madeline Jones and Nakia Davis-Welsh coming into the lineup.

Boss Kapua will come off the bench for the Eels, after arriving at the club as a mid-season signing. 

Capri Paekau steps back to the 18th player role.

There is also increasing speculation that rising star Lindsay Tui will make her debut. However, this is yet to be confirmed by the Eels.

North Queensland Cowboys 

1. Francesca Goldthorp 2. Vitalina Naikore 3. Jasmine Peters 4. Shellie Long 5. Krystal Blackwell 6. Tahlulah Tillett 7. Kirra Dibb 8. Tallisha Harden 9. Emma Manzelmann 10. Makenzie Weale 11. Bree Chester 12. Libby Surha 13. Tiana Raftstrand-Smith 14. Jetaya Faifua 15. Jessikah Reeves 16. China Polata 18. Sareka Mooka 

19. Mia Middleton 22. Essay Banu 

The Cowboys have lost Shaniah Power (foot injury) and Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly (torn ACL) for the rest of the season

Makenzie Weale moves into the front row, Bree Chester replaces Power and Krystal Blackwell replaces Autumn, leaving April Ngatupuna and Sera Koroi out of the line-up. Kirra Dibb remains their key player at halfback.

The Cowboys enter this game 9th on the ladder, but still pushing for a finals berth.

Eels Improving Attack

The Eels have become more aggressive in attack and look to have unearthed some X factor players in Tohi-Hiku and Amiatu.

Try time for Tohi-Hiku

After falling behind by 18 to nil during the opening twenty minutes against the Raiders, they fought their way back, scoring 22-10 in the ensuing fifty minutes of the game. 

Without doubt they have been committed to executing their game plan, even in adverse situations. They will make their task easier if they can eliminate the number of unforced errors which continue to be their greatest downfall.


The Development of the Forward Pack

Over the last two weeks the Eels forwards have created a far better platform for their halves, which has allowed Rachel Pearson to shine.

Despite not having their star players in Kennedy Cherrington and Elsie Albert, others have stepped up to the plate. Tyla Amiatu has belied her inexperience, both bending the line in attack and adding stability to the defence. Her combination with Mahalia Murphy and Rueben Cherrington is giving the Eels a genuine presence in the middle third.

Cherrington has also been a revelation, adjusting to the dual dummy half/lock forward role.Her versatility allows coach Widders to have greater flexibility in his bench selections.


Activate Cassey Tohi-Hiku

Cassey Tohi-Hiku’s emergence as a future star is becoming increasingly evident. Her defence has been most impressive and has become a vital component of the team’s improved performances, The cohesion in the Eels edge defence can be largely attributed to her defensive reads.

The young centre’s commitment to all aspects of her game is a credit to her maturity as a player at such a young age. Even now she is a key asset to the team.

I’d like to see Tohi-Hiku get more touches of the ball in attack. She is a powerful and elusive runner with the potential to disrupt opposition defences. If the Eels playmakers can get her some early ball, it could be game changing.


The Game 

Building good habits will be the determining factor in this match.

Catching the ball on the kick-off, finding better coordination between the lead runner and decoy runners in set plays, and better ball security in yardage are basics that will help the Eels to find their first win of the season.

Kirra Dibb

Both teams are missing players, but if Dibb gets a mountain of touches and the Cowboys are allowed to dominate in attack due to Eels errors, defensive fatigue will again become Parra’s enemy.

The Eels don’t need to worry about winning pretty in this one. It’s time to grind out a 70 minute performance. Finding a victory would do wonders for Parra. Sometimes, all a team needs is a win on the scoreboard, no matter how ugly it looks.

Prediction: Eels 20  Cowboys 16

Player of the Game: Cassey Tohi-Hiku

Kye Ferreira 

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2 thoughts on “NRLW Preview – Round 6, 2023: Eels vs Cowboys

  1. Spark

    What a great day!
    Took the family out to Kogarah and really enjoyed both games.
    The Parra girls were fabulous, too many good players to name. Their defence was brutal and we grabbed some autographs.
    The Parra girls couldn’t believe that fans wanted their autographs!
    It as like the old days when a day at the footy was enjoyable!
    I also had the pleasure of watching, who I believe to be the best player in the NRLW, Teagan Berry playing for the Dragons. She scored 4 tries, saved 3 and without her, the dragons were really struggling.
    Love watching the ladies play, they give everything they have.
    True professionals.

    1. sixties

      I’m glad you had such a good day Spark. The NRLW players are wonderful ambassadors. Getting to their matches is like going back in time to when footy players would connect with fans. My experiences have been similar to yours mate. And just quietly, it’s very similar when you attend Junior Reps games.

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