The Cumberland Throw

The Corner Post – August 31, 2023: Departures and Time-Outs

As the NRL regular season prepares to close before finals, the news and drama surrounding clubs does not. High profile retirements, crucial judiciary calls and club quarrels filled the week of Round 26, sparking a league-wide buzz as fans gear up to take on September Football.

2023’s Last Hoorah

Parramatta ended their season on an emotional high with their Thursday night clash against premiership heavyweights the Penrith Panthers.

Parramatta’s Western Sydney neighbours are one of two sides clawing it out to take home the minor premiership, aspiring for their third such honour in only four years. Arriving at the foot of the mountains from eleventh place, the Eels obliterated the top of the table Panthers 32-18.

Adjusting to hurdles that included Gutho struggling with injury before being forced off the field and Dylan Brown assuming the custodian role, Brad Arthur’s side showed immense desperation and resilience in their courageous victory, traits fans had been calling for over recent weeks.

The 32 points scored by the team were split between Clint Gutherson (16) and Maika Sivo (16), with the Fijian flier scoring four tries alone. With only 46% possession and 78% completion, Parramatta capitalised on every opportunity presented to them.

In what was their final 80 minutes of the year, the Eels produced a performance that fans hope will carry them into an improved 2024 season.

Hodgo Retires

After a feel-good week for the Parramatta faithful, 2023 recruit Josh Hodgson announced his long-speculated retirement from professional football.

Following a long and decorated career, Hodgson revealed that due to injury he had been forced to medically retire, a circumstance not wished upon any player.

Hodgson accrued over 100 appearances for Super League club Hull Kingston Rovers, led Canberra to their first grand final in 25 years, as well as representing his home nation England 19 times. The star hooker narrowly missed out on Daly M triumph in the 2016 season, whilst his form in the 2019 season was one that few will forget.

Injuries have long bothered Hodgson. However, he only regarded them as minor set backs and he never allowed them to dull his determination to take the field and succeed.

After overcoming another knee injury in 2022, Hodgson joined the Eels for the 2023 and impressed his team mates and coaches through the preseason. After a very slow start to the year, Hodgson was just starting to find his place and form in the team when injury struck. It would be his neck and not his knee that ended his time with the Eels and it was extremely unfortunate that the Parramatta faithful were not able to witness Hodgson at his best.

Although Josh has retired in unfortunate circumstances, no one can forget his impact on the modern game. Eels supporters can expect to find Hodgo around the club, continuing to mentor the likes of Brendan Hands and other emerging players. I’ll be backing him to be a success.

Judiciary says “No”

Crucial judiciary decisions involving Roosters prop Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Raiders enforcer Corey Horsburgh will impact round 27 action and probably the upcoming finals series.

Warea-Hargreaves was found guilty of a dangerous contact charge on Tigers Captain Api Korisau, as well as a strike on Stefano Utoikomanu which saw him sin binned. Both charges have since amounted to a seven week suspension for the prop.

After a failed attempt to overturn his high tackle suspension, JWH is now serving a seven match suspension, which will see him miss this week’s critical clash with Souths, all of the Roosters potential finals series matches, as well as the Inaugural Vegas season opener.

Corey Horsburgh has been suspended for a shoulder charge in his side’s loss to the Brisbane Broncos. In an unsuccessful bid to overturn his charge, Horsburgh now faces four weeks on the sideline.

The Queensland stars suspension will see him miss Canberra’s contest with Cronulla. Unfortunately that means that fans will miss his long awaited rematch with Sharks prop Royce Hunt who branded him a “Weak-Gutted dog” when they last met. Unless his Raiders team can win their way to the grand final, we won’t see Horsburgh in action until early 2024. 

Bother In Belmore

They will finish far away from finals football, but the club that’s received a saturated media focus this week has been the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs.

Cameron Ciraldo’s side have made NRL headlines with reports of player walk-outs, discontent and laziness. Though some accounts of the problems could be classified as  “speculation”, Ciraldo didn’t dodge some of the harsh questions.

When asked what he thinks about the culture of the club, his answer was simple. “Well we’ve been losing, so clearly the culture’s not exactly right… the system is only one part of the results on the weekend.”

Though understandably annoyed about being in the spotlight, Ciraldo gave raw and honest insight into what has been a nightmare end of season for the Bulldogs. After a recruitment splurge and preseason which raised hopes of a top 8 finish in 2023, the Dogs have been soft in defence, conceding a whopping 735 points, whilst only scoring 408 (second worst) across 23 games.

A mass roster clean out at Belmore will be necessary to ensure that sub-standard seasons are brought to an end. Reports of Braidon Burns, Luke Thompson and Raymond Faitala Mariner preparing to exit the club, as well as the already confirmed departures of Andrew Davey, Jake Averillo, Tevita Pangai Jr and Fa’amanu Brown, indicate that some level of change is imminent. 

The jury remains out on how long fans will have to wait for the club to return to finals football.




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21 thoughts on “The Corner Post – August 31, 2023: Departures and Time-Outs

      1. Nat Post author

        His fine was larger for two reasons.

        1. First would be the obvious that it is 7 weeks as he is facing a striking AND dangerous contact charge.
        2. Second would be the fact that it’s not his first charge this year. It is Jared’s SIXTH charge this year, and the more you’re charged in a season, the more extensive the punishments become for disciplinary reasons.
        1. Shaun

          And that is the problem I have with the fines. The players that push boundaries are happy to do so as they are happy to cop the fine. I’d like to see the fines removed and suspensions only for any charge on report.

    1. V.C

      I found it funny how ‘gobsmacked’ he was…I think the judiciary are laughing all the way to the bank. I can’t remember the last time a player came away victorious, they aren’t playing around!
      But..the players keep going back just to get slapped with more🤭

  1. Grigor

    Hey guys would love you to do a who is coming and going from this years top 30 , aside from the odvious moretti has to go top 30 , I think makatoa and Ogden -club option will be gone and hopefully a few others as well as we don’t want to many who have no long term future at the club,clearly need a few quality outside backs and maybe a back up half

  2. Shaun

    We are disappointed with an early Mad Monday this season. And without being complacent nor dismissing the need for changes as often discussed, Parra is in much better shape than some other clubs.

    1. Nat Post author

      Despite an early finish to the season, Parramatta look to be in awesome shape and I think an extensive break will be necessary to regroup before a big year next year.

    2. V.C

      Hope we are, and while I will miss news and stories during off season, I don’t want to see us in the headlines for any bad reasons!! Only want news of signings!

  3. Milo

    Thanks for the article here.
    Our retention group need to be scrutinised here; and astute purchasing made. Centre / or Fullback option for me and hard nosed prop but we need to move a few on.
    Back up half?
    But defence being sorted is key.
    Credit to our juniors for improvement so let’s ensure we show them some loyalty.

    1. Nat Post author

      Definitely going to need to move some players on in order to make some key changes to the roster. Hodgson’s retirement and Murchie’s departure will definitely free up some necessary space in the salary cap to hopefully pick up a big name

  4. BDon

    Tks Nat. I just read Andrew Webster’s take on why the Roosters have struggled this year. Had some similarities to Parra, but I’d say we managed to put together a far better narrative of reasons.
    There’s a great documentary possible here, comparing the two ‘East and West…Losing Your Way’.

    1. Nat Post author

      Roosters did have some similarities to Parramatta’s season this year, however they did seem to get luckier with byes and the draw in general. Hopefully the NRL are kinder to the Eels next season.
      As for the doco idea? I’d love to see that sometime soon!

  5. avenger

    Josh Hodgson is on par with Watmough as the brainfart purchase of the decade. Everyone could see he was busted except our recruitment team.

    1. Anonymous

      Recommended by the ultra smart Ennis as the answer to the position, now someone remind me what Ennis has done in either coaching or commentating that anyone should take any advice from him

  6. 55 years an eel

    So after the Roosters win tonight, the deciding factor in the Eels missing a game next week was Moses failure to take the 2 points against Melbourne in the early stages of the season.
    With all our other players back we might have made it to at least week 2 of the finals, maybe further.
    It’s a game of pennies not pounds.
    We squandered the small stuff.
    Lesson for 2024

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