The Cumberland Throw

Live Blog – Jersey Flegg Finals Week 1: Eels vs Panthers

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 Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa
11 Jock Brazel
12 Max Tupou
13 Nicholas Lenaz
14 Charlie Guymer
15 Sam Tuivaiti
16 William Latu
17 Noah Reed
18 Charlie Guymer

Facebook Live Stream Link


Late Mail

Richard Penisini is out. Blaize Talagi will start at right centre and Charlie Guymer moves onto the bench.


Match Updates


First Half


Penrith will kick off to start this elimination final.

Messy start for the Eels as the ball is lost backwards by Lynn. He scoops it up eventually but is met by a vigorous kickchase that bring him down 5m out. A huge letoff comes later in the set when Penrith are pinged inside 10m! Sanders finds touch down the left sideline as Loizou and Parker set up the early runs. Right to Jontay but when the ball comes back midfield to Lenaz he spills it to let the Panthers off the hook.

A good defensive set follows before Penrith kick out of dummy half. Twidle covers it and the backs get to work with Talagi providing a strong carry. Smart run from Matt Arthur to pick off offside markers and earn a set restart but Lenaz produces his second error of the game shortly afterwards – extremely uncharacteristic start from Parramatta’s tireless lock foward.

Penrith work towards an attacking kick but Matt Komolafe takes the crossfield bomb comfortably. The Panthers swarm in defence this set with Martin and Parker met very strongly. Minimal gains this set before Sanders punches it downfield but the Eels are then penalised for holding down in the tackle.

The Eels lift to match the defensive intensity. A very good set there in defence. It concludes with a deflected kick from the Panthers that is then knocked on from them in the dash for the loose ball.

There is a strong carry from Lenaz! Good to see him get back into gear. Parker follows him up with a run that has some neat footwork and draws a penalty on the penultimate tackle. Big play!

Arthur tries to tap and go but he was off the mark so Sanders kicks for touch. Parramatta take their first run too close to the sideline though and Penrith are able to get to the tackle in numbers and drive Brazel into touch.

Defence again showing up as the Panthers are forced to kick from deep in their half. Komolafe takes the clearing kick on the first bounce and from there the Eels get recklessly aggressive. Komolafe goes to Twidle who sees the overlap on the kick chase and looks for the cutout to Loizou. It is very nearly intercepted but the tipped pass still finds Loizou who races downfield for a strong gain.

Right edge shift from there as the ball finds Talagi. Again though, as the Eels look to reallign with a pass back to the posts they lose the ball. I think it was Tupou offloading to Jontay there with the big prop unable to bring it in. Lots of squandered chances here in the first half.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion successful.

Panthers lead 6-0

15min gone

Penrith with the running now as they make use of some second phase footy down their left edge to run the ball into Parramatta’s half and then kick ahead and force a line drop out.

The short drop out is taken easily by the Panthers and a big set follows. Can the Eels hold on? Penrith go left where it looks like they pass off the ground to avoid getting driven into touch. They go back to the posts for several play and eventually the Eels crack as Peter Taateo gets between Lenaz and Brazel. Arthur is upset about a missed obstruction in the play but the score is official, Penrith with a strong lead now.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion successful.

Panthers lead 12-0

20min gone

There is a gift. After been starved of the ball in recent exchanges, the Panthers have dropped it cold working towards halfway. Left from the scrum win as Sanders uses Brazel. Jontay trucks it up next but play breaks down on the next tackle as the shift to the right ends up with an errant pass that forces Talagi 10m backwards.

Lynn pops up on the left now and nearly breaks the line! Sharp little play there. Lynn’s carry and play-the-ball bring up the last as Arthur jumps out of dummy half. It is all spine here as Arthur engages the defence and flicks the ball to Sanders. Still plenty of defence for Sanders to drive through but he powers through for the crucial score!

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

Eels trail 6-12

25min gone

Arthur fields the kickoff and sends Parker into the fray. Tupou and Jontay follow before Arthur runs and finds Jontay for a back-to-back run. Lenaz picks up the late penalty when he has the ball stripped clearly in a multiplle-defender tackle.

Parker takes the first run in the following set. Parramatta look for the big play early in the possession. It was defintely on as Twidle rifles a cutout pass towards Martin down the left. The pass is just too low for the flying winger to bring in though and he knocks it on.

A lapse in discipline follows as the Eels are pinged for pushing down in the tackle. It was shaping up as a tough set for the Panthers as well and they are let off the hook.

Komolafe takes another attacking bomb perfectly and is unlucky not to earn a penalty for a looooong tackle. That penalty comes on the next play though as there are hands all over the ball in the ruck,

Talagi takes the first run from the touchfinder. Arthur uses Parker on tackle two as the Eels work left. Big shift to Sam Tuivaiti before there is an outside-in play between Sanders and Twidle. Will Latu very nearly scores on the next play as he fields a deflected kick from Lynn. Defence barely hold him up and the ball comes back to the posts. HERE COMES BIG SAM! Arthur turns in him inside from directly infront of the upright and he was always going to be nightmare to stop there. He was unwinding something fierce there as he plows through a gaggle of tacklers to get the Eels within two and to give Sanders  an easy shot at levelling the game.

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

Eels lock the scores up at 12-all

33min gone

Penrith screw away an awkward midrange kickoff that Lynn fields on the bounce. A steady build towards the left sees Brazel and Tuivaiti make strong gains before Sanders bombs the Penrith fullback. He loses it backwards in the contest for the ball but it pops up perfectly for his winger to clean it up.

Never mind, they lose the ball on the next play!

Big shift to Talagi who nearly scores but the defence corral him in the nick of time.Two tackles to the left to reset the options and with seconds on the clock the Eels get over! Matt Arthur at his scheming best as he uses a good decoy run from Latu to bullet a room-service, try-assisting pass to Talagi! What a way to go into the sheds!

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

Eels lead 18-12


Half Time

Parramatta Eels 18 lead the Penrith Panthers 12


Second Half


Parramatta to kick off.

Penrith drive over halfway to set up an attacking kick but they don’t use it. Lane splits the middle of the Eels and has support as he looks to beat Twidle. He passes to his right and it looks like Penrith will be first scorers for all money save for a huge effort from Sanders! He gets the ankle tap and the Penrith runner puts a foot into touch as a result. Huge!

A big counterpunch is sparked by Arthur who has an incisive run. A penalty comes on the last when Sanders’ kick is tipped and leads to offside Panthers. Arthur again! He is having an incredible game! He skips out of dummy half to the left with shape to play to a left edge backline but he turns back to his right and passes across the play-the-ball to find a rampaging Brock Parker! The Eels are in!

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

Eels lead 24-12

40min gone

Parker gets back-to-back carries, over two sets of course, as he takes the kickoff run. Aggressive left edge movement from the Eels results in Loizou taking a tackle. Tupou brings up the last as Sanders clears it downfield.

Penrith reply with a solid set as they find touch 10m out from Parra’s line with their long range kick.

Now Sanders slices through! Big dummy and run. He has Tupou in support but the big man hasn’t got the legs to outrace the cover chase. Left edge shift from there on the last as the Eels look to attack the scrambling defence. Loizou is caught with the ball but offloads backwards and it looks like Penrith have knocked it on diving for it. No it is a penalty? Offside defenders? Not sure.

Loizou taps and goes. Right to Brazel from there. Right again to Parker in front of the posts. Lynn uses Latu far right but on the next tackle Parker drops it from a long pass from dummy half. The knock on turns into a penalty on the next play as the Eels hold down for too long.

The Panthers are not going away. A neat kick from their five-eighth finds the carpet as Twidle looks to cover but it takes a wicked bounce back over his head and to the Penrith chase. They queue up to score from there and suddenly the game is tight again. A missed conversion gives the Eels a slight buffer.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion unsuccessful.

Panthers trail 16-24

48min gone

Classy kick from Ethan Sanders to complete Parramatta’s next possession but a call of a high tackle on Jock Brazel gets the Panthers out of trouble. Talagi makes a good one-on-one tackle that looks to have forced an error but there is a late call for a high tackle. That one had to be marginal but it gives Penrith a big chance here but they drop it early in the next set! Bit of justice there for the Eels I reckon.

Great carries from the scrum win. Was it Latu and then Talagi there? Jontay screams into the line on tackle three as Lenaz goes next. Now that is a terrific kick from Lynn! Finds the grass and more as he traps the Penrith custodian ingoals from midfield.

The short restart from the Panthers leads to a contested ball and Loizou knocks it into touch off his shoulder. A penalty for a strip follows as Penrith comes out off their half with ease.

The Eels hold on in the next set as Penrith start to throw the ball around the park. Loizou showed some nice perception there to drop back and field the attacking grubber. Arthur looks to get the Eels downfield with a kick from dummyhalf and two tackles later the Panthers cough it up! Great runs from MArtin and Lenaz up the guts! Left to Brazel who is well tackled. Eels have shape to the right but Arthur looks to roll it in for a flying runner. Lenaz I think it was but it is knocked on by the Panthers. Parra scrum infront of the posts.

Right as Arthur links up with Sanders who floats a cutoff to Komolafe. The big winger does the sensible thing and comes infield. Lenaz takes the settler before the Eels play right again and the class of Talagi comes to the fore with a silky run and flick to Komolafe who has an acrobatic finish to touch down in the right corner! Great footy! Sanders bangs it over from outwide.

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

Eels lead 30-16

61min gone 

Penrith win the short kickoff but turns it over on the very next play.

Back to work for the Eels as Lenaz adds another quality carry to the stat sheet. Talagi threatens down the right but is eventually pulled down as Lynn completes the set with a quality bomb. Penrith spill it backwards where it finds support for the second time today. Some real luck there for the Panthers. Penrith go on to pick up a penalty for offside markers.

Offload city for Penrith now as they desperately try to crack the Eels. Latu makes a strong tackle to stop the movement but the Panthers run it on the last and catch the Eels out to narrow the deficit.

Try scored by the Penrith Panthers. Conversion unsuccessful.

Panthers trail 20-30

64min gone

Frenzied footy from Penrith as they chase two tries in under 5 minutes. Lots of offloads and shifts of the footy. The Eels are marking up well though and again Penrith run it on the last, this time down their right edge. They create the overlap but have to kick infield where Komolafe has smartly positioned himself to cover for that exact outcome.

Under 3 minutes left in this one. If the Eels can get the ball back one more time you would think they have it won. Ethyn Martin makes a great tackle down his sideline and on the next tackle the Panthers run it on the last for the third straight set. Their half splits the front line of defence but Talagi plucks his pass out of the air as he heaves a long cutout to his left.

Simple set from the Eels from there as Sanders drills the ball into touch to bring us close to a minute left in the game.

One last roll of the dice for Penrith as they kick ahead from their left edge but Apa Twidle is on hand to tidy it up and a handful of hitups will see the Eels home! What a great comeback win from 12-0 down as the Eels progress to week two of the finals!


Full Time

Parramatta Eels 30 defeat the Penrith Panthers 20

If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.

51 thoughts on “Live Blog – Jersey Flegg Finals Week 1: Eels vs Panthers

    1. sixties

      This is a master class from him and a statement game against the Panthers dummy half who got the nod for NSW under 19s.

  1. Ron

    Geez Arthur is crafty. Also sanders shows his class each game – Bit of dce about him with the support play+ kicking game. good effort again from these boys. Hopefully can go all the way + parra lock down these guys to contracts

        1. Anonymous

          No, but should the HOF been able to offer a pathway and keep a local , it’s not something that we have seen from the club since he came on board. Having said that,, Josh Lynn is very handy and think he has the ability to play NRL. Matt Arthur is the real deal with Big Sam and Blaize very promising.

        2. Anonymous

          We are a dumb club! Injuries, hia, suspension, Origin etc. You make room!! Does Storm let their talent go? No they find a spot. We had Laziou in the top 30. He’s not as talented as Sanders! Put him in top 30! Recruitment have stuffed up again! And again! Just butchering decisions.

          1. HamSammich

            Hindy, when Loizou signed his contract he was a talented junior, was the youngest in his group to make Aus schoolboys. The club took a gamble and it didn’t pay off, just like the raiders are taking a gamble with Sanders. Have to wait and see if that pays off.

          2. Anonymous

            We Took a gamble that didn’t pay off with Loizou . We also took a gamble with Josh Tuipulotu, Kalache, Sam Hughes, Hollis amongst others on dev contracts that didn’t pay off. We Have consistently got it wrong in that department and it has cost us sanders and will cost us others if we don’t get things in order

          3. Pou

            Loizou would be bottom of the top 30. If Sanders is moving to Canberra it won’t be to play Flegg or reserve grade. They will be banking on him to play NRL in 2025. We can’t offer that.

  2. Parra Pete

    Big Sam Tuivaiti….looked a likely lad…has that intimidating factor about him. The team stayed ‘cool’ under pressure, didn’t panic when the Riff skipped away in first half..Looked well coached, and Matt Arthur led the team around very well.

      1. Parra Pete

        Rugby League was the winner today. Two evenly match sides doing their best in a game where good sportsmanship was on display for all to see. Too bad there had to be a loser….(Is that enough cliche`s)

  3. HamSammich

    Despite early errors and penrith scoring the opening tries we looked a lot more dangerous with ball in hand, it was only a matter of time before we settled and got on with the play. If they can cut out this tentativeness by next week they’re a strong team and will trouble the rest of the teams left in the competition.

    If they continue their recent form I don’t think it’s out of the question that they all should participate in the upcoming NRL pre-season. This is now the best finish we’ve had in the 21’s/20’s since 2017 and what makes it even more remarkable is that they’re doing it with almost half the team coming up from SG Ball. Our R&R team need to be on the front foot signing these players up, finally giving our coaching staff something to mould.

    1. Anonymous

      Very important we keep on top of our pathway players, clubs like Penrith, Storm and Roosters don’t lose them until they are over 21/22 ( even Katoa was a surprise at the Dolphins as he had turned down Manly previously to stay).

      The powers that be should be able to sell a path to the NRL and sign the outstanding ones to a top 30 or development contract like we see the Roosters in particular do. Fingers crossed that becomes a thing they can do as it’s disappointing to lose Sanders given all he wanted to do was play at the Eels, money talks I guess.

    2. sixties

      Another nervous start Ham. I’m expecting to see a number of these players in the preseason and also playing NSW Cup next year. There is some talent that isn’t getting on the field at the moment who will be ready to play Flegg in 2024.

    3. Leigh

      That’s a big ask Ham! We only have a few top 30 spots left for 2024 and you hope this 17 all play NRL next year?
      There is a heap of talent in this mob and I feel the 2nd grade will get a shake-up and hopefully quite a few get to do a pre-season with the NRL group. 

        1. Pou

          Yep, Tuivati and Latu got on at the 26th minute, JJBM and Lenaz back on at the 48th, Tupou back on at the 58th and then Reed on at the 66th. Guymer has potential, but he lacks the physicality of these older boys.

  4. sixties

    I hope that the Eels don’t take Matt Arthur for granted. His motor, work rate, and ability to read the game and dissect an opponent is exceptional.

    1. Anonymous

      Knowing our recruitment. The eyes will be picked out by other clubs. We are just about a development club for the NRL.

      1. Ron

        I’ve got no faith in the recruitment and retention team so no doubt other teams will pick the eyes out the Flegg and sg ball team sooner or later and parra will be left with some randoms on development contracts who will never make it. Cycle will just rinse and repeat with no circuit breaker.

        1. Anonymous

          How about we look at the glass half full.
          We won the sg ball and are now into the 2nd week of the finals of the flegg.Recruitment probably had a lot to do with this.Players will leave, its a small window for opportunity.
          The randoms you speak of are talented players,just not getting game time.

  5. Anonymous

    Unsure what his best position will be but Talagi is going to be a first grader sooner rather than later. Skills and physicality at the same level of Brown/Penisini before their debuts.

    1. HamSammich

      This is coming off a year of injuries too. Hopefully he gets his body right, an NRL pre-season should see him starting in reserve grade

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: