The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Eels Look To Tighten Up

NRL Team List

Sunday 25th February, 5:00PM, North Ipswich Reserve


A week is a long time in rugby league and for the Parramatta Eels they will be looking to make a strong step fowards after stumbling against the Canberra Raiders. To little surprise, Brad Arthur has named a full strength line-up to take on the Gold Coast Titans. Clinton Gutherson, Maika Sivo, Will Penisini, Dylan Brown, Mitchell Moses, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Joey Lussick, Junior Paulo, Bryce Cartwright and J’Maine Hopgood bolster the starting thirteen massively while we get a clearer indication of where Arthur might be leaning across several key personnel decisions.

Bailey Simonsson seems to have edged his way ahead of Morgan Harper in the race for the left centre role while Bryce Cartwright will reprise the starting role in the backrow where he impressed in 2023. The timeless Shakespearean question of ‘to utility or to not utility?’ looks to have swung towards the former as Brendan Hands slots neatly into the #14 jersey this week.

Surprisingly the player potentially looking to make way, at least based off of jersey designations, is Ryan Matterson. With Wiremu Greig, Joe Ofahengaue and Kelma Tuilagi named ahead of him on the interchange, Matterson will don the #18 this week. Of course, someone pretty useful had to miss out by simple law of numbers and ‘Matto’ still has this upcoming trial to press him claims.

On the whole the team list shakes out largely as anticipated. The players with their noses in front right now could still be usurped based on what we see this Sunday…hence why we have trials. Arguably the most intriguing addition to the final team sheet of the preseason is that of Blaize Talagi. In a week where no other rookie prospect features, albeit given that Matt Arthur is navigating concussion protocols, Blaize will get a chance to operate with the first stringers against the Titans. How much playing time he gets and what position or positions he plays will be a fun secondary watch-point.

Coaches, players and fans alike will be looking for a far more focused effort this week. After a disappointing trial against the Raiders last week, the Eels have plenty of tidying up to do around the ruck in particular. The Titans will present a good challenge in that regard with a starting pack that features Moeaki Fotuaika and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. Beyond that, sound defensive structures and some conventional attacking shapes are probably the most we can hope for with neither team presumably wanting to tip their hands ahead of Round 1.

Parramatta Eels Starters Gold Coast Titans
Clinton Gutherson 1 Keano Kini
Maika Sivo 2 Alofiano Khan-Pereria
Will Penisini 3 Brian Kelly
Bailey Simonsson 4 AJ Brimson
Sean Russell 5 Phillip Sami
Dylan Brown 6 Kieran Foran
Mitchell Moses 7 Tanah Boyd
Reagan Campbell-Gillard 8 Moeaki Fotuaika
Joey Lussick 9 Sam Verrills
Junior Paulo 10 Keenan Palasia
Shaun Lane 11 Jacob Alick
Bryce Cartwright 12 Beau Fermor
J’maine Hopgood 13 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
Brendan Hands 14 Chris Randall
Wiremu Greig 15 Jaimin Jolliffe
Joe Ofahengaue 16 Erin Clark
Kelma Tuilagi 17 Klese Haas
Ryan Matterson 18 Joe Stimson
Morgan Harper 19 Harley Smith-Shields
Haze Dunster 20 Jojo Fifita
Daejarn Asi 21 Tom Weaver
Blaize Talagi 22 Jaylan De Groot
23 Josiah Pahulu
24 Iszac Fa’asuamaleuai

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

26 thoughts on “Team List Tuesday – Eels Look To Tighten Up

  1. Milo

    Good that Matto is 18, as I think he was avg at times last week for defence. Hope he gets some time and shows something more. It’s a good battle to have. Being good defensive wise is imperative as well as the nucleus playing well week in week out

    1. John Eel

      I agree with your sentiments Milo but I would be stunned if Matto is not in the 17 for Rd 1 against the Dogs

      1. Ron

        Agree. I like the message being sent by BA in this respect. Matto should be in our 17 on talent but too often he shirks his defensive responsibilities. Hopefully this is a good wake up call for him (not that he should need one at his stage of career).

        Also interesting he didn’t name a full complement of reserves.

        1. John Eel

          I sense that BA would also be keen to see a bit more of Hands. His speed out of DH may be getting a bit irresistible.

          All will be revealed in two weeks I guess.

  2. Vc

    Keen to see how/when/where Hands gets a hand in the game
    And also the post 18 boys, esp blaize.
    Kinda like the mystery for one last time
    But just hope no injuries!

    Can’t wait💥

  3. Mannah Brow

    For the love of god I pray we are better defensively than last year. If not then it’s time for Brad to go. They have had a full pre season there are no excuses for dishing up the same rubbish we did last year.. be nice to see something different in attack too. Hate to say it but the way the bulldogs moved the ball around in their trial was refreshing and new. Please show us something different. Give us hope.

    1. Mick W.

      The only reason the Bulldogs moved the ball from side to side is they don’t have a strong middle. Fine for a trial game but, it won’t work in a comp game.

      1. sixties

        Indeed Mick. The Storm left edge had some issues. As soon as the Dogs went there they had them in trouble. Plus there was a huge disparity in experience between the two teams.

    2. sixties

      I don’t want to have the team show their hand in attack in a trial. Save it for the real games. Complete the sets, get defensive systems right. Avoid injuries.That is all I’m interested in from a trial.

  4. pete

    This should be a good test for our defensive system. Titans have great speed out wide; Kiini, Kahn Parera, Brimson…They also have a pretty handy reserve line up.

  5. Hindy111

    If Matto isn’t in the rnd 1 team I would question what’s going on. He is our best defender.
    Has he upset someone?

    1. Vc

      appears everyone sees ‘defence’ differently.
      The same ppl last year put our first 3 losses down to his absence….it would too ironic to repeat that this year🫢 we should want him there

    2. sixties

      Hindy, Matto wasn’t great last week but I don’t think he’s been dropped. It’s just a listing. He’ll be a part of the middle rotation this week and in round 1.

  6. Matthew Sweeney

    Tackle counts and efficiency are not always telling of an individuals impact on the game. Maybe one player misses a couple of tackles but at least he put himself in position to make the tackle. Maybe said player does a lot of mopping up and other efforts that the coaching staff notice. If u have the mindset of just hitting your kpis then you limit yourself .

    1. sixties

      If you’re not there to have a go at a tackle then that’s worse than a miss. And sometimes a missed tackle is in the stats but the attempt slowed the player up for other defenders.

  7. Matthew Sweeney

    Blaise didn’t really showcase his attacking flair but I imagine he gets a bench spot this week because he surprised a few with his great physicality for a slight build. Anyway we have lots of serviceable forwards but need to blood a few backs

Leave a Reply

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

%d bloggers like this: