The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Heelm’s Deep Edition

NRL Team List

Round 13, 7:50PM Thursday, CommBank Stadium


“Look to my our coming at first light after the fifth day loss. At dawn, look to the East West.” – Gandalf Clinton Gutherson & Mitchell Moses


It is no secret that the Eels are under siege right now and what better way to cope with it all than pop culture references. This week we go with the Lord Of The Rings where the siege of He(e)lm’s Deep sets a fitting scene for a rousing triumphant against the odds with the Eels saved by the returns of Clinton the Blue and Mitchell the Gold.

In terms of the actual footy stuff, State of Origin has come to collect its annual tax from the 17 NRL franchises and even the luckless Eels have to pay their due with lock forward J’Maine Hopgood debuting for Billy Slater’s Queensland team. However, that very same lack of luck for the Eels means that a round usually associated with the unmitigated loss of talented players also sees them gain two massive additions with Clinton Gutherson and Mitchell Moses named to take on the Cronulla Sharks in Round 13.

There is no doubt that is a tremendous boost to a team mired in the muck of mediocrity right now and the sheer competitiveness of Gutherson combined with the guile and tactical prowess of Moses will absolutely lift the team…but that can’t be enough. It still falls upon the rest of the roster to address the malingering issues that have contributed to a 5-game losing streak.

Trent Barrett has also started to shape the team in his image. Gutherson’s return to fullback has pushed Blaize Talagi, somewhat awkwardly, to the interchange bench and I will be interested to see if there is a clear strategy to get him involved in the game in this capacity or if he will simply be the emergency utility. Joey Lussick can be found on the extended bench this week and that move has given Brendan Hands the keys to the team at dummy-half. Hands was one of the Eels’ best in an ordinary loss to the Rabbitohs and now has the chance to steal a march on the depth charts with a strong follow-up effort.

In the forward pack Joe Ofahengaue replaces Hopgood at lock forward while Barrett cements Kelma Tuilagi and Bryce Cartwright as his starting edge forwards. Wiremu Greig gets a shot on the bench while the exact availability of Ryan Matterson is very much up in the air after a fortnight out due to illness. He has been listed on the extended bench this week but given he was named to play in both Round 11 and Round 12 it is hard to parse exactly where that puts him.

The Sharks are without Nicho Hynes and Cam McInness this week with the pair selected for NSW while Braydon Trindall is allowed to play this week despite facing a breach notice for off-field behaviour. Cronulla still field an immensely talented squad the sports a wicked backline and given they are coming off a brutal 42-0 shutout loss against Penrith, we can expect them to be fired up.

If you are off the ultra-optimistic persuasion or simply a self-flagellating Eels masochist, or heck anywhere in between, and are heading out to CommBank Stadium on Thursday consider dropping by the Bistro at Parramatta Leagues Club before the game. Sixties and myself will be hosting the live Pre-Game Show with special guest Steve Ella from 5:00PM. Steve is one of our favourite guests on The Tip Sheet and is always a stellar interview.

Parramatta Eels Cronulla Sharks
Clinton Gutherson 1 William Kennedy
Maika Sivo 2 Sione Katoa
Will Penisini 3 Jesse Ramien
Sean Russell 4 Kayal Iro
Bailey Simonsson 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Dylan Brown 6 Daniel Atkinson
Mitchell Moses 7 Braydon Trindall
Reagan Campbell-Gillard 8 Thomas Hazelton
Brendan Hands 9 Blayke Brailey
Junior Paulo 10 Oregon Kaufusi
Kelma Tuilagi 11 Briton Nikora
Bryce Cartwright 12 Teig Wilton
Joe Ofahengaue 13 Jack Williams
Blaize Talagi 14 Siosifa Talakai
Shaun Lane 15 Toby Rudolf
Makahesi Makatoa 16 Royce Hunt
Wiremu Greig 17 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Daejan Asi 18 Mawene Hiroti
Morgan Harper 19 Tuku Hau Tapuha
Joey Lussick 20 Billy Burns
Ryan Matterson 21 Niwhai Puru
Luca Moretti 22 Jayden Berrell


NSW Cup Team List

Round 13, 5:20PM Thursday, CommBank Stadium


Another week and another win for the Eels in the NSW Cup. They banked their 4th straight victory with a 32-24 win over South Sydney and continue to put pressure on the upper bracket of the ladder. Nathan Cayless gets Daejarn Asi back this week but has lost young flyer Ethyn Martin to a hamstring injury. Martin’s place is taken by Lorenzo Mulitalo while Brock Parker continues his rise in 2024 as he cements a berth in the starting front-row.

The Eels take on a tough opponent this week in the Newtown Jets but a win would be a massive step towards shaking up the ladder.


1 Zac Cini
2 Lorenzo Mulitalo
3 Jake Tago
4 Morgan Harper
5 Isaac Lumelume
6 Daejarn Asi
7 Ethan Sanders
8 Luca Moretti
9 Matt Arthur
10 Brock Parker
11 Dan Keir
12 Matt Doorey
13 Charlie Guymer
15 Meni Luke
16 Kyle Cassell
17 Will Latu
17 Reece Alderton


Jersey Flegg Team List

Round 13, 1:00PM Saturday, PointsBet Stadium


The biggest winners of the weekend were absolutely the Jersey Flegg as they delivered a furious torrent of blows to the Rabbitohs to produce a 26-8 upset. There are changes this week on the back of that win with Josh Lynn coming back to the grade as a trickle-down effect of Mitchell Moses returning to the NRL. That pushes Apa Twidle to fullback while Jock Brazel is back after a week off due to injury or suspension to bolster the backrow.

Bizarrely, this is a Cronulla home game so if you feel like a Saturday trip to the Shire then go for it.


1 Apa Twidle
2 Mohamed Alameddine
3 Antioch Faitala-Mariner
4 Araz Nanva
5 Beau Newlands
6 Matthew Hunter
7 Joshua Lynn
8 Sam Tuivati
9 Ryley Smith
10 Teancum Brown
11 Jock Brazel
12 Dom De Stradis
13 Saxon Pryke
15 Yehya Ayache
16 Max Tupou
17 Damascus Neemia
19 Raf De Stradis
18 Zach Hunter
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31 thoughts on “Team List Tuesday – Heelm’s Deep Edition

  1. Shaun

    I saw something somewhere suggesting that historically Barrett’s first win as a (interim) head coach is against the Sharkies. May this continue.

    And Barrett seems to be starting to assert his influence. I might have had Talagi on the wing with Simonsson moving to the centre but seems the best side for now. Yes, even Sivo.

    1. sixties

      Shaun, not much that Barrett can do as yet. I believe that last week’s team list had already been discussed by BA and the coaching staff. Team list for this week is shaped by returning players. Two quick turn arounds over the last two weeks don’t give much prep time. Any changes beyond this week will be his calls.

  2. McFersie

    Looks a fair team with those two. Moses will free up Brown. Gutho is creative. Let’s hope the others can hold onto the ball and not give away super dumb penalties. That first 15 minutes against the Rabbits was a catalogue of Under 12 mistakes. That same game showed something in attack. I’m a Parra fan. I live on hope, so fingers crossed for a big game on Thursday.

    1. Muz

      I agree, we saw signs of new life in the attack that we haven’t seen for a long time. Remove the constant errors and dumb penalties, we looked better the other night in some attacking sets. Also a lot faster with hands service from hooker.

      If we can actually hold in to the ball, I think we can score a lot of points this weekend if moses is on and Kelma doesn’t have bitter fingers again this week.

  3. Muz

    At least baz has the balls to pick teams most the fans would agree with. If you see Billy slater he picks teams on what’s best for QLD and the QLD supporters.

    I feel like most of the changes majority of eels fans would support, for example there’s no way Billy slater would of persisted on lussick and leaving hands out of the side.

    Also interested to see how baz inserts Blaize into the team as well.

    BA would of had Blaize probably back in NSW cup, it’s not clear here how baz will use talagi.

    What I do like is he’s giving the kid a spot, making room for him.

    If that kid doesn’t get much first grade time and Parra persists on its old players – more and more young talent will leave for other clubs.

    Let’s hope moving forward we act more like Penrith, try blood the young talent and keep them in the club.

    Galvin, Sanders, (and possibly talagi), if all these quality eels jnrs left (I hope Blaize stays)..

    Then it’s a very poor sign of the culture and career development opportunities for young players in our club.

    Let’s hope we start to play the long game and aim for success in 25-28 by developing the next wave of NRL stars.

    Because the teams BA had been building although strong – are now very old.

    The old big pack of hard workers type strategy doesn’t seem as effective now.

    Just look at how QLD carves up NSW often, or how todays top NRL players play.

    Often very high work rate / high meters output.

    But also very fast and agile.

    Let’s hope our beloved team & club can adopt changes with the times.

    Gutho may only be a top fullback for 1-3 years (if injuries hold off)

    It would be nice to see gutho get a reduced workload to extend his (legs shelf life) and career, …

    maybe in centres?

    I am greatlful for BA’s loyalty to our club all those years.

    But I’m very glad to see our new coach is actually letting them throw the ball around on not only 4-5th tackle.

    We had gotten so predictable before – the only attacking we did was genrally tackle 4-5 and never moving the ball wide in earlier sets.

    Pair that up with a slow & avg service dummy half and easy to read attack.

    That game plan simply has not been working for a long time.

    I know people will say moses also made it work with BA’s old strategy.

    But keep in mind Moses has the longest boot probably in the NRL.

    Before we had poor attacking sets, or even poor yardage.

    Moses saved the day with his kicking game.

    Moving forward we can’t 100% rely on that as a successful NRL club.

    If you look at the panthers or even Brisbane.

    Cleary & Reno have elite kicking game but their teams still can survive if they don’t play.

    The eels honestly have looked like a guaranteed bottom 2-3 of ladder end of year team with Mitch out.

    That’s a huge red flag over how reliant our teams become on mitchel.

    Obviously gutho too – but it’s not good enough that you literally can’t win games if Mitch and gutho don’t play.

    That shows now only the roster lacking in depth.

    But our teams previously been way too reliant on mitchel to control the team.

    This is like a bad investment strategy where you’ve got everyone’s savings invested on 1 share and if fails the whole house of cards falls.

    BA said he likes his hookers to just tackle hard to deliver the balls to the halves – basically saying don’t ball play much game just deliver.

    The issue with this?

    All the elite teams (nrl + origin) rely significantly on hookers in both attack and organising the team.

    If you watch Melbourne play Harry grant shoots his pass our wide straight from dummy half and cuts teams to bits.

    The Melbourne team never relies only on a half back to control the attack.

    Then if you look at the best Maroons teams, Ben hunt is a prime attacking dummy half.

    Who’s absolutely caused NSW nightmares on many occasions now in games.

    Or if you look at the blues sides even – over all the years we’ve always done our best when we had in from strong dummy halves who played key parts in our victories.

    I think BA had such faith in Moses because of how good he is, he’s given full control virtually of the attack over to him.

    This causes a big problem because if Mitch isn’t on, or gets hurt.

    As we’ve seen our eels team is literally a wooden spoon contender.

    Does that mean it’s only because Mitch wasn’t there?

    No, of course we have backs & forwards age & depth issues as well.

    But the 1 slow hooker, only passing and having zero X factor (e.g lussick)

    That’s not only been a failing strategy.

    But there’s no way in hell that would of gotten us to the finals or even winning matches in the finals if we made it (you would suspect anyhow)

    I believe that as good as BA is as a coach, and very highly regarded player developer.

    The modern game style may of surpassed that game style we relied on over the last few years.

    A slow & below average dummy half + ageing forwards.

    And the NRL game becoming faster even more than last year.

    It’s not only the roster – the actual strategy & player’s succeeding now might be a little different.

    I hope Baz can diversify our attack and give some power to hands and a few others (like carty)

    to roam and play a bit more freely on his approach to attacking sets.

    Because if moses gets hurt again – we go back to square one.

    Our team literally can barely win 1 game without mitchel Moses.

    That means our squad and strategy must be almost as unbalanced as the old 09 side where Hayne could literally carry our whole eels team on his back to the Grand final.

    I don’t think people people actually realised how good / important mitchel moses was until he got hurt.

    Our team is down at tigers or bulldogs 2023 level almost of Mitchel doesn’t play.

    This is a huge problem for the club – they’ll need to assess this and understand you cannot build a team and strategy.

    That only works if 1 player is on the field.

    Even our team can’t kick goals without mitchel there.

    For gods sake, get other players goal kicking practice all week too and stop having mitchel be the only real play maker and kicker.

    let’s hope this dark period has brought some issues to light that our staff may begin to address.

    Onwards & upwards – let’s hope our eels can make a miracle…

    And reach the finals in 24’

    1. Choppy

      Emphatically disagree about Baz’s balls. It takes nearly no testicular fortitude to pick the team that most fans want. In doing so, you guarantee that you won’t cop a flogging in the socials. It takes much larger cojones to pick a team you think will win, especially if the fans disagree. Let’s hope this is the team that Baz actually wants, not just lip service to fans.

        1. Muz

          60’s maybe I should not have said listen to all the fans

          But think of what’s best for the club instead of being overly loyal or stubborn

          Great coaches or former players who are transitioning like Billy slater , coaches like Bellamy, or Bennett maybe even Trent Robbo.

          You would think most likely under them as coaches those players would of gotten a rest or reduced minutes.

          Several former players and analysts all seem to agree with those players either needing to be dropped or changing their minutes or roles.

          It’s not extreme to comment how poor lussick & lane have been, and the fact most other clubs would of moved faster than we did at trying to make changes.

          We are notorious at being slow to move in all aspects, from head office to I hate to say it – even down on the field vs other successful clubs.

          Anyhow, don’t mean to be negative. All of us just want what’s best for the club and hopefully the administration takes action for a mini roster clean out / and or upgrade for next year.

          1. pete

            Good points.
            The fan is almost the last to see need for change. But when the fans see it and call it out it’s already too late. These changes were extremely overdue I.e. Lane 80min, Paulo 60min, Reg 60min. This was going all last year making it very easy to coach against. When questioned by media – still No variation.

            Barrett has already reduced minutes for these guys. Something the data was saying last year.
            If the coach cannot adapt in game or identity emerging trends that coach will not last long. Yes we didn’t have a full squad…but look at all the other teams some missing 10 players and still winning.

      1. Muz

        Choppy I believe this is the team baz thinks can win, baz is also fighting cor his own future and for his own family with his job opportunities post eels if they decide to also move him on.

        Baz will be doing whatever he believes can help us win, in making fans happy and us losing he gains nothing from it.

        He’s clearly seeing the same things we are (eg lane + lussick), and is trying to make adjustments.

    2. sixties

      Muz, you saw plenty that I can tell you didn’t differ. I noted on Twitter and on the pod that people shouldn’t criticise Barrett for stepping into the role, or for little in the way of change. He had no time to make changes in the structure of the attack in just one session. The ball movement on early tackles had been there for the last month. It had been drilled at training over that time. The move of Lane to middle has happened before and was about to happen again anyway. The main difference was Hands getting more game time and that could have been due to injury. Even this week gives Baz almost no prep time. There was also no time for too many changes with the return of Moses and Gutho. If we get significant differences from Barrett you won’t see it till after this week.

      1. Muz

        60’s yeah I agree and believe you are right obviously baz (and historically any coach)

        Can’t make a lot of changes especially fast and expect it to work right away without causing often negative effects to a team.

        The big monkey in the room has been Sean lane dropping balls in key field positions right..

        And lussick possibly being burned out at dummy half, or just a big out of form.

        A dummy half plays a huge factor in a game as you know, as we saw last year and last week also.

        When hands came on we looked more threatening, we also started to score pts.

        Let’s hope lane can gather some form playing in the middle on reduced minutes as well.

        And the comment about “listen to the fans” blah blah

        I’m not saying all coaches should read comments online and listen to the fans like a fool.

        But just like slater talks about picking teams for QLD.

        He does what’s best for the state.

        I do think we had been too stubborn on keeping lussick, Lane, and sivo in at times.

        Mistakes those players have made has lead to tries against us every week – or extreme pressure due to their errors.

        Sean lane has been dropping so many balls and making so many errors.

        I know our depth hasn’t been great but it’s also about Sean – who I respect as a player.

        He may be needing reduced minutes and less pressure to gain confidence & form again.

        And lussick may also not be a 80 min hooker week in week out.

        Anyway just like we supported BA during the tough times for the most part.

        We have to respect Baz and back his decisions.

        He’s got our best interest at heart and at least he is trialing changes that may result in a different outcome.

        Sometimes a fresh set of ideas or new perspective can lead to something new.

        The game has changed and I do not also believe parramatta should be so reliant on Moses & gutho,

        Atm our team looks a bit lost without them.

        Especially in attack.

        Hopefully baz looks to diversify our attack to also be effective when key players like Moses aren’t there.

        Our old strategy’s all rely on moses or gutho or we simply seem ordinary.

        Let’s go eels, good luck to our team again this week

  4. TB

    Potentially Gutho goes to 9 and Blaize comes on at Fullback in the middle 30-40 of game? Matto may be late change to Offa. At least the changes a lot of us can see are starting to materialize. Mr Lane and Sivo can prob consider themselves very lucky to be given a reprieve, although Sivo did show signs of a pulse last week finally

  5. BDon

    Our best hope is still low errors/ high completions. Gutho and Mitch first game back don’t need the extra workload of invitations issued to an energetic opponent, and as we know, nor do our forwards in that 45 to 60 minute period where those opposite turn up the dial and start shredding our ruck.

  6. pete

    Lane last weeks move was long overdue. He’s not an 80min edge player as he’s been used. In reality, He’s lucky to be on bench.

    Sivo, scores 3 and costs 3 although he was better last week. Still a long way off. If they are keeping Blaize in 1st grade. I’d like to see Blaize serve his apprenticeship as winger ala Sualii. Keep his 20 carries per game.

    Gutho wants to remain fullback – Blaize has been running 200m from 20 carries. Gutho defence is better. But Gutho needs more carries. If Blaize plays second fullback sweeping back with 20 carries will help Gutho.

    Reg and Junior are run ragged in first 20min especially if we don’t keep possession. They don’t really recover and we get run through the middle.
    Getting to the point we need Reg to start 20min. Then Junior plays 20min before HT, and first 20min 2nd half. Then Reg final 20min. One big slow bopper at a time instead of two.

    Fast play the balls we get rolled on our back too easily. 2 quick play the balls will usually score after.

    1. Gutho
    2. Simmonson
    3. Penisini
    4. Russell/Lomax ’25
    5. Blaize 2nd fullback

    6. Dylbags
    7. Mitch

    8. Reg
    9. Hands
    10. Matto
    11. Tulagi/Doorey
    12. Carty
    13. Joe O/Hopgood

    14. Arthur
    15. Paulo
    16. Doorey.
    17. Gymer

    Focus on a more mobile pack and Blaize improve our back 5 carries…

    Anyway, it’s a great time to get Sharks.

    1. sixties

      I hope we can hold onto Matt Arthur. He’s essential for the future. I hope I’m wrong but it will be a big ask. On top of everything else, he’ll only be on a Dev contract next year. Should be top 30.

      1. pete

        BA said on ABC Matt will do his best “while he’s at Parra”
        I think the operative word is “while” . I suspect if BA goes somewhere his price will go up if he brings a promising dummy half with him..
        It’s a business and wheeling and dealing is a big part of it.

  7. Brett A

    Shaun Lane and Ryan Matterson

    Both have played mostly in the back row, but have been used in the middle off the bench

    Both have stunk in 2024
    Both were pretty average in 2023
    Both had very good 2022

    One seems like a really good guy
    One seems a little more self centered,

    One has been named on the bench
    One not named at all.

    I don’t mind Baz’s team this week. I don’t think Matto or Lane are fully deserving of a first 17 spot – and maybe if Hopgood had been available, Lane would have missed out. I just hope we don’t use “he’s a good bloke off the field” as a selection criteria..

    1. Poppa

      Matto has not stunk in 2024, his work rate has been very high.
      You guys read something somewhere and believe it, just like the smoke that is blown up Tulagi’s arse by the commentary teams……he is a long way away from being special and he is not quick…..I would play him on the wing if he must be in FG, otherwise its Emperors New Clothes time.

      1. John Eel

        There is a lot of commentary around picking Gutho at FB. Admittedly some are saying that there should be a place for Blaize presumably at FB.

        Blaize is not ready to take over from Gutho now. Maybe in a year or two but not now. Maybe wing or even centre is a good spot for him.

        Clearly Gutho is our best option right now.

      2. sixties

        Not sure why you are down on Blaize Poppa. He’s got plenty of learning to do , (he turned 19 this month) but he is a talent. I’ve watched him from Andrew John’s Cup and Harold Matt’s through to NRL. He has qualities that make him special. And to put this year in perspective, he missed most of the SG Ball season last year, before returning as a centre and smashing it, then elevated to Flegg late in the year after recovering from busted ribs and a collapsed lung and again starred. I didn’t write him up too much in the preseason because it would have heaped pressure on him when he was already being hyped. But he played fullback in Gutho’s absence (rehabbing) and I was stunned by how he adapted so quickly to a full preseason. I would have liked him to make a late season debut as he needed time to continue to learn the fullback trade. Circumstances pushed the classroom to the NRL level.

        1. Brett Allen

          100% agree 60’s. The mistakes he my ages are the same mistakes that every 19 yo makes.

    2. pete

      Given what we have I’d put Matto into prop. He’s big and very mobile with an offload. He’d tighten up our middle defence. Reg and Junior not on field together and both doing 20min when the other comes off. No longer 60min per game… the game has moved on. Tell them just run straight and hard for 20min. 60min per week is why they can only do it one week but not two weeks in a row. Explains our up down inconsistent performances.

    3. sixties

      It’s not a criteria Brett. Prior to 22 Lane was being groomed for a shift to the middle. Then he had the breakout season in 2022. A return to the middle last week had been planned anyway.

  8. A.B.

    I think it’s interesting that no one is having more of a say on our defence. The Bunnies are the only team that has let more points in than us. Yes there’s dropped ball and penalties to deal with, but watch the good to even average teams deal with defending their line for 3 or so sets and come out of it at the end. We are lucky to defend 4 tackles let alone sets.
    There’s been a lot of commentary about changes etc but if you score 30 points and they score 40 you still lose. We really do have enough attacking players and that will come out if we defend well and put pressure on the opposition.
    I don’t know who looks after the defence at training but wouldn’t that be a good place to start the rebuild. Once you see an improvement there I’m sure you’ll also see it in attack.

    1. sixties

      AB, our defence was ridiculously poor against Souths. It has been poor for large chunks of the season. But the Eels do a great job of piling pressure on their own defence through simple errors in possession. It wasn’t systemic defence errors against Souths, it was basic hit and stick misses or lack of effort on effort moments. If the attack gets the job done as they should, and that includes piling on pressure on the opposition defence, then opponents have less energy for their own attack. It’s something that Parra has failed to do too often in 2024. It’s a vicious cycle with attack and defence, they can’t be separated. Less errors is a good starting point, and then players taking personal responsibility for their efforts in defence.

      1. Muz

        60’s why do you think we are making so many errors in our own end as of late compared to the last few years?

        I feel like a lot of years we started off the season pretty tight often, without a lot of errors in many game’s especially in our own 30.

        Some have said it’s fitness lacking or fatigue.

        But that doesn’t make sense because a lot of it is being done early during the match?

        Interested to see what you think it might be?

        Obviously some will say lack of player talent…

        but I feel like our roster especially of forwards is not generally a high error count list of players.

        1. BDon

          Muz, last week our 16 errors were made 13 by the backs and only 3 by the forwards. Without Gutho and Moses the backs have been dicked around far more and might explain the error count. I watch the error situation closely each week, we drop too many good passes, but we also throw a lot of bad passes in pressure plays. Moretti got slammed for dropping the ball on his first hit up 3 games in a row,one in NSW Cup which I didn’t see, but the NRL ones were not good passes to a guy who gets high leg speed and needs half decent passes to get the most out of his runs. The average NRL error count was 10 then went up to 11 last year, probably the rule changes and faster games causing that, but we don’t have any problem exceeding the average, and on the rare occasion we come in under we beat Penrith. So what’s the reason? Confidence, fatigue, mental strength, concentration,risk,impatience, technique, communication, formation, combination…take your pick, but the chances are if you pick too many the team is stale.

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