R19 v Titans: RCG's Century & A Seven-Year Hoodoo

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Reagan Campbell-Gillard celebrates his 100th game for the Eels on Saturday night against the Titans at CBUS Stadium in their 26th NRL clash.

Des Hasler's resurgent Titans are seeking 3-straight wins when when they face the struggling Eels facing 5-straight losses in their season from hell.  The Eels have won just one from their last ten games.

The Titans had a dominant victory over the Warriors the previous week (66-6) and a tense last Friday night win over the Sharks (20-16) in Coffs Harbour.

Due to Origin, the Eels will be without their halfback general Mitchell Moses while the Titans will be without their gun bookend Moeaki Fotuaika. But, they're in luck as somehow David Fifita has been overlooked once again by Queensland coach Billy Slater.

The Eels have had the wood over the Titans over the last five years, but recent form sees the Titans as hot favourites to continue their winning run and break a seven year hoodoo against the Eels. 

 

Teams

Date: Saturday 13 July 2014, 5:30pm AEST
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Referee: Todd Smith
Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
Bunker Review Official: Peter Gough
Sportsbet: Titans $1.44 , Eels $2.80 (Tuesday 6pm AEST)
Weather: Cloudy, but rain unlikely

Titans: 1. Keano Kini 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Beau Fermor 5. Jojo Fifita 6. Jayden Campbell 7. Kieran Foran 8. Josiah Pahulu 9. Sam Verrills 10. Erin Clark 11. David Fifita 12. Klese Haas 13. Chris Randall 14. Isaac Liu 15. Jacob Alick-Wiencke 16. Keenan Palasia 17. Phillip Sami 18. AJ Brimson 19. Joe Stimson 20. Tanah Boyd 21. Iszac Fa’asumaleaui 22. Jaylan De Groot. Coach: Des Hasler

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Jake Tago 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Blaize Talagi 5. Lorenzo Mulitalo 6. Dylan Brown 7. Daejarn Asi 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Brendan Hands 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Matt Doorey 13. Charlie Guymer 14. Matthew Arthur 15. Shaun Lane 16. Luca Moretti 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Makahesi Makatoa 19. Isaac Lumelume 20. Joey Lussick 21. Morgan Harper 22. Wiremu Greig  Interim Coach: Trent Barrett

 

For the Eels, the hits keep coming. Paolo joins Hopgood out for the season, along with long term injuries to Sivo and Simonson. It's forced some changes and blooding youngsters. Moretti comes into the 17.  Guymer the Great starts at lock (a potential Supercoach option).  Asi comes in for Origin-bound Moses.

Lorenzo Mulitalo, brother of Sharks flyer Ronaldo, will be the second debutant on the wing for the Eels in as many weeks after Jake Tago was blooded against the Rabbitohs.

That's six debutants for the Eels over the last few months since round three: Sanders, Talagi, Matt Arthur, Tago, Mulitalo, Guymer with the bulk coming from the 2023 SG Cup winning squad - and a few more waiting in the wings.

For the Titans, they welcome back the dangerous Jayden Campbell at five-eighth (from hand injury) with AJ Brimson (groin) at 18th with an outside chance of playing. Klese Haas also returns from injury (foot). Somehow, the Maroons svw overlooked the powerhouse dangerman David Fifita.

 

Stats:

  • They Eels have won 8 of their past 9 games against the Titans
  • The Eels last lost at CBUS against the Titans seven years ago in 2017 (R3)
  • The last four encounters since 2022 between the Eels and Titans have been nail-biters decided by 1 to 6 points (W25-24, L26-24, W26-20, W32-28)
  • The Eels have won 1 from 8 without Moses this year.
  • Titans winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira has scored 4 tries in two games against the Eels.
  • Winger Blaize Talagi has scored a try in his last 7 games for the Eels.
  • The Titans have not won 3-straight in three years since 2021 (R19-21).
  • The Eels are staring at 5-straight losses for the second time this year; the first time since 2018 and the only two times in almost thirty years since 1995.


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CBUS Home and Away Woes: a Seven-Year Hoodoo

The Titans have stuggled at CBUS (above), at home, this year while the Eels have struggled outside Commbank.

The Eels have only won 1 of their last 11 games (8%) outside Commbank since mid-last year and have not won one game outside Commbank in 2024.

Meanwhile, the Titans have also struggled at CBUS at home: They’re only won 2 of their past 7 games (29%) at Cbus.

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The last time the Eels lost to the Titans at CBUS in seven years since R3, 2017. Hayne was it the Titan’s jersery but sidelined.

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 A then youthful Gutherson is the sole reminder of that game, seven years ago.

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A montage produced by the Eels club.

Reagan Campbell-Gillard set to play his 100th game for the Eels. The prop played 114 first-grade games for the Panthers before joining the Eels in 2020 and will become only the 32nd player in premiership history to reach a century for two clubs. A rare feat.

 

The Future: Full Of Hope,  Uncertainty, & Love For Baz

Earlier today, both captain Clint Gutherson and Eels' Centurion RCG spoke to the media about the mielstone, the Titans game and the future ahead.

On his milestone, Campbell-Gillard was modest and humble: "I only found out about it yesterday."

"I wouldn't say it's an important one, but it's nice to get a little milestone."

"We've got nine weeks to finish off the season on a high. And then get away from football. Once he's here [Jason Ryles], we can start knuckling down."

 

Eels' Senior Group: We love Baz

Earlier today, Gutherson, like Moses and Lane, expressed hope that the Eels would keep Barrett in light of Ryles appointment as the next head coach.

"It would be great to keep Baz around. He's been great for us the last two years.” Gutherson told reporters.

"I'd love to have Baz around. But, it's out of my pay grade."

"The way he's handled the last few months, shows the kind of person he is." Gutherson exclaimed.

“I think with the cards that Baz has been dealt since coming in, and the job that he's done for us, all the boys love him, and we've all got the utmost respect for him,” Moses said.

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Moses credits his outstanding form over the last two years to Barrett.

 

“I know personally with my game, he's been massive for me and to even be in this arena I've got to thank him a lot for that, so hopefully he stays on," Moses told reporters as reported on nrl.com.

“He's helped me so much in the last few years with my game and how to play in the halves, and control games, and things like that.

“Obviously we haven't been getting the results as a team, but personally, for my game, I probably wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him in the last few years, so I've got to thank him a lot for that.”

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Gutho: Lomax in no doubt

Gutherson also laughed off rumours Lomax was having hesitations.

"I don't think there was any hesitation from Zac [Lomax]. He's been calling me weekly about footy and talking. So, I don't think there is any hesitation there," Gutherson pointed out with a smile.

"He's just looking forward to a change."

"I think even with Mitchy in Origin camp, he's been stuck to him. So, he's a great player and we're looking forward to having him."

"I don't think there was ever any doubt about him coming."

 

Ryles excitment factor

On the incoming head coach, current Storm assistant Jason Ryles from 2025 for four years, both RCG and Gutherson were bullish and full of praise.

"He's [Ryles] been successful at both clubs. As I said before, the two coaches he's been working for over the last 10-12 years, they've won comps and done it all before." Gutherson noted.

"He's going to be great for the club."

"They're obviously putting a lot of faith in him to come and do it the way he wants to."

RCG, also added: "I'm just looking forward to it. [Now that] it's all sorted and we can focus on the rest of the year first, and then move onto next year as well."

"It's exciting [Ryles’ appointment], but like I said, we've still got nine more games."

"The game's getting quicker and faster, the players and the new generation coming through are quicker and stronger. So, you've got to be on your toes to match it with them."

"I'll probably get a new leash of life [from the Ryles appointment]. I've still got a few more years here. We'll see what happens."

Who stays, who goes?

When RCG was asked about the possibility of not being in Ryles future plans.

"I wouldn't say I was concerned. If he wants me, he wants me," RCG responded.

"I haven't had any conversations about the future [with Ryles]. If he doesn't want me, he doesn't want me. Then, I know it's part of the business. I can deal with that."

"Then, I'll just move on and find something else. It's the business we're in. The highs and the lows that come with it."

Gutherson also admitted some might get a tap on the shoulder.

“That’s another thing for the new staff to come in and sort of make a decision on. There’s a lot of older boys that might get a tap on the shoulder, might not, it’s just the way it is.

“You have to deal with it," Gutherson admitted.

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Gutho: We're better than the results

Gutherson pointed out that the Eels have been a better team that the results suggest.

"The last two months we've been playing better than the results say."

"We've been in games right to the end, but haven't been able to ice them."

In a sense, Gutherson is right. The Eels have been ahead early to mid second half in 11 of 16 games this season  and in a position to win most games.

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In last week's 32-16 Souths’ loss at home, against a red-hot Souths team that would be leading the competition from round twelve and undfeated since then with five-straight wins the Eels fought back from 12-0 down after 12 minutes to be behind by just 16-10 on the scoreboard up until the 56th minute. But from then the Eels faded and Souths took control run away with the match, showing their class on the back of Mitchell and their spine.

It's something that has happened at the back-end of every game. It’s not if, it’s when. Generally, the Eels fade from around the 50th minute (without Moses) or from the 65th onwards (with Moses). It’s a consistent theme.

 

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RCG on the Titans: It will be a tough game.

"Their back five [Titans] are very quick and lightning. So, we have to control them,” Reagan Campbell-Gillard told reporters earlier today.

"Keiren Foran is playing some great football along with Fifita."

"It's going to be a good challenge and a tough challenge."

"We're just desperate to get a win. We'll do anything and everything to make sure we get that,” Gillard noted.

Gutherson, reiterated the same: "We just need a win. I'm sick of losing.”

The future ahead for the Eels, who are a declining and ageing force currently equal last, appears challenging. But with some promising juniors, a talented core group, a new head coach confrimed yesterday, the incoming Lomax and perhaps more recruits, there is as much uncertainty as hope.

 

 

 

As of Tuesday, 9 July, 2024 (at 6pm AEST) Sportbet has the following odds:

Titans ($1.44) hot favorites over the Eels ($2.80) break the Eels seven year Cbus hoodoo.

Eels as second favourites to win the wooden spoon in a three horse race: Wests Tigers ($1.91), Eels ($2.50), and Titans ($7.50).

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Replies

                • Poppa, thanks for your kind words. I can take zero credit for the excellent RCG montage. It was done by our club (I made a note crediting them). Kudos to the club graphics people for that.

                  The club deserve credit for improving & modernizing their graphics and online social media profile. There is also the clever "Parradisemarketing project launched last year. As much as many of us, me included critical of the club, they have done some good things off-field footy tasks such as:

                  • highest membership numbers
                  • fifth ranked revenue for clubs in 2023 FY
                  • a $30m turn around from being $12m in the red in 2016-17 for the PNRL to become the most profitable
                  • Community donations
                  • Online social media modernization 
                  • Hardies sponsorship
                  • Parra Council partnership 

                  Unfortunately, despite every company needing competent fiscal management and marketing to survive, they are failing is where it counts the most and what they're responsible for: on-field footy success. 

                  I don't understand why they don't want or can't find a way to get the most competent people on board.

                  The likes of Peter O'Sullivan, or a Brian Smith (fingers crossed) or a Brian McDemott (who was very interested to be involved with us and saw potential). Even why we lost the likes of Matt Cameron - a talent recognized and thriving at the Panthers. Or Steve Edge who mentored The Dogs' CEO at the Eels S&M front of house and now is at Saints (I believe?). Or Daniel Anderson. Another high footy IQ (with a tragic accident) recognozed by the Roosters. Examples of a footy brain drain at the top of my head; the tip of the iceberg.

                  Ryles may have potential - and the best 10-12 year apprenticeship under Bellamy, Robbo and Eddie Jones which includes some pathways (at the Storm I believe) - but he is unproven in head coaching. No one knows really.

                  I just don't get it. Whether it's politics or Ideologies or whatever? Blind spot? Rejection? Not sure.

                  • In missing McDermott we have missed a wonderful opportinity, my fingers are still crossed as well with regards to a competent replacement for MON. Whose position is now untenable in my opinion,  maybe not the cause, but the reality is it was his watch and he has to share the responsibility.

                    I find Barrett's sitution an interesting one, personally I like the guy but he does seem indecisive, arguably why he has  fared well as an assistant (but has he),  he also like MON has to share "some" responsibility. Will Ryles hire him in sympathy with the players that support him or will he be tough and explain to him it is too awkward to stay?

                    It probably comes back to Ryles judgement and comfort with him and that in itself is Ryles first big test.

                    • Pops, exactly. We've missed an opportunity by not valuing a proven head coach winner in McDermott but only the likes of Gus & a minority in the NRL world realise it. We're none the wiser for it. Silver linings, I suppose. There's only hope left.

          • If DB is surplus to Parra's requirements Ryles should get rid of him now and trade him to someone else and his contract elsewhere.

            But I know Ryles ain't that dumb and I bet you DB is one of the reasons he took the job at Parra.

            • Coryn think he meant Brimson is signed to a long contract like Brown, not that he is surplus.

            • Well I didn't say DB was surplus for starters , however I don't think Ryles would've signed because of Dylan Brown.  In-fact I'd say a player like Dylan that's not performing to his ability would be more of a concern , whilst also seen as a challenge with potential. 

              • I think Ryles looked at the side and saw who the halves were and thought to himself yep I can work with that.It's a have and have not league the nrl.Without halves your history regardless.

                Parra are extremely lucky in that respect I think that's a huge enticement taking Parra as most things on teams are fixable but finding quality halves in a side at the sametime one at his peak and the other heading to his peak are a huge carrot and are as rare as hens teeth.

                THAT.IT
                • Wayne Bennett , Madge and Justin Holbrook are the only coaches that are actual coaches available. And none of them were attracted to our halves enough to want to coach us. 3 blokes with training wheels were the only serious contenders. 

                  I think you're over thinking it.  We weren't exactly the catch of the decade it seems. 

                  • Wiz, is is true that neither Madge nor Holbrook actually expressed any interest whatsoever? Interesting. JD did. McDermott almost certainly would have taken the role if given a decent chance.

                    • I'm sure McDermott is holding out for the Newcastle job, I reckon O'Brien will gone by seasons end.

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