The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – January 3, 2018: Standing Room Only

Imagine rocking up for your first day of work and being confronted by a swarm of media filming and reporting on every move you make.

This is what returning Eel Jarryd Hayne faced today.

That’s not to say that it wasn’t expected.

Given the publicity surrounding Hayne’s contract and the recent civil action being pursued against him in the States, only a closed session would have avoided today’s media circus. Of course, such measures would only heighten the attention coming his way so the only course of action was to approach Day 1 of 2018 training as “business as usual.”

With that in mind, this report will briefly focus on the business of preparing a football team.


Commencing the day on the athletics track across the road from Old Saleyards (and away from the media), the players were pitched straight into a 2km time trial.

The grass was particularly long but there would be no time adjustments for the conditions.

Jaeman Salmon and Daniel Alvaro were the standouts as they led the squad home. Corey Norman and Tim Mannah also finished in this leading group, with Harold Matthews halfback Jake Arthur finishing third, just behind “The Apprentice” and “Polar”.

Beau Scott near the front of the pack.

There’s been plenty of speculation about Beau Scott and I can report that not only did he return to training today, but he finished in the middle of the squad in the 2km run – quite an achievement for his first day back.

The conditioning work continued back on the Old Salesyard Ovals with the media contingent assuming the role of “interested spectators”.

Beau Scott continued to impress as he led his group at different times during this session. It was not unexpected to see Hayne and a couple of the other returning fellas feeling the pinch. Some critics might try to make plenty from this, but Lachlan Wilmot will have these players catching up with their mates soon enough. When it came time to showcase his skills during the ball work, Hayne didn’t disappoint.


Today marked the first occasion during this pre-season that the entire squad was in attendance. Accordingly, it was the first time that the full field has been used in any form of opposed work.

Tim Mannah attempts to elude Kenny Edawrds.

After working through some ball movement drills and running some sets, the squad split into two teams for a game of four tackle, two hand touch.

With kicks concluding each set, the ball saw plenty of air for three tackles. The rapid play and kick/chase made the game as much about conditioning as it was about skills or combinations.

The number of players in action made it difficult to keep track of too many individual performances. However, we did witness:
* a Hayne intercept
* some evasive footwork from French and Smith in the fullback roles
* an impressive shift from Manu Ma’u to create pace out wide
* King providing great service and intelligent kicking
* Norman and Moses reminding everyone of their ball skills.

After close to two hours the whistle was blown.

Gutho Update

Throughout the entire session Clint Gutherson ran. He ran and ran and ran.
He ran straight lines, he changed direction, he ran more straight lines.
The man is a fitness freak.

We all know that he won’t be rushed back. His knee requires maximum rehabilitation and maximum strength before he takes the field again. Watching “The King” work, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’ll be ready for Round 1. However, there’s still a long way to go and Eels fans can be assured that there’ll be no shortcuts.

A Final Word

For anyone who hasn’t watched Jarryd Hayne’s press conference, the few words he gets to speak about football are worth catching. He showed great composure in trying to direct the questions back to football, wisely following his legal advice.

On the topic of his team, he stated that he’s never played in a Parramatta team with so much talent from 1 to 17. Hayne talked up the skills of fellow backs such as Norman, Moses, Gutherson and French. Unfortunately the media scrum wasn’t there to talk footy, so few questions explored his thoughts about the coming season.

I’m looking forward to watching the Eels return to work tomorrow without the media throng. The absence of many players before Christmas has meant that very little opposed work has taken place during this pre-season. When the footy starts getting thrown around, the season feels just a little bit closer.

Eels forever!


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Colin Hussey

Good report as usual 60’s. I watched the midday news and then the 6pm one that was more focused on the media even with JH, most would have seen that and for me he answered it all very well. Certainly he was determined in proclaiming his innocence and we need to trust in that and wait for the result in time. In the midday news there was a bit of film showing JH training and running, he certainly did not look to be putting in a lot although that could have been part of editing, however I thought he looked… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Thanks 60’s that puts it into the right perspective as to how JH was going. I look at the photo’s of him at training and he certainly looks to have more of a stout build, remembering when news filtered out from the 49er’s the staff there said he had to lose the rugby shape and a lot of effort was put into that transition, suggesting another change is needed for him. Thing to me perhaps is that if Gutho is not ready for the early rounds and it opens up more of a spot for JH, methinks he would be… Read more »

paul taylor

Great report as usual. I thought Hayne handled himself well on the media today. He was very much focussed on the football and made that obvious.

What do you make of this young bloke SALMON. Even Rothfield in Sundays paper highlighted him as a starter in NRL this year. Anyone else looking impressive mate > Hows BROWN and EVANS looking ?

Thanks mate.


Thanks again mate awesome report 👍

Gem KM

Nice stuff Sixties, can you believe it’s january already?! March is closer than ever.

I’ll be very interested to see what Lachlan Wilmott can get out of JH, given his history of not being overly outstanding in the past – I get the feeling there will be nowhere to hide!

Scott Selmes

60s, i would have to say Kingy would have to be first choice hooker right? He has a great kicking came and ball skils all off which Kaysa doesn’t have? Your thoughts?

Interesting to see how Norman takes Moses leading the team around this year. Mitch has real potential that is blooming where i think Norman has in fact peaked in his career i hope iam wrong but time will tell.

Captian 2018?


It’s not all about ball skills or kicking, especially for a bloke who defends in the middle. It’s a physical game and Pritchard leaves King behind in that regard. If we could combine them we’d have a world class dummy half. Maybe they’ll both be in the 17.

John Eel

I understand that they both have something to offer but I was really impressed last year with kings service to his first receivers. Quick and precise

I think that will win the day for him


I think today was handled as well as could be by the club and I have to say I was impressed that Hayne even fronted the media and was calm and modest. It did not come across as someone who was forced kicking and screaming to do it. I also like that the club did not step in too much and ‘control’ the media conference that would have created more drama and a bigger media frenzy. I have to laugh Jarryd was always go to say nothing on the claims and rightly so and some journalists were going to ask… Read more »

Uncle Jack

How was the comraderie between the players and Hayne?


Awesome report sixties, thanks.


Superb read again Sixties; loved the read and the comments too from others. The media will always try and talk it up or down about JH.
Lets fast fwd to March and see where things are then. JH will be ok. BA will have his targets and if he’s good enough so be it.
For me the fwds are our key this season, besides injures.


Frank Pritchard????

Big Derek

What was pleasing today was the support of the club for Jarryd, after the disgraceful article by Andrew Webster , it was time for the club to stand up. No doubt we will continue to see the biased culture of the press, as Eels fans we should stand beside our players and look forward to the season ahead Obviously the comments from Jarryd that there is a spread of playmakers across the club was encouraging as it showed a different attitude to his previous time at the club. He has time to get his fitness to the required level, back… Read more »


Webster has his own biases; and this has been shown during last season. Doesn’t matter tbh Big Derek, our team will show on the field.

John Eel

It must be remembered that Webster encouraged Kafusi to kneel and not participate in the National Anthem while playing for the Kangaroos


Why was that John? Doesn’t surprise me; this bloke is a good lefty.

John Eel

He wanted him to follow the lead of the Black athletes in the US

Achilles' Eel

I’d say that things played out rather well today: the club stood tall, Hayne was undeterred and professional, and Sixties showed the reporters how to do their job. Well done to all involved.


Great report Sixties, as usual. The culture we now talk up at Parra is something BA has instigated and nurtured. As much as I hate to say it BA brought a siege mentality to our club from his days at Manly. At least we have finally got something back from them! When you consider the depth of true 1st graders we now have which is another BA initiative, unlike in the past when we would have many past their prime NRL standard players. The selection possibilities are endless when injuries inevitably strike. Building a mix of seasoned NRL players with… Read more »

John Eel

A siege mentality can’t be relied on to work forever. Playing for each other will bring success and I think that is the subtle difference that BA has achieved


Nice report 60’s. The return of the prodigal son was well handled all around. For any of his detractors, Jarryd spoke well and far improved on many of the other pressers I have seen him do.
Personally I can’t wait for the time when just purely our “ footy” makes the headlines and all this other stuff gets pushed to the background.


Loved all of the pre-season write-ups, including this one. Thanks sixties and TCT. The press certainly was well managed today and will need to be over the next few weeks. Josh (media manager) will definitely have his work cut out for him, but how he has transformed the way we are reported over the last 12 months, will set a solid foundation through this ‘episode’. I reckon it will fizzle and as others have said, our football will be the headline more than anything else. Looking forward to the report from the next few training sessions with the full squad… Read more »


I did read that article. Puts everything in perspective doesn’t it? The respect that guy (BA) commands is 100% earnt.


Nice informative piece. I used to watch Jaeman Salmon playing for De La Salle Caringbah – he was always dominant and a natural footballer – a genuine prospect to play first grade – wish him all the best.


Where is Salmon going to play position wise.
I watched him play 5/8 for both sharks and Nsw u18s and I’m not really impressed with him there. I think his more of a back rower with great skills but lacks in defence

John Eel

Agree with the comments about Chammas was the most balanced article that I have seen.

Sixties I hope you are not causing us to supporters peak too early. Can’t wait for the season to start. Trials will do.

Keep the reports coming


Hi craig great read again .I would like to take my young fella down to watch a training session jst wondering are they training at the saleyards tomorrow morning ?what time do they start ?


Sixties, You wrote above the squad did a 2km time trial. Can you confirm some times ran please.!

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