The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – February 6, 2018: Player Overview

Writing 3-4 training reports per week can be a challenging task. There’s always the element of looking for something different to the day before.

There’s also the essential component of not describing set moves or standard shapes or plays that we are likely to witness this season. I’m certain that all Eels supporters would understand why such descriptions would not be found in TCT training reports.

I was wrestling with that today as I watched another training session unfold and then later as BA took the time to answer a few of my questions. There was plenty to like about what I witnessed and a bit for the squad to work on, but I wanted a point of difference for this report.

TCT readers deserve more than another description of how Norman and Moses dominated or details about the difficulty that the defenders had with Bevan’s elusiveness. Of course, I could write about that, because it was exactly what unfolded on the training paddock.

Indeed, the easy option would be to copy and paste the last two reports – after all, it would be entirely accurate!

Instead, I offer up the following brief overview of the efforts of some of the fringe players during this pre-season. This is not presented as in-depth analysis, simply observations of their work during the field sessions.

Nathan Davis

Davis in action.

Over the last few weeks, Davis would possibly qualify for a most improved award. The pre-season did not start well. He struggled with the endurance work (not unusual for outside backs) then sustained what appeared to be a leg strain early on.

After hitting the new year, Davis has featured as fullback for the green team and looked much sharper. Positionally he’s measured up, and in full stride he’s been a handful to contain. This will be a crucial year for the big back, and he’ll be looking to impress for Wenty from game 1.

Greg Leleisiuao

GL at the start of the pre-season.

Plenty of Eels supporters have called for GL’s inclusion based on television coverage of the Eels 2017 NYC finals appearances.

Like Davis, he struggled with early pre-season endurance work, and also found himself in rehab with a knee injury. Paralleling Davis again, he is one of the most improved, especially in conditioning, with this translating into solid opposed work.

This is Greg’s first year out of the 20s and he’s likely to spend 2018 learning to play senior level football out of Ringrose Park. No need to be impatient here as time is on his side.

George Jennings

George Jennings – close to a debut with the Eels?

The recipient of the 2017 NSW Cup Coach’s Award is in contention for a first grade call up this season. Jennings returned to pre-season training in superb shape, and the departure of Radradra has opened a first grade spot.

Last season I watched Jennings excel at Saleyards, even filling in at fullback for the green opposed team. This year, he’s filled in on the wing for the blue team. Come round 1, I’m expecting Hoffman and Auva’a to be selected in first grade. Jennings will be next in line.

Dane Aukafolau

Dane is now in his second pre-season.

This is Dane’s second NRL pre-season. The big centre caught the eye with his physical presence over the 2016/17 summer, following it up with a season fluctuating between Wenty’s ISP side and the Parra NYC team.

Moving into 2018, it appears as if he’s met conditioning expectations and he has performed solidly during the pre-season opposed work. Like GL, Dane is in his first year out of 20s and would be expected to spend 2018 honing his craft at centre for Wenty.

Marata Niukore

A big hit was needed to stop Marata.

Our 2017 ISP player of the year has trained in both the forwards and the backs during this pre-season. Though making his presence felt in the back row last year, he has added bulk to step up to a middle forward role.

Incredibly, his versatility has seen him fill in at centre for the green team during this pre-season. His powerful charges have been a feature of the last two weeks of opposed work.

Mitch has already written an extensive profile on Marata. I rate our Cook Islands International a genuine chance of debuting this year.

Reed Mahoney

Reed leads the way with Danny.

Reed has been the surprise packet of this pre-season. He set the standard early with his conditioning from week 1 of training and has not missed a beat since.

During the opposed sessions he has played in the halves and dummy half for the greens. His pace off the mark has been his best asset and he looks most dangerous during unstructured play.

The promising rake is still eligible for NYC but I’d expect him to spend time at Wenty too.

Ray Stone

Stoney is another 20s graduate enjoying his first NRL pre-season. Like Reed, he’s more than met the mark from a conditioning perspective. It can be challenging to meet the physical demands at the senior level but Ray has looked at home in the squad.

Stone – a new “perpetual motion”?

During opposed sessions, when Mahoney has filled in at half for the greens, Stone has filled in at dummy half. This versatility could help to open opportunities moving forward.

The quality that Stone has demonstrated at training is that he’s prepared to make effort on effort. It’s a valuable characteristic for a footballer to possess. Undoubtedly, the hard as nails back rower is a big part of the future of the Eels. He played a number of games of ISP last year, and I expect 2018 to be a continuation of his learning curve at that level.

Jaeman Salmon
The recruit from the Shire has impressed with his superior fitness from the first day of pre-season. For much of this time he has shared the rehab paddock with Gutho, and the player that the King has dubbed “the Apprentice” looks likely to be a future challenger for Eels fitness champion.

Salmon – look out Gutho.

Salmon has only just started opposed work, and is not yet involved in full contact. His skills work with Joey Grima has been exceptional, and given that he’s played across five-eighth, back row and centre at junior rep level, his future could take a variety of paths.

 

A graduate of the 2017 Sharks SG Ball team that finished runners-up to the Eels, his move west came as a surprise. I expect him to debut for Parra at Jersey Flegg level before progressing to ISP.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this slight detour from my regular reports. It’s back to business on Thursday for both Eels training and the Ringrose Park trials.

Eels forever!

Sixties

38
Click Here to Reply ...

avatar
15 Comment threads
23 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
Parra Pete, ThurgoonasixtiesRowdybennyBig Derek Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Loved the report on our up and coming stars. Well done.

Pou
Guest
Pou

Great stuff sixties. Can the season hurry up and start ffs

Trouser Eel
Guest
Trouser Eel

It must be very satisfying watching the development of these younger players. Let’s hope you’ll get the chance to look back and say “I watched him train back before he won his Dally M’s, I’m glad he’s still playing for us”

dday
Guest
dday

Great to hear about the fringe players and to know we have quality options coming through.

Chiefy
Guest
Chiefy

Brilliant update sixties. I love hearing about our best up and coming players and it definitely seems like Parramatta are in a very good position in that regard.

In fact this sixties blog was that good, I feel almost compelled to copy and paste it onto the 1ee and claim it my own !

But, it won’t be happening, I think ! 😁

dessy
Guest

You guys are the best in the business.!

All due respect not only are we the Parramatta supporters and readers of The Cumberland Throw greatful for your insightful articles. But the Parramatta organisation should be very appreciative for the detailed information you provide the readers.
You guys go above & beyond and I for one believe you should be on the Parramatta pay roll.

Thank you for your professionalism and unbiased analysis

Go Parramatta bring on 2018 season. Good luck all involved.!

Parra Pete, Thurgoona
Guest
Parra Pete, Thurgoona

Totally agree with you Dessy…
I wouldn’t mind forking out an Annual subcription to help you bloke with your costa, and time an effort.
I look forward to – and read every item – the boys publish.
Without a doubt, the BEST fan site on http://Www….BAR NONE..

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Excellent report 60’s, snippets such as these on the up and comers makes for very good reading. Its interesting to read about George Jennings, and the award he received, if he has anywhere near the pace that big bro had/has and defence is up to it, being a more specialised winger wont hurt his case one bit, no doubt would love to play alongside big boy. Jaeman Salmon, has very much the appearance of Gutho in the pic, if he makes the grade with Gutho in the side, would be a wind back to the days when Sterlo and Paul… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

It would seem that from the 8 players highlighted only 2 are local juniors. This would appear to be a change by BA from previous policy that tended to rely solely on home grown

Milo
Guest
Milo

Yes Sixties thanks again for the read and information on these young guys. I for one am impressed with Jennings and think he could be a viable option for our backs; Salmon also from my little view has been v impressive with his fitness and no doubt the coaches see him as a future half / back rower.
Should we assume these guys will be given good game time for the Norths trial?

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

I recently saw a picture of Tepai next to Nathan Davis who was on the far side. Nathan seemed huge, he certainly had larger thighs, and being taller would weigh around the same I would estimate. Could his future be in the forwards as imo he would become too large and lose mobility for a back? Based on the players at our disposal I’d assume his prospects of playing NRL would improve as a forward especially with his skill set.

Paul taylor
Guest
Paul taylor

Brillant mate as always. Loved the summary of these kids and you get a feel for where they might end up this year .

Given the way we have trained I am thinking we are going to play a very expansive game and lots of involvement and off the play action .

Thanks again for you and your team . Brillant stuff

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Sixties you mentioned that Ray Stone has spent a bit of time at dummy half in the Off season. I remember a game late in the season (not sure the opponent) he went to dummy half and darted over. I was impressed by the try at the time and mentioned it on here.

Couple that skill together with his good hole running, aggressive defence and his game sense and you can see that it would not be unthinkable to have him there.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Having thought about this try all afternoon I am not sure if he scored this try from dummy half or first receiver

Big Derek
Guest
Big Derek

Jeff Emery got a mention, he is now a senior detective and has been in the media for some high profile cases. The mix in the junior reps is very interesting, Fieldsy has adopted a policy of securing elite talent in positions where there are peceived gaps from our own system. This years Matts is 90% local, there are a few players in Ball recruited externally but still the majority have progressed through from Matts and mainly from our junior league. The names we expect to see in the next couple of years will form the basis of the club… Read more »

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

Wow Sixties, what a head-spin. So much to take in from the report on these up and comers and also the very constructive comments from many of the readers. It’s easy to see evidence of our success through these development pathways, having watched most of these young blokes play in the U20’s and for Wenty over the past couple of seasons. I hope to see most of the two trials tomorrow arvo/evening at Ringrose Park. Trials are usually a good indication of who is able to play at these senior rep levels and who might need to go back and… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Sixties what is the minimum salary for a top 30 contract. I thought it was $100,000. I read today in Foxsports that it is $85,000.

Any idea?