The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – February 16, 2018: The Battle of the Blue and Gold

The in-house trial. How good is this!

Almost full on footy and players looking to execute all those shapes, all those plays, all those drills from the pre-season. Individuals looking to impress as team members.

Home vs Away

Blue vs Gold

As the clock struck 8am, both teams filed from the sheds onto the field. The Blue moved to the eastern end of Saleyards and the Gold took up their spot at the western end.

The typical pre-match warm ups then commenced. Passing, running into strike pads, getting basic shapes right – think about what you usually see during the warm ups on match day and it was done today.

With about 15-20 minutes of pre-match ritual completed, the players took up their match positions, the clock was set to 30 minutes and the ref blew the whistle. Game on!

The opening exchanges featured great hands from a number of forwards as they worked into executing their shapes. Nathan Brown laid on a pearler which sent Tim Mannah charging through the middle of the ruck, and Mannah followed this up with a collection of bullocking runs.

There would ultimately be some alternating between the teams (not interchanging) with the forwards, but with first grade halves calling the shots, it wasn’t long before the Blues began to assert their dominance.

Most backline shifts looked to challenge the Gold defence, yet it was a controversial call from the referee which awarded the first try to Michael Jennings. The play started with a shift to the right and a magnificent line run by Hayne. Cutting back infield, he collected a pass that was closer to his feet than his chest and burst into open space and was finally rounded up by the cover defence ten metres out.

Another shift, this time to the left, found Jennings on the outside of Niukore. In a remarkable ball and all tackle, the young Cook Island international appeared to strip the ball before Jennings could ground it, but the referee saw enough to award the try. There appeared to be surprise on the face of both players.

Hayne again featured in the next try. Hitting the ball at pace just inside the twenty, he had the defence back-pedalling as he charged towards the line. With the winger finally drawn in to make the tackle, a superbly timed pass found Hoffman who merely strolled over.

The next four-pointer, on the back of a dropped bomb, was far too soft for anyone’s liking. The Golds were in poor position next to the ruck, allowing Kaysa Pritchard to dive over from dummy half. The space next to the play-the-ball left Reed Mahoney with little chance of effecting a one-on-one tackle right on the line.

The final try of the first half again featured that man, Jarryd Hayne. Running off Mitch Moses, the “Plane” drew early interest from the defensive winger. This time the centre threw an early ball to Hoffman, and the winger again had a clear passage to the line.

There were a few positional changes in the backline during the second half, as players were rested or interchanged. This highlighted the versatility within the squad and the ability to cover injuries during a match. Will Smith featured heavily in these changes, playing wing, half and fullback at different times.

The half began poorly for the Blues through an unexpected try to the Gold’s Dane Aukafolau. After having to turn around to pick up an ill-directed pass to his wing, the big outside back took off on a diagonal run from just outside the 20 to plant the ball under the posts. The field literally opened up in front of him.

Only one more try was added in a second half in which the Blues controlled both territory and possession. Again it featured Hayne.

A perfectly timed pass again put Hoffman into the clear down the wing. As the fullback came across in cover, Mitch Moses loomed up in support to accept the ball and cross the line.

The Standouts
Jarryd Hayne – he was the epitome of restrained confidence in easily his best effort of the pre-season. He concluded the session with more conditioning work during the extras.

Josh Hoffman – classy, professional, fast. He’s underrated by quite a few fans and it baffles me as to why.

Mitch Moses – his combination with Norman is showing the benefit of having a pre-season together. He reads the play well and is an outstanding communicator.

Will Smith – seemed to play everywhere

Tim Mannah – ran great lines and often broke the first tackle.

Nathan Brown – a reminder of 2017 today.

Tepai Moeroa – imposed himself defensively.

Beau Scott – doesn’t understand the word restraint. Physically and verbally he was constantly in the game.

The Concern

No prizes for guessing this – the play-the-ball.

There were at least 4 or 5 penalties, and this was from a single ref. The reality is, that a pocket referee watching the play-the-ball would have found more infringements.

The coaches had the squad practising their action during extras.

Next week, the preparations for the Newcastle trial begin.

Eels forever!

Sixties

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Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Great report 60’s, almost like being there, almost.

Braeden
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Braeden

Was Kingy playing with the Blue or Golds?

Jason
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Jason

Wow…..things are starting to really intensify as we edge closer to Round 1 which is expected….can’t wait.
As usual, a very detailed and insightful report 60’s!

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Wow Sixties, how good was that. I felt like I was at the game (I mean opposed session)!

Haynes performance does not surprise me at all. He’s clearly bought in to the team culture and sounds like the Hoffman is reaping the benefit of this coach killer having killed his last coach?

Timmy back to his blockbusting best up the centre of the ruck. Makes me want to shed a little tear. Mitchell Moses will blossom into the halfback that we have wanted for many years. Maybe even the one that NSW has been looking for too.

Paul Munro
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Paul Munro

Great article thanks for writing it.

Pou
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Pou

Awesome sixties! I can smell the imminence of the liniment. The linimence.

mitch
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Comment of the day for mine.

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

I really do hope Hayne continues this through the season. Not just for our club’s sake. NSW need that kind of spark too.
Also, Hayne (to my knowledge) hasn’t been one of those footballers that go raging around embarrassing themselves with poor behaviour. In a lot of respects, he’s a role model. This I don’t say lightly as I don’t think footballers generally should be expected to be role models, but when one rises to the top we shouldn’t cut them down as we often do.
Great write up as usual Sixties. It’s getting me excited.

Rocket
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Rocket

Great description.
Who played on the left wing?
I presume Hoffman was on the right.
Thanks

Scott Selmes
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Scott Selmes

If we run with one hooker Kingy , first choice bench will be kenny , will smith will be the utility which means two big boppers. Will smith is going to be part of the Eeels future.

Pou
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Pou

9 could be Pritchard as well. Plenty of Eels fans need to prepare themselves. King might be a nice guy but Kaysa Pritchard is a massive talent.

Big Derek
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Big Derek

Pou, King is the superior dummy half which is very apparent when you watch at the ground. Kaysa can do some splash plays, but does not provide the all round no 9 game that King does. That really is the story of the 2 players.

Look at the consistent run I we had with King at 9 at the and of the season, should explain the team dynamic which is best suited by King

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Aha, thank you Pou. I get the opportunity to make another observation. I thought Kingy was fabulous in all those games he played at the back end 2017 and his service from dummy half was almost faultless with Moses and Norman relishing the clean accurate passes as did the big boppers on first receiver. But… Having watched the games Kaysa played on Fox (Recap-Eels) in a side that didn’t go so well early in the season with suspensions and injuries to key forwards? Well Kaysa killed’em with his darts out of dummy half, backing up through the middle and his… Read more »

Pou
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Pou

He certainly does Rowdy. I think King begefitted from Moses/Norman outside him every week more than they benefitted from him. He’s smarter and makes less mistakes than Pritchard but he offers less in defence and has no running game.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

It will be a very interesting contest between Kaysa and Cameron this year, both offer something the other does not really have, all it will take is for one of them to grab the missing bit in their play to take the 9 mantle.

My thinking is that it will pretty come down to 2 things 1: Injuries, who gets through with no time line injuries. 2: Who picks up in their needed areas. Kaysa – Passing & Cameron, run abilities.

Milo
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Milo

Think you’re spot on Col; i also think BA may use them in a horses for courses style too; pending on the teams we play. I may be wrong but this may help. Both are good but Kind for me is more all round and stable and he kicks well.

BEM
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BEM

When you look at what both hookers offer King is the better way to go. Pritchard has a good running game out of dummy half and is a good defender but his passing game is woeful. He stands there looking around when the ball is played which gives the defence precious seconds to get up and tackle the attacking player. He also doesn’t have a kicking game. King is just as good a defender but doesn’t have as good a running game. King’s service out of dummy half is light years ahead of Pritchard. The other big plus is King… Read more »

Grunta
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Grunta

I can recall Kaysa missing a couple of tackles late in games which added to other reasons we lost them. There were a couple of horrible misses he made. He is one of the best when he has a full tank of petrol, but can make bad mistakes looking for the service station 😉
King isn’t as energetic early in games but doesn’t seem to tire as noticeably.
A great problem to have and we need both as they share some history of injuries.

BEM
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BEM

Yes Grunta we do need both.
We need Kysa playing for Wenty as a back up.
He should only see first grade if King is injured.
Even then I would probably go with Will Smith.

Pou
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Pou

If you’re looking at stats you’ve missed the area where Pritchard is one of the best players in our team (with Alvaro and Mannah) – tackles per minute. This is a direct reflection of the effort a middle forward makes to get numbers into the tackle. A major reason why the opposition found it so hard to get quick play-the-balls.

As for missed tackles leading to tries, that’s the fault of the player’s mates not filling the gaps. It’s not up to the player what happens after he misses a tackle. That is the responsibility of his team mates.

Rowdy
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Rowdy

A compelling argument in defense of Kaysa Pou. I just watched him run down a tearaway Guernsey Critchon on Eels Recap 12th round 2017. There is no greater measure of commitment in our team than those extra efforts that Kaysa makes. Although different weight divisions, Kaysa and Beau Scott both play above their punching weight and are capable of making inspirational efforts at times when they are needed to lift their team mates. It would be remiss of me not to mention; Another little Rowdy came into the world today, my 4th grandchild. Although I love them all this little… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Good post on each account Rowdy.

Congrats Granpops on new grandson, they are great at that age, and best part one can enjoy them and hand back to parents as required.

We got a new pup 2 weeks ago, a make Border Collie, at 7 weeks old, even now at near 9 weeks its going just like one would expect, loves chewing things especially hands and feet.

MattL
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MattL

Agreed, King all the way. I don’t think that there’s any comparison at all. Kaysa is a good, but at times immature player. Getting injured going for unnecessary big hits etc & leaving the team down a player in an important position is not an uncommon habbit. King on the other hand is the perfect hooker to play inside creative halves like ours. He plays a professional & restrained role that is for the benefit of the team. Providing quality fast ball that our smaller forwards need & long balls to our main strike weapons out the back. I also… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Thanks mate great read and would’ve been good to see. For me as long as the halves do their work and forwards limit errors we will be ok…..are you heading up to Maitland next wk?