Hello torture, my old friend….
It’s November, and that means it’s time for the Eels pre-season training reports to kick in. And to clarify – these reports aren’t making comparisons to other clubs and their preparations. Every NRL squad will look to step up on the preparations from the previous year. (Read “toughest pre-season ever” etc). It goes with the territory of any fully professional team sport.
The purpose of TCT’s reports is to keep Parra supporters up to date with the team’s pre-season.
And there’s already been plenty of attention given to the Eels’ return to work.
Listening to Brad Arthur’s media call on Thursday, it appears that there’ll be no excuses for players not being united in attitude, effort and execution. The word “relationships” was highlighted, and reading between the lines, I’d suggest that there were players who didn’t put the team first in 2018.
Ultimately, every player must be on the same page in the coming season.
That interpretation doesn’t require much elaboration for Eels supporters who’ll be demanding a quantum leap when it comes to the standard of the team in 2019.
For today, there’s a couple of things to get out of the way.
Jarryd Hayne was not in attendance. Both Michael Jennings and Peni Terepo have had representative duty and have not returned. Blake Ferguson was also absent. Michael Potter was working with one of the groups today.
The first of the players, those younger ones new to the group, returned to Saleyards for orientation on Wednesday. Typical first day protocols followed when the rest of the squad assembled on Thursday. Fitness testing (beep tests) were then the order of the day before the players hit the fields for a few drills.
The heat really kicked in for my return to Saleyards today (Friday). Fortunately the work was conducted on the second field, meaning that those of us in attendance could watch from the shade of the shed.
Here’s a quick run down of Friday:
In a session that was primarily (though not exclusively) conditioning, Adrian Jimenez was the dominant voice. The coaches and high performance staff were all involved in the stations and drills, but Jimenez was barking the orders – demanding maximum effort. He laid down the law before the work began, then enforced the standards from there on.
The conditioning began with up and back intervals, with very little respite between sets. Any stragglers ate into their moments of rest before the next set began.
After this period of running the squad was divided into three for rotation between skills stations.
Group 1 – defence line movement
Group 2 – up/down defence into loose ball recovery and play the ball
Group 3 – ball skills – speed of hands
The entire squad then worked on marker drills. It’s obvious that the coaches are looking for a big improvement around the ruck.
The session finished with a 1.2km run. The squad was essentially split into forwards and backs.
The top finishers made for interesting reading:
2nd Dylan Brown
3rd Haze Dunster
4th Kyle Schneider
5th Reed Mahoney
1st Tim Mannah (a machine!)
2nd Salesi Fainga’a
3rd Danny Alvaro
After some final words from the coaching staff, the players launched into extras – the typical position specific passing, kicking, catching work. Quite often, this work is driven by the players themselves.
Next week the operation shifts off site to Armidale. The players will continue their conditioning and I suspect there might be something done for the locals out there. We can also infer that the camp would be designed to get that bonding happening, especially with all of the young players involved in this pre-season. There were about 9 players outside of the Top 28 involved in today’s session.
Training reports will resume when the squad returns to Saleyards.