The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – November 12, 2018: Superfreak

With the week long camp in Armidale now behind them, the Eels returned to home turf at Old Saleyards today. The weather was particularly kind in what would turn out to be a field session of just over two hours duration.

I had the opportunity to grab a few words with some players and staff before and after the session and it was a big thumbs up all round for the week in Armidale. But all that’s history now, and the proof will be in attitude and team dynamics down the track.

An early morning moment from Armidale.

Team relationships had been a big focus during a media call in week one, and the young additions to the full time squad have undoubtedly earned the respect of the established players in a very short time. Blokes like Gutherson, Salmon and Mannah have retained their status as supremely conditioned athletes, but the Flegg graduates are pushing them every step of the way.

Both fields were used today during a session which saw the squad organised into two groups with the work split between conditioning and defensive structures. All coaching and support staff appeared to be in attendance as the players moved into week 3 of the pre-season.

Here’s what went down:

Conditioning

Besides their interval running, the team were asked to add to their kilometres via a circuit around the Saleyards facility. Under the watchful eye of Adrian Jimenez, the course took in the small hill in the northwest corner – just enough to test the lungs and legs. I’d estimate that the players would have run at least 6km during the morning.

The longer runs made for interesting observation.

The standout – The King!

And before describing the performances, the following has to be stated again: Clint Gutherson is a freak! Cue Rick James song. (Any clever wordsmiths out there – some King Gutho Superfreak lyrics would be appreciated)

With so many young players joining the squad, the Eels could not hope for a better role model for elite fitness and dedication. Tim Mannah sets his own high standards as a bigger forward, but Gutho in full training freak mode is a sight to behold.

The Red Group had most of the benchmark setters, including Gutho. From the starting whistle, The King sprinted to the front and defied everyone else to get near him.

Dunster has impressed early in this pre-season.

Those who took up that fruitless challenge were mostly the younger brigade. Each run saw the red group finish with a top 6 in the same order:
Gutherson
Dunster
Brown
Schneider
Norman
Parry

The Blue Group was led home by Jaeman Salmon in each run. Taking inspiration from Gutho, the “Apprentice” surged to the front, with Will smith in hot pursuit.

The Blues finished with a similar top 5 in each run:
Salmon
Smith
Mahoney
Mannah
Moses
It’s obvious that the new young members of the squad will have made an impression on the staff. Conditioning might not be an indicator of match performance, but it’s an essential part of the game and sends a strong message about attitude.

Defence

It seemed like a very technical defensive drill today. Kidwell, Potter and Murphy appeared to be working on defensive line positions, line speed, movement forward and movement back.

There was plenty of talk on the paddock during this drill, with Gutherson, Norman and Moses the loudest. Potter was strict on calling penalties for undisciplined offside movements. All coaches were particular about issues like communication, body and feet position, and staying aware in their movement back into line.

As the session progressed, structures for defending on the line were drilled.

Some Footy!

The group came back together for some two hand touch football. The speed was hectic, with quick play-the-balls and the smaller players taking advantage of a retreating defence.

This part of the morning seemed to be as much about conditioning as it was about footy. As the two teams battled it out, those substituted off were handed over to Adrian Jimenez for more running.

The football skills continued as the session wound up with extras. Passing and catching, kicking, and dummy half work were the order of the day, with a number of the younger players being amongst the last to leave the field.

My Extras

With a full squad of coaching and training staff in action, Arthur took on an overseer role today, moving between groups to speak with players and staff as necessary. Likewise, Lachlan Wilmot seemed to be moving between the groups and monitoring the data from the gps trackers.

Joey Grima was in attendance today. In addition to assisting with drills, he worked with some of the squad during extras.

After commencing just after 9am today, it was getting close to midday by the time the squad completed their field session. Only just over four months till the footy begins…

Eels forever!

Sixties

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Hamsammich
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Hamsammich

Not surprised to hear the young players are amongst the last to leave the field, after continuing to impress in the fitness drills.

rowdy roddy
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rowdy roddy

Great cover of the activities Sixties. It’s encouraging to hear of the enthusiasm new young fellas bring to the group. Their competitive attitudes that drove them this far are clearly on show in the listed finishes for the two groups.
Interesting and pleasing to see BA able to oversee all activities now that he has a full compliment of staff. As time progresses during the off season, BA’s coaching skills will come to the for and I expect a lot of our younger guys and halves in particular will get much needed individual attention.

Gazzamatta
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Gazzamatta

Thanks 60s. Just like being there.
I was quite surprised Ferguson wasnt in Armidale. I understand he has an injury but its been well pointed out the week was much more that fitness work. Did Ferguson return today?
Cheers

colin hussey
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Very nice report sixties, especially regarding the young players, sure its early days but there’s going to be some vg competition for spots next year, Roll on 2019

Hearndo
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Hearndo

It’s only ever an ideal situation when the young players of the squad are putting pressure on the established NRL players in all the “effort” and “attitude” areas. Speak volumes.
Also, you mentioned extras were done with dummy halves. Do you think Mahoney will be our starting 9?
Keep up the good work!

Jonboy
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Jonboy

Really…is it really 4 months we have to wait! My god the off season is loooooooong!!!!

Milo
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Milo

Great analysis Sixties and good to have some reports again; I think Dunster has a strong body type and know he is young, but the fitness level of the younger ones is good; I know they have not had footy conditioning of NRL as such but pushing the established ones is excellent.

Empty
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Empty

Good to see Norman in the front runners. That’s the attitude we want to see. And with the young blokes getting up there, hopefully keeping the older blokes on their toes.

John Eel
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John Eel

Alvaro was a star in preseason training last year. Is he putting in with the same energy again this year. I am thinking that it is probably a bit early for an opinion at this time.

His last preseason was followed up with good football and the Ken Thornett medal. Given he is one of my favourite players I am keen to see how he backs up that good form in 2019.

Greg Okladnikov
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Greg Okladnikov

great update Sixties. Nice to see some of the younger players in the mix

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

When I read “my extras” I was sure you were going to be back doing laps after training. What happened to that?

DDay
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DDay

Thank you for the update. Sounds like the coaches and fitness staff all know they respective area of responsibility and the training session was well planned and coordinated. Good to see defence is an early focus area – hopefully that continues.

Robbie gair
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Robbie gair

Mate your at training all the time, how are the new sheds looking, the old ones were to be replaced by a new complex i heard or is this more spin doctoring?