The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – November 14, 2018: Set For Set

Wet conditions greeted visitors to Old Saleyards this morning in today’s pre-season field session. The temperature was relatively cool but the drizzle would have kept the humidity quite high for a solid two hours of training.

Both fields were in action as the squad alternated between skills and conditioning. Lachlan Wilmot began the session by leading the players through their stretches and warm ups. It was then over to the coaches for the first of the skills drills.

From there, the remainder of the session alternated between the fields, moving from sets of skill drills with the coaches to the conditioning sets with Adrian Jimenez and then back again. There were four sets of drills and four sets of conditioning runs.

Skills

These were conducted on the number 2 field (alongside the brick facilities building). This was our vantage point for the day, a welcome location given the drizzling conditions.

Schneider delivers from dummy half.

Separating into smaller groups, the players drilled their ruck shapes. These are the standard shapes that all teams work on for hitting up the ball off the ruck. The coaches were spread out around the groups so all players were able to get immediate feedback when necessary.

The remainder of the skill drills were like mini opposed sessions with Mick Potter in the refs shirt. Those basic ruck shapes were run at organised defence lines. On occasions, the contact was a little heavier than I would have expected.

Again, we witnessed the players communicating about their positioning, the ref’s position, their movement back into the line and so on. It goes without saying that this is not just an essential after the defensive issues from 2018, but there are also new recruits and promoted players to consider.

Defensive shapes and decisions vary according to field position. Therefore the set starts would sometimes commence in kick return mode or sometimes just outside the 20 metres in an attacking position.

Whilst it seemed like there was probably more emphasis on the defence in these drills, it didn’t mean that there wasn’t a standout attacking moment.

Haze Dunster was put into a try scoring opportunity with only Gutho to beat. A combination of Gutherson’s defensive decision and an error from a support player made it look like the likely try had been shut down. However, Dunster took the King on and produced a clever pass to ice the four pointer.

Conditioning

This was done on the number 1 field (outside the demountables).

Up and down!

Rugby league type conditioning was the feature – up and down in a line on the field, up and back over 10 metre intervals, hitting the ground – it was consistent and energy sapping. The players would have completed around 6 or 7 kilometres throughout the morning.

There was very little recovery time between sets, and there was plenty of talk. Background noise was blasted out but we could still hear the staff barking at the players, and Gutho demanding effort from his team mates.

In one of the conditioning activities the running mirrored defensive line movements. The players would hit the ground, rise to their feet then take an angled run back to a specific position.

It wasn’t really possible to identify standouts in the conditioning work as the majority of the squad stayed in a line in their runs. On the rare occasion that a player could break ahead from the lines, it wasn’t unsurprising who that player was!

Other Observations

In the first couple of reports I’ve highlighted the impressive efforts of the younger players. It’s fair to say that their energy is a tremendous inclusion in a team needing some impetus after a disappointing 2018 season.

So what is there to report about the squad in general this early in the pre-season?

Polar and Evans

The most obvious is the size. There’s some bigger units in the young forwards (see Stefano and Oregon) but players like Danny Alvaro, Tim Mannah and Manu Ma’u all appear to be carrying more kilograms – in a good way.

Alvaro in particular looks very big. I’d estimate that he’d be at least 6-8 kg heavier than last season. We all know that Junior Paulo was recruited to add power to the pack (though he’s definitely a much smaller version than the player who returned to the Raiders after last year’s World Cup), and unheralded recruit Andrew Davey is not lacking in size. I’d guarantee that most supporters would be surprised by the bigger dimensions of the group.

As the pre-season continues, I’ll look to identify something specific about the squad or particular players.

Eels forever!

Sixties

 

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colin hussey
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Once again a good report sixties. Have been taking an interest in the photo’s on the eels web page, and gee its hard to pick a vast number of the players, as they are all from the lower grades, and not having seen any matches in those grades for 2 seasons now, has me wondering, come back to what I said in a previous blog, would love to see the names on the back of the jumpers. The other area I think of note is the size of some of the players, certainly you mention Polar who does look heavier,… Read more »

Eelit
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Eelit

Polar looks enormous in that photo. From what you’ve seen so far sixties has his fitness dropped off due to his increase in size? If he maintains his work ethic with that size he will be in for a huge year

rowdy roddy
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rowdy roddy

Alvaro certainly looks to be channeling the “brick with eyes”? I would even venture to say it is quite normal for big men to add a few kilos in their mid to early 20’s just as Glen Lazarus did when he went from ~115kg to ~125kg overnight in one off-season.
Schneider appears to be getting plenty of opportunity and encouragement from our coaching staff too. It would be foolish to hold him back if he performs well in the contact sessions during preseason. I would like to see him fast tracked from Joysee Fligg to ISP early in 2019.

Billy
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Billy

Have to agree with you there Rowdy. I have now watched 4 sessions this year and the young rake looks very comfortable and confident. His big for a hooker. Service has been outstanding so is his endurance. I think allot will depend how he handles the physicality. Its been very interesting watching the boys train. Young Dylan Brown is something special, I have no doubt he will make his debut next year. Another impressive young fella has been Haze Dunster, Haze is hot property if you ask me, Nearly as fit as Guth with speed to burn and great footwork.… Read more »

Billy
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Billy

Alvaro will be key next year

MattL
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MattL

Thx 60s. It’s good to feel that little bit of excitement building again. As they say, there’s always next year.
Kaffusi looks huge in the pics and if Bevs legs can catch up to the size of his arms he’ll be one to watch.

colin hussey
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MattL, this is not a racist comment or to put down our Aboriginal friends, I worked with many of them when living in the NW of NSW. If you look at the legs of most Aboriginals, especially their lower legs they are thinner than you will generally find on white people, more especially around the ankles. It is very much a weak part of their bodies for many players. I also commented that in the pics on the eels web site Bev does look bigger in his upper body, hopefully with leg strengthening and no lose of speed and his… Read more »

Robbie gair
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Robbie gair

I was there yesterday and met maika sivo ,,HUGE !!!

Milo
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Milo

Like it Sixties; to me its v simple the forwards have to lay platform and the halves lead the team around. Seems simple but it is……if we can stay focused and limit errors and discipline from this season, there is already a few more wins and some.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Its looking a bit like 2016 to me , siege mentality , best difference there is flood of new talent to embrace it from word go ,maybe this could be the catalyst of new culture .

Leo toohey
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Leo toohey

If these kids start out in this culture from word go its embedded .salmon,reedy ,oregan ,stefano ,browny get the real picture from the get go and the rest are playing for their lives ,add to that 5 new recruits , fergo,lane ,junior ,sivo,davey and my optimisim is rising for a cleansing season !!