The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training- December 10, 2018: The King Dethroned

Mark down the date.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, today we witnessed the impossible become reality. Today Jaeman Salmon beat home Clint Gutherson over 400 metres.

A little digging revealed that Gutho may not have been at the starting line when the run started, but the fact remained that he quickly found Salmon’s shoulder, and still the apprentice held off the master for the final 300 metres.

This was unquestionably our talking point in what was a savage conditioning session. Here’s how the morning was structured.


The field work began in the hands of Lachlan Wilmot. As reported a couple of weeks ago, strength, flexibility, balance are core elements of his work. You’ll witness strengthening work with rubber bands (for glutes), hurdles, and players working on accelerating and running without using their arms.

Polar really stepped out in his sprints.

We were all surprised by Polar’s top pace during this warm up. The big fella can motor when he opens up.

From there it was into what appeared to be attacking drills within the opposition quarter. There’s always a defensive component to such drills, but given the structure of the work, I’ve little doubt that this was mostly about attack.

Once again the work was scaffolded – from unopposed to opposed. Left side only, then right side only onto full field width.

The different options were trained. There were a number of structured alternatives, but there were also instances where the individual appeared to play what was in front of them.

The standard was a little varied this morning. At times the play opened up the holes that you’d hope it would. At other times the improvised caught the defence out. There were also times when the play broke down under defensive pressure.

In other words, this morning was typical of players learning the play book whilst becoming accustomed to relatively new combinations.

Nowhere To Hide

This was one of the most brutal conditioning sessions of the pre-season. Most of the movements appeared to be defence themed, and Adrian Jimenez was taking no prisoners.

With other staff, including BA, moving around to deal with individuals, Jimenez barked at the players, keeping it real about what it would take to be a successful NRL player and a successful NRL team.

In one fifteen minute drill, the players must have hit the ground somewhere between 50 – 60 times – simulating the up and down nature of footy. Except every player in this drill was involved in 50 – 60 tackles each.

As if running intervals and getting up and down off the ground wasn’t enough, some 400 metre runs were thrown in for good measure.

The natural order was later restored.

Stand up Jaeman Salmon.

Gutho didn’t get the jump on the squad at the start (he was busy with something apparently), and that was all Salmon needed to get to the front and stay there. Brown was just behind those two.

Adding credibility to Gutho missing the start was his performance in the next 400 metre circuit. He got to the front and Salmon and Brown couldn’t get close.

Finally, the squad was split into four groups for relentless sets of runs across the field. Front row, halves and hookers, outside backs and back rowers made up the four groups.

The rest time between runs was close to negligible. If you fell behind, there was no rest. It was a brutal way to conclude the morning.

Final Comment

Leadership, or lack thereof, is a criticism which has been levelled at the Eels over recent years. Given that Mannah and Gutherson wear the C, they’ve copped a lot of the brunt.

I’d argue that our halves are the ones that need to be leaders, given the control that they have over the destiny of a match. They have to call the plays, push/direct players around, bark at the forwards.

Our two captains regularly show their leadership qualities at training. From leading the conditioning work, to demanding better efforts from their team mates and spending time with younger players, they make their presence known.

Today, both captains dropped back in their running groups to push/encourage a couple of players struggling with a tough session. You could literally see those players lift with that encouragement.

Given that this Wednesday afternoon is the Open Training Day for Eels members, there will be no midweek training report. Instead, let’s see plenty of members fill Saleyards to watch how hard the squad is working.

Eels forever!



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Thanks Sixties. After reading your report I felt “buggered”, almost if I was doing the drills etc. You bring the pre-season training to life. Great stuff


Always a good read 👍💙💛💙

Goonellabah Guru

Hi Sixties, I’m based up north of Newcastle and was hoping to watch the squad train late this week. What’s the best day and time to attend?

Ps. Love the read and hearing about the younger players pushing through.

rowdy roddy

If north of Newcastle includes east of Lismore on the Bruxner Highway about halfway to Alstonville then I know where you are Guru. As my old cobber used to say, ” I wouldn’t want to be dragged by the balls” the difference between the above reality and whatever “up north of Newcastle” means in relative distances 50klms or 400klms? Anyway Guru if you are driving down yesterday you should pick-up the members open training session tomorrow as Sixties has no doubt informed you of. If on the other hand you’re riding a horse, Friday isn’t out of the question and… Read more »

John Eel


Greg Okladnikov

another top read. Im liking the reports about Alvaro….this could be the break out year for him and take his game to the next level

The Badger

How is the bloke from Townsville (Davey) training? I am assuming he is a ‘development’ player for Wenty unless we are hit with a dire injury toll.
Does he remotely look like is a potential surprise packet for a FG spot?

The Badger

Thnx for the info Sixties


Great read again Sixties, For me this sums up a lot below. “I’d argue that our halves are the ones that need to be leaders, given the control that they have over the destiny of a match. They have to call the plays, push/direct players around, bark at the forwards.’ I would point out Sixties that this was one of the reasons we fell over this yr. When the game was getting tough, we did not get going. I know the halves are not the main defenders etc nor give away the key penalties but as you said they need… Read more »


I hope to see our boys show more support play this coming season, especially if those offloads become a regular feature.

Bob jay

The king may have suspiciously lost a battle but never the war .


Thanks for the continuing training reports sixties! Look forward to them. Now Norman has gone, do you see Dylan promoted? Interested on your take of the situation.

The rev aka Snedden

Good bye Norman n good luck at the dragon’s. Hello salmon welcome to first grade as our future 5\8. Next year I’ll be saying goodbye Moses n hello brown 😂.
All in all how do we rate Norman’s performance over the time he has been at the eels ?



I hope your wrong i dont see salmon as a nrl half hes better suited as a centre. I reckon through brown in the deep end or go with will smith or gutho

The rev aka Snedden

No salmon 2 play 5\8 brown imo will get plenty of game time in the NRL side as i think salmon n brown will be the 6 n 7 next year with Mahoney the starting 9 with Gutherson at 1. But I think will Smith will play more 5\8 unless Gutherson does n french full back.

Salty Pete

Great stuff again, Sixties. I think BA was running Salmon in the Centres in the event of Moses/Norman. With Norman gone, Salmon most likely will slot in to 5/8 – more because he has 5 NRL games under his belt against top 4 sides. Dylan Brown is a huge prospect, and will no doubt find his way to the NRL, but I don’t believe BA will throw him to the lions just yet as he has eased every other player in. I think we all forget sometimes how big a step NRL is, and our expectations on these young guys… Read more »

rowdy roddy

This is his real job job/passion, just needs a structure which will allow him to be paid for his expertise like all the other professional journalists I believe.

John Eel

Is there any reason that you would not play Moses at 7 next year?

The rev aka Snedden

Next yr yeah but I will throwing brown in during some games


Brown has been a organising 7 his whole life. Wouldn’t make sense to give him 6
Moses can wear 6 and still have pants

The rev aka Snedden

Can’t see Moses going to 5\8 that’s the reason he left wt he wanted to play halfback

rowdy roddy

“Pants” like a deer?

Jake Ratz

I doubt Salmon will play 5/8/ He will play in the centers. Salmon is not a 5/8 and the club seem to think along the same lines.


The Eels have been giving you the preferred top 30 team on the website the whole preseason. They have just been trying to get one to leave which has now happened. Check the team profiles. Dylan will start the season in NRL. Now if we could just lose an outside back so they can promote Parry or Dunster I will be very happy

rowdy roddy

A bit logic in there Parrathruandthru! I will have a look at the player profiles as you suggest, up to now I have based my opinions on what I believe to be the obvious best options for the players available to fit into combinations that will have the potential to compliment one another.
Would you play either of those 2 young blokes other than on the wing at this stage of their development ?


Sixties, do you see Parry or Dunster getting a start in the NRL next season, are they ready?

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