The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – January 7, 2019: Beep-Beep, Beep-Beep, Yeah!

For Eels supporters right now, there might just be no greater feeling than slamming that door shut on 2018. It feels more finite to hit the new year and shove last season into the dumpster to which it belongs. Day 1 of 2019 training today has essentially signalled the countdown to the season opener.

Yet as much as the first day back at Old Saleyards for the new year was heralding a new beginning, some things never change. 

Cue Clint Gutherson. The man is a freak, a relentless machine – in fact whatever metaphor you choose to use for someone who refuses to finish second.

This morning, the serious business of NRL preparation saw the Eels players warmly welcomed back with a beep test. What awaited them was no surprise to the squad, and to be honest, it ensured that as professional footballers they maintained a fitness regime during their break.

Inspirational

As far as standards go, the squad could have no better role model. As Gutherson finished his last stage on his own, the playing group gathered around him to urge him on as he equaled a personal best in the gruelling examination of fitness. (The recorded beeps and instruction voice would surely visit the participants in their nightmares.) It must be inspirational for the players, especially the younger group and those new to the club, to see a team leader push themselves to the limit first day back.

What of the challengers?

Dylan Brown – firing on Day 1, 2019.

Does it surprise that Dylan Brown and Haze Dunster only dropped out one stage before Gutherson? Or that Kyle Schneider and Ethan Parry finished just before them?

The player that caught my eye during the beep test was Salesi Fainga’a. He’s come back in great condition after the break and any question marks surrounding his fitness were answered today. I’m not sure whether he’s hit any weight mark that the staff are looking for, but he’s demonstrating that he can match the NRL fellas in their conditioning drills.

There was some light ball work included in the session as the squad was moved unopposed through their basic shapes. Starts were rehearsed from kick offs, penalty taps, scrum wins, and kick returns, and the 6th tackle option was varied.

Munz about to hit it up

I’ll be critical and suggest that they looked a bit rusty in their execution this morning. This would not be unexpected after a break, but the coaches would want the ball work to be a bit sharper in their next field session.

Today’s fieldwork was rounded out with more conditioning under the control of Adrian Jimenez. With the players doing their best to stay in a line as they ran their intervals, the feature was the talk. Closest to our vantage point, blokes like Moses and Gutherson barked and demanded that each run be finished strongly and with positive body language.

Jimenez found some minor faults with a couple of individuals. The upshot? The squad decided that it wasn’t good enough so they all did an extra set of up and down off the ground intervals. Fairly impressive discipline there!

Final Comment

Filia Utoikamanu

Today seemed to be mostly about assessing what shape the players came back in after their 17 day break. Personally, I expected to see good results, especially from the younger brigade. At the final session before their Christmas break, many of them were discussing how’d they keep up with their training over the two weeks. It was this same proactive attitude towards training which saw most of them maintain their regime after the 2018 season concluded.

With today out of the way, I’m looking forward to seeing more ball work and opposed sessions as the team consolidates their combinations and players get serious in pushing for a top 17 spot.

To that end, a number of players who’ve been in rehab will start to become more involved. It will be an interesting time to be a spectator.

I’ll be aiming to report on the training form of particular players – specifically those in a battle for spots. I see opportunities in the outside backs and the bench. Hopefully the result in mid February will be some vigorous debate on TCT regarding our likely round one team.

Eels forever!

Sixties

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Mannah Brow
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Mannah Brow

Hi Sixties,

Great write up yet again. Look forward so much to these reports. Out of interest was Ferguson back at training following his foot injury?

Thanks

parrathruandthru
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parrathruandthru

no but he might have been inside doing rehab

Rob
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Rob

As ever, thank you so much for giving a window through time and space for us supporters who will never get to these training sessions and rarely get to live matches!

Brilliant reading,

Milo
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Milo

Thanks again Sixties and team,
It’s grest to have the reports back; and i guess in 4 wks time we will be checking teams for upcoming trials etc.
Good read again. I look forward to the next instalments of potential top 17’s.
Do we know if the squad as in top 30 is set? Or additions to be added from rookies etc.

colin hussey
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Welcome 2019, get lost and out of memory 2018.

Good to read how well they all seemed to go, although sometimes photo’s of topless players do not look the best, as Gutho looks to have the makings of a beer gut, or is he pregnant? Not nice thing to say but! a new season and some joy to come.

John Eel
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John Eel

Great report again Sixties look forward to hearing about the opposed sessions. For what it is worth I saw Browny walking along the Beach front at The Entrance over Christmas and he did not look to be walking too freely. Here’s hoping he is right for Round 1

Parra Pete
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Parra Pete

Sixties your love of the Club is AMAZING..Best wishes for 2019, to you and the team at TCT,,,

panic
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panic

Thanks 60s – the background info (like this article) you guys provide is awesome. I’d love to get down and watch the training runs but circumstances dictate otherwise.

Any news on how Andrew Davey is fitting in? He was running with the NRL squad in the December training runs and the bits and pieces I’ve seen of him look good. He could be a dark horse fro a bench spot if he takes up where his Queensland Cup form left off.

Cheers 🙂

Tim
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Tim

Great read, thank you for the regular updates!

Have they mixed up their attack much from last year – it seemed to be too structured last year, and I think their attacking structure will be crucial to a successful year. Even though defence wasn’t strong last year, I’m confident that they have the capacity to tighten up their defence

Jimbo
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Jimbo

Thanks Sixties. How is that winger from Penrith going in the beep test? I heard a while back he is bigger than Semi but not fit enough (yet). Is he getting better?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Love these training reports, they are much appreciated by a diehard Eels supporter living in Adelaide.
Thank you