The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – January 16, 2019: Respect

It’s a very uncomfortable existence dealing with the furnace that is western Sydney this week. For the Parramatta Eels, it was so hot at Saleyards I wasn’t sure whether they were training for the Premiership or for that place down below. And if heading down there is hotter than the greater west, then it’s time for me to steer clear of a few sins!

An early start ensured that the players weren’t slogging it out in the middle of the day, but the temperature was still oppressive. To be honest, I questioned my sanity standing on the running track to watch a footy team train!

As for the players, you have to respect what they delivered in today’s conditions.

You can take it as a given that the session included a chunk of conditioning, and that Reed Mahoney was outstanding. However, most of you are probably more interested in knowing that the opposed session was the the focus.

Again the NRL whistleblowers were in action, and they had a bit more to do under today’s conditions. There was even a penalty blown for a high shot – which I’ll put down to getting scrappy under fatigue. Fortunately, the Eels won the penalty count.

The Blue team (NRL) were given a bit more time in possession than the Reds this morning. A flood of four pointers followed in a session which looked to be working on attacking combinations.

The Highlights

* Great lines run by the forwards. Tries were scored by Polar and Junior, with Marata notching up a double.


* Shifts out wide were earned and resulted in the Jennings brothers, Gutho and Munz all crossing the line.

* Gowie demonstrating his leadership with the Reds. The majority of the young players were donning the Red shirts today, and Gower was barking orders and reminders at them throughout the opposed work. Likewise, when Mannah was swapped into the Reds he was straight into them about their body language.

* Dunster smashing French in a powerful kick/chase and tackle

* Dylan Brown’s composure and quality service in the halves.

* Stefano making a try saver with a one on one wrestle to keep his opponent from grounding the ball.

* Jimenez prowling behind the defence line, snapping at everyone to work harder, reminding them that this is what they’ve been preparing for

Apart from a period of two hand touch, the physicality of the contest was impossible to ignore. Every time I glanced away from the tackle to watch the work off the ball, my attention was drawn back via the sound of the collisions.

The attack wasn’t perfect. There was the odd pass not finding its mark but I’ll also make some allowances for the conditions. It truly was oppressive, but then again the NRL do insist on scheduling afternoon games in March.

The session was concluded with around 10 – 15 minutes of defensive drills. The squad was split into three groups so that every player would be involved as they practised their tackling around the ruck. The ball carriers hit it up hard so that there was value in the contest for the defenders. It was an opportunity to fine tune the techniques they practise in the sand pit.

An Observation

In this report, I’ve highlighted the talk from David Gower. It’s worth expanding on.

David Gower

There were some supporters surprised by Gowie going around for one more season. Long acknowledged as one of the sharpest minds in the playing group and a go to man at press calls, David also has an important role with so many young players in the squad. He’s a fantastic role model and mentor. He doesn’t just lead by example, he’s continually barking reminders and providing advice.

Such was the case today, and we were fortunate to be close enough to the action to hear him at work.

For anyone visiting Old Saleyards, keep an eye on the contribution of Gowie. You’ll have no doubt about why he earned his current contract.

A Final Word.

Over the final weeks of the pre-season I’m going to monitor the efforts of the more experienced players.


The round 1 team will mostly comprise experienced NRL players and I’ll be looking to make my predictions on the starting team.

Just on that – apart from Brown, I’m not expecting any early season debuts from the younger brigade. (Note – Kaufusi debuted last year.)

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, the younger players will be expected to display and consolidate their form at ISP level to earn their shot.

Secondly, unless one of them earns a Top 30 spot, most of those younger players won’t be eligible for a call up until after June 30.

This pre-season has been the start of their NRL journey. If they transfer what they are providing on the training paddock to match days, their time will come soon enough.

Will I be crazy enough to turn up for Friday’s training? Refer to my questionable sanity for that answer.

Eels forever!





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Hey there Sixties; great read again. What was the temp this morning? Here in eastern Tassie its about 20 degrees or was today. Down to 17 degrees now. Interesting comments about the sessions today; we see Parra having two games in the afternoon again this season early in the season it seems. I strongly have an issue with this and for me its a no brainer after what occurred last season. There’s no excuse for games to be played in the day during March but we see the nrl do nothing it seems. Good to see Parra won the penalties… Read more »


Cheers mate – thanks for the updates have sent you an sms


Man…I picked the wrong day to find myself at Salesyards for the first time in 2019 but sure glad I went. The effort on display was something special given the conditions and I have to say, Dylan Brown is something special. I really hope he gets his chance to prove himself at NRL level right from the outset because he was head and shoulders above all today.

Oh…I’d like to say a special thanks to Reed “Cash” Mahoney for spewing right in front of us mid session! Surprisingly, I didnt see any peas or carrots though.


Spot on Sixties.


Good read, thanks sixties.
So you don’t think Brown will start the season in the halves, interesting. That means Salmon, who could be stood down for a week or two over his DUI is the front runner or maybe Smith to fill in if Salmon does spend time on the sideline.
Brown is in the top 30 right, surely he has done enough in preseason to warrant selection.


“apart from Brown, I’m not expecting any early season debuts from the younger brigade.”


My bad, I see that now.


Is it looking like he’ll be there round one? For me, the only other genuine halves option is Gutho but by all accounts it looks as if he’ll be wearing the 1.


Two weeks suspension seems harsh considering some of the antics other players get up to and get a similar suspension for something much more serious. Hopefully he learns from this and doesn’t drink and drive in future.

Based on your assumption that Brown will start does that mean Salmon is in the centres with Gutho at fullback?

Michael Formosa

Great read as alway Sixties! Any word on how Fergo is going ? I’m hearing a few different rumors about him.


Thanks for another great read much appreciated. I laughed at the opening paragraph 🤣

Do you feel the halves combination between Moses and Brown is coming along nicely?

Thanks again and keep them coming mate.


Mark Formosa

Yep totally understand that training and game situations are different. I’m hoping it works out well for them both. At least we won’t have both halves calling different plays confusing everyone this season. Lastly has Moses/Brown and Githo been practicing goal kicking?

Jakes boy

From what iv been told only 3 that have been goal kicking. Mosses, Gutho, Schneider.


If it’s a Moses/Brown combo then where does Salmon fit in?

colin hussey

As usual, love the report. If it was that bad at the saleyards sixties, its best not to know what the mercury was, up here at East Maitland it hit 39 in the afternoon but my body temp said it was that amount in the morning at least it felt like it. Thanks also for the bit on Gowie, I was pleased to see him earn another year contract and when he gets a shot in the top team he wont let them down, he never has IMHO and don’t see it happening this year either. Can you refresh my… Read more »

rowdy roddy

I couldn’t agree more with your comments re Gowie, Colin. He is certainly a knowledgeable and experienced footy head. I hope we are able to develop him further in his post playing career. I see Gowie as an excellent coach for our younger rep sides initially and potentially the sky is the limit in other staff mentoring roles which he could choose.

Greg Okladnikov

nice report as usual. I like the note on Gower….the NRL could dp some good by promoting top quality clubmen like him, and others who do a lot of good within and outside the club. They need their PR team to push these stories into the media , rather than the negative stuff that a few clowns keep getting publicity on and creating a negative around this great game


These stories unfortunately get unnoticed from the news outlets as they simply dont care about the good stuff


On Gowie, when we originally signed him & watching his initial interviews, I was impressed with his level head & intelligence. He has always put in & done his best. Like Luke Burt did, he, along with Mannah, be perfect to keep at the club post playing career. Again, the changing of the culture


Spoke briefly with Gowie at our Members fan day. So much respect for the man.


A great read Sixties. Everything you have written in this article regarding Gowie, does not surprise me one bit. He has a fantastic footy brain and is one bloke I could sit down all day with and talk footy. He was interviewed last season and he spoke with words of a top line coach. He will be a great person or coach to have around any club post footy and lucky for us whilst still a player. Some pundits have questioned why he was given another twelve months because of his age. I’ve been noted to say that regardless, he… Read more »

Matthew Sweeney

Hi Sixties , thx for sticking out the heat to get your recent training synopsis. I noticed on another supporters website they were leaving out maranta niukore ? In their rd1 top 17 starting teams.
I think if he trials well he can get in the 17 fowr rd1. It does raise the question though of who would miss out. I liked how terepo finished off 2018 but your reports have not singled him out much for effort at training and it doesn’t look like he has bulked up like the rest of the boys. Stay hydrated mate.

Matthew Sweeney

Thx mate . It does seem once again we might not have the best top 6 forward starters in the NRL but perhaps the best 15 or so if that makes any sense.

Phil Mann

Great report Sixties,

Won the penalty count!!!! Wow. Now that’s something to celebrate.


Hi Sixties Any comments on how Evans is going and can you see him playing first grade

Matthew Sweeney

I hope he can force his way in , then he would live up to the early boom placed on him and the potential his size would suggest. I think part of his problem his is height and relatively thin legs and waist. Harder for him to bust the line using his shoulders when they can chop him in half.


the little I saw of him I thought his games later in the season showed he had a good ability to offload which is something most of our forwards seemed to struggle with. His height is also a big plus if you combine it with offloading–Provide a different dimension in attack

Bob jay



Sixties have you noticed any differences this year from last year in how BA is adapting to changes made with additional Coaching supports and his coaching involvement


Thanks 60’s for the great work you do for all us Parra Tragics. Just remember to keep hydrated whilst out in the heat. I don’t know how the NRL expect players to survive in 40 degree heat in March . I can barely cope when it’s 35 but the I’m an old lady 😂😂


Thanks for the report!! You must be crazy going into that heat though!


ha ha ha ha ha – YES, but only after 1986

Paul taylor

Hi sixty

Once again – brillant read .

Do they look different in attack and our shape. Hope the old out the back block play is gone and we explore edges and better lines off junior , lane and Moses.

Our attack was so telegraphed teams could easily defend 3 sets against us.

Getting excited now

Trouser Eel

As usual, great read Sixties. A little less common (but a regular occurrence) – it took me longer to read the comments than the article. Praise for Gowie seems universal.
I wonder about what post game interactions, if any, the club will have now we’re going to be back at home. I used to love going to the auditorium and listen to the players answering a few questions. Some of the players spoke eloquently, others not so much (Fuiiii.) It’d be good to hear from players like Gowie in that forum.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x