The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – February 22, 2019: Can We Talk?

After a brief recess, it’s back to business for the Eels pre-season training blog. With the team training specifically for their Canberra trial last week, I suspended my reports. The annual school blitz has been on the agenda this week, causing some changes to the usual schedule. The schools visits are now complete, so a typical timetable was restored today.

However, there was nothing typical about this morning. In a marathon session which lasted just on three hours, the players responded with some of their sharpest work of the pre-season.

Today also saw Nathan Brown return to full contact. There was no easing in for the tough middle forward. The collisions tested him out and he came through without showing any signs of discomfort.

Prior to the opposed work, the players spent an extensive period in warm ups and skills development. The skills rehearsed would later be on display during some expansive play in the opposed work.

NRL referees Gavin Badger and Gerard Sutton were officiating today, and were also put to use during defensive drills.

Different scenarios were practised during the opposed work, including building a set for field goals.

Polar does some talking here.

The players seemed to be given more opportunity to analyse and organise themselves during breaks in play. Without giving anything away, it was interesting to hear them remind each other of the things they were doing well and also what they needed to improve.

In my opinion, getting the talk right is going to be integral to this season. It’s time for Eels players to find their voice. It’s drummed into them during their conditioning and reinforced during the opposed sessions. It can’t be just the “leaders”. All players have to communicate, especially in defence. Blokes like Ferguson are leading the way. Young players such as Parry are good talkers. Tepai has stepped up and the captains are always barking. But we need it to be everyone.

Opposed Highlights

* Salmon and Takairangi alternating at centre

* George Jennings playing left wing in the Gold team

* Maika Sivo impressing with powerful running for the Red team

* Gowie leading the Reds

Ferguson and Jennings in deep discussion.

* Ferguson continuing his impressive pre-season leadership, reminding others of their roles

* Mitch Moses playing a composed brand of footy with Marata and Taka both beneficiaries of his play as they crossed for tries

* Dylan Brown scoring a superb individual try

* Kane Evans forcing his way over for a four pointer

Top Performers

Ethan Parry

In addition to the halves, Michael Jennings was one of the best on field. The middle forwards did a good job of bending the line and creating space for the outside men and Jennings utilised his pace to capitalise on his opportunities.

In the Red team, Gowie and Will Smith were two of the strongest performers with Parry and Sivo  impressing on the left side.

Bevan French enjoyed a solid session for the Reds, bobbing up dangerously in attack and getting heavily involved in a busy display. Hopefully he gained some confidence from the All Stars clash.

Final Comment

Tepai celebrates

Images were captured today by Eels media showing the goal kicking showdown between Junior, Marata and Tepai. Such contests have been taking place over recent weeks, and in recent seasons it’s been for both bragging rights and for coffees. Though it’s a bit of fun, these blokes can actually deliver a mean strike. Tepai in particular has long shown a bit of ability with the boot, and I’d back him in at most of these training contests. He can even pop over a field goal on occasion. Of course, executing under pressure during a match might be a different kettle of fish.

We’re only three weeks away from the season opener and therefore the training blogs will soon come to a close. I’m currently working on a post which will examine the differences between the last two pre-seasons, as well as providing an overview of how some individual players have prepared.

Next week will see the team gearing up for their final trial when they take on the Panthers. This will be the second trial for most players, and the third for a number. It’s a bigger ask this year, and the results of such a lead up will be evident in the early season form.

Eels forever!




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!0 Year Member

Thanks for the update Sixties. Very happy to hear Browny is back to full contact. Would love to see the 2017 form from him. If he stays fit, I am sure we will. I really rate him.

Trouser Eel

Interesting comment about the goal kicking Sixties. Moses’ performance at the last trial was less than promising. I guess Gutho has dropped that from his game altogether. Is there a shining light at the end of the otherwise bleak tunnel?

Mark Formosa

I was told is a brilliant goal kicker. It’s a shame he hasn’t taken it to the next level.


I get really surprised about the concern of our goal kicking, specifically Moses who seems dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. He averages 73% which is basically 3 out 4. He has does a number of conversions from the sideline……The very best goal kickers get to 80% and in Moses half season with Parra he got to 83%. Now he missed a couple of “clutch” goals last year and he misses his first two in a trial and we “feel” like we have a problem. Why are we always so negative about our players……one bad season after… Read more »


Yes Craig you are right. Like most things in life it all comes back to confidence, when you have constant harping about this is do or die for a player, confidence will be effected. The greatest thing that BA will do this year is creating a belief that this team are winners. The way to do that is every game is a grand final until we just expect to win, then it is another form of management. I particularly noticed that we didn’t do much different in that first trial and basically understand why. Why would you want to try… Read more »


I did abit of kicking as a young fella i won’t talk up my skills as a player as i was average to good but i know any and all rep footy i played was on the back of my goal kicking in my opinion moses goal kicking from what ive seen reflects him as a player when hes confident and playing well id back him to kick most goals when he is low on confidence it reflects in his striking

rowdy roddy

Poppa I believe the only thing that will change will be execution and penetration through the middle and ever improving form and harmony from our halves. Oh yeah, I think our defense will continue to make gradual progress too.
I will probably be there for all three grades on Saturday and hope to see what I’ve just described. I don’t really care if we win as long as we don’t get belted. We can win the following week!

rowdy roddy

G’day Trouser Eel, I reckon if the recent discussions or skuttle-but around Issac Luke might be the shinning light you’re looking for my friend? Personally I believe Luke would be fantastic for the harmony of our reinvigorated forward pack as he is a seasoned tough campaigner with 250+ NRL games and a great competitor with the knowledge and experience to determine when to run out of dummy half and which way to go from the ruck in the heat of battle. Something Mahoney clearly lacks. Issac can kick goals under pressure and would triple the number of games currently numbered… Read more »


So you would have him as first choice goal kicker Rowdy. Careful it is a trick question! He averages about 70% and is rated a bit better than a part time kicker, IMO Guth would take second choice to Moses when kicking for goal. I do believe just the same that Luke could be a genuine forward leader provided he is fit, he has been in rehab for most of the off season. I could imagine him sharing time with Mahoney but the least time he is on the field negates the purpose of him being purchased,i.e. leadership and guile.… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Interesting post Pops, thing is, is Luke seriously considering coming to the eels? Likewise what’s his health like atm?

rowdy roddy

I get your points Poppa, although I would also like him to start each game for us to establish the standard from our pack. This has the opposition knowing what they need to deal with immediately and could be quite intimidating. Bully picking out the right forward ball carrier on each play either side of the ruck takes a bit more pressure off MM having to get us to a certain point on the field to mount an attack. the halves can sit back and read the play as it unfolds up the middle then call for the ball “when… Read more »

Parra Pete

I liked what I saw from Mick Jennings in the trial against the Raiders. He looked sharper and FITTER than last season..and I reckon Ethan PARRY could be a surprise packet..

The rev aka Snedden

Is that because his coming off contract sixties or his showing ppl that last yr was just well last year. Hopefully his ready to fire . Because I heard Brad Arthur say that the 👑will start the season at fullback. So I’m thinking by Rd 2 french will go to fullback n Gutherson to centre’s. Rd 1 side or backline Rd 2, backline. Or this team pending Injuries #1 Gutherson. #1 french. #1 Gutherson #2 Ferguson. #2 Ferguson. #2 sivo #3 M Jennings. #3 M Jennings. #3 M Jennings #4 Hoffman. #4 Gutherson. #4 Ferguson #5 G Jennings. #5 G… Read more »

Mark Formosa

Playing for a final contract can do wonders. I know he could’ve signed with the Knights but I’m glad he didn’t has I think he seems to thrive under pressure so bring on a awesome 2019 for MJ.

Colin Hussey

Thanks for the report sixties. Seems things are heading in the right direction, and its so good that with the next trial coming up, it will likely show some real areas of where the club will be this year, so good communications and team work will be essential to the whole 30 man squad. A question or two that may have been asked previously, but not sure there was an answer and that is in regards to the refs coming in for these sessions. I like the idea of the refs being there and adjudicating in the opposed sessions, gives… Read more »


Thanks sixties. Very good to see Nathan Brown back. To state the obvious he is important for us, especially if he is playing off some good go forward ( how good does Junior look in blue and gold again) or quick play the balls. I know Parry is not currently in the top 30, so he cannot play first grade until half way through the year but I have a feeling he may become a regular in our team, if not this year then next. He is the perfect modern outside back, tall, quick and has good footwork. He seems… Read more »

rowdy roddy

Great report Sixties.
When I got home from work at about 10pm tonight my misses said ” I really missed you today, so much so I was going to ring to tell you. I said ” Oh darlin’ that’s lovely. I felt exactly the same when I saw Sixties training report back on TCT”!


How has GL looked. Any chance for NRL. Being part of top 30 It means he plays before Parry right?
Id roll dice and go with Sivo estly. GJ isn a solid player but Sivo could be a diamond in the rough and it isn a season we need to find a few of these.


I think GL has dropped out of the pecking order much like a jack Morris etc. Will hold a contract but will quietly be moved out. Just a hunch ball in hand kid is destructive but his defence is just such a liability

rowdy roddy

I’d say that is an astute judgement on GL, Unless he can learn to read the defense requirements from the wing as they unfold and how to tackle in one season that he’s been incapable of for his previous whole career.


Thanks for the update sixties!

Is Sivo still wearing the orange?

rowdy roddy

Nah Fuuuui, that’s the Irish! 😉


Looking forward to the analysis of the last 2 pre seasons


Thanks sixties next weeks trial although a trial may tell us something particularly how we compete without the ball and also discipline wise. Two areas we have to be good at this season.

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