The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – November 12 & 13, 2019: The Kids Are Alright

Watching training on Tuesday wasn’t in my plans. With Monday’s opener done and dusted, the next field session was set for Wednesday. The team was only due to work on basic shapes around set starts on Tuesday. However, a bit of outdoor time before the heat set in seemed a reasonable activity in the morning, and as it turned out, fronting up to watch on Tuesday was a good decision.

But first – a disclaimer.

http://www.starrpartners.com.au/office/starr-partners-narellanLast year the young players in the squad made an impact from day one of preseason as they took on the established NRL players in conditioning and physical contests. This year, though the staff are impressed with how the younger brigade have fronted up, the absence of NRL stars in week 1 removes any chance for me to make a comparison.

Indeed, the start of this preseason is akin to watching the 2018 preseason when players were involved in the 2017 World Cup.

That said, the early weeks of the 2018 pre-season introduced TCT followers to the efforts of one Reed Mahoney. The 2019 preseason foreshadowed the arrival of Dylan Brown. So, if someone starts to garner attention in these early weeks, note their name. If they continue to gather mentions, they might just be ready to make a splash.

Tuesday

There were a couple of extra bodies called up from the Flegg to make up the numbers needed for today’s work.

In the set start drills, the team transitioned from hit ups through the ruck, to shifts two and three passes wide. After about fifteen minutes, the work shifted to completing sets of six with a kick. Rhys Davies, Ray Stone and Kyle Schneider all spent time at dummy half during the skill component, but when the group worked into the set of six, Schneider was exclusively at 9.

Haze Dunster

I took particular interest in watching Ryan Carr taking a group of players for an in-goal skills session. This was my first chance to observe him communicating with the players. The players were required to make appropriate decisions about fielding the ball – be it getting into the field of play, taking it dead, or forcing the ball.

Murf then took the players through a similar drill in the field of play and with a chaser putting the pressure on. Haze Dunster was an absolute stand out, as I can’t recall a single error across both drills.

Wednesday

What I expected to be merciless conditioning, and then some, became two hours of conditioning and skills.

The conditioning component involved short sprints (with a focus on technique), the ever popular “Malcolms”, and 200 metre sets. Within this group I anticipated that Haze Dunster would lead the group in – and he did. But the player to surprise me was Harry Duggan. The young forward has a good motor and placed himself as a leader in each run.

The sprint is on!

The team also did plenty of running with the ball in hand. Shapes off the ruck, 4 on 3 grid work, and 7 on 7 two hand touch had the players gasping for breath whilst looking sharp passing the footy.

Interestingly, defensive techniques also featured today. It’s not that defence doesn’t feature in preseason. Indeed, specific contact sessions are scheduled every week, and the ferocity in the sand pit is a sight which would surprise some punters.

In pairs, the players worked on their first up contact and grip (hit and stick). The collision was surprisingly solid for day two of the pre-season. They also honed their work on the ground, especially the communication and movement involved in peeling off the tackled player and getting into defensive position. Most Parra supporters will recall that having defenders left on the ground was an issue in the first half of the 2019 season.

A Final Word

In addition to putting some younger players under the microscope, noting the differences between the pre-seasons and watching new staff such as Ryan Carr and Trent Elkin makes these early weeks interesting. At this point early emphasis on ball work and defensive technique during these field sessions has been an eye opener.

 

Report 2 done!

 

Eels forever!

 

Sixties

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Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Thanks for this report sixties and gee even with only a few players there it certainly seems that there is a real intensity within the group. Would love a report on the young players that are training with the main team such as the one you mention Harry Duggan, don’t think I have seen him mentioned anywhere at this point of time. A side item is the email from Max today regarding meeting to be held on December 8 to vote on the constitution and we can vote on the net, or postal vote. Great news and finally able to… Read more »

parrathruandthru
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parrathruandthru
Milo
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Milo

Thanks Thruandthru; that is a good read and to me is a testament to country football up here on the coast and hunter. Bred tough in the Hunter; and I only hope the boy comes on well and stays fit.

John Eel
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John Eel

That is a good article. Bit of a surprise. What is he 20 now? Good to see how he goes

Milo
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Milo

Interesting reading Sixties – effort and determination I guess is the key in the earl weeks. You mentioned the defence which for me was not great at times but we got through. It show at times against some of the top teams mind you…and that is the key for me for 2020. We strengthen that and continue our composure with ball and we can cement top 8 or higher. I also think we need that good competition for spots and outside backs in particular who can also tackle…..its only November but I guess in a few wks it will be… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Milo, there’s a blog over on the other site titled Parra Forward rumoured to sign with Tigers. Some speculation has put some players names up but the latest one has Stefano as the player being targeted or going.

Hope that there’s nothing in that story.

Milo
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Milo

Hi Col,
Yes I was alerted to this the other day and also from a mate; I sincerely hope we keep the juniors who we want to keep.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Milo, I did mention if there was any truth to the rumour there would be some others that would be preferable to let go, rather than Stefano. I have not seen him play that much although I watched him in the Wenty GF loss and thought he did well. Going to his season stats they are pretty good overall and still only 19 & not 20 until next year, I would have loved to have seen him given a run off the bench towards the end of the year for reasons I have said in the past, would have given… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Agreed Col, Reading tele today they claim Mitchell is close to signing for v good $$$; no doubt we want to keep these type of players, and this is where $$$ comes into play.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

A thought came to me when I was replying to John Eel elsewhere, maybe part of the oppositions thinking maybe not. I wonder if this move against an eels player in development is a consequence of the fallout from Matto wanting out of the tigs and signing with the eels?

Given that Stefano features well in the training photo’s on the eels webb site, the coach and others have the chance to talk with him regarding what’s going on, and confirm that he is wanted at the club. A bit of encouragement never hurts.

Milo
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Milo

I am sure he is getting the encouragement Col and that he realises where his future can blossom. Brown and Moses as halves; Gutherson and co; and a strong pack. If there is any chatter with other clubs i think the possibility of being in top 17 could be a factor. He has to work at this with Parra with RCG, Paulo and Evans but i think he could force his way into the 17 with a v good off season.

John Eel
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John Eel

We are 4 months away from Rd 1, 119 days

!0 Year Member
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!0 Year Member

Thank you TCT. You will get me through the summer season before my next footy fix.

Paul
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Paul

Hi this got not to doing with the training this got to do a rumor i heard
I hope it not true
Nathan Brown going to the tigers with a swap deal for Matterson i hope not

shelley
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shelley

Thanks for the report. It is going to be interesting to see how BA and the other coaches deal with an interrupted pre season. You want your players selected for representative teams but it does raise some problems. One of the things the players spoke about last season was the camp held at the start of pre season and the unity that created. I hope we have learned from 2018 and spend the time to bring the team together when they all return. We saw in 2018 and 2019 the importance that genuine team connection can bring on the field.… Read more »

Rocky
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Earn the right… they have the right already.. Matterson has a grand final ring something that no one else in our squad has except 4 Fergo and Jennings. RCG was an Origin and Test representative. They’ll start straight away replacing the departed and missed Mau and possibly Evans (Good pre season battle between RCG and Evans coming up). Last year was different, we were coming in from a flogging of a season where we finished last, you want a hard arse military style pre season which is what we saw last year to get your players fit which we clearly… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Interesting take Rocky,
I for one think our squad will do both in terms of fitness and skills.
I also think Shelley has a god point and this is a tough balance to make. I just hope guys like Kaufusi and Utoik add pressure for a top 17 start.

BDon
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BDon

I’m pretty sure Rocky that Shelley meant the young blokes will have to earn the right. No argument about Origin level players though. I’m really keen to see the improvement in ruck control that this forward roster can bring. I reckon BA won’t want to wait til the season starts to get a feel for that, all aspects of defence will be drilled in the pre-season. Don’t you hate those games where gaps open, second effort falters and we get tries put on us like training runs. Last season the Roosters got creamed only once(by Newcastle)when their Origin players were… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley good post and interesting areas indeed. Like some others here and elsewhere, I was hoping to have seen Stefano and Oregan given time on the bench this year, more so for the reason two of the bench players I considered were not achieving, and played short minutes really, one was leaving the eels and it showed in the time on the field and added nothing to the side, yet we had Kafusi who had already tasted NRL game level and could have done just as well if not better than one of the bench players, Stefano had played a… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

You caught me out Sixties. I was not expecting episode 2 so soon.

Where do you see Haze Dunster playing. Is he purely a winger or does he have more strings to his bow. Does he play any centre or FB.

I always thought that he was more versatile.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

John, what I saw of Dunster last year in the trials told me he was a winger, he has a wingers effort in the way he scored some of those mid air tries, also his speed seems good, he’s young and a bit light ATM, who would he put out though, he played on the right wing, which is Fergo’s side, and can’t see Fergo relinquishing that spot for a couple of years though. Who knows what will happen though, MJ is yet to put pen to paper and announcements to be made, so means Parry is in the same… Read more »

Scott
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Scott

Maybe Fergos replacement when his contract is up? Could save us a lot of money.