The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – November 18, 2019: With A Little Help From My Friends

All in!

That’s the philosophy of the Eels club and their supporters in the charge into 2020.

As Trent Elkin asked some tough physical questions at Old Saleyards today, there was strong evidence that the players will be all in with their support for each other.

When the going gets tough, you want your mates to have your back. There was plenty of that today, especially during the conditioning work.

Last Friday, my report took you through the structure of the session in order to highlight how the conditioning component was used to place the squad under fatigue for their skills work. You can take it for granted that the players were again under fatigue this morning during their ball work.

With that noted, I’ll be breaking down today’s report into conditioning and skills sections.


After the warm up, Elkin took the players through their running mechanics. The players were asked to sprint for about 70 metres holding their form as they worked into the acceleration and then their speed zones. Individual coaching was provided for those who required it.

The players ran numerous sets of just over 100 metres throughout this session. On most occasions, the specific total distance corresponded (time-wise) with the amount of time that the ball would typically be in play in a match (without a break). For the majority of the runs, the squad was expected to remain in line.

Cue the team talk. Cue the support.

Ethan Parry

As the sets unfolded and their lungs began to burst, reminders were called out by squad members about body language, and encouragement was given to any who were struggling.

And there were consequences!

The tough side of Trent Elkin was on display today.

After completing a set of runs, Elkin asked a player how many sets they completed. After getting the answer, the new head of strength and conditioning informed them that extra sets had been added on for poor body language. He emphasised this by stating that he wouldn’t police what they did, but he would penalise it.

As more run sets unfolded at different stages throughout the session, Elkin would ask different players for a set count. The importance of keeping the mind on the task has been a focus on each day – and long may it continue! I’ve got a fair idea about what the consequence might have been for an incorrect set count.

Typically, the conditioning concluded with Malcolms. I reckon that there won’t be too many of these blokes who will bestow that name on any male offspring!


Once again, a significant  proportion of time was assigned to skills. Pass and catch technique around the ruck kicked off the ball work. As the drills expanded, the basic shapes for hitting the ball up off the ruck were practised.

Later in the session, the play was started with either a tap or a play the ball from specific points on the field. In some instances it was the wingers restarting from out wide. In others, it was the dummy half passing the ball.

For those wondering why the wingers receive such prominence in these drills, consider the number of times a set will begin with a winger passing the ball. It might be the result of of a penalty touch-finder, or going to dummy half after the fullback fields a kick.

After BA coached them through the goals of the drill, the emphasis fell on the players to determine the shape that they would run, and to communicate this to each other. BA and the staff reminded the squad that they needed to hear their voices.

Ryan Matterson

This was Matto’s first session back in Eels colours, and I have to admit that I’m stunned by his size. The Parra junior is listed at 193cm (6ft 4), and 103 kg, but I can’t believe that he’d hit the scales at that weight. To my eye, he looks heavier – and in a good way!

Welcome back Matto

Matterson looks to have arrived in decent shape. Given it’s been close to three months since he last played, he certainly impressed with his current fitness. He’s obviously kept up the work during his time off.

It also seems that he’s returned with a leaders attitude. At one point during the session, after BA had delivered some instructions, Matto gathered the group together and enthusiastically provided his own message. Given the inexperience of the group, it was encouraging to see him immediately taking on this role.

A Final Observation

Special mention to Kyle Schneider and Rhys Davies who caught the eye for their conditioning work. The longer the session went on, the stronger they performed. When the final sets of runs were undertaken, it seemed like the players were told that they didn’t have to remain in a line. This was the signal for these two to head the pack.


This was a demanding start to the week!


Eels Forever!




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Jimmy Corbo

Thank you, love these reports.

Colin Hussey

Great report sixties & thanks again. Before reading this post I went to the eels webb site and 25 odd pics were up of todays session, the first pic had me stumped at first as to who was that big player, it was revealed some clips down and is the one you have showing it to be Matto, to the photo eye he actually looks much bigger than his stats reveal, not just in weight and shape but his height, in fact he looks bigger overall than Shaune Lane. By the way you are describing him, I would say the… Read more »


I agree with you Colin, have been a big fan of Matterson for a couple of years now, he has grown as a player every year he has been in the NRL. I think we all will be pleasantly surprised by his efforts in the coming years and could very well become one of our forward leaders. Great signing in my eyes.
Another quality report Sixties, very much appreciated in a long off season.

Michael F

Thanks for the reports, much appreciated!

Paul Munro

Comprehensive report as usual love it thanks again Go Parra


Tks sixties for your great reports. I know you’re not going to mention the M word every time, you’d get the old worn record reputation, but those drills reek of mental. So there, I’ve mentioned it for you but I”ll stop now, just let the action speak for itself.


What can I say? great read sixties! Are there any new young fellas aspiring for the development squad that we should be aware of during the orf seeson? What are the possibilities of signing Hoffman on a reserve grade contract. His efforts during Wenty’s run up-to and through the finals last year were nothing short of his very best. I know he had a lot of injuries during the last 4 years with us. I believe a 1 year contract with an option Parra’s way could really inspire him to repeat the second round heights he achieved at fullback. His… Read more »

John Eel

Good to see Ham’s tweet below regarding the re-signing of Sam Hughes. That begs the question where are we at with big Hollis


Thanks again for the read sixties.
Always great to read and see what is going on and also read about the coaching side of things too.
Do we know much more about Sivo? and the injury….

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