The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – December 9, 2019: The Gang’s (Almost) All Here

That’s more like It!

The return of Junior Paulo, Kane Evans, Mitch Moses, Brad Takairangi and Nathan Brown meant that the squad was close to full strength today. With only Michael Jennings and Clint Gutherson yet to return to the training paddock, this morning’s session seemed to lift in both competitiveness and intensity. those on day 1 of their pre-season journey, the conditioning questions must have been a shock to the system. To be fair, the questions were mostly answered.

Today felt like a full NRL team session.

Here’s how it went down:

Dylan Brown Impresses

He looks strong, he looks fast.

The 1.2km run kicked off the conditioning and Dylbags led from start to finish. Given the impression our young Kiwi made last preseason, this should come as no surprise.

Go Dyl, go you good thing!

But there was almost an air of confidence in his running today – like he had decided to set a standard and knew he could do it. And I reckon it created an impression in the group.

Just behind Dylan on this first run was Jaeman Salmon and Mitch Moses. The Dally M half of the year also brought the talk, chirping away at his team mates from the get go.

Later in the session, when the squad came together again as a big group for more conditioning, it was Dylan, Ferguson and Salmon who stood out. When the conditioning concluded with Malcolms, Kyle Schneider put his name up in lights with a strong finish to the session.

Position Specific

The numbers in training today necessitated that the squad be split into two groups of about 13 for some position specific conditioning.

This part of the session began with one group working on their conditioning under the watchful eye of Trent Elkin, while the other worked with the coaches on defence.

Junior takes in well earned hydration.

A course of close to 200 metres was marked out by the new Eels trainer. Different posts were set out as the finishing points for particular players, based on their positions.

This course was completed multiple times with the only “rest” being the time it took for the group to return to the starting line. It was exhausting to watch Elkin as he often ran alongside the players, offering encouragement then counting down times.

The group working on defence were regathering the loose ball or fielding kicks in general play close to the line. Shutting down the attacking team’s chances of repeat sets or taking the opportunity to achieve turn-overs are critical aspects of defence – it’s not just about the tackles.

After about 20 minutes, the two groups swapped around.

Relentless Defence (Or Was It Relentless Attack?)

Schneider fires out a pass.

Having two “teams” available today permitted full field width opposed work within the quarter. Each team had multiple sets of six in possession, with their opposition expected to hold them out for a period of around ten minutes. It simulates the demands that can arise from repeat sets.

There were plenty of bodies in motion, and the attack hit each area of the line – the middle, edge and out wide.

A stand out moment for me was when RCG momentarily forgot that he was wearing orange and put a shot on an attacking player.

All In (But Camaraderie Well Noted)

Towards the end, it appeared as if a penalty was imposed on the squad. Someone made an error and the squad was reminded about everything being done as a team. The players were left in little doubt by Elkin that it wasn’t good enough as an additional set of runs was completed.

My early tip for an NRL debut – Andrew Davey

But whether there’s a penalty, or whether someone is doing a bit extra on their own, I’m highly impressed by the camaraderie on display.

Penalties always result in voices picking up and urging each other on. That’s exactly what you want to see in response to penalties in games. Don’t kick stones, don’t drop your heads. Work harder and encourage each other.

Furthermore, an individual completing additional running will find himself with a small cheer squad of team mates encouraging them, then congratulating them when they finish. They learn  that there’s others who have their back.

Players talk about team bonds, and I’ve seen and heard plenty of evidence that it exists in spades.


It’s going to be a hot one tomorrow!

See you then.

Eels forever!


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Colin Hussey

I sort of feel exhausted just reading the post sixties. If the routines are pretty much the same each day, the element of what they need to produce the same aspects in each match next season so no excuses that they don’t know what the next move is going to be.

I am sure I read a list somewhere of the coaching staff for the coming season. but I don’t recollect that Kidwell’s name was on it, is he still the defence coach going forward or another one in the role?

Colin Hussey

Thanks mate! Hopefully the working with Elkin will help Kidwell in the coaching side of the defence. I thought as a player he had good aggression and really showed it when playing for NZ, however I’m not sure of his figures as a coach though. The key I believe to improvement on paddock and this past seasons position is going to very much depend on the defence side of equation, as for the attack, with the signings we have made, that side will improve. Love the bit about RCG as well, he will provide a lot to the props rotation,… Read more »

John Eel

Colin I am really interested to see how the bench lines up this coming season. We now have some big minute forwards. Matterson and RCG both good defenders.

I think it opens up some opportunities for Stone and Salmon and possibly even Kaufusi and Utoikamanu

Come on March

Colin Hussey

John, its going to be interesting with the top 17, next season as I see a lot of pressure on the squad, especially the forwards. I find it somewhat amusing the talk regarding Stefano and his signing with the tigs, calls for him to stay, and get out of the contract, only thing from the eels side is they wont release him for next year, what affect will that have on him? Others under pressure I believe are Terepo, Evans, Stone and Davey to secure bench spots, I would also say the likes of Alvaro, and even Nathan Brown will… Read more »

John Eel

Has Utoikamanu actually been signed officially yet?


What happened to Rip Taylor?


Cheers Sixties,

Always great to hear from our man on the sideline. You should be called Sideline Sixties.



Parra going to put him on full time haha

John Eel



Yes I thought that after I posted

Matthew Sweeney

Great stuff Sixties. Big call on d0avey
I just dont see who makes room for him.

Brett Allen

Yep, that’s why you have a 30 man squad, not a 17 man squad

John Eel

Sixties you keep mentioning him. That usually means something.


So true, Andy finished the year in reserve grade as our best and most consistent forward. This time last year he looked like Tarzan but collapsed like Jane under the enormity of professional rugby league preseason expectation. To his credit he overcame and to his astonishment the boys rallied around him to lift him up and encourage him to go on to reach his goal, which he did. I think he might just rise to the next level next season.

Colin Hussey

If he has performed as well as I hear, I wonder if he would be a contender for the c’s role next year with CC team., that’s not holding him back to Regies though

Matthew Sweeney

Well I certainly dont doubt your instincts in these matters. I love it when a dark horse raises its head.
Cheers mate.


Interesting times ahead in regards to Schnieder with Mahoney just resigning and Kyle not too far off a debut.Both are considered the future but surely only one can be starting hooker and I see neither being the impact hooker off the bench type.Healthy competition for sure.For now though , is Stone still still slotting in there and if so how is he progressing?


Great read Sixties. It will be Interesting to see Davies get a call up. As you say injuries and suspension always gives an opportunity. Kafusi looks likely but I would think Terepo would be in danger of missing out. Also with Stefano leaving is there any point offering him a debut?

John Eel

Pete there could be some representative honours this season as well


Hey Sixities any thoughts (probably way too early to say) who will be our starting Front row combo and who will be our Bench combo ?

Like the idea of Davey taking 17th man from Gower (who has served us well)


I reckon your starting pack and bench are spot on Sixties. I wonder how Taka might go at dummy half as a rest for Reedy for 10 mins either side of oranges? Taka can play just about anywhere, he is a real footballer.


Sixties I agree with your starting pack. However the only change that I could see is that maybe BA may want to reward Kane Evans for his good form and effort at the back end of 2019

I am not advocating that change but trying to second guess BA

John Eel

Posted by John Eel

Paul taylor

Great read as always sixtie. As a veteran of the Pre seasons now – how we looking in comparison to the same time last year ? Do you think Ellkin is improving us ? I know you were a fan of Andrian Jimenez .

Also do you like the Brock lamb signing ? He has lots of talent and 40 nrl Games under his belt , cheap but astute pick up , I think BA will create a 14 out of him.


Thanks 60’s.
I like the thought of Davey getting a go. To me he would have earned it. I think he can take Taka’s spot and this may not be a popular view but I’m yet to be convinced of his second row role. But happy to be wrong.
I like the Brock Lamb signing; good back up.


Sounds like an even more intensive fitness regime this year Sixties. Your reports ring of an injection of new life into the squad/team/club without losing any of the maturing baby at the loss of the bath water. Our club is still very much driven by our man BA from my perspective, and so it should. Brad has brought a very strong and focused development process across the board throughout the whole club imo. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. But personally, I’m thoroughly enjoying the steady growth I’ve witnessed since “BA came home” to our… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Rowdy, great post, there just seems to be a difference this year in the overall training, and these reports really bring the real supporters, and even some of the doubters to seeing a new eels team, not just with a couple or more players but ones that want to be in the team, part of a new future. I like looking at the eels webb site photo’s of the team in training, a team of more than just the general 17, but the inclusion of more new faces is showing a stamina and desire in what they are doing. I… Read more »

!0 Year Member

Agreed. BA has impressed me. He team had a rabble to resolve. He has got there and we have stuck by him. It is time now for premierships. Nothing else.


Have any players bulked up? Dunster and Parry looked a little light last season. Not that I am convinced either will become NRL regulars.
And who plays hooker for Reserves?


Thanks. Haze looked a bit small for NRL.
From games I seen GJ is a superior athlete and player then both him and Parry.


Great write up sixties. The first try the Storm put on us in the finals set a tone for the whole first half. We seemed to lock into a mindset they were going to ruck it out off their line but a long pass to Smith who threw another long pass suddenly saw our backs going sideways and done for numbers. On the replay you can clearly see our halves and edge realise the danger, accelerate and push across but too late. Addo- Carr beat half the team in scramble mode and we lost our way. Can you see on… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Bdon, that try plus the next one on the other side of the field that I have commented on elsewhere, came as a result of MJ moving in from his position which also meant that Sivo had to follow him in leaving that left side with a huge space uncovered. That to me was a repeat of the same defence misread we had in 2018 against Souths and other clubs, against Souths it meant we had IIRC, 4 tries scored against us but on the opposite side of the paddock. There were some very poor reads by senior players in… Read more »


Col, I think it was Kenny Bromwich out wide, early in the count and in their own 20 and we weren’t numbered up. The long passing nailed us.You’d expect a forward to be in the middle, on a wet day when you’re trying to clear your line. It just seemed like a set trick shot that we fell for. When we realised it, effort was too late and those out wide were in no mans land. Fergo knew he was toast. Who was watching, organising,calling? Or do you just say ‘ too good Storm, that’s football’.

Colin Hussey

Fergo, turned round in a real tiz, then gave up.

Too early in the match to give up, as the bread had not had time to start to colour. The primary concern that I got out of it was that it was a repeat of the Manly & Riff episodes of last year and, other teams that put big scores on us.

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