The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – January 17, 2020: Precipitation And Exhortations

There was probably a time, long ago in most people’s lives, when sport wasn’t called off because of a little rain.

If you’re like me, playing footy on a drenched track as a kid was one of life’s great joys. The deck was a bit softer, the post contact slide could gain as much yardage as your run, and the mud soaked jersey was something for your mum to worry about.

For the Eels, the rain that’s brought relief across the state also seemed to add a spring to the step at today’s training.

The voices were louder. The calls of encouragement and urging for effort echoed across the field.

If anything the precipitation had brought greater exhortations.

From a footy perspective, it’s been a big week of training for the Eels. The opposed work has really kicked in as the trials and season opener get closer. But if you were watching from the sidelines today, you’d never guess that this was the third physical contest of the week.

Here’s how the morning unfolded:

Reed Says “Bring It On!”

In one of his most impressive days of this year’s preseason, Reed Mahoney absolutely exploded out of the blocks in the conditioning work.

Reed “Cash” Mahoney

In addition to the running, the players were asked to complete Malcolms at pace. Reed seemed to be loaded with springs as he bounced up off the ground at each turn.

That’s not to say that the Gold Standard – King Gutho – wasn’t featuring. You can generally take that to the bank on a daily basis. Therefore, I take Gutho “out of the market” and look for who else was shining. Today, Mahoney seemed to thrive in the wet conditions.

Maybe “Cash” is a mudder!


Just like Monday and Wednesday, the opposed work formed a major component of the session. Referees were again in attendance. And as far as the collisions were concerned, the intensity remained.

The “game” was played in two halves, with the senior middle forwards swapping teams after “half time”. You can add Oregon and Stefano into that senior forward list.

Obviously the wet conditions produced a contest through the middle. With NRL forwards featuring in both the Blue and Gold teams, the contest seemed evenly split in the battle for supremacy.


This division of the players was good from two perspectives. Firstly, it strengthened the “Gold” team which in turn provided support for the younger players, and made their defence an even tougher proposition to crack. Secondly, it provided the likes of Stefano and Oregon with more opportunities to combine with NRL playmakers, and this helps them to push their claims for a spot on the bench.

There were a number of highlights worth noting:

* Oregon Kaufusi swooping on a dropped pass to sprint 20 metres untouched for the first Blue try.

* Blake Ferguson chip kicking and regathering in the in goal, with his grounding unluckily ruled as a knock on.

* Stefano knocking defenders off their feet with a bulldozing charge.

* Ryan Matterson taking the aerial route to touch down in the corner off a Fergo tap back.

* RCG surging powerfully through the ruck in the quarter to set up a try, only to see the ball put down by his support runner.

* Kyle Schneider chasing down Reed Mahoney after the Eels rake had picked up a dropped pass and scooted around 30 metres downfield.

Although dropped passes received a couple of mentions in the above highlights, I thought that the handling was quite good in what was very challenging conditions. The rain absolutely belted down throughout the morning and was still falling when the session ended after just on two hours.

As the title of this post suggests, the talk on both teams was very impressive. After three demanding opposed sessions this week, it would have been easy to excuse players if they were down in energy or couldn’t find their voices.

No such need today.

Eels forever!


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36 thoughts on “Eels Pre-Season Training – January 17, 2020: Precipitation And Exhortations

  1. Matthew Sweeney

    Thanks Sixties, always an enjoyable part of my day reading your notes.
    I was curious to know if Taka , being more talked about as a forward prospect this year, has put any additional bulk on. Of course he is a unit already but imo could still use a little extra muscle and maintain his agility and speed. Cheers mate.

    1. sixties

      Taka has been training exclusively at centre so far. This is obviously because Waqa has been in rehab. Taka looks as big as ever.

  2. Tragiceel

    Great read Sixties, I am getting increasingly worried about losing Stefano to the Tigers, is there any truth in the rumours about a backflip? After reading your reports and other peoples opinions on him he could be a huge loss. Glad to hear RCG and Matto are putting in, really looking forward to see what they have to offer this year, expecting big things from them both. Also looking forward to seeing Kaufusi play more NRL.

    1. sixties Post author

      I don’t think anything more can be said than Stefano has an Eels contract for 2020 and he is training well and earning respect for doing so. He currently has a contract from 2021 with the Tigers. To say more would be only speculation.

      1. Milo

        I guess its great Stefano is training so well Sixties and putting in a huge effort. It would be great to see him make the nrl team this season and also Oregon pick up a spot.
        With lamb changing flocks is there a chance we could pick up another young bull?

          1. Matthew Sweeney

            Very funny. Got me thinking of a story I heard. The recently deceased big Bill Waterhouse the doyen of sydney rails bookmaking was drinking at the City Tatts one day and got into a conversation with a big sheep farmer down from the country for the weekend . The cocky farmer not knowing who Bill was asked him what he did for a crust. Bill tells him he also has properties
            , FOUR in fact ! A bit puzzled the farmer asks the whereabouts of these properties. Big Bill says Warwick Farm , Canterbury, Rosehill and Randwick and we FLEECE them every week!

          2. Colin Hussey

            Milo, interesting company that was Aus owned. Were among the first to introduce roadside café’s in their servo’s.

            Back a few years in 1966, mate & I had a trip out west and decided to come back through Cowra and then down to Young before heading to Sydney. We got out of Cowra and the mate had not worried about fuel, and we realised that there was not enough petrol to get to Young it was a Sunday afternoon and we were worried, although we knew there was a GF servo at Koorawatha, on arrival we noticed the owner was just shutting shop, and his bowsers were turned off.

            Believe me they were relics of bowsers, he said as they were off the only way we could get fuel was through a side pump that was hand operated, where the pump had a handle on the side of it and we had to use it to manually bring the fuel up.’
            We got to around half a tank and decided that was enough, but was not going to risk heading to Young so we turned around and went to Bathurst, where we go fuel and drove home.

            The servo was just over the railway line crossing and last time I went through there was nothing to suggest that there had been a servo or anything there.

          3. Milo

            Great memories Colin, i seem to recall one or two on way to south coast. The big ram / sheep was always a favourite to be honest.
            There was something said back then about service stations and the blokes checking your oil / cleaning windscreens etc.
            Some parts of progress have not been good….
            Thanks for the story.

          4. Colin Hussey

            I guess as I get older there’s a lot of things that I like to reflect on, and the memories of a time when life seemed to mean so much more, was more relaxed as well as having icons of businesses that were Australian, to me GF was one such company, loved the aspect that the sheep were in the same shades of blue and gold that the eels colours were in, not the weird and sickly colours that adorn our jersey’s over the years, and seem to be ever present.

            I loved many of the old advertising billboards at the servo’s Neptune with the big man with beard and crown and pitch fork from the oceans, there was one of them along Windsor road, that turned into Atlantic and then Esso, with the bigggg tiger in the tank, I’m pretty sure there was a GF in the area somewhere closer to Burcham Hills.

            I have a book called Signs of the Times, and shows a servo and mechanic business near Banksia (I think it was there) that had around 8 different bowsers and sold different brands out of them, was actually fairly common for some servo’s to have independence in that regard.

          5. Colin Hussey

            Mate that is nice, never saw one like that before, would love to be able to get a copy of it, would have it in a special spot.
            Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Grunta

    Bugger the footy for a second..
    “Mum, the rains are here!”.
    Coming from an area which has been absolutely scolded, cooked, devastated and drought stricken, 150mm of rain within one day is the best thing to have happened in a long time, dare I say it, even better than sixties’ training reports 😉
    I commenced fighting fires in September and the smoke in general has just been part f the landscape for many months. I’ve also had to buy water 3 times in the past 12 months.
    Anyway, sorry to get a bit off track. I’m going to stand in a large puddle in the rain…

    1. sixties

      Mate, blokes like you who have been fighting the fires deserve so much praise and thanks. Footy reports are simply a minor distraction for what matters in life.
      As far as my report is concerned, not only grateful for the rain, but I enjoyed watching the session in the cool conditions.

    2. Colin Hussey

      Grunts, no need to say sorry mate as everyone looks to those who are doing such a great job in adverse conditions, and in exceptionally dangerous ones as well, as testified by those who have sacrificed their lives and their families suffer as a consequence.

      My prayers are that this rain will continue and love watching the antics of farmers on short video clips showing their delight at the rain, and how they love the mud.

      My Mum lived for many years in her younger days at Bingara, this morning on there is two shortish videos taken at Bingara by someone who was perfectly positioned to take the video of a creek that has started to run, worth a watch as it comes down past him taking a lot of fallen debri in front. Luvely wet action shot, will treasure that for some time I would imagine.

        1. Colin Hussey

          John, Mum left Bingara, after the war when Dad was demobilised from Holbrook RAAF trades base, he went back to the small arms factory at Lithgow and they lived at Blackheath for some years. The grandparents stayed an Bingara for some time after the war and moved to Sydney.

          I have never been there, but my sister has, parents used to talk about the place a lot and seemed to have liked the place.

    3. BDon

      Well done Grunta. My son had his house saved by RFS, he had to leave but listened to it all on RFS comms,the fire had blindsided them and it all sounded like a war zone. It’s a bit like NRL, you don’t know what it’s really like unless you’ve felt the sparks out in the middle. Good on you champ.

  4. Braeden

    Hey Mate,

    Thanks for the report, I was a little worried about RCG and his jaw/cheek when we signed him you could tell last year he wasn’t running as hard compared to his 2018 and SOO form.

    How’s he looked since he’s came across, I really hope he can find the mental strength the get back to his 2018 form. He was the best prop in the comp.

    1. Colin Hussey

      Looking at the eels webb site and pics of the training RCG has a huge leg stride.

      sixties in the pics there is a big player that is in the yellow jersey looks like and Islander with a short bead, looks a bit like Stefano as well, not quite the same build as Stefano but a good size. Who is he? in 6th pic down he’s besides RCG.

      I notice that Gutho is at the fine sanding grade of hair style now?

      1. sixties

        Colin, I think Gutho just chose the fastest way to get rid of the blonde locks. There were quite a few NSW Cup contracted players getting a run yesterday. It was like an internal trial.

    2. parrathruandthru

      RCG has been awesome. Running hard & straight & front on into the defence. Can’t wait to see him & Junior charging in unison as our go forward

    3. sixties

      Braeden, I am certain that RCG will start and he’s absolutely ripping in during the opposed sessions. He was a bit behind in conditioning when they started the preseason, but there’s no issues now.

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