The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – February 11, 2021: Sivo Finds A New Tedesco

Move over James Tedesco.

In one of the more spectacular moments I’ve witnessed at Eels training, powerhouse winger Maika Sivo decided to re-enact his 2020 collision with the Roosters superstar fullback during this morning’s opposed session.

And unfortunately for Jordan Rankin, he was the man in Sivo’s sights and the impact wasn’t lessened by the training field context.

Make no mistake, the big Fijian was in a menacing mood today.

Continuing his recent impressive opposed form, Maika was proving a handful with every carry. He’d already crossed for a try after regathering a superbly executed grubber kick from Gutho, and looked hungry for more.

Sivo’s White Jersey team had established good field position and their attack was ramping up. When the big fella was delivered a superb pass in the quarter with just a couple of defenders in his way, there was only going to be one outcome.

Full marks to Jordan Rankin.

Just like Tedesco, he courageously put his body on the line. The result was probably a combination of the fend on Tedesco and the brushing of Warriors centre Blake Ayshford.


It wasn’t pretty, and yet, it was!

In an encouraging sign for the Eels, Sivo wasn’t the only winger to provide a highlight.

Blake Ferguson continued his fine preseason with a thundering try in the opposite corner.

It’s difficult to describe the sound of Fergo in full flight. If you’re close by as we were today, you’d be recalling the sound of his feet pounding the turf underneath him just as readily as the sight of his frame charging towards the corner.

I’ve been witnessing the 2019 version of both wingers over the last four weeks. They’ve truly risen to the challenge issued by Haze Dunster.

This was a session of intensity. The teams were playing in their NRL jerseys, the collisions were incredibly close to NRL level, and the battle for ascendancy in the middle was an early highlight.

Marata – brutal intent

Marata Niukore was delivering a world of pain in both attack and defence. The Cook Islands international has often left a trail of destruction on the training paddock, and this morning he was on a mission of brutality. If last year marked his full arrival as a bone fide NRL star, this year will certainly consolidate it.

Dylan Brown must possess incredible core strength. His post contact metres for a five-eighth continue to amaze. That combination with Mitch Moses was solid today and will need to continue on that path as we approach round 1.

Ryan Matterson was having one of his best opposed sessions of the preseason. His carries were strong, a couple of his hits absolutely buried his opposite, and on a side note, Joey Johns spent a bit of time coaching him on some plays during a break.

A couple of intriguing decisions surround where Ray Stone and Keegan Hipgrave might be best suited. Each has spent time at both middle and edge during opposed work, and Hipgrave was busy in the middle for the Home Jersey team today.

I like the bench options provided by including genuine hookers, and the mix of body types and skills available in the forwards competing for a place in the 17 will give BA a “happy headache”.

As far as the Home Jersey team was concerned, Jake Arthur continued to ask questions with his game management – digging into the line to set up supports and mounting pressure with his kicking. Bryce Cartwright was proving a good foil for him, offering another option if the young half was not in a position to kick.

The teams gather to end the session

It wasn’t all smooth sailing out on the field. I thought there were a few too many incomplete sets early on, but the standard of play soon rose and the combinations looked sharper the longer that the session continued.

As usual, conditioning stations and modified footy games filled the break between the opposed work. Fijian touch was on the agenda, a fast moving game that allows for unlimited forward passes after a backwards pass starts the play – almost the reverse of NFL.

That wraps up the last major field session for the week.

Don’t forget, TCT will be covering the Junior Reps from 1pm this Saturday, and next Thursday we have the trial against the Dragons.

Eels forever!



Our thanks to Eels media for the Niukore and Ferguson images

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Great blog! Glad to hear that Sivo and Fergo are firing


It’s funny how players seem to fire up and play their best when their contracts are soon to end.

Colin Hussey

It looks like the wing spots are going to be a big contest between the contenders, Fergs, Sivo & Dunster. Looking forward to see Dunster putting the pressure on, next weeks trial will be a solid one for him.


There was plenty of things sivo goes through last year and it’s been all good and he’s in a good head space this year..


That’s my boy


Thanks sixties for the report


Great wrap

What are you thoughts on the bench

Which hooker has the edge for the 14 jersey


W.Smith?? I like what he brings at 14.


His dummy half service is to slow and he tends to pass standing up and not from the ground hes a handy depth player but not likely to get a look in.

For me the 14 should be Stone he can cover hooker and edge or in the middle his defence can be momentum shifting.
If Reed misses a game you bring in a starting specialist hooker Lussick/Roache
Plenty of options this year let’s hope the right ones get the nod


Stone is not a hooker and I feel it has damaged his progress as a player.
W.Smith is a great 14 as covers many positions. I do like Orache also. He is a top 17 player if can stay fit. Never heard of Joey


Thanks again Sixties, making the pre season barable


Hi sixties, another great report . I was going to come down to training tomorrow but you say that’s it for this week , or is there still a session tomorrow morning ?


Ok thanks sixties . Do you know what days next week they will be doing another big field session?


I honestly believe Sivo would make a decent centre. He has a nice pass and imagine Dunster or Fergo outside him. Worth a try I reckon.


Who do you believe is first in line to take on the vacant CTR role. I would love to hear more about Will Penisini. Do you reckon he is ready?


Will is a machine and is very consistent and has great talent. I reckon he would be great in the number 3!

Ken 70

Hi sixties do you think young Hughes well get game time in early rounds at all


On a different topic. When will MJ case be sorted. Any word?
And I see we need 1 more spot to get squad to 29. To if MJ is sorted. Will this be internally filled?


I think you’ll find a couple of players will be upgraded. My guess would be Will Penisini and Nathaniel Roache


Will Penisini would be the best option. Great player


I say Will Penisini would be a better option.

Mark Camman

Another great read Sixties. Just wanting to ask about our ftontvrow stocks for this year. JP and RCG will be our starting props barring injury. I would imagine Oregon Kafusi will be on the bench and will be the first interchange. I know we have Hughes and Hollis waiting in the wings but maybe a bit too young and inexperienced for first grade as yet. Who do you think will take up the other spot/s in the prop rotation?


Tks sixties. I am convinced our depth has been improved markedly.Some of those new guys have been road tested and have really great pedigrees. Why were they stalling at other clubs?
Will we see a repeat? Ability doesn’t just vaporise,sometimes you just need fresh air and new influences. If we can solve the out wide defensive jitters, it doesn’t matter what names do it, we ve still got plenty of strike all over the park.

Jason Rolfe

Cant wait for round one

John Eel

Disappointing outcome for Bryce breaking his jaw. Seems he has worked so hard to get to this point in the preseason.

That is Rugby League though. Tough contact sport so these injuries unfortunately are always lurking.

Colin Hussey

Good call John, I was really looking forward to his return to Riff park next week, while its disappointing for the club, fans and all I think he would be more disappointed though and be champing at the bit to get back on the field.

Hopefully the scans may reveal that its not as bad as first thought, a fracture is not as bad as a broken jaw as most reports seem to be saying.

Micky D's

Well done Sixties good post

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