The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – January 12, 2022: Pushing The Barriers Of Fatigue

Every year, there’s a point reached in the preseason when the training hits a demanding new level.

If today wasn’t that moment, it was definitely the prelude.

In a session lasting over two hours, Trent Elkin administered his own version of a PCR test. To be precise – I’m referring to his Preseason Conditioning Rigors. The Eels squad were asked big questions that pushed their capacity to perform under fatigue. Every drill incorporated plenty of running, and just when it appeared that the players had finished, Elk asked even more of them at the session’s end.

More on that later.

Close to the entire squad was in attendance today. For the purpose of organisation, the players were split into three groups – red, blue and green, with another group undertaking rehab training.

Gutherson gets the ball away under pressure from Dylan Brown

It’s not unusual to see players in the rehab group for short periods of time during the preseason, with the staff ensuring that risks aren’t taken with minor strains. They’ll continue to build up kilometres in their legs, but the type of running is adjusted to whatever their injury happens to be.

The banter was minimal today, with the jokes and good natured sledging replaced by senior players, especially the skipper, urging their team mates to push themselves.

Actually, there was a period during the morning that was a bit more light-hearted. The running mechanics and sprint technique was concluded with races over about 12 metres (acceleration being the focus). This can be very competitive but there’s always an opportunity for fun verbals and a few laughs, and today was no exception.

Once again, the opposed footy component pitched left side vs right side. This allowed three distinct groups to compete against each other. Unfortunately the action was on the furthest field making a breakdown of individual performances near impossible.

Jake Arthur digs into the line before passing

From an overall perspective, there was a little too much dropped ball for my liking. If the emphasis was on exerting defensive pressure, that might be a good result.

It also seemed like the players might have been encouraged to chance their hand. With having such a poor vantage point, it was not possible to hear the coach’s instructions or feedback, so unfortunately I can’t be more informative about this work.

Nonetheless, I liked the service from the dummy halves and the halves. Though Reed Mahoney was wearing an orange vest (no contact) his journey back from injury is getting closer to completion.

The three groups then rotated between offensive drills within grids, and a defensive technique station. Although the focus of the tackling was on technique, the players were again asked to execute under fatigue, running varying distances between tackles. 

The morning concluded with an exhausting period of running, along with sets of “Malcolms”.

Matto had an impressive session

Clint Gutherson and Jake Arthur were outstanding, leading home the group in every run. Just before Christmas, Arthur threw down the challenge to Gutho, and in one memorable session finished first in every M run. Outside of that, a couple of players seemed to have the King’s measure over sets of short distance runs.

But if there’s one thing that Gutherson has excelled in throughout his time at the Eels, it’s his capacity to overcome any challengers. Today, the conditioning crown sat firmly on the King’s  head. The Eels captain went to another level this morning, with JA pushing him all the way. If Gutherson has found another gear in his fitness levels, then I reckon we can thank young challengers like Arthur for driving it.

I’m also going to give a shout out to Matto, Ice and Jayden Yates who were consistent in their efforts to finish amongst the leaders. I’d go so far as to say that Matto delivered one of his best performances on the training track. 

By the time the squad finished their final Malcolm, I’m not sure if anyone had too much more left in the tank. The answer to that will be found soon enough because the Friday session is certain to pose even bigger questions to every player.

And as I suggested earlier, this was merely the prelude.


Bring on Friday.


Eels forever!




If you liked this article, you might consider supporting The Cumberland Throw.
Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hi great read just wondering what time the Friday morning session Start please thank you

John Eel

Good to see the preseason reports rolling out again Sixties. Keep up the good work.

Firstly how are the new trainers fitting in? Do they appear to be filling specific roles.

Further you talked about the 12 metre sprints. Without giving too much away, any serious contenders for sprint king?

Given the try that MM scored in the semi final against the Knights I think that he would be hard to beat.

Colin Hussey

Good report as per usual sixties. My thoughts base on the report, is very much seeing a couple of players who you have mentioned that have copped a lot of flack for some time now, are taking the mantel quite nicely thank you, the two players in question are Jake Arthur and Matto. I look forward to seeing Matto go harder and be free from Injuries. Not much if any words on Carty, but I suspect that he and Matto may well form a nice rotation pair for the season, and hopefully with Matto being more fit and injury free,… Read more »


Great read Sixties.
I guess Matto will be keen on making sure he starts in the top 13 as he seemed to have dropped down the pecking order late last year.
Keep up the great reports

Owen Jack

G’day guys love the reports, I’m interested to hear how Bailey Simonsson is going? Is he training on the fergos old side?


Thanks Sixties, great read again as always.
It will be good to see the young guys pushing for spots, such as Hollis, J Arthur and outside backs. I think you mentioned he could be a backrower in years to come; coule he also be a 5/8?
I have read some v good things about K Rodwell, has he definitely signed up again?
I will have to see how i can view games from O/seas….


On Jake, I’m not sure why so many are so eager for him to move to the forwards so early in his career. I think of another player in John Sutton who was often considered too big for the halves yet he played 190 of his approx 320 NRL games in the halves with 131 spent in the forwards. Sutton was a highly skilled player but I believe as a half Jake has a better passing and kicking game. Given there’s a lack of halves in the NRL I believe that if you have someone in your system who is… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x