The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – January 4, 2023: First Day Back Mini Report

The first day back in the New Year requires a dedicated post, but given that there was a minimal footy component, I’ve decided to make this short and sweet.

Firstly, the main question on everyone’s lips would be, “Who’s back on deck now?”.

Besides all of those who were at work prior to Christmas, today saw the return of Mitch Moses, Maika Sivo, Makahesi Makatoa and Nathan Brown.

That just leaves Dylan Brown, Will Penisini, Junior Paulo and RCG to make their first appearance for the preseason.

On that note, both Moses and Nathan Brown looked to be in outstanding shape. In fact, it’s probably the best that I’ve seen Brown look on the first day of the preseason.

Should anything be read into the presence of Brown?

It’s actually quite straight forward. Nathan Brown is contracted at Parramatta until he’s not. The Eels have been paying his contract since November 1. Should he move, over one sixth of his contract coin for 2023 has already been accounted for, reducing the bill for any other club. If he stays, then he’s simply undertaking a typical preseason to prepare himself for 2023 with the Eels.

One other point on Brown. As he was warming up, BA came over to him and they chatted. It all looked very jovial as both seemed to enjoy a bit of a laugh about something.

If Brown moves on, the situation is not unlike what unfolded with Corey Norman. Back at the end of 2018, it was rumoured that Norman was being offered to other clubs. Before Christmas, the strong mail was that a deal had been done with the Dragons.

Despite that, Norman fronted for every training session, and was even a bit of a mentor for Dylan Brown. He put in just as strongly as ever in every conditioning run and every field session. The only occasion when he took time away from the group was in the final session of the year – an open fan day.

By then, his move to St George was a done deal. Yet he participated in that final session of the season, only stepping away from signing autographs (for obvious reasons).

A major part of today’s session was conditioning work. There’s no need to go into details of how that was structured, just know that they did a lot of running. Even the ball work was conducted as the typical run/pass that you see when NRL teams warm up n the field.

Naturally Gutho set the tone in this work, with no surprise that Jake Arthur and Jayden Yates were also strong. Throw in the Nathan Brown (hence my comments), Bryce Cartwright, Mitch Moses and Josh Hodgson and I’ve covered a number of, though probably not all, the players to catch the eye for effort.

The only footy component of the morning was unopposed, as the squad split into rough NRL/NSW Cup sides and worked through their sets. Given the players who have been absent to now, or until just before Christmas, it didn’t surprise to see them continuing to familiarise the squad with some of the changed shapes.

My last observation to share is that as Simonsson and Dunster continue their rehab, Sean Russell is assuming the right wing role. This is no surprise as it’s simply a continuation of what transpired throughout November and December.

Though there’s never any guarantees when a player is in rehab, I would expect Simonsson to be close to right by Round 1 or even the trials. If so, he comes into calculations as a winger or centre.

A fit Simonsson puts BA in the situation of choosing between him and Russell for an NRL spot. If Russell gets the nod, it means Blake plays centre. If Simonsson gets the nod, Russell misses out and then BA’s decision then becomes whether to play Blake or Simonsson at centre, with the one missing out being expected to play on the wing. 

Eels forever!


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I looged on to ask about where Waqa will play. I prefer him at centre. Funny that you bought it up. He is a talented player but many fans seem to of turned on him and become a scapegoat.

Matt Sweeney

Gotta a love an unexpected mini training report. Good stuff sixties.
some years ago manu vatuvei and I think it might of been against us at parra had a diabolical night under the high ball, I see no reason why wonga cant recover in the fine style manu did. however lets not tempt fate and get him into the centres where he is more effective and comfortable.

Matt Sweeney

well done trouser eel, lol


We need trouser eel at all our home games. Thx for sharing 60s

John Eel

I think it was the North East corner of the Parramatta stadium.

A chant broke out from the Eels supporters, “kick it to Vatuvei”


Has Will Penisini left the club?


Will update……………..I see what you did there

Colin good

Would be disastrous if Penisini left,he is one of the brightest prospects at the club

Parra Pete

Where there is a Will there is away….


Great read Sixties.
Exciting times. Russell and Dunster are extremely unlucky for missing most of last year through being victims of foul play. I’m not sure if there is a better way to compensate players for such instances. Jayden Campbell can consider himself very lucky indeed.
BA as you say is very loyal. So he’ll probably give Waqa every chance to redeem himself as he did with Ray Stone. But when all are fully fit again we will be in a much better position than last season.
Can’t wait for the next report.

Peter Peter

It’s massive losing Papalili…….he has been the best back rower for the last 2 years


He won’t be the best back-rower for the next 4


Shaun Lane was far superior in 22.
Papali’i defense is weak. We upgrade with Matto there or Doorey


Hindy, I didn’t think he was a weak defender, I thought the minutes he played sometimes brought on fatigue or concentration lapse, things where Lane showed definite improvement over the seasons. I think we”ll see Hopgood gradually convince us he has a big motor, resilience and toughness, ie Papali’i covered.


Great review as always. Just one thing – where is Will penisini? Surely he would have had to report when Moses etc did?

Here’s to parra going one better in 2023


chance Mitch is back slightly early maybe


Is Isaac Lumelume on a T&T deal? Looks like a pic of him on the parraeels site.

Achilles' Eel

You mean the defensive winger in the second photo that sees Josh Hodgson picking up the ball at dummy-half? Now surely he looks more like Semi Radradra!


I don’t think they could keep Semis return that quiet.


It’s a forgone conclusion that Brown will be gone but part of me hopes he stays even though he is low on the pecking order he still could come in handy.

I think Sean Russell could be the breakout player i worry Hayze may of fallen behind to many players and might spend more time in Reggie’s then he’d like


Brown is a proper Pro when a player leaves they are dead to me but not Brown or Marata those two I only wish the best for.


Brown is a proper Pro when a player leaves they are dead to me but not Brown or Marata those two I only wish the best for.

Peter Peter

Nice work sixties! Any mail on GOL?

Brett Allen

I probably don’t need to ask, but how was Mitch’s body language ?


Thanks for that report 60’s, could ask for no more at this stage of the resumption…’s the facility at Kellyville looking, assuming the progressive development is on going.
Do the players have good facilities now or are demountables and the like still in use.
I ask this question as apparently Wests have made a big deal about their facility and it appears to be a selling point for them?


unfortunately ours doesnt have a hairdressing salon so players are leaving us in droves


Better than leaving in Braids.

Matt Sweeney

What about a tub & rug ?

Last edited 30 days ago by Matt Sweeney

I remember when the players had only cold showers at the old Cumberland……


Maybe there is an opportunity there for you
“parrathreadafew” maybe something to hang your hat on?……don’t forget we have women’s teams now?


Thanks for that Craig, living up here but once being a kellyville resident for a short time when I was 18 brings back many memories and I am looking forward as a proud Parra man to it becoming an iconic set up. It’s part of the dream I have for Parra to finally full fill its potential and rightful place as the leading sports club in the country and that includes becoming the number one NRL team in the competition/world. Yes I live in Brisbane but you can take the boy out of the city but the heart will always… Read more »


Where do you think Bryce may figure as far as round one goes. 2ould like to see him given a good run in NRL nad not just 10 mins here and there.


In reserve grade he’s OT reliable enough for regular 1st grade

Chris Stone

Great write up 60s and gang. Nice to mention Norman’s honourable traits. I for one gave him a lot of stick at Dragons but the bloke i think was a character every teams wants a bit of. Really hopeful about Russell he has a bit of a young guru in him. Also looking forward to seeing him develop alongside Jake Arthur. Would like to know how much their burning after losing the GF. I think this team is getting mentally stronger I can only hope. Also whats the go with Matto? Surely the NRL arent going to not let him… Read more »

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