The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – January 11 & 13, 2023: Intensity Rises In Full Contact Session

Fellow Eels supporters, I am pleased to report that the beast known as “full contact opposed” has finally bared its teeth.

The final session of the week had the Eels players donning either predominantly Blue or White jerseys and absolutely ripping in for approximately half an hour of footy. And it did not disappoint.

More on that shortly.

Looking back on the week that was, the field work seemed to be preparing for a big Friday finish. Here’s how it played out.



Let’s categorise this as a skills/conditioning morning.

For much of the time, the squad was split into forwards and backs.

Some of the drills included defence line movement, carries into contact, passing, attacking shapes, kick chase, and sprints carrying the football.

Ethan Sanders working on his passing skills (via Eels media)

The work was relentless and Elkin combined Malcolms (up/down off the ground) within some of the work.

Towards the latter part of the morning the squad worked through some sets with light contact.

It was the type of session where you walked away thinking that it was the warm up to something bigger.

Friday (See something bigger!)

Training commenced with similar skills work to Wednesday, but this was only short-lived.

The squad was soon full blast into sets of M Runs, the Friday menu item which is beloved by the players. Separated into forwards and backs, it was the usual faces dominating the conditioning.

It’s been an unwritten rule that Gutho will always lead the backs around the field, whilst this year Yates is the one that the forwards have to catch. Aside from those two, others who shone included Jake Arthur, Ethan Sanders, Mitch Moses, Haze Dunster, Josh Hodgson, Bryce Cartwright, Ky Rodwell and Nathan Brown.

M Runs

Unstructured footy filled the space between M runs, and then it was on to the serious stuff.

This was full field and staged as a continuous flowing game. There were no contrived starting points or do-overs. Try conversions were also taken, giving time for typical on-field Captain/player meetings.

The absence of RCG and Junior, along with couple of players doing rehab or conditioning, meant that the likes of Momoisea, Ogden and Arthur got their chance to impress in the NRL (Blue) team.

To be fair, the dominance of the NRL team made possession a rare commodity for the NSW Cup (White jersey) side. Consequently, much of what I’ll report came from the Blue players.


My Highlights:

* A Hodgson forced drop out was followed by a try to Hopgood in the next set after good lead up work by Lane

* Ogden, putting Moses into a hole, with the half kicking and regathering then offloading for Murchie to cross.

* Sivo picking up a bouncing pass then mercilessly smashing through the defence for a try.

* Moses going to the line and finding Murchie in support for the try.

* Moses reverse passing to Penisini to crack the line before finding Gutho in support for a long range try.

Murchie & Hodgo (via Eels media)

General Observations

* Ogden put his hand up in a big way today. His carries were strong and his ball work complemented impressive distribution by Hopgood.

* Very strong running from Will Penisini, and his combination with Sean Russell was classy. NB – Haze is not up to full contact in his rehab as yet.

* Josh Hodgson. Enough said!

* I’m very close to locking in Matt Doorey on the right edge.

* Mitch Moses was extremely sharp and there was tremendous energy about all of his work.

* This was the most impressive session from Murchie and his claim for a top 17 spot is strengthening

A Matter of Momentum

The imbalance in possession between the NRL and NSW Cup side today was not a contrived scenario. There are occasions when the coaches throw all of the ball to one team, allowing them to work on attack and consequently the other side gets a work out in defence.

This was not the case in this opposed..

Instead, the lopsided time in possession was as a consequence of momentum.

Unfortunately, that made it very difficult to comment on the form of those wearing the white jerseys. Despite that, there were a few occasions when I instinctively exclaimed “what a hit!” whilst they were defending. But, overall the weight of possession, along with lots of questions, was simply too hard to hold out.

Please note that at the conclusion of the opposed, all of the squad finished up with defence drills.

Important Clarification

There are some confusing stories circulating about young Eels pathways players involved in the Eels preseason.

I think it’s important to clarify the situation to cut short any ridiculous rumours.

Only two of the young pathways players are still involved in the preseason – Ethan Sanders and Jock Brazel. Charlie Guymer was training full time up to Christmas.

In these instances you can look to player development programs and contracts that stipulate a preseason as part of the plan for the player.

Outside of those players, there was a group of SG Ball and Jersey Flegg players who joined in one NRL field session per week in the period up to Christmas. They were also involved in development activities on another day and trained with the Flegg squad outside of that.

This group was primarily made up of JETS players (Junior Elite Talent Scheme) and this limited NRL preseason opportunity followed on from their 2022 training program. JETS has produced numerous NRL players in past years, but the scheme ceased due to Covid. Last year marked its re-launch.

Though I commended them as a collective, especially the energy they brought to the preseason, I did not comment on the performances of individuals from that group in my training reports. It would have been unfair given the learning curve that such young players were enjoying.

Those players have now returned to train with their respective teams ahead of either the SG Ball or Flegg seasons. Get behind those Eels age teams in 2023 as they represent the bright future of our club.

Eels forever!


PS – Parra Leagues Members, don’t forget to vote on the proposed amalgamation with Dural Country Club, this coming Wednesday, January 18 at Parra Leagues and at Vikings. The meeting kicks off at 7pm, and you must be present to vote.

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Martin Pluss

Thank you for the insights into the younger players and how they fit into pre season program. I need to find out where and when they play.


Great work mate.
Was curious how Tevita has been going and Mataele in training.
Sounds like Doorey is doing well which is nice to hear.


Ogden for one bench spot. Size, aggression matched by skills.


Sixties is Ogden jnr like size


On Parra site:
Ogden 192cm 106kg
Paulo 188cm 123kg

These don’t get updated vey regularly so weight could vary.

Matt Sweeney


Matt Sweeney

cheers matt sweeney here i9 dont understand why my name doesn’t always come up so sorry for confusion


Sixties, amazing again. How is Waqa going this pre-season, is he lining up at centre in sessions or going between wing and centre? It is a big year for him being off-contract with doubt over where to put him. He can be a world class player if just fixes his defence, plus we were keen on Schoupp and Allen and Farnworth last year, so we are scouting a centre. So big year for Waqa hope he goes to a new level again and gets an extension.


Ok that’s good to know as I never got the Allen hype, Schoupp I heard we were after but he went to GC.

But thanks for clearing that up.


Both DBrown and Gutho have mentioned Jirah as an outstanding performer in 2 separate articles. How is he looking?
Was surprised at how strongly they both talked him up.


Damn. Didn’t this report just get me going for the season to begin. Sixties, we are into the forties with just 48 days to go.

Parra Pete

Nathan Brown seems to be having a ‘red hot’ dip at pre-season. Have you heard any whispers about his intentions?


All down to to the CBA and other movements
It’s most likely Brown goes to tigers and Tapau signs with us
But neither will happen till the other happens etc..
I’d personally be happy if Brown signs a contract for 24 and we get one last season from him


60’s thank you once again for letting us up in the Sunny State understand what’s doing at training..
Previously I asked on Wiremu and he was a bit tardy around the ruck, given he would have been in the White team and requiring plenty of defensive efforts … was he up for it? Did he put on some hits / aggression , was he caught out around the ruck?
I rate him an Ogden as the Bench Props with Cyborg too


Thanks agsin Sixties loving these reports.

Any insights on the Moses/Hodgo combination


How good was hopgood yesterday mate I was very impressed with his skill set


Sixties, I hadn’t read too much (from my diminishing memory!) about Doorey in your reports. He was the signing they really got me excited. I saw him as our new Ice. In Brad I trust. So very pleased to read that you have given him a good wrap. Cheers and thanks to TCT for all the magnificent work. It’s clear that TCT is the first place msm journos go to get their “own” stories on Parra.


Tks sixties. I can get convinced that we will be better than 2022. I haven’t seen much of Doorey, Murchie,Ogden. If they are high work rate, mentally focussed/strong, that’s what we need. I reckon Hopgood passes muster already, Hodgson adds plenty, I don’t care that he’s32. Moses/Brown will be better and Sean Russell will find his feet. And Barrett knows where the bar is set, and will know if we’ve got the cattle for a step up in energy.


The window is wide open.


Nice work again 60’s. Good that you included a clarification on the juniors, one gibberer (and known liar and shit stirrer) on the other site is adamant that Matt Arthur has skipped an age division, is training full time with the main squad and been awarded a “train and trial” contract so that he is being paid and questioned why O’Neill has let this happen. Of even more concern is the number of people that have taken this sort of rubbish as gospel and an opportunity to bag BA yet again. You just can’t teach that sort of stupid!!!


As a member of that other site you will be pleased to know that I called “bullshit” on those comment’s and the fools that believed them and suggested the writer who is based in Brazil should keep his comments in the Amazon with the jungle drum mentality he possess’s. Whilst we can all have opinions and never be afraid to express them, everyone needs to know that primarily we are Parra supporters, making up lies to satisfy whatever ego drives these types only spoils it for everyone. Not everyone over there is an idiot but we do have our fair… Read more »


Agreed mate and the quality of that comment deserved to be put out as bullshit and no names mentioned.


Thanks 60’s. Is E Zakiem spelling with us? The guy who played for Lebanon. Forget his correct spelling.
This is a great read and thanks for the information re pathways


Ok thanks mate – was keen to see him kick on with us as he has a decent World Cup

Glen Pankhurst

Love the reports sixties. Great to get feed back on pre season and on how the new signings are settling in. Awsome all round coverage from NRL squad through to JETS. Great work. Eels for ever.


Great read Sixties.
Elie off to the Rorters. He obviously thought his chances for NRL would be limited here. Wish him all the best.
Great to see the intensity lifting.
Just waiting for Moses to re-sign to give a huge boost for the future.
Thanks again

greg okladnikov

Another great update. really good to hear that the new players are adding a new dimension. I am convinced the window is definitely open for the Eels.


That’s great to hear

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