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Eels in the media


Parramatta Eels' Anthony Watmough had to learn to run again after injury complications
December 8, 2015 - 7:07PM
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Brad Walter
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Billy Slater ready to fire
Melbourne Storm fullback ready to make his return at the Auckland Nines in February.
Former Test forward Anthony Watmough told Parramatta officials just weeks ago that he was going to retire after muscle fatigue from ignoring a serious knee injury for five years left him a virtual cripple.

Watmough, whose first season with the Eels ended prematurely when he suffered a shoulder injury in the round 19 match against North Queensland, has had to learn to run again after also undergoing surgery to repair a torn medial ligament in his left knee.

After having the ligament re-attached, Watmough found the rehabilitation from the operation so difficult he thought his career was over.

Fighting back: Parramatta's Anthony Watmough.
Fighting back: Parramatta's Anthony Watmough. Photo: Cameron Spencer
"I thought I was going to retire, I thought I was gone," Watmough revealed on Tuesday at a launch for next season's NRL Nines.
"I spoke to the physio because the first time I tried to run, I couldn't. My legs were just on fire. I just said to him 'I'm done. I can't run, I can't walk, I can't even hop'. I was standing there with my left leg and it was just done. I thought that's life, I've had a great run, I've had a great go."


However, Watmough is now looking forward to his 14th season in the NRL after Parramatta physiotherapist Josh Rigg told him the pain wasn't caused by the medial ligament tear but muscle fatigue from continuing to play with the injury.

"I learnt to favour it too much, so the muscles, the hamstring, just died... the calf didn't work and I didn't realise how bad it was because over the years it just kept declining, declining," Watmough said.

Showing their colours: The launch of the NRL Auckland Nine jerseys on Tuesday.
Showing their colours: The launch of the NRL Auckland Nine jerseys on Tuesday. Photo: Peter Rae
"The physio said 'you've had no medial for so long that there's nothing there'. As soon as they re-attached it I could feel muscles that I hadn't felt in years.

"But then they just started chucking fits and locked one day, sort of spasmed, when I was at training. That's when they felt like they were on fire and I said 'I'm done'".

Watmough, who has played 303 NRL matches for Manly and Parramatta, said Rigg had had to teach him him how to run again and he has gradually been increasing the distances.

"The first day he wanted me to run a straight line for five metres and I couldn't do that," Watmough said.
"Then I came back the next week and ran for two minutes [and] the next week for five minutes. Every day we did programs, set up fitness blocks with cycling and other stuff.
"The other day was 7.5 kilometres on my legs and then to be able to turn up the next day and run. That was a big test."

Having done that, Watmough now hopes to next week be given the green light to resume ballwork with teammates for the first time in six months.

"I was told I've been playing on one leg for five years," Watmough said. "To do that in one of the toughest sports in the world, I didn't realise how much it was taking away from my game but obviously it was. My performances haven't been what they should have been.

"It wasn't the year I wanted at Parra. I wanted to have a bit more of an impact than I did but it was probably a blessing that I went to Parra as they finally found out what my injury was and fixed it.

"It wasn't the greatest debut at a club but we're working hard off the field and I feel we've grown as a unit. It's been pretty surreal the last five weeks, learning how to run again."

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/...plications-20151208-glij4s.html#ixzz3tiTw4Mi8
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Staff member
Foran fits like a glove at Parra: Watmough

Eels forward Anthony Watmough says his long-time mate Kieran Foran has settled into his new environment at Parramatta perfectly and loves just coming to training.

Watmough also praised the culture that is being built at the club, which he said is set to put the side in good stead to win more games in 2016 with some astute purchases over the off-season.

"He (Foran) is great. He's fitted in out there so easy," Watmough said at the launch of the 2016 Dick Smith Auckland Nines on Tuesday morning.

"The club, the boys, the feeling between the boys and coming to training. I told him I don't think I've been part of a better group of guys and he goes 'Mate I love coming to training every day. I love everything about coming here. I'm excited to go to training every day.'

"So for him to say that after being with Manly for so long, and only being the first couple of weeks out of the club, it's a credit to what the coaching staff have done and the management for picking the right players and having the right balance of people in the team."

Watmough said out of 30 or so players in a training session most days, 20 would regularly go for food or coffee afterwards, which points to a great bond between the players.

"Most clubs you might get groups of five or six and think that's a great number but every day we've got 20 blokes going together for a coffee, so culture-wise the club is heading in the right direction," Watmough said.

"I know Fozzie and [fellow 2016 recruits] Beau Scott and Michael Gordon are just going to add legs to us on the field.

"They're going to take our game to a new level because we probably lacked in those positions.

"We needed a fullback that played on the ball and another half that was really dominant. 'Normy' (Corey Norman) to his credit is a great player, an explosive player but Fozzie is a competitor. If there's an offload he'll push up on it.

"We were just a bit lacking in that one person pushing up. It can be the difference between winning games and losing games.

"I'm pretty sure we'll win more than we lose next year."



First Grade
Fairly confident it will be Jennings/Radradra (left) and Takairangi/Gutherson (right).


Staff member
Good article this.

What does Jennings' arrival mean for Radradra?

What does Jennings' arrival mean for Radradra?
By Chris Kennedy
Thu, Jan 28, 2016 - 12:30PM

Will new Parramatta centre Michael Jennings play on the same left edge as try-scoring ace Semi Radradra, or will coach Brad Arthur opt to move Jennings to the right, creating serious strike power on both flanks? What will be the implications for the Eels either way? NRL.com delved deep into the stats to bring you the answers.

With the huge announcement that Parramatta had secured Test and Origin centre Micheal Jennings from the Roosters on a four-year deal, the rugby league community was immediately abuzz with the possibility of one of the best attacking left-edge centres in the game pairing with the most dangerous left winger in the NRL.

But will they? Should they? Would it even be a good thing?

The naysayers immediately suggested that try-scoring sensation Radradra would catch a cold out on the wing waiting for Jennings to pass him the ball.

Others wondered how wise it would be to split up Radradra from his regular centre partner Brad Takairangi, with whom he combined so beautifully in 2015 to create – along with five-eighth Corey Norman – the most dangerous attacking edge in the NRL.

NRL.com decided to crunch the numbers as well as ask the men at the centre of it all for their thoughts to break down just whether or not Jennings would be best served pairing with Radradra, or moving across to the unaccustomed right side to give the Eels strike on both flanks out wide.

What happened last year?

Eels: Journeyman centre Takairangi's first season in the blue and gold his father once wore back in the '80s saw him strike up a wonderful combination with his outside man Radradra. He played his own understated role to perfection, delivering quality ball that contributed to the Semi Trailer crashing over for a club-record 24 tries (in just 18 games). Takairangi's 11 try assists – all but one of those to Radradra's benefit – were the most by any player in the NRL last season outside of the regular playmakers (the halves, hookers and fullbacks).

Roosters: Both Jennings and his outside man Dan Tupou were scintillating in attack, notching eight and 16 tries respectively. But they were playing behind two premiership-winning halves and a hugely dominant forward pack on the way to a third straight minor premiership, while the Eels' right flank was underwhelming (placing more reliance on the left edge) and their forward pack was at best competitive, rather than dominant. So how much can we read into those combinations and what the recruitment of Jennings means for Parramatta?


Try assists

Takairangi to Radradra: 10 try assists in 13 games together, 0.77 per game

Let's first note that while Tupou and Jennings played 27 and 24 NRL games respectively (Origin is not included in this analysis) last year, injury limited the Eels pair to 18 games for Radradra and 17 for Takairangi – and because they were injured at different times they only played together 13 times last year for Takairangi to send Radradra over for 10 four-pointers. That's a stunning rate of almost one try assist from Takairangi for Radradra per game.

Jennings to Tupou: five try assists in 24 games, 0.21 per game

At the Roosters, Tupou scored 16 tries in 27 games. Many involved the towering 195cm winger outleaping opposition wingers under pinpoint Mitch Pearce or James Maloney kicks. Some resulted from a quality cut-out ball from one of his playmakers across the face of Jennings. Still, five times he benefited from a Jennings try assist. Tupou played in every one of the 24 NRL games Jennings played last year, so that's a rate of just over one try assist from centre to winger every five games.

(Note that while Radradra was a key focal point in attack for an Eels side that just missed the finals, the Roosters had strike everywhere – including the opposite flank in the shape of Blake Ferguson and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, so there was less need to go left for the Tricolours compared to the blue and golds.)

Passes to winger

On average Takairangi received the ball 13 times per game in 2015, and passed it on 7.2 times per game. Of 123 total passes, 26 were to his outside man (25 to Radradra and once to John Folau when Radradra was absent) at a rate of 1.53 per game.

Jennings received the ball slightly more – 16 times per game on average – and passed it 4.9 times per game. Of 117 total passes, 29 went to Tupou at a rate of 1.2 times per game.

Bearing in mind Jennings is a far more dangerous ball runner than Takairangi, and you don't necessarily want him passing as often in lieu of running himself, he doesn't actually distribute the ball much less than Takairangi. He passes roughly once in three possessions compared to one in two for the Eels centre. We're prepared to say the myth of Jennings as a ball hog has been busted.

Parramatta's likely back five for Round 1

1. Michael Gordon, 2. Semi Radradra, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Takairangi, 5. Clint Gutherson (or Ryan Morgan, John Folau, Vai Toutai or Bureta Faraimo)


The prospect of uniting Radradra and Jennings on the left flank is no doubt tantalising. A Test and Origin centre, Jennings no doubt has enough rugby league experience to judge when his outside man is in a better spot than he is and deliver quality ball, as he did on plenty of occasions with Tupou last season. The fact that Jennings is an attacking virtuoso on his own however means Radradra is probably likely to see a bit less ball – although on the flipside, the space Jennings creates could also benefit the Fijian flyer.

However, that solution would leave Brad Arthur with a relatively inexperienced and workmanlike right flank, placing a heavy reliance on Parramatta's left edge attack. Jennings should be good enough to adapt to the other side of the field, as should incoming left-edge playmaker Kieran Foran. The prospect of a Foran-Jennings-Gutherson right side, leaving what was already a red-hot left edge of Corey Norman, Takairangi and Radradra intact, is well worth trialling for Arthur.

Early indications out of Parramatta are that Jennings will indeed line up on the left with Radradra but the pre-season trials will no doubt add plenty of clarity in the coming weeks.



One-on-one with Semi Radradra

Chris Kennedy - NRL.com

Wed 3rd February, 02:00PM

NRL.com sat down with Eels try-scoring sensation Semi Radradra on a baking hot day at the Eels' home base at Old Saleyards Reserve in North Parramatta as the Fijian flyer reflected on his incredible rugby league journey to date.

He may have just broken a three-decades old club try-scoring record but humble Eels superstar Semi Radradra says his journey to become a better rugby league player is still in the early stages and hopes to get more involved – possibly at centre – as his career evolves.

Radradra was famously plucked from obscurity by the Eels (specifically, then-recruitment manager Peter Nolan) based on his showing in Sevens rugby for Fiji and the under-20s rugby World Championship.

He was still learning the rules of the game when then-coach Ricky Stuart handed him a debut in Round 18 of 2013 after a year and a half in the Eels system.

The club's faith in him reaped enormous rewards last year as he surged over for a club-high 24 tries; it was a feat made even more remarkable by the fact he made just 18 appearances after suffering a serious knee injury in Round 2.

Testament to Radradra's dedication to self improvement he was frequently seen switching with his centre, Brad Takairangi, when the team was on the attack, and was able to both score from one-in and set up his outside man, showing a sharply improved understanding of the game. It was a stark contrast to the straightforward 'grab the ball and run' game plan of his earliest matches.

Reflecting on his journey so far, Radradra said he was just at home one day when contacted by Nolan.

"I had an option to come and play league," he said.

"The first time, I found it hard. I just wanted to come and try a new thing for me. I found it hard for the first time.

"Everything – way of life, trying to speak English is very hard for me. I miss my family. Looking back, it's a long journey for me. I'm very happy what I've done the last couple of years."

The sport itself was certainly a big part of the challenge, Radradra freely admits.

"Like I said I found it hard for the first time. Even the rules and everything. I'm still learning now. Still learning the game and trying to know everything," he says.

Prompted about his try-scoring feats last year, Radradra deflects credit in typically humble style.

"It's good for me but to be honest I'm not really in the mood of top try-scorers or something. It's from the teamwork, from the boys, they make me look good scoring tries. It's not only me. It's from the forwards, the boys in the middle, everyone, the coach as well," he says.

Radradra says he loves getting his hands on the ball and is excited for every single game he plays, and hopes to be able to switch into the centres more as his career develops.

"I'm trying to learn more every game, try to jump into one position, play a bit of centre," he says.

"This game for me is a very good game and I'm excited every time I play or every time I touch the ball, I want more. That's why I've been swapping around with the boys.

He says while playing in the centres hasn't been a huge focus of his pre-season, he hopes to be able to fill in there if called upon during a match through injury or even just to give his inside man a rest.

"It's helped me a lot, jump into the centres. Sometimes I defend in the centres; it's improved my game a lot.

"That's what I've been working on now, especially this year, if there's a chance for me to jump in the centres I've been happy."

Part 2 of our chat with Semi Radradra will appear on NRL.com tomorrow.


So he is interested in playing centre.


As long as people keep saying things like "no winger should be paid more than 180k" he will be interested in playing any other position I reckon


He is still learning the game. I dont understand how Caylo said he is a good defender when I think he struggles to read what the opposition is doing.

I still think he struggles with decision making. There were time when he had the ball and made really bad passes, etc


Post Whore
He is still learning the game. I dont understand how Caylo said he is a good defender when I think he struggles to read what the opposition is doing.

I still think he struggles with decision making. There were time when he had the ball and made really bad passes, etc

Quite possibly, but that's not necessarily all his fault. His inside men have to make the right decisions as well, so waiting on the wing in defensive mode keeps you second guessing.



He is still learning the game. I dont understand how Caylo said he is a good defender when I think he struggles to read what the opposition is doing.

I still think he struggles with decision making. There were time when he had the ball and made really bad passes, etc

Each to their own, our right side was an issue more than our left and Semi makes good first contact and he cases hard.
IMO if the edge defends well rarely is it purely the wingers fault.