Eels board new plane to begin post-Hayne era
Parramatta flew the highest when they all jumped aboard the Hayne plane, but the Eels began their post-Jarryd Hayne era by hopping on a real one on Monday.
The club's top 25, including star recruit Anthony Watmough, flew out to Seattle via Canada on Monday for an eight-day trip where they will embark life without their talismanic superstar.
While the former NSW No.1 is certain to return to the blue-and-gold should his gridiron dream fail, remaining Eels skipper Tim Mannah said it was important for the club to move on without him.
"We've only had one day of testing, [so] we haven't had too much training without him. [But] we've got to move on as a team without him," Mannah declared before the team departed for the US.
"He was great for the club and he's done a lot of good things for us, but for us it's about moving on. It's about what we can focus on and what we have."
The Eels will train at the facilities of NFL champions the Seahawks, while also stopping by Division I NCAA football team the Washington Huskies, MLB side Seattle Mariners and MLS outfit Seattle Sounders. They will also visit major companies Google and Amazon.
"The good thing is that we get to see on the big scale how they do things over there. They're obviously very professional organisations, both the Seahawks and the University over there," Mannah said.
"So to be able to see how they do their training and how they go about their thing, it'll be great for us to learn. It'll be a great learning curve. Hopefully we can bring things back to our club and we'll be better for it."
More important, Mannah said, was the opportunity for the squad's class of new recruits to integrate themselves with the club and their new teammates.
Watmough was joined at the departure gate by fellow signings Beau Champion, Reece Robinson, Richie Fa'aoso and Brad Takairangi.
"That's going to be a real crucial thing. This first 10 days together is a great opportunity for the new boys to get to know one another and for us to get to know them," Mannah said.
"So it's going to be great for us as a team and when we come back we'll hit the ground running on the Monday [November 25] when we get back, we'll be better for it."
NRL champions South Sydney will also take part of their pre-season to the United States, where they will undergo high-altitude training on the west coast.
Mannah said he was grateful to the club for organising a breakthrough trip.
"I think it's a bit different to the old days when you used to be able to go crazy for a couple of days and a team gets to gel like that," he said.
"These days, you've got to do it in a controlled environment doing a trip like this, this is pretty groundbreaking. There's not many teams doing what we're doing.
"Credit's got to go to Scott Seward our CEO for putting something like this together. Something of this scale, to take 25 players over to Seattle and be able to learn from the best, is something that not many people thought would be possible a few months ago.
"They've done a great job to making it happen. For us as players, it just to make sure we make the most out of it and bring what we learn back to the team and hopefully be better for it."