Excitement is building ahead of the Pirtek Parramatta Eels 2013 season opener against the New Zealand Warriors tomorrow night at Parramatta Stadium. Keen to bury a horror 2012 campaign the Eels have been put through the wringer in the pre-season by highly credentialed new coach Ricky Stuart.


A much fitter and sharper looking Chris Sandow is jumping out of his skin with plenty to prove in his second season in the blue and gold. He's been working hard on developing his combination with halves partner Luke Kelly and has shown plenty of flair and confidence in the club's recent trial matches.


The retirement of Eels' legends Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt has obviously left a massive hole in terms of leadership on and off the field. However, Jarryd Hayne, Reni Maitua and Tim Mannah have approached their newly appointed responsibilities with great gusto and their passion and enthusiasm has clearly rubbed off on many of the younger players in the squad.


The Warriors also enter the season with a new coach in Matthew Elliott at the helm and have been tipped by many of the experts to be one of the dark horses of the competition. A seemingly endless production line of huge forwards and backs, who also possess a great deal of skill, means the team from across the ditch will ensure it'll be a very physical encounter first up.


The overall head-to-head sees the Eels ahead 17-13, while the Warriors were 36-20 winners in the only encounter between the two sides in 2012. This game promises to be an entertaining contest, with both teams desperate to start the season on a winning note.


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