Dyldam Parramatta Eels winger Justin Hunt says the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines will be fantastic football to watch - and he can’t wait to see how his Eels teammates will play.
While not being named in the Blue and Gold Nines squad to complete his recovery from groin surgery, Hunt says it’ll be football at its fastest.
“We’ve got a young squad and a lot of skilful forwards, so it’s definitely going to help us,” Hunt said.
“The [players] who didn’t go to Alice Springs trained with Peter Gentle, our assistant coach, for the Nines; it’s a bit different, a bit more space and it’ll be fun.”
Being a new format for pre-season football, Hunt says it’s tough to pick the favourites.
“I think everyone’s going to be good; the Warriors will be very strong with Shaun Johnson, but I’m looking forward to seeing how Freddy [Brad Fittler] and Beaver [Steve Menzies] will go [coming out of retirement] too.”
The Eels are fresh of a 60-14 win over the Wests Tigers in their first trial run for 2014, which Justin says has done wonders for the team’s confidence.
“It’s great, positive signs, all the boys are bouncing around at training and there’s a really good vibe at the moment, so were just looking to take it one step at a time and improve each week, and improve at training and take it as it comes,” he said.
“The boys all pulled up good, a really good start and good win, we’re just looking to keep the pressure on at the Nines this week.”
The Eels enjoyed a recovery day off at Wet ’n’ Wild Sydney - somewhere Hunty’s familiar with!
“I’m from the Goldy [Gold Coast] so I’m used to Wet ’n’ Wild, so I’m hopeful they’ll put on a good day for us!” he said.
Not without sticking the boot into his new teammates about who’ll enjoy it the most:
“Fui for sure, he loves this sort of stuff, [and the biggest sook] will be Nathan Peats, for sure!”