The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have arrived in New Zealand ahead of the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines event taking place this Saturday and Sunday, and paid a visit to a local junior rugby league club!
The Papatoetoe Panthers were incredibly welcoming, with hundreds of players and fans turning up to meet the Eels and enjoy a barbecue.
The Eels were greeted by a traditional welcome haka, and then spent a few hours running skills clinics, signing autographs and taking photos with supporters.
“It’s been awesome, being greeted by the traditional Maori culture and to see the kids and families here, it’s great of us,” Eels utility Joseph Paulo said.
Local Auckland boy Api Pewhairangi says it’s a thrill to be able to see such support in New Zealand, where most of his family still lives.
“It’s always good to come back home and see the family, and to have a great turnout here,” Pewhairangi said.
With fans for the Blue and Gold shown everywhere at the Papatoetoe Panthers, the Eels players were overwhelmed at how many supporters their side has.
“I can’t believe how much support is out here for the Eels!” Eels five-eighth Corey Norman said.
“Blue and Gold everywhere, which is good to see - Members should jump on board!”