Dyldam Parramatta Eels utility Joseph Paulo says he’s excited Head Coach Brad Arthur wants his team to play a more free, attacking style of football - which suits his game just fine!
After captaining the USA Tomahawks in the off-season and a starting spot at the NRL Auckland Nines last month, Paulo is keen to run out for Round 1 this Sunday night against the New Zealand Warriors.
“It’s obviously important to hold onto the ball, but Brad’s already told us that when we see opportunities, to take it and play your natural game,” Paulo said.
“[He wants us to] go out there and enjoy our footy, and we’re excited for that.”
Much of the media attention was directed at new recruit Will Hopoate, who will lace up his boots for his first Premiership NRL game since 2011 when he left to be a missionary.
“I don’t want to put pressure on Will, I’m just excited to have him playing rugby league again - like everyone in the team, he’s fresh-faced, a good character to have around, and just seeing them at training you get his excitement of learning the drills again,” he said.
“And to see him growing in rugby league and the experience he had on his mission - it’s good to have him here at Parramatta.”
Part of the excitement about Hopoate means less pressure on co-captain and fullback Jarryd Hayne, which will free up both players to relax and enjoy their football.
“Will adds more depth to our team, we can not only hit Jarryd but have Will in the centres; it’s good to have that as an option out there, and hopefully we can work some good plays around him,” Paulo said.
“They’re both lethal in their own ways - Jarryd’s real explosive, and Will’s powerful in a different way so we’ll be looking to utilise them as much as we can.”
Paulo is confident the side will be very different in mentality and playing style this year - and sees improvement around the corner.
“I think under Brad’s coaching and his mentality, we can do better this year,” he said.
“We know it’s not going to happen overnight, but we’ve worked hard over the last four months and are looking forward to the first round and the upcoming season.”