Dyldam Parramatta Eels lock Joseph Paulo says returning to Parramatta for this week’s rematch with the North Queensland Cowboys gives the Blue and Gold a head start in their preparations for Friday night. 

“There’s nothing like playing at home,” Paulo said.

“To have that second game against the Cowboys [at home], we’re looking forward to that match. It’s just the feeling we get there, like coming home to your own fans.”

“What they create in the sense of atmosphere and the way they can bring you home late in games, it really makes a difference to us and we can really hear it on the field.”

“We really speak highly of playing at home in front of our fans. We know what it means to them and we want to show what it means to us, too.”

This week also saw the announcement that the Eels’ Round 19 match against the Rabbitohs would remain at Pirtek Stadium, despite a preference from the NRL to shift the fixture to ANZ Stadium.

“We’ve really created a winning culture here.” Paulo said.

“So we’re happy they’re keeping the game here at Pirtek Stadium and we just hope the fans can still turn up for that Round 19 match.”

The Blue and Gold face a challenge this week, with hooker Nathan Peats ruled out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury. Paulo admits that after stepping into the dummy half role on Friday night after Peats left the field, he’s well aware of how tough it would be stepping into Peats’ boots.

“It’s a massive blow for our team [losing Peats],” Paulo said.

“He’s a real contributor and even a leader and we just wish Peatsy all the best with his recovery.”

“I had to replace Peatsy on the weekend. It’s a pretty tough position and I think I realised how hard Peatsy works just by playing 5 minutes.”

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