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Dyldam Parramatta Eels centre Willie Tonga says he's honoured to lead the Blue and Gold out as captain for the first time in his NRL career against the Warriors this Saturday.

“It’s something that I never thought that I would get the opportunity to do, and especially for a club where I started my career at 14 years ago it means a lot,” Tonga said.

“I’m just looking forward to going out there and leading the boys out and doing my best for the team.”

With Parramatta and New Zealand both sitting on 20 points on the NRL ladder, the stakes could not be higher for both clubs looking to cement an early top eight position.

“They are very physical and play a very flamboyant style of footy so it’s something that we are going to have to be on our game for, and I think that if we stick to our game plan we can come away with a result.”

With the Origin fixture ruling Jarryd Hayne out for the match on Saturday, Tonga believes the team is good enough to get the job done.

“Brad’s given [Jarryd] the week off just for player management and he’s picked a side that he’s confident in to do the job,” he said.

“If he wasn’t playing Origin he’d be playing, but to play three games in a short amount of time for Jarryd with his past experiences with injuries I don’t think it’s the best idea.”

Willie Tonga believes the Eels still have a long way to go this season they will be needing the Origin star at his best for finals football.

“We’ve still got quite a long way to go in the season with where we want to be and we need him fit and ready for the back end of the year.”

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Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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