The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have welcomed four new arrivals from Canada to Eels HQ on Thursday.
20-year-old Austin Karius, 19-year-old Joey Murphy, 22-year-old Steve Bouchard and 24-year-old Trent Bourke have all travelled to Parramatta to meet the staff and players at the Blue and Gold, train with the Wentworthville Magpies, and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how the Eels run their facilities.
The four players will also travel to the Gold Coast, as well as to Goulburn to try their hand in a local side.
Eels Junior League Executive Officer Phil Cummings says last year’s visit from the BC Bulldogs inspired both teams to extend the relationship in 2015.
“Paul O’Keefe, who is in charge of the British Columbia Bulldogs rugby league team, is starting to really promote rugby league over there,” Cummings said.
“He wanted to get a partnership going with Parramatta, and we had two players, Chris Chalmers and Adam Timler, come over here last year.”
“Chris stayed on and played for Wentworthville, played in the Ronald Massey Cup and nearly got a start in the NSW Cup. He played to a fairly high standard and we now have the chance for four more players to come over again this year.”
Winger and fullback Trent Bourke says he’s most looking forward to starting training in the coming week, and hitting the footy field in Australia.
“I’m really excited to be here,” Bourke said.
“It’s going to be a great experience and hopefully we can pick things up fast and learn as much as possible. I have never been to a club like this, and I just cant wait to finally touch the ball again and get some training and playing time in.”
There'll be no time for the foursome to deal with jet lag or adjust to the 30-degree-plus summer weather in Sydney's West, as they begin training with Wentworthville in the coming week, and will play for Canada in the 2015 Cabramatta International 9s on January 31.