Dyldam Parramatta Eels forward Danny Wicks has the potential to make to his return to the NRL tomorrow night, when the Eels take on the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium for their annual Bandaged Bear Cup clash.
Wicks, who has not featured in the NRL since 2009, is set to make his return if the 106kg forward comes through the Eels Captains Run training session unscathed today.
“Danny will get his opportunity if he comes through training well today and we are looking forward to seeing how he goes,” Head Coach Brad Arthur said.
“He has trained really well through the off season and I am really excited to give him an opportunity to play”.
Arthur likes the physical approach that Wicks brings to the Blue and Gold, and it could be utilised in tomorrow night’s blockbuster.
“Danny is pretty much old school,” Arthur said.
“Very tough, good leg speed for a front rower but he is one of those blokes that you know the boys just want to play with” he added.
Wicks has been provided the opportunity after Junior Paulo’s appeal last night at the NRL Judiciary was unsuccessful.
“Having Junior Paulo out is disappointing,” Arthur said of the decision.
“We were hoping for a better outcome but Junior is a strong kid and we have to support him. It gives us a bit of time to work on a few things in his game but it’s a big loss for us.”
“It was unfortunate, it was accidental. “
“He (Manly’s Matt Ballin) got put into an awkward position but there was no intent and nine weeks is severe.”
Wicks was close to making his first NRL appearance in almost 5 years last week, when the Eels kicked off their season with a 42-12 victory over Manly.
When Arthur broke the news the Wicks, he was noticeably disappointed, however the front rower will have his opportunity tomorrow night.
“He was over the moon when I told him,” Arthur said of the moment he told Wicks he was named in the squad.
“When I told him last week that he was missing out against Manly because he was a little bit underdone, although he was accepting of it, I could tell he was a little disappointed with it.”
“He has trained with the boys and I think he is really excited to get out there.”
“But we will probably only give him 20 minutes just to get him through his first game”
The Eels will be preparing for a tough physical clash against a big Bulldog’s forward pack and Arthur is focused on seeing improvements in the Eels performance.
“The result is important for us but it’s more so the physicality that we can aim up and put our bodies on the line again and show that the work we have done during the pre-season has been worth it”
The Eels take on the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium for their annual Bandaged Bear Cup clash. Get your tickets to the clash here