Dyldam Parramatta Eels new recruit James Hasson has had a welcome opening week in the Blue and Gold, as the Eels began their 2016 pre-season.
Hasson, who made the move from the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles during the off-season says he has already seen positive signs in his opening week.
“I am really excited to be here,” Hasson said.
“The first week I have really noticed the professionalism, the boys are all really good and have been very welcoming and I have really enjoyed my first week and am looking forward to the next week.”
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The 23 year old has played 39 games in the NRL, after making his debut in 2013, and his past working relationship with Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur and a few of his former teammates played an impact in deciding to make the switch.
“It was good to come back and work under BA,” Hasson said.
“I worked with him in 2013 at the Sea Eagles, and I obviously had a few chats with ‘Foz’ (Kieran Foran) and things just worked out. “
“There are a few other ex-Manly boys here like Clinton Gutherson and Anthony Watmough who I played with as well, so everything just aligned,” he added.
“Hopefully I can play some good game time with Choc again, I really enjoyed that over at Manly. He was a real leader over there, and I am sure he is a real good leader over here as well.”
Whilst Hasson knows there will be plenty of competition for spots in the forward pack, he is hoping to impress during the pre-season which will go a long way in cementing his spot in the side.
“I had an opportunity here so I have come over and am just trying to make the most of it,” Hasson said.
“There are some big boys around here, and I know everyone is working hard so it will be very competitive but I will be hoping to cement my spot nice and early.”
“You can set yourself little goals at this time of the year. Weights, fitness, meeting times, but it is all about week by week and just trying to get as fit and strong as you can,” Hasson added.
The Blue and Gold Army may remember ex-Manly forward Hasson from Round One, 2015.
Despite coming away with a convincing 42-12 victory to kick off their season, the hype and build up around the clash climaxed during the game when the then new recruit Anthony Watmough copped a knee from Hasson, seeing the forward placed on report and Watmough taken from the field.
Now on the same side, Hasson will be hoping the Blue and Gold Army will be behind him this time around.
“I got some boos last year when I gave Choc a knee back in Round One, but hopefully they can be at my side this time,” Hasson said.
“I am looking forward to it [pulling on the Blue and Gold jersey], there is a lot of proud history out here and I am very excited to pull on the Blue and Gold jersey, hopefully the sooner the better.”