Gordon at home in Blue and Gold
Dyldam Parramatta Eels new recruit Michael Gordon is wearing a new set of colours in the 2016 pre-season, but the fullback is feeling completely at home in Sydney’s West.
Gordon, who made his NRL debut at Penrith, has moved from the Sutherland Shire back to Penrith to make the commute easier for the long days of pre-season training. And under the watch of Head Coach Brad Arthur, the Eels have been focussed heavily on fitness, strength and preliminary contact work in the opening weeks of November.
“I suppose I’m a closet Westie,” Gordon said.
“I grew up on the Tweed Coast and went to Penrith, and now I’m back out in the Golden West. There’s great people out here and I’m really looking forward to being back.”
“There’s a great set up here, the facilities are outstanding, all the staff and off-field staff and everyone has been very welcoming and all the boys have been fantastic.”
“It’s been tough but it’s been really good: we haven’t really touched a ball much, we’ve just been running … and it seems like every time we start running the sun comes out.”
“We had to do some contact work with John Folau before and I think I’ve got a collapsed sternum,” Gordon joked.
For the new recruit, any discussion of contract dramas at his former club - the Sharks - has been put out of mind, as he joins Parramatta on a one-year contract and directs his attention to winning the Eels’ number one jersey for the 2016 season.
“I’m well past that now and I’m here to play footy,” Gordon said.
“[If I want to play fullback] I’ve got to earn it first and foremost, and I’m under no illusions of what I’ve got to do. There’s no guarantees in this sport, and I learned that a long time ago.”
“At the moment it’s just ‘train hard’, and then when we start playing footy I can cement that spot.”
“There’s a lot of young talent here, and there are some big boppers here, so I’m just getting to watch them work and hopefully build up some relationships with those young players. That’s what i’m trying to work on at the moment.”
Heading into his eleventh NRL season, Gordon is one of 12 new signings at the Blue and Gold for 2016, and the fullback says standards will be set high for the coming year.
“There’s always pressure, no matter where you go,” Gordon said.
“And with some signings like [Kieran] Foran and Beau Scott and plenty of good players here already, there’ll be some high expectations within the group. Whether it comes from outside (media) as well, I’m not sure.”
“I took an interest in [Parramatta’s form] more last year and I just saw they’ve got so many great qualities about them and they just fell short in a few games. Hopefully, if we can bring a bit of experience over here and help them get across the line those few games, then we’re right up there.”