The Dyldam Parramatta Eels are nearing their Christmas break and Blue and Gold forward Danny Wicks said that despite a tough past seven weeks of pre-season training, the Eels know they have to continue to work hard towards a common goal.
Whilst the Blue and Gold have been working hard in the hot and humid summer conditions, Wicks knows his competition are doing the same.
“It’s tough, but every pre-season is,” Wicks said of the past month and a half.
“We aren’t doing anything different to anyone else, we just have to keep slugging them out until March.”
With the Eels not featuring in Finals football in the 2015 season, Wicks said the Blue and Gold squad would have something to prove in the upcoming season, and the challenge starts right from the get go.
“We just have to go in to the year with a bit of energy. We have something to prove this year,” Wicks said.
“We have to prove that we are a team to be reckoned with.”
The Eels have several new recruits in their squad, including Kieran Foran, Beau Scott and Michael Gordon, however Wicks said the entire side would need to be ready to start the season well.
The Blue and Gold will face a tough competition in the opening two rounds of the season, coming up against the 2015 Grand Finalists, the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys.
“To start the season on such a high, it will give us a good opportunity to set the platform for the rest of the year,” Wicks said.
“No game in the NRL is easy. This year proved that,” he added.
“You could lose five games and you could win one to get back into the eight.”
For Wicks, the Dyldam Parramatta Eels ambassador for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, his visit to the hospital with the rest of the Blue and Gold squad earlier in the week was a privilege and a rewarding break from training.
“It is an absolute honour to be honest and I can’t wait to get in there, see the kids smile. This is why we do it, this is an absolute privilege,” Wicks said ahead of his visit.
“If you can make a kid smile, and maybe take their parents mind off what is going on, it’s a privilege and you can’t wait.”
The position of ambassador was a position Wicks was eager to step in to with a Charity Partner that was so close to his heart.
“As you know, I had a young fella that was born at 29 weeks with a few different complications so I know what it is like to be in and out of hospital and to be down here at the Ronald McDonald House,” Wicks said.
“It is pretty tough, but if we can put some smiles on some kid’s faces, and take mum and dad’s mind off it for a little bit longer, it makes it all worth it.”