Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has named his 18-man squad for the 2016 Downer NRL Auckland Nines, with five-eighth Corey Norman to captain the Blue and Gold in the two-day tournament.
Norman will skipper the Blue and Gold for the second time, having captained the Eels to a victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval in Round 24 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership.
“I have been asking for it for the last three years as a gee up!” Norman joked.
“Now that I have actually got it, I am very honoured.”
“It is a good honour to be given the captaincy. I am just going to have a bit of fun with it and I am glad I could get the role.”
“I think he [Brad Arthur] is trying to help me there with gaining a bit of leadership skills, so I will take it on board and just run with it” Norman added.
Norman will be looking forward to leading out the Blue and Gold at Eden Park, hoping the side can go one step further this year, after going down to the eventual winners (the South Sydney Rabbitohs) in the Semi Finals.
“The last few years have been good. It’s the first bit of footy of the year, so all the boys from every club are very excited and it’s exciting times out there,” Norman said.
“You can play a bit of football, there’s a bit of space there, so it will be a real bit of fun to kick off the year.”
“It would be nice if we could get there and get that [into the Grand Final and take out the title], but ultimately, we want to go out there and have a bit of fun.” He added.
The NRL Auckland Nines provide a great platform for the young, up and coming players to showcase their talents and Norman said he was looking forward to seeing some of the young Eels squad, in particular Bevan French, in action over the weekend.
“There are a few boys that have come up from the twenties and trained with us all pre-season, especially somebody like Bevan French,” Norman said.
“I am really looking forward to him playing in the Nines, he is going to be exciting, and he will probably be one of our best players out there.”
“I think it will be Semi or Bevan French who will topping the try scoring list, so hopefully one of them get it.”
Eels Pre-Season Trials
Saturday February 6-7 @ Eden Park, Auckland
- 2016 Downer NRL Auckland Nines
Saturday February 13 @ ANZAC Oval, Alice Springs
- Dyldam Parramatta Eels v Gold Coast Titans
Saturday February 20 @ Pepper Stadium
- Dyldam Parramatta Eels NYC v Penrith Panthers
- Wentworthvile Magpies NSW Cup v Penrith Panthers
- Dyldam Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers
Sunday February 21 @ Pirtek Stadium Top Field
- Blue and Gold Army Festival