The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have received a warm welcome to New Zealand ahead of tomorrow’s Downer NRL Auckland Nines tournament.

After touching down in Auckland, the Blue and Gold spent some time with the Papatoetoe Panthers, the same junior club the side visited in 2014, including a traditional haka welcome.  

“It’s great, especially for myself being from New Zealand, I’m getting a really homely vibe which is good,” Eels winger Bureta Faraimo said.

Faraimo is looking forward to being out on the football field again, after a tough period of training.

“Pre-season’s finished and it’s now about showing what we’ve learned over the last two months,” he said.

“[The players] have been telling me how excited they are; everyone can’t sleep because they’re too excited!”

Teammate Matt Woods, who will play his first games in Blue and Gold at the Nines tournament this weekend, says the Eels have been spending time training for the Nines format.

“The Nines gives us a lot more room to play around with the ball, and the new free play rule is exciting; there could he some good length of the field tries which will be good for the crowd,” Woods said.

“We want to take it seriously and go out there and have fun so I’m really looking forward to it.”