Arthur: We're hopeful
Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur says halfback Kieran Foran will be assessed over the coming 24 hours to determine whether he’ll take the field in the Blue and Gold’s season opener against the Brisbane Broncos.
The Eels’ halfback has been monitoring a possible hamstring problem in the lead up to the season opener, and Arthur's final line up of the side won’t be confirmed until Thursday evening.
“We’re hopeful,” Arthur said.
“He’s going to train [on Wednesday], and if he can get through training we’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow morning and then we’ll see how he presents at the game. Luke Kelly will play if Foz is not right.”
The clash sees the Eels come up against a side Arthur rates as a benchmark in the game, after appearing in the 2015 Grand Final, and posting a victory in England at the World Club Series.
“The Broncos are probably the benchmark side, so they’re not going to give it to us easy,” Arthur said.
“They played really well overseas; from where they left off last year, they got straight back into it. They’ll be very tough.”
And with the Eels set to have five club debutants on the field in Round One, Arthur says he’s mindful that the new combinations will take time to develop.
“It’ll take a bit of time, but what shouldn’t take time is our article and our commitment to how we want to defend,” Arthur said.
“That’s where I’ll be looking for the biggest influence from those guys (the new recruits).”
While new recruits Kieran Foran, Michael Jennings, Beau Scott, Michael Gordon and Clint Gutherson are all named to face Brisbane, veteran forward Anthony Watmough has been the subject of retirement rumours, and Arthur says ‘Choc’s’ training still has him on track to return to the football field early in the 2016 season.
“[Retirement] is Choc’s call,” Arthur said.
“Choc still hasn’t been able to join us on the training paddock yet, he got a new injury at training a couple of weeks ago. We’ve just given him a bit of time off his legs, and we’ll see how he goes in a couple of weeks.”
The Eels kick off against the Brisbbane Broncos at 8.05pm on Thursday, March 3, at home at Pirtek Stadium. Click through for all the game day information, or purchase your tickets online and secure your seat!