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Dyldam Parramatta Eels prop Danny Wicks is primed to return to the NRL on Saturday against the North Queensland Cowboys, playing from the interchange bench and weighing in a few kilos lighter.

Wicks underwent shoulder surgery in 2015, and after a trial appearance in Penrith in February, and a Round One performance for the Wentworthville Magpies that saw him named in the Instrust Super Premiership NSW team of the round, Head Coach Brad Arthur has named Wicks in the number 16 jersey for the Blue and Gold.

The front-rower played the first 40 minutes for the Magpies without an interchange, and Wicks says he feels prepared for the impact of the NRL’s updated interchange rules.

“I think I was pretty lucky; I wasn’t trying to drop any weight but I lost 2kg in the last 3 weeks,” Wicks said.

“And I think Nathan Peats found it,” he joked.

“But I’m feeling fit most definitely and looking forward to it.”

Round 2 sees the Blue and Gold take on the reigning premiers, as Wicks makes his first appearance at Pirtek Stadium since July, 2015.

“What a pleasure, I love it,” Wicks said at the prospect of playing in front of the Blue and Gold Army.

“It’ll be a big ask, but they’re the premiers, aren’t they?”

For Wicks, the Eels’ new recruits may take time to form lasting combinations, but the prop sees a change already in Parramatta’s approach to adversity.

“It might take a bit of time for us to gel and what have you, but we’re looking forward to it,” Wicks said.

“Personally, sitting on the sideline [in Round One] I believe that maybe last year we would’ve conceded 20 or 30 points in the last 20 minutes, and that didn’t happen last week. I think up and up is the way.”

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels kick off against the North Queensland Cowboys at 7.30pm on Saturday, March 12 - Click through for all the game day information.

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