Paulo focussed on Parramatta

Dyldam Parramatta Eels prop Junior Paulo says his rugby union days are well and truly behind him despite putting in a neat grubber kick in the Eels’ Round 10 clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

Paulo was sanctioned for playing an unplanned stint for the Oatley third division side following the Eels Round 9 win over the Bulldogs, and the front-rower says he won’t make the same mistake again. 

That’s something that i probably won’t be doing any time soon, something [I did] out of stupidity,” Paulo said.

“What’s done is done, and now I’m just looking to move on and hopefully never be in that position again. Luckily for me, I wasn’t given the hard penalty, but in saying that I’ve got to pull my head in as well. Now I’ve got to focus on playing week to week footy for Parramatta and not Oatley.”

Parramatta’s last hit out, against the South Sydney, saw the Rabbitohs score a try in the dying minutes of the game to win 22-20, with Paulo putting in a memorable kick to earn a repeat set in the second half. 

“A lot of the boys are giving me stick about it saying I learned it at rugby union,” :Paulo said.

“But kicking efficiency at 100%? I’m happy to take that. It was my first kick in the NRL and I got a repeat set, so I’m pretty happy with that one.”

“We’ve had a tough run of games and our team’s stood up in the past couple of weeks, too, and we were unlucky to go down in the dying minutes against Souths.” 

“[Now] we’re coming up against Melbourne, who are a pretty solid team, and they’ve been solid in the past couple of weeks as well. They’re sitting at first for a reason and we have to be on our A-game.”

As the Blue and Gold prepare to take on the Storm at home at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium, the side welcomed back halfback Kieran Foran to training on Friday, and Paulo said the number seven’s return added a sense of balance to the team. 

“I actually came out of the shower after a little hit out in the gym early this morning, and saw him in the toilet!” Paulo admitted.

“So we pretty much bumped heads in the changing room, and that’s my first hello to Foz since he’s come back.”

“I guess having any teammate some back after they’ve been gone for a couple of weeks is very fortunate for us as a team.”

“He’s in good spirits at the moment, and just to have him back, it feels complete. It’s like he’s never been gone, he’s just come back and slotted in straight away.”

“But it was just like another day at training; he came and said hello like nothing ever happened, and I’m sure the boys pretty much thought about it that way, too.”