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Parramatta Eels prop Frank Pritchard is excited about returning to the NRL this weekend when the Blue & Gold kick off their 2017 campaign against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Sunday 5 March.

After spending 13 years in the NRL with stints with the Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, before a year with Hull F.C in Super League in 2016, Pritchard returns to the action with the Eels in 2017.

“It has been a pretty tough season, but I’m looking forward to Round One and the boys are buzzing.”

“Over in Super League last year, now in the Blue & Gold, it’s been good. The boys have welcomed me with open arms and BA has been awesome this pre-season.”

“I feel ready to go and all cylinders are firing!” he added.

Without even stepping onto the field, Pritchard has had a big impact at the Blue & Gold.

The forward has over a decade of experience, and Pritchard was honoured when appointed into a newly formed leadership group by Head Coach Brad Arthur.

Pritchard has become a natural leader at the Club and a figure that the younger forwards have flocked to.

“It’s a big honour to be put in the leadership group,” Pritchard said.

“There are a lot of young guys here, with a lot of youth here at the club, and the leadership group BA has established here with myself, Tim Mannah, Beau Scott, Corey Norman and a few of the other boys, it is the first time they have done it and we are heading in the right direction.”

Pritchard and the Eels will kick off their season this weekend, and he expects it to be a big challenge, but one that the side is ready for.

“There are a lot of young guys in our pack, and with a tough test this week, it will be a good challenge and something for them to step up to the plate. It will be tough but they’ll be up for the challenge.” Pritchard said.

“We will have to keep the game plan to ourselves!” he added.

“But we just have to make sure we play good, consistent footy and stay in the arm wrestle.”

“It’s up to us at the end of the day, what we do on the paddock and how we hold the ball will determine the outcome. If we do us right and concentrate on what we have to do, everything will work out.”

And Sunday afternoon will be a big occasion for Pritchard, running out alongside younger brother Kaysa for the first time in the NRL.

“It’s a pretty big moment for myself but also the family.” Pritchard said.

“I think in any family, when you get to play with your little brother it’s a great occasion for your family.”

“Come Round One, our family wont be torn in two jerseys so they finally get to wear the one colour.”

The Eels kick off their 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership campaign against the Sea Eagles at Lottoland this Sunday (5 March) afternoon.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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