The Parramatta Eels kick off their 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership campaign this weekend when they take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Sunday 5 March.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur says the side will be eager to get back out onto the field, with something to play for.
“Its been a long time coming for us, its been May/June since there has been something there that we can play for, so we are looking forward to playing for real now,” Arthur said.
With wet weather hitting Sydney in the lead up to Round One, Arthur expects the conditions to play a role in the clash, against a Sea Eagles side that will enter with some strong trial form.
“Obviously the weather has changed a lot of the football played. We are expecting a wet track and boggy conditions so ball control will be very important and making sure you are making tackles will be vital,” Arthur said.
“They had some really good trial form, and surprised a few in the Auckland Nines, that’s where it started for them,” he added.
“I think Blake Green adds a bit of stability and takes a bit of pressure off Daly so he can play a bit more roaming style of running game.”
“Their back three have been pretty strong. Jorge out of the backfield, he has been carrying the ball nice and hard and Dylan off the back of that. Obviously the conditions will probably play into their hands a little bit.”
With Arthur speaking ahead of the team’s Captain’s Run, Arthur says the players have plenty to play for, and won’t need the motivation in 2017.
“It wasn’t hard to motivate them, they had the motivation to want to play for themselves and they had standards and expectations that they needed to meet,” Arthur said.
“We have a real strong supporter base that need to be proud of us. It is no different this year, we actually do have something there that we can try and strive to achieve and collect some two points along the way and hopefully fighting at the end of the year.”
“Our fans are happy to see us get out there this week at Lottoland and looking forward to us running around and some of the new layers in our team that they want to see how they perform and how they fit in.”
Kick off at Lottoland is at 4pm on Sunday 5 March.