The Parramatta Eels are preparing to take on the North Queensland Cowboys in Week Two of the 2017 Telstra Premiership Elimination Final, at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 16 September.
Speaking to Big Sports Breakfast this morning (Wednesday 13 September), Eels forward David Gower urged for Eels fans to get behind the side in the Eels’ first finals clash in Sydney since 2009.
The Blue & Gold supporter bay was full, with over 2,500 thousand passionate Eels fans cheering on the side against the Melbourne Storm in the Qualifying Final at AAMI Park last week, and Gower was hoping for another big turn out this week.
“We’ve got a very large and proud supporter base, were very happy to be playing very well for them and we would love to see 40,000 plus there on Saturday night, trying to get us into the preliminary against the Roosters.” Gower said.
The Eels suffered a two point loss to the Minor Premiers last week, and Gower said the side will look to avoid providing the tough Cowboys side opportunities this week as the team looks to progress further through the Finals series
“We played for 65minutes. We sort of gave them a four point start early on and we started a little bit off the pace,” Gower said of last week’s defeat.
“They a quality side and they made us pay and our start to the second half was not good enough. We gifted them possession and a little bit of ill-discipline really cost us at the back end of that game.”
“We’ve always had the belief. It’s been a two year progression for us and we are very confident in our ability and the depth of the squad. We are really looking forward to Saturday night against a really tough and tenacious Cowboy’s team.” Gower added.
“Under Brad, we’ve been learning some tough lessons along the way. The belief we’ve had has sort of been there for the last two years and it’s been a process for us,” he continued.
“We haven’t won 16 game this year for no reason or by fluke.”
“We’ve earned our position and we’ve earned the favouritism this week and we are really looking forward to getting stuck in and just doing what we can for our long suffering fans.”
Gower said the strong Cowboys forward pack, led by Jason Taumalolo, was crucial in their victory against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks last week.
The forward expects a big clash against Blue & Gold lock-forward Nathan Brown this week.
“He’s a big boy, if you let him get a run up against you, I think it makes it a lot harder and obviously were going to try to work hard from markers and try to get stuck into him as early as we can and making sure were hitting together and doing all the right things,” said Gower of stopping Taumalolo.
Gower has had an interrupted 2017 season, with stints on the sideline and playing for the Wentworthville Magpies in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Cup competition.
However the forward has been happy to do his part for the squad, always ready to make the step up if called upon.
“I’m still going good, I’m feeling strong, feeling good, and feeling positive of where I’m at.” Gower said.
“I’ve sort of only played a bit part this year. I broke my hand at the midpoint and that was a little bit frustrating on my behalf but I’m happy to do a part and a job for the squad however Brad sees necessary,” he added.
Gower was thankful to the Blue & Gold Head Coach.
“Brad has been fantastic and as you touched on, he was an assistant coach at Manly when I was there in 2013. He’s been fantastic for me and I think if it wasn’t for Brad, I would’ve been in the North of England four years ago.” Gower said.
“So I’m very grateful for the opportunity he’s gifted me and I like to think that every time I put that Parramatta jersey on, I play my best and I’ve done my best with it, for the Jersey and the for guys who have played before me.”
The Eels kick off against the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 16 September in Week Two of the NRL Finals Series. Kick-off is at 7:40pm.