Norman: We have a license to roam

The Parramatta Eels are preparing to kick off their season this Sunday afternoon at Panthers Stadium, when they take on the Penrith Panthers in a Battle of the West in Round One of the NRL Telstra Premiership.

With the Eels season kicking off this weekend, Norman says the Blue & Gold have taken plenty of learnings from last year’s Finals campaign throughout their pre-season training.

“We looked at the finals last year, it was tough to look at, but we went away from the little things that you have to do. We didn’t play our sort of football, the Cowboys were very simple and kept bringing us off our line and we started looking for things that we never did during the year and that is where we made errors, penalties in defence and ill-discipline which really hurt us.” Norman said on Big Sports Breakfast this morning.

“We have been working on our discipline a lot in the pre-season and I think that is what let us down last year.”

Blue & Gold five-eighth Corey Norman says the side’s preparation has been building and he is confident in his combination with halfback Mitch Moses, saying he will bring a new point of unpredictable attack in 2018.

“Brad gives the opportunity to pop up on either side. Mitch and I have a license to roam anywhere and I think that is good for us, because it’s not so predictable. We have a license to roam around the park and play some footy,” Norman said.

“The preseason has really given us time to learn a little bit more about each other’s game, where we can help each other and just get a feel for each other a bit more.”

“We have had plenty of time to work on the combination now during the preseason, and we can play a bit off the cuff because we know each others game a bit more and I think that will be another point of attack where we aren’t so predictable.”

“I have been asked this a heap of times, and to be honest, I don’t know who is the number one playmaker.” Norman added.

“It is a good thing about Mitch and I, and I think that is why we played good football straight away. There is no ego in it and we are willing to do what is best for the team.”

Jarryd Hayne will play his 200th NRL clash this weekend, and Norman says the centre has also been given a license to roam.

“Jarryd is going good, has been training really well in the centres and he has been given a license to roam as well.” Norman said.

“No doubt he will be popping up if we shift him to the left on the inside of Mitch or I, or even Bevan, so he will be floating about.”

“He is going well, in a good headspace and I am really excited about Haynesy to have a big year this year, and I think he will.” He added.

Bevan French will get the first opportunity at fullback with Clint Gutherson injured and Norman is confident the young fullback’s ability. 

“Depends when Gutho is coming back, but even when Bevan is on the wing, he has been coming in field to find the ball and doing things that only Bevan can do.” Norman said.

“I think Bevan has come back in really good shape, I think he has put on 3-4kg and hasn’t lost any speed so he is looking for a big year and he knows what is ahead." 

“But Gutherson, he has got to be in the team so I don’t know if Bevan will slot back to the wing when he returns, but it is going to be a bit of a headache for Brad.” Norman added.

The Eels will kick off against the Panthers on Sunday 11 March at Panthers Stadium, kick off at 4:10pm.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Big Sports Breakfast.