Departing back-rower Manu Ma'u is confident he is leaving his beloved team in a good space, having watched the next generation of Eels mature into leaders during his time at the club.
In some ways it feels like only yesterday the unknown Aucklander, previously unable to travel to Australia due to his criminal record, was unleashed on the Warriors in round one of 2014.
Ma'u tore the Warriors to shreds that Sunday night, tearing wildly into an ill-prepared defensive line to the tune of 182 metres from 14 carries with two line breaks in a 36-16 win.
Six years on, he departs the Eels with 14 Test caps for Tonga and New Zealand and 112 NRL games for the Eels as one of the longest-serving players currently at the club.
Of this year's squad, only the departing Tim Mannah, who debuted back in 2009, Junior Paulo and Peni Terepo (both 2013, with Paulo having spent time at the Raiders) made their Eels debuts before Ma'u.
"These boys have been the best," Ma'u said of his heartbreak at leaving his team-mates behind to shift to Hull FC in 2020 on a two-year deal with a player option for a third season.
"All the young boys have all grown up to be good leaders like Gutho, Mitchy and that. The club is definitely moving in a positive direction."
He said it was a tough decision to leave given the Eels had a one-year deal for him if he wanted it but at 31, the extra security for his family was too tough to turn down.
Every try from Round 24
"It's been a long journey. Coming from New Zealand, no-one knew who I was so that was my reason to make a stamp on the comp and make everyone know who I was," Ma'u said.
"It's been the best six years. I've enjoyed every moment. It's going to be emotional leaving this club but I've got a few more weeks here and hopefully we can go all the way to a grand final."
The Eels aren't widely expected to win the three sudden-death games standing between them and the first Sunday in October – but returning to the winners' circle against Manly at Bankwest Stadium on Friday after two straight losses would be a good start.
"It's very important. Two losses now, we have to get this win heading into the finals," Ma'u said.
"It's a different level heading into the finals and if we get that win against Manly this week it will give us that confidence boost.
Epilepsy won't stop Terepo
"We've got the team that can do it, a confident bunch of blokes, we back our footy and on our day I reckon we can beat any team."
Ma'u said coach Brad Arthur had spoken this week about the team's discipline after narrowly losing two winnable games.
"It's just our attention to detail, we're not getting the little things right," Ma'u said.
"Little things like back chatting to the refs, penalties in our own half, it's affecting our game. We spoke about it during the week, Brad spoke to us about it and said our attention to detail has to be better, little errors in our game.
"Heading into the finals we can't be doing that so we have to stay on top of our discipline."
Ma'u's right-side combination with halfback Mitch Moses has been a strength this year but produced a number of turnovers in the 12-6 loss to Canterbury a fortnight ago as the Eels failed to display the necessary patience to overcome a determined Dogs outfit.
"I've only played with Mitch for a couple of games, I haven't done a pre-season with him so we're just working on our combinations during the year," Ma'u added.
"We've got to get that right heading into the finals."