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Matterson lands Eels leadership role after inspirational speech

Ryan Matterson has been elevated to Parramatta's leadership group just three months after an ugly walkout of his Wests Tigers, with an inspirational speech in his first week of training convincing teammates of his commitment to their cause.

Matterson is the most notable inclusion in Parramatta's five-man leadership group led by captain Clint Gutherson, star half Mitchell Moses and forwards Nathan Brown and Junior Paulo.

In far more palatable scenes than the elections oft associated with Parramatta's boardroom in the past, Brad Arthur's entire squad voted in a "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" format to decide on Gutherson's senior deputies.

Matterson only returned to his junior club in November, apologising to Tigers fans on Monday for his "frustrating" exit less than 12 months after arriving at Concord.

The NSW Origin hopeful impressed his new teammates with a prepared address after one of his first training sessions, holding court while reading from his phone in the dressing room.

"Leading, I feel like it happens naturally for me," Matterson told

Matterson in Eels leadership group

"I really enjoy it and it's pretty exciting now that we've got a leadership group going on here and to be a part of that makes me feel honoured, especially in the short time that I've been here."

Matterson's post-training speech caught Parramatta players off-guard, but had him held in high esteem almost immediately.

"The third session he got up and said this massive speech in front of all of us and the staff and we thought 'wow, he's here to win'," young five-eighth Dylan Brown recalled.

"When he did that, everyone had respect for him already but for him to do that in front of a new club shows he wants to be a leader.

"It's been three months and he's already in the leadership group so it shows what kind of player he is and what he can do for us.

"It was a long speech but it was all about winning and, what was the word ... mindfulness.

Fellow back-rower Shaun Lane added: "It turned into this Ryan Matterson performance for 10 minutes and everyone was a bit blown away, they'd never seen anything like that before.

"But it was very impressive, very good and he showed just how much that this season and this team mean to him."

As well as Matterson, the inclusions of Moses and Paulo point to their continued rise after challenges in recent seasons.

Eighteen months ago Moses was told he was free to leave the club after 2018's disastrous wooden spoon campaign.

He responded with the best campaign of his career and was duly rewarded with Dally M half of the year honours, a new three-year deal and selection for the PMs XIII and Australian Nines squad.

Paulo too has come of age among Parramatta's forwards since returning to the club from Canberra last year.

Midway through 2016 he shifted down the Hume Highway to escape the bad crowd that led to him making headlines for breaking bread with known bikies at the Star casino.

Now with 132 NRL games to his name and a young family keeping him grounded in the golden west once more, Paulo has taken on a mentoring role for rising props Oregon Kaufusi and Stefano Utoikamanu throughout the pre-season.

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"I'm in a position where I'm coming of age in the game," Paulo told

"I've got to be able to lead on the field and these days I'd like to think I'm not just someone who's focusing just on playing footy.

"I think I've got the ability to take ownership off the field as well and do a few of those extra things around the club too, mostly helping the younger boys.

"There's definitely a lot of those young guys in our team that are looking up and so you've got to set an example.

"It's something that's been really enjoyable, helping bring guys like Oregon and Stefano through and watching them really fit into the first grade set-up."

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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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