Parramatta forward Ryan Matterson describes the morale at the Eels as similar to what he experienced at the Roosters during their 2018 premiership-winning season.
The Eels are 5-0 to start the competition for the first time since their last title in 1986 and Matterson, who returned to his junior club after stints with the Tricolours and Wests Tigers, is bullish about their chances.
The 25-year-old says it's not the results recorded early in the 20-round season that are most promising, but rather the belief that has formed since the squad returned from the COVID-19 suspension.
"The wins aren't making us feel like we're on top but the boys' morale and willingness to play for each other is making it feel good," Matterson told NRL.com.
"Every session, every game we've got this camaraderie going and we compete on everything.
Match Highlights: Eels v Panthers
"I see a lot of resemblance to my time at the Roosters there where the result isn't determining how good we feel but the effort areas we're putting in is making the boys grow and gel together.
"The way the Eels and Roosters do things is very similar. It's based on hard work, based on defence and doing it for your mates. We've always said as a group we want to be tough to beat."
Matterson has picked up where he left off on last season's form at the Wests Tigers to transition into Brad Arthur's outfit with ease.
Moment of reflection
Along with scoring the match-winner on Friday night against Penrith, the NSW Origin hopeful is averaging career-best numbers since joining the blue and gold.
"I'm loving the move, I've moved into the area so I'm around the culture a bit more now too," Matterson said.
"My missus isn't really enjoying it, after living in Brighton she's not too familiar with the west, but I feel like I'm back home.
"Me and Nathan Brown are holding the area down tight. Dylan Brown is around too. Pretty much from Parramatta to Kellyville is where a few of the boys are living but especially in the bubble we're in at the moment we're always with the boys.
"Instead of going home straight after training, we're hanging out a bit more which I think is helping too."
Tasting defeat against the Roosters twice while at the Wests Tigers last season, Matterson will run out against his former club for the third time in his NRL career on Saturday night.
The way the Eels and Roosters do things is very similarEels second-rower Ryan Matterson
Parramatta's biggest tests loom over the next fortnight with clashes against the back-to-back champions and 2019 grand finalists Canberra.
"The Roosters are the side to beat, they're the benchmark and every game the Roosters play the opposition want to come out firing," Matterson said.
"We've touched on the next couple of games, we want to build momentum and not get complacent.
"They're a side who are always willing to be tough to beat, we've just got to stay competitive in every single battle."