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Blues enforcer Junior Paulo played his first State of Origin series last year and he still feels a tinge of bitterness over the shock loss to the Maroons.

“It kind of still hurts,” Paulo said.

“The boys are just looking forward to getting out there and ripping in and not letting our state down,” he said.

This year, Paulo says the team is “vibing”.

“Whether that’s on the field or off the field.

“It’s all been pretty much trying to create good vibes within the team and just everyone being themselves really," he said.

In the process of “vibing” with teammates this last week, Paulo uncovered the team’s serial pests.

“The Panthers boys are actually up there.

“Jarome Luai, Brian To’o and Liam Martin. They reckon he (Martin) is one of the biggest pests out there at Penrith, so he has definitely brought some good laughs.

“There’s also some angry in the team. Daniel Saifiti in the front row is probably one of the angriest footballers I’ve come across,” Paulo said.

But still, it’s all about the … what was it again Junior?

“It has been good vibes, getting to know each other and that’s probably the best part. Already starting to gel together as a group for the limited time that we have.

“But we’re in the business part of the camp now and the boys are just looking to rip in next week,” he said.

The Blues are keen to keep those good vibes rolling into Game One on Wednesday in Townsville with a winning performance.

“The whole sort of camp to begin with, was trying to find the game plan that suits everyone’s role and what they bring to a team.

“He (Brad Fittler) doesn’t want to change anyone’s playing style, he just wants to accommodate it.

“For me, off the bench, it’s just about getting out there, running as hard as I can and if I can promote the offload then do it,” Paulo said.

And while there’s no love lost for the Maroons, Paulo does feel for Eels’ teammate Reed Mahoney who was released back to the Club on Friday after being picked in the Queensland squad.

“I think it’s just a credit to himself to be named in the mix.

“Unfortunately, he won’t be part of the side, but he has definitely done all the right things to get a call into the squad itself, so I’m sure he will still be there helping the boys prepare.

“It’s just unlucky that I don’t get a chance to run at him,” Paulo said.

The Eels won’t be far from the forward’s thoughts as they play the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon in Round 13.

“It’s definitely a massive game for us, especially during this period.

“We’ll be looking go out there and respond to the last two weeks of footy and get back to playing the footy we know we can play,” Paulo said.

That will really start the week with good vibes.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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