Finally there could be reason enough to have faith in Parram
FINALLY there could be reason enough to have faith in Parramatta Eels being a top eight side this year. The Eels should be able to kiss goodbye the days of being the NRL also-rans.
Before we get ahead of ourselves over the Auckland Nines result, however, I predict the 30-year NRL drought to continue. Sadly, for diehard fans like our mayor Richie Williamson, I don't expect the trophies to suddenly start flooding in.
The Eels have not experienced top eight football since they flew as late arrivals courtesy of the Hayne Plane into the 2009 top eight and all the way to the grand final. During that time the club has made some disastrous player transfers (see Chris Sandow) opting for livewire potential over stabilising forces.
In 2016, with the likes of Kieran Foran, Michael Jennings, Michael Gordon and Beau Scott, the Eels have assembled not just talented footballers, but an impressive core group of experienced, reliable performers.
Combined with an improving side who have shown glimpses of getting their act together the past two seasons, the Eels should be a seriously competitive force.
But the NRL is tough at the top. It's hard to see the Cowboys or Broncos slowing down, while Warriors and Sea Eagles have also recruited well.