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NRL Video 2019: Brad Fittler Andrew Johns Broncos v Eels Round 24

Wednesday 28th August 2019 

https://wwos.nine.com.au/videos/nrl/nrl-video-2019-brad-fittler-andrew-johns-broncos-v-eels-round-24/cjzuiwefb003m0qo00b1dl86z

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  • NRL Video 2019: Brad Fittler Andrew Johns Freddy & The Eighth Round 24

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                • Spoon to silverware: Eels confident they can buck 84-year hoodoo

                  Dan Walsh

                  NRL.com Reporter

                  Tue 27 Aug 2019, 06:07 PM

                  Dan Walsh

                  Parramatta stars are adamant they can buck 84 years of rugby league history and claim the NRL's most cherished silverware 12 months after picking up the dreaded wooden spoon.

                  The Eels finals assault begins two weeks early as they look to bounce back from a shock loss to Canterbury against finals contenders Brisbane on Friday, before hosting Manly in a mouth-watering appetiser leading into the post-season.

                  Parramatta are finals-bound once more after 2018's diabolical slump to last place, the 14th in the club's history, behind only the 17 recorded by the now-defunct Wests Magpies.

                  Captain Clint Gutherson bullishly claimed his Eels can emulate the 1934-vintage Magpies as the only side to go from wooden-spooners to premiers the very next season.

                  "If you're not playing footy to win the comp you're not playing for the right reasons," Gutherson said on Monday.

                  "You want to be winning comps. You want to be doing it the hard way, easy way, you just want to get out there and rip in, you just want to put your body on the line.

                  "If you're not going out there in the finals at the back end of the year trying to prove everyone wrong and win it for yourself, you're in the game for the wrong reason."

                  Asked outright if the Eels could go all the way and end the club's painful 33-year premiership drought, Gutherson was blunt.

                  "Yep."

                  Based on what?

                  "Based on the belief that on our day we can beat anyone," he fired back.

                  "We've just got to string together a good month and a half of footy and be there at the back end of October."

                  While the Roosters went from 2009 wooden spooners to grand finalists the following year, Wests are the only side to go the full length of the straight in just 12 months.

                  Their 1933 side was decimated by having the bulk of their backline away on a Kangaroos tour of the UK, having finished runners up in 1932 and going one better upon returning in '34.

                  In-form prop Junior Paulo sang from the same hymn sheet as Gutherson in the present day, having considered Parramatta's ability to recover from last year's debacle when he weighed up a lucrative four-year deal to return home from Canberra.

                  "It was one of the jobs I had to look at when I was coming back to the Eels," Paulo said.

                  "When I did make the decision to come back, I knew it was going to be a tough turnaround.

                  "And it's one that Brad [Arthur] has asked me to talk to a lot of the young forwards that we have here at the club [about], and instil that belief in them as well.

                  "It can be a tough road ahead when you come off the back of a wooden spoon but I think we've turned that around. The job's not done just yet and we're looking to ride a wave heading into the finals.

                  "For us our goal is definitely to win a comp. That's why we're here, that's why we turn up every day."

                  While Nathan Brown is out suspended for the next two weeks, strike winger Blake Ferguson returns for his first game since mid-July after fears he could suffer kidney failure out of a surgical infection.

                  Ferguson had lost as much as 13 kilos during the ordeal that saw him placed in intensive care, before re-gaining the majority of that weight through a diet of Donut King milkshakes and chicken burgers.

                  "I've done the work, the rehab and physio and to be honest I'm probably feeling a lot better than I did this time last year leading into the back end of the year," Ferguson said ahead his return against Brisbane.

                  "I'm feeling pretty good and I'm just happy to be back.

                  "It was pretty hard to watch on the sidelines. I can't really watch a game of football without critiquing it. I can't watch it like a normal person."

                  Link: https://www.parraeels.com.au/news/2019/08/28/spoon-to-silverware-ee...

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                  • 'It was a tough decision': Why Lodge rejected Eels overtures

                    Joel Gould
                    NRL.com Reporter
                    Wed 28 Aug 2019, 08:01 AM
                    Joel Gould

                    Matt Lodge says he was tempted to return to his western Sydney stomping ground when the Eels tried to lure him away earlier this year but has no regrets about his ultimate decision to re-sign with the Broncos until 2022.

                    The 24-year-old prop grew up in the Blacktown area and owns a house where his family stills lives so when Parramatta came knocking on his door he had a difficult decision to make.

                    The Warriors also were keen but the Eels' interest had appeal for several reasons.

                    "It was tempting because it is five minutes from my house and where Mum and Dad and all my family live so it was a tough decision," Lodge told NRL.com ahead of the clash with the Eels at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

                    "They have got a good pack and it was close to home but I love the Broncos from my heart and I wanted to stay here.

                    "I have a lot of passion for the club and I want to see us do well. I am willing to sacrifice being away from my family and home to try and get some success here."

                    The success Lodge craves at the Broncos has been enhanced by his partnership up front with 19-year-old prop Payne Haas. The duo want to be mentioned in the same breath as Brisbane’s premiership winning front-rowers but Lodge knows that will only come on the back of success.

                    "It has been awesome playing with Payne. We trained together a lot in the pre-season and he helps me get the best out of myself because he is such a competitor and hard trainer," Lodge said.

                    "Hopefully we can really build something special and into the future. We are a good team. We get on really well off the field and I think it will transfer on the field more and more as well play together some more.”

                    Haas said he felt the same way about his front-row partner.

                    “When I look to my left I see when big Lodgey does a big run and I want to go straight after him. It revs me up,” Haas said.

                    "It is a good one-two punch combo. He is full-on and one of the best I’ve played with."

                    The clash with Parramatta brings back fond memories for Lodge from his youth when he was coming through the junior ranks with the Penrith Panthers.

                    "I was a Panther and they were arch rivals and I played them a fair bit when I was young and it was always a good battle … the battle of the west," Lodge said.

                    "I won a grand final in the under 16s over Parra in the Harold Matthews (Cup) when Mitch Moses was playing for them."

                    Lodge said minimising the impact of Moses would be a key to success on Friday night.

                    "Mitch has been unbelievable this year. He’s put his head down and done the work and he is getting the results from it,” Lodge said.

                    "I always knew that he was a really good half and he is showing everyone just how good he is."

                    A memory of playing the Eels that is not so fond for Lodge is the 38-10 loss in round 14 this year where Parramatta led 26-nil at half-time. With a finals position on the line for the eighth placed Broncos, Lodge said taking every half-chance would be vital on Friday night.

                    "They gave us a bit of a touch-up down there a few months ago in Sydney. We had a terrible start and I think we had nine or 10 going into rep camp that week and it was just a write-off,” Lodge said.

                    "We need to put our head down at training this week and it will be a different outcome. We need to put in a good performance at Suncorp. We were unlucky against Souths last week but we had our chances. We have to take them against Parra.

                    "They are in great form. I have sat on my lounge a few times and watched some of their games and they are throwing the ball around, offloading and playing some really unpredictable footy. Everyone wants to play finals footy but if we can’t put in good performances these next two games we probably don’t deserve to be there."

                    Link: https://www.nrl.com/news/2019/08/28/it-was-a-tough-decision-why-lod...

                    News
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