“It was exciting running out there with 10,000 people turning up [on Wednesday night for an open training session]. It’s going to be a big moment and I’m super proud to get out there on Monday in front of a full crowd. I’ll just enjoy the whole day.
“It’s in the middle of Parramatta and it is our home – and now we’ve got to make it our home.”
It’s in the middle of Parramatta and it is our home – and now we’ve got to make it our home
Gutherson and Eels halfback Mitchell Moses head a long list of names unsigned at Parramatta beyond this season as Parramatta follow a meticulous recruitment and retention strategy.
It’s likely to be the furthest things from the players’ minds though when they take on the Tigers on Monday, almost 1000 days since they played their last home game at the old Parramatta Stadium.
The Eels have already trained on Bankwest Stadium several times – including under lights in front of fans last week – and are sweating on the fitness of recruit Blake Ferguson who is nursing a rib complaint.
“He’s going alright,” Arthur said. “We’ll see how he gets through [Sunday] and we’ll see what happens for him [on Monday].
“He hasn’t done much [training]. It’s a pain tolerance injury. You can’t make it any worse, but it is what it is.”
Several Eels players have been frank in their assessment of their temporary home at ANZ Stadium for the last two years, in particular to their failure to turn it into a fortress.
But Arthur wants those days to be nothing but a distant memory.
“It’s nice to have our own stadium and a ground that we can call home,” he said. “So that’s great, moving forward. But it’s just not going to happen for us either.
“We’ve got to turn up with the right attitude and we’ve got to make sure that we can maximise any advantage that we might get playing at the stadium. It has been a while since the boys have had to play in front of 30,000 people and be nice and close to the action.”
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.