PARRAMATTA forward Tepai Moeroa says the Eels are naturally motivated to win the Auckland Nines tournament on February 4-5 after clinching the title this year only to have it stripped from them as part of the penalty for the club having cheated the salary cap.
“The Nines is an awesome weekend,” says Moeroa, who represented Parramatta at the launch of the jerseys to be worn by the 16 clubs in the event at Eden Park.
“The crowd is electric and just being able to run around with the boys again after a long off-season is the best.
“It was a little kick in the stomach when they took the trophy from us, but it just gives us more motivation to go back out there and win it again.”
The Eels, with big yet mobile forwards and hugely dangerous backs such as Corey Norman and Bevan French as possible selections, rate among the early favourites for the event, but they have drawn a strong group which also includes the
Warriors, who are always a danger in the Nines.
Manly and St George Illawarra are the others in the group.
Eels coach Brad Arthur must be hammering the team at pre-season training. Moeroa says the players are enjoying each other’s company, but that the training itself has been “torture”.