Cayless hopeful for premiership win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cayless hopeful for premiership win

By Todd Balym 28/06/2008 10:39:34 AM Comments (0)

His captaincy record speaks for itself but Parramatta skipper Nathan Cayless knows time is running out to secure the one accolade which has evaded him over a 12-year first grade career - a premiership.

The Kiwi Test prop will on Sunday lead his Eels onto Parramatta Stadium for his 200th NRL game and a match which could have a significant bearing on his side's chances at winning the title.

Sitting 10th and a win away from moving into the top eight, Parramatta are expected to make light work of the second placed but severely depleted Melbourne outfit missing nine Origin stars.

Win on Sunday and they can begin their push towards the finals and ultimately top four.

Lose and their credentials will be seriously questioned and confidence battered.

"Obviously they have a lot of players out through Origin duty but it's a big game for us, we really need the two points," said Cayless.

"We want to try and stay in touch of the top four to keep our season ticking over.

"We have about 10 games to go and we really want to come home strongly."

Cayless was the youngest captain in Parramatta's history when given the honour in 2000 at just 21 and after nine seasons in command he has become the club's longest-serving skipper and quite possibly one of the longest in league history.

But at the age of 30, Cayless knows the clock is ticking on how many seasons he has left in the game.

And after letting title opportunities slip in 2001 (grand final) and 2005 and 2007 (preliminary final) the 34-Test veteran is aware his captaincy record will be judged mainly by trophies and not games in charge.

"I am (proud of captaincy record) but people ask me when I'm going to win a premiership as a captain and the pressure is building and we have to get there sooner rather than later," he said.

"My favourite and worst memory is the same, the 2001 season and the grand final.

"It was great to get there but unfortunately we didn't get the job done."

The problem for Cayless and the rest of the Eels this year is that they've rarely looked like a side capable of going all the way.

Inconsistency has been a major concern and they've yet to string three consecutive wins together.

They suffered a heart-breaking 16-14 defeat from Cronulla last week, but coach Michael Hagan found several positives as his men managed to fight their way back against one of the NRL's toughest sides.

"Physically we came out (of the Cronulla game) knowing we can play against a tough grinding team," said Hagan.

"I think Melbourne will be a very similar mindset to Cronulla. That's how they like to play football.

"We need to come out with a good attitude to the tough and hard parts of the game.

"It's an important game and we know we need to bounce back this week."

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