Robson's blockbuster a decade in waiting - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Robson's blockbuster a decade in waiting

By Adrian Warren 20/09/2009 12:21:19 PM Comments (0)

Emerging Parramatta halfback Jeff Robson says he has been waiting the best part of a decade to play in a match as big as the Eels' NRL preliminary final blockbuster against the Bulldogs on Friday.

The clash between two of the game's great rivals is expected to attract a massive crowd of well over 60,000 to ANZ Stadium.

The huge stadium could accommodate many times over the entire population of Robson's hometown of Barellan in the NSW Riverina.

He estimates Barellan's population at between 200-250, though the 2006 census numbered the residents at 366.

Friday's game will be the biggest of the 27-year-old halfback's career and the kind of occasion he has always aimed to be part of since leaving his home town in his mid-teens to pursue a rugby league career.

"It's something that I've been working for, for eight or nine years since I've moved to Sydney, so it will be outstanding," Robson told AAP.

But he is less sure about how he will prepare for the prospect of playing in front of by far the biggest crowd of his career.

"I couldn't tell you, I'll just soak it all in," Robson said.

Robson's rise might appear a rapid one to the uninitiated, but it has been a decade in the making.

Since leaving Barellan, he had tried to carve out a professional career with only limited success before this season.

One unproductive stint with Parramatta was followed by just six first grade appearances at Manly, before he headed back to the Eels.

Brett Finch's early season move to Melbourne threw open the door of opportunity for Robson and he grasped the chance to strike up a combination with rookie five-eighth Daniel Mortimer.

Even when opportunity finally knocked, the battler from Barellan never envisaged staking a claim to a permanent place in just a handful of months.

"Not at all mate, I was just hoping to play a couple of games this year, and to play 20 and be in the semi-finals is sensational," Robson said.

Parramatta's backs and sparkling attack have garnered most of the headlines in their electrifying late season charge, but their defence has been equally impressive.

Eliminate the 37-0 final round loss to St George Illawarra and the Eels have conceded only 74 points in their nine wins either side of that blip.

"Our defence has been outstanding over the last couple of weeks and I think that's pretty much what's won us the game (against Gold Coast last Friday)," Robson said.

"If we continue to do that, I think we'll go a long way to winning next week."

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