Eels wary of NRL favourites tag - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels wary of NRL favourites tag

By David Beniuk 24/09/2009 03:22:00 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta's winning streak begs the question of just how good they'll be when Timana Tahu, Justin Poore and Shane Shackleton join the NRL club next year.

Good enough to be the favourites for the crown already, according to Centrebet who have installed the Eels at $4.50 to win the 2010 premiership.

Dual international Tahu was arguably the best centre in the NRL when he left for rugby union two years ago.

Poore is an incumbent NSW State of Origin prop, while Shackleton is leaving the Sydney Roosters in the year he cracked rep footy for City.

Kris Keating, the Eels' talented first-choice halfback before they unearthed Jeff Robson in a run of nine wins from 10 matches, will also return after his season was wrecked by an ankle injury.

The Bulldogs are second favourites to win next year's title at $6, followed by St George Illawarra and Melbourne (both $7), Manly $8) and Brisbane ($10).

"I think the serious money to win next year is definitely with the Eels," Centrebet spokesman Neil Evans told AAP.

"They're setting themselves up to be a clear favourite in 2010."

Eels great and football club board member Brett Kenny is, understandably, wary of the favourites tag.

"In one way it's probably a bit of an honour and quite nice, I guess, to have something like that but I really do think it's a bit early," Kenny told AAP.

"A lot can happen between now and next year. A lot happens from one week to the next. Brisbane two weeks ago were looking pretty good. Suddenly Peter Wallace gets an injury and everyone's saying they've got no chance."

Kenny believes the 2010 Eels will be tested by the weight of expectation but have the potential to be better than the 2009 version.

"The expectation's going to be very high next year because of the way they're finishing this season and those three players all coming over to the club," the four-time premiership star said.

"You would like to think the players would look at it and say 'Yep, well this is what we've got to live up to now, we've set our standard and now we've got to make sure we keep doing it'.

" ... We would be looking to start our season better than this year and if we do that, with the new personnel we've got at the club things will be better and we will perform even better.

"Supporters should be looking at being very hopeful but at the same time they've got to be realists and realise that things happen, you can't control injuries.

"If everything goes to plan you would like to say that Parramatta would definitely be looking at the top four."

Shackleton, meanwhile, is looking forward to some expectation after a miserable, wooden-spoon year at the Roosters.

"The way (Parramatta's) going ... (favouritism's) probably about right," he told AAP.

"I'm not much of a betting man but if you were you'd probably be looking at it.

"It would be good to be there now, the way they're going."

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