Grothe still a rock star at heart - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Grothe still a rock star at heart

By Samantha Broun 29/09/2009 07:14:31 PM Comments (0)

Even with the pressure of a once-unlikely NRL grand final looming and a chance to extend his family folklore at Parramatta, winger Eric Grothe remains a rock star at heart.

Lumped across his broad shoulders is a chance to break a premiership hoodoo which has been clouding the proud Parramatta club for 23 years.

Grothe, 29, is also hoping to achieve the same feat as his father Eric Snr, who is a proud bearer of the 1986 premiership ring, Parramatta's last.

Facing twice the heat, it would be fair to expect Grothe to perhaps swap his trademark dimples for a stern game face during grand final week or just appear a little out of his cruise-control comfort zone.

Yet one of the game's true characters, who lists playing guitar with his band Shinobi as his true passion, was at his jovial best when fronting the media ahead of Sunday's decider against Melbourne at ANZ Stadium.

While the rest of the Eels endured a painstaking wait to hear whether their star playmaker Jarryd Hayne and diligent hooker Matthew Keating were clear to play - Grothe was blissfully unaware of Sunday's crucial decision until Monday afternoon.

He's not lying awake at night wondering when to take a punt and break from the defensive line in search of a match-turning intercept, just as he pulled off against St George Illawarra in the first week of the finals.

Playing on the wing, he grins, gives him the best seat in the house for the highly anticipated duel between fullbacks Hayne and Billy Slater.

Asked how coach Daniel Anderson is coping under grand final pressure, Grothe responded: "One day he comes in and he's smiling, the other day he comes in red and he's spitting and he's angry.

"If he's drinking a Red Bull I know we're in trouble and if he's had a valium I know we're going to be alright.

"I don't know if he has both I guess he might just be normal."

Would he speak to early-season teammate turned grand final opponent Brett Finch this week? Sure. What would he say?

"G'day Brett ... How you going mate? How you been? What you been doing? What's your game plan? All that stuff," Grothe said.

He also intended to sit down with his father and discuss the grand final during the week.

"I remember Dad saying, I actually was listening to him this time, when they won the grand finals the streets in Parramatta were ridiculous, it was just like they were rock stars," he said.

"I can only dream at this stage and hope, I just can't for the ride to see what happens."

Anderson rolled his eyes when hearing of Grothe's antics.

"Eric's a funny, annoying, painful, very talented, ordinary guitar player - but he is a very good member of our team and he's been playing really well this year," he said.

"So he can have pot shots at me as much as he wants."

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