Old Eels recruits ready to fire: McGuire - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Old Eels recruits ready to fire: McGuire

Ben Horne 02/02/2011 11:08:52 AM Comments (0)

Five years ago, with the quality of player they've recruited this off-season, Parramatta would have been tipped to win the NRL premiership.

Carl Webb, Chris Walker, Chris Hicks, Paul Whatuira, Reni Maitua and Casey McGuire were amongst the best players of the mid-2000s and would have commanded top dollar.

But the reality is it's 2011.

Five of the new recruits are 29 and older, while 28-year-old Maitua is coming back from a two-year drug suspension.

Their best footballing days are probably behind them, but McGuire said the Eels' veteran recruits are desperate to wind back the clock and prove that age isn't everything.

What they lack in youth, the signings make up for with experience and talent, and McGuire predicted it's a formula that will service the Eels well as they attempt to rebuild a finals challenge.

"I think with a lot of us like Chris Walker and Carl and myself, we are all around the 30 years of age mark now and we see it as a fresh start," McGuire told AAP.

"With all the younger players in the squad now, we're feeding off their enthusiasm and we feel like we're learning it all again.

"Carl's especially been training the house down and I think it's working really well."

McGuire made his debut for Parramatta way back in 1998, before six years with Brisbane culminated in a premiership in 2006.

The 31-year-old has since spent four seasons with French Super League club Catalans, and admits he didn't think he'd get another chance in the NRL.

His utility value earnt him State of Origin honours for Queensland in 2005, and McGuire is hoping his ability to play in the halves, centre and hooker will boost the Eels' depth.

"I was thinking I'd love to have one more crack at the NRL but by the time I left France I probably thought I'd missed my opportunity," said McGuire, who now has two young children.

"I'm very grateful for Parramatta for throwing me a lifeline and I want to repay them by having a good year.

"I'm happy to play the same role I did in Brisbane which was to fill in a few different positions. The season is a long time and anything can happen so I want to be ready and be training everywhere."

Of Parramatta's other experienced recruits, Carl Webb is a former Origin and Test forward and Maitua a grand final winner with the Bulldogs and Australian representative.

Hicks was a grand finalist with Manly in 2008, Whatuira won premierships with Penrith and Wests Tigers in 2003 and 2005

Walker, who is also returning from a short stint with the Catalan Dragons, played in six Origin matches for Queensland and two grand finals with the Sydney Roosters.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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