There are few teams in the National Rugby League that suffer from the weight of expectation that the Parramatta Eels carry every single season.
While the Eels have come close on a couple of occasions, they have never been able to recapture the glory days of the 1980’s that saw the club become one of the teams to beat for close on an entire decade.
In 2016 the hopes of the blue and gold army rest upon a team that is firmly in rebuilding mode. One that has suffered with through salary cap dramas, the loss of its best player, and chaos at board level over the last few years.
Into this shit storm steps Kieran Foran.
Foran arrives at the Eels with a lot of expectation on his shoulders. As a premiership winning half with the Sea Eagles Foran will basically take control of the Eels on the field. He will be joined by fellow premiership winners Michael Jennings and Beau Scott, but it will be Foran that supporters look to to drive the Eels.
It will be interesting to see how Foran handles this new role. At the Sea Eagles Foran was a key player, but he was never the focus of the fan base. That mantle fell on Daly Cherry-Evans shoulders. Between Geoff Toovey, Daly Cherry Evans and other senior Sea Eagles players, Foran was just one of many supporters looked to. At the Eels, all of that will change. Now Foran will be the one supporters and the media focus on when the Eels play well, and especially when they play poorly.
The 2016 NRL season is shaping up as a really interesting one. The competition saw a lot of player movement over the off season and a lot of teams improved pretty quietly as people enjoyed the cricket season.
The Eels look like a side that, if luck goes their way, could push for one of the final places in the NRL finals series. It wouldn’t take much though to knock them off track however, and that is always a constant threat at an Eels club that is constantly wrapped up in some sort of drama.
No matter what the Eels have to deal with as a team, the expectations on Kieran Foran to deliver for the Eels will not go away. Some may say that is unreasonable, but that is what comes with being a high profile recruit in the halves for the Parramatta Eels.