It may be remembered as the most scandalous year in club history, but Parramatta players have vowed not to throw the towel in for the rest of their NRL season.
The Eels have nothing to play for but pride over the final six rounds after being knocked out of finals contention in their last-start loss to Gold Coast.
But ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Wests Tigers, fullback Michael Gordon was one of a number of players who promised not to turn it in as their season from hell heads towards a merciful end.
“We’ve had such a good season and we don’t want to just toss in the towel now,” Gordon said after a gym session on Wednesday.
“We still want to show that we’re a quality team despite everything that’s happened and I expect no less on the weekend.”
The club has lurched from one off-field crisis to the next this season, including the loss of key men Corey Norman (suspension) and Kieran Foran (injury).
However, Eels players continue to hang their hats on a relatively successful season on the field, where they have claimed 10 wins from 18 games.
If they weren’t docked 12 points for cheating the salary cap, Parramatta would be sitting just below pre-season favourites Brisbane in seventh.
Gordon said he didn’t want to let any teammates down in the Eels’ final games of 2016.
“It’s having pride in the jersey and pride for yourself and your family,” he said.
“No one wants to go out and throw the towel in now and finish disappointingly. We want to show that we’re a top eight, top four team, and the way we finish the year will show whether we are or not.”
Second-rower Tepai Moeroa says preparations for the 2017 begin now.
“Just because we can’t make the finals, we don’t want to waste what we’ve built during the season. We just want to keep building and get ready for next year,” he said.
“Everyone wants to make finals, that’s the big goal. But it’s going to take us another year to get there. We’ve got to stay positive in that sense, that it’s just going to take us longer to reach our goal.”