New Parramatta captain Kieran Foran has embraced the pressure that comes with leading the side out of the longest finals drought in the NRL.
Not since their fairytale run to the 2009 decider have the Eels got a whiff of September football, however an influx of high-profile signings has once again fuelled expectations of a return to the finals.
The Kiwi representative, who has only been at the club for four months, admitted there was already a growing anticipation of a finals tilt, but was ready to take on the demands head-on.
“It’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it?” Foran said.
“That’s why I see it as a big challenge. It’s a step by step process.”
Eels coach Brad Arthur unveiled Foran as the new skipper at the club’s season launch at Parramatta Leagues club on Wednesday, with veteran Tim Mannah staying on as club captain.
Foran said Arthur, who coached the former Manly five-eighth in his time as an assistant at the Sea Eagles in 2013, only approached him about the captaincy on Monday.
Foran said he was initially reluctant to take the role.
“I came here with the intention of wanting to train hard and let my footy do the talking, really buy into the culture that the boys have built here and what Brad was doing,” Foran said.
“When Brad mentioned it to me, at first I was hesitant because I’m a big admirer of Timmy Mannah. I think he’s done a tremendous job over the years since taking over from (Nathan) Hindmarsh and he’s such a respected bloke.
“He mentioned that he still wanted Timmy to be involved there as club captain and help me out a lot. I said it was a great idea.”
Foran’s first hit-out in Eels colours will be in a trial against Penrith on Saturday, before leading the team out against his former Manly teammates in round one.