Parramatta recruit Michael Gordon is planning on tackling one of the NRL’s toughest assignments in 2016 – making Jarryd Hayne’s Eels fullback spot his own.
After attempting to leave Cronulla mid-season in 2015, Gordon has arrived at Parramatta later than he had anticipated.
But with Reece Robinson’s defection to rugby union and Will Hopoate’s future with the Eels up in the air due to a contract dispute, Gordon has the inside running for the club’s No.1 jumper.
And the 32-year-old wants to be the first player to cement his spot at the back for the Eels since Jarryd Hayne left to pursue his NFL dream at the end of the 2014 season.
“I have to earn it first and foremost, I am under no illusions about what I have to do, but that is the goal and if I deserve it I deserve it,” Gordon said.
“At the moment I am just here to train hard and do the typical preseason stuff and when we start playing footy hopefully I can cement that spot.”
Gordon was lured to the Eels by coach Brad Arthur with a view to him playing fullback, but the former NSW State of Origin representative says the tough times he experienced at the Sharks taught him not to take anything for granted.
“There are no guarantees in this sport, I would like to think there are but I learned a long time ago that’s not the case,” Gordon said.
“Brad told me he wanted me to play fullback and I have come here to do that but if I don’t play there I am not going to kick up stones or anything like that.
“I am here to earn the respect of my teammates first and then we will see what happens.”