Paul Gallen’s advice to Parramatta Eels ahead of potential drought-breaking premiership win

Paul Gallen knows a thing or two about breaking a premiership drought for his club.

The legendary Sharks forward captained the side to the title back in 2016 – the first in their history after 53 years in the competition.

Fans will never forget the emotional embrace between Gallen and fellow Cronulla legend Andrew Ettingshausen after the win over Melbourne.

It would be almost impossible to ever forget that moment, when the image is plastered on a mural right in the heart of the seaside suburb.

Fast-forward to 2022 and there will be a new group of players looking to break a premiership drought for their club, as the Parramatta Eels look to win their first trophy since 1986.

The current players including Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson, as well as head coach Brad Arthur, will carry the weight of expectations of over three decades worth of failures for the club. 

Similar to Gallen’s side and Ettingshausen, today’s crop of Eels stars will be doing it for a guy like club great Nathan Hindmarsh, who fell agonisingly short of lifting the trophy in 2001 and 2009. 

But according to Gallen, Parramatta need to embrace that elephant in the room and warned them to not let it become a burden during grand final week.

“You know what Parramatta have to do? They have to embrace it,” he said on 100% Footy.

“They have to enjoy and they have to want it, you can’t see it as a burden. You’ve got to want to be on the rugby league field, you’ve got to want the ball, you’ve got to want to win.

“These Parramatta players can’t see it as a burden – they’ve got to want to get it done and be the next best thing, which is what they will be if they win this competition.

“They will be absolute superstars forever, they will create a legacy for themselves that will never go away.”

Parramatta have had a tough road to get through to the decider, losing to the Panthers in the first week of the finals before coming up trumps against the Raiders and Cowboys.

Penrith on the other hand have had it rather easy and should be the fresher of the two teams on Sunday night.

But for the Eels, the emotion of potentially breaking a 36-year drought that has been hanging over their heads for the past few years won’t be lost on them.

In fact, Gallen believes they should use it as motivation – similar to how he did in 2016.

“We did [talk about it], without doubt…we addressed it and we spoke about it,” he said.

“I remember the last contract I signed at Cronulla, I promised myself I was going to win a premiership at the club.

“To go out and actually do it, to embrace all that, to embrace that history and go out there and do it is an absolute dream come true and something I will never forget.

“That’s what Parramatta need to do – enjoy the week first of all. It’s a different week, there’s a lot of media, there’s a lot of hype and pressure.

“You can’t let it bog you down – you’ve got to really enjoy it.”

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