Along with Manly Sea Eagles, Parramatta Eels were the surprise package of last season. They went from the wooden spoon to fifth and plenty believe they will continue to flourish in 2020 under Brad Arthur.
The discovery of Maika Sivo was the best of the season as he went on to top the try scoring charts in his rookie season.
The Fijian winger will be joined on the wing by Blake Ferguson, with Clint Gutherson completing the back three for the Eels.
Waqa Blake quickly settled into life at the Bankwest Stadium after his move from Penrith and Michael Jennings will continue to showcase his pace in the centres as well.
Mitchell Moses starred for the Australians in the World 9s after his brilliant year at the helm in the halves for Parramatta last year. He will be joined by Dylan Brown, fresh from signing a big-money contract extension with the club.
Meanwhile, in the forwards, the Eels have added the talents of Ryan Matterson into their second row from Wests Tigers while Reagan Campbell-Gillard adds size and international experience to their front row after joining the club from Penrith Panthers.
The club have plenty of depth in each position with players such as Will Smith and George Jennings covering the backs and Brad Takairangi able to play in a multitude of positions when called upon.
Coach: Brad Arthur
Brad Arthur (above) has been in charge of Parramatta Eels since 2014 and in that time, there have been plenty of ups and downs for the club.
Points deductions, Finals campaigns, a wooden spoon in 2018 which looked to spell the end for Arthur as coach with his contract soon to be up.
But last year was a great one for the Eels. They finished fifth and Arthur signed a new deal lasting until the end of 2021.
Arthur has been coaching for many years. After his playing career failed to take off, he became coach of the Batemans Bay Tigers at the age of 22.
Star Player: Blake Ferguson
Blake Ferguson’s signing was just what Parramatta needed heading into 2019. He helped take the club from being wooden spooners to fifth position with his big game experience and obvious speed, strength and skill.
His form for the Eels helped him move back into the Origin fold for New South Wales while he was also able to appear for the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII.
Ferguson has had plenty of controversial moments in his career ranging from alleged assault to a spell in a rehabilitation centre, but his skill has always prevailed.
Rugby League World Predicts: 2nd
First published in Rugby League World, Issue 467 (March 2020)