Eels X-Factor: Krisnan Inu

By Krisnan Inu’s own admission, 2008 was not his best year. <br><br>The 2007 Rookie of the year contender suffered a nasty ankle injury in round one and spent two and a half months on the sidelines recuperating. When he returned he never quite recaptured his ‘07 form as a frustrating and frustrated Eels side missed the finals. <br><br>The Inu of 2007 yielded 12 tries in 20 games and looked capable of destroying a rampant Melbourne Storm side in the finals that year. The 2008 version was far less dangerous, scoring only six tries from 15.<br><br>In 2009 the Kiwi star will be looking to regain the form that made him a superstar. The Eels are a better side with Inu on the field and he is arguably their most potent attacking weapon.<br><br>With another pre-season under his belt Inu is determined to show Parramatta fans and the rest of the NRL that his devastating 2007 form was not a one-off.<br><br>“Last year wasn’t a good year. That was the first serious injury I have ever had and while I don’t blame the injury I didn’t come back well from it and didn’t perform as well as I could have.<br><br>“It was disappointing to play that way, but it wasn’t through a lack of trying or anything.”<br><br>“I want to be more consistent this year and make sure I keep my spot in the side. I think if I get off to a good start then I can keep on improving. No injuries – touch wood.”<br><br>While it was difficult for Inu last year, he concedes the lack of form of the younger Eels stars was probably frustrating for more experienced members of the team.<br><br>“I think it got to the stage where some of the senior guys were frustrated. We want to bring home the premiership for guys like Nathan Hindmarsh and Nathan Cayless. They are Parramatta through and through. But at the same time it’s always going to be tough to do that in this competition.”<br><br>The Eels have begun the year in the right fashion with three trial wins out of three matches, regaining form and confidence after an arduous pre-season from new coach Daniel Anderson.<br><br>“It was a pretty tough pre-season. The way Daniel Anderson does things, it’s pretty physical but he also has us looking and feeling sharp.”<br><br>Another Eel who was a let down in ‘08 was Inu’s long-time friend Jarryd Hayne. There was no question Hayne was affected by personal issues in ‘08, most notably the infamous Kings Cross incident where he was shot at in the pre-season.<br><br>Come the end of the year Hayne regained form. Starring for the Bati in the World Cup, he has carried that form into Parramatta’s three trial wins, even taking the switch to five eighth in his stride.<br><br>“He would admit ‘08 wasn’t his best year. He played well at the World Cup and has always been one of the top players for us. Haynesy has shown some good form in the trials too.<br><br>“We’re three from three in the trials. Each trial we have got better and better and have given ourselves something to build on early in the season.<br><br>“We still have to focus on getting the little things right and from there the bigger things will come.”<br><br>The Eels face a huge challenge in round one, where they travel to New Zealand to face another team with a perfect trial record in 2009. With the likes of giant winger Manu Vatuvei out there Inu knows he will get a gauge on his form in what is sure to be an emotional encounter.<br><br>“Round 1 won’t be easy against the Warriors, they’re tough to beat. They have a lot to play for and will want to win for Sonny Fai. They have a lot of motivation and some big wingers. The big wrecking machine Manu is always dangerous. Hopefully I’m on the other side to him but if we cross paths I hope to be ready.”<br><br>It’s a hope shared by every Eels fan who know that on the shoulders of a smiling 21-year old rest much of the responsibility for resurrecting the Eels as a premiership force.<br><br>