Beware Parramatta's new British Bulldog
Parramatta players are bracing for the NRL's next British Bulldog – even if they don't understand a word he's saying.
Super League recruit Lee Mossop is a chance of making his highly-anticipated NRL debut against the Panthers on Friday night, five months after arriving on Australian shores.
And you can bet Eels players can't wait to play with him – not that he'd be able to tell them anyway.
"It's pretty funny – they think we're distinctive with our accent, but it's pretty distinctive to us. It sounds like a different language," teammate Peni Terepo told NRL.com this week.
"There's so much to expect from him. He's still coming back from injury, still trying to find that grind, but I can't wait to see what's going to come."
A member of Wigan's premiership-winning Super League side last year, Mossop went on to play one game for England during their World Cup campaign before undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury that had been nagging him for the best part of two years.
He was one of two players – the other being hitman Gareth Hock – signed by former coach Ricky Stuart last season, but Hock backed out of the deal.
Mossop, 25, eventually joined his new club in January but only returned from injury two weeks ago, when he made a low-key return with Parramatta's NSW Cup side Wentworthville, impressing enough for Arthur to name him on an extended match for the local derby against Penrith.
Lock Joseph Paulo predicted Mossop would add an entirely different dimension to a team that has the fourth-best record in the League.
"Lee brings that mongrel – that English mongrel. The English are fit, but they're tough too. I know speaking to the boys in Wigan, [former NRL] guys like Eddy Pettybourne and Blake Green, they were saying how fit he was and just how tough he is," Paulo said.
"He's come from Wigan and he's really had to work hard to get back in the squad. He had a shoulder reco so he's really worked hard. He's fit, he's big and he's really tough.
"I've done a few wrestle sessions with him and he's really man-handled me. So I'm really looking forward to him being part of the squad when he can.
"Obviously the competition's tight with even Fui not playing. It'd be good when those two get back in the squad."
Both back-to-back winners, Penrith and Parramatta will be keen to stretch their winning streaks to three with a victory on Friday night. Terepo said the side had done plenty of homework on nullifying Penrith's wingers, who loom as major threats in the middle of the ruck.
"Their forward pack is strong and they've got some speed on the outside backs, but they're just strong through the middle too, even the backs – they come through the middle. That's what we've got to work on," he said.
In anticipation of a sell-out crowd, the Panthers have advised that junior league passes will not be accepted as entry.