Eden closer to dream Broncos debut
Greg Eden's journey to make his NRL debut with the Brisbane Broncos has taken a sizeable detour, returning home to England to play his first senior game for the club in the World Club Series against Wigan on Sunday morning (AEDT).
Unable to crack a first grade spot in his maiden season with the club in 2015, Eden has used the wrist injury to winger Lachlan Maranta and some impressive trial form against the Cowboys in Bundaberg to work his way into the team, one of four changes to the grand final team that went down to the Cowboys last October.
The shoulder injury that Jack Reed carried for much of the premiership decider has seen Jordan Kahu move into the centres alongside newcomer James Roberts, Kodi Nikorima steps in at halfback for the suspended Ben Hunt and Josh McGuire plays his first game since rupturing his Achilles tendon midway through last season.
Eden's path to the big time has been rather unconventional with a stint playing for Temora in Group 9 as a 19-year-old in 2010 before returning to England and Super League stints with Castleford, Huddersfield, Hull KR and Salford.
Drawing comparisons with Billy Slater when playing under Nathan Brown at Huddersfield in 2012, Eden said that by lining up against Wigan this weekend he is one step closer to realising his dream of playing in the NRL.
"It means everything to me, to crack the NRL," Eden told Broncos TV from the team's chilly training base at Harrow School in London.
"It's part of the reason that I came to Australia in the first place. It was on my wish list and this is the first step towards doing it.
"These trial games and this World Series game is one step in the right direction.
"It's a good opportunity. There are a couple of us fighting for that [wing] spot so we've just got to keep working hard in training and impressing and keep doing the right things to earn it.
"All through pre-season that's what all players are working towards, getting picked in those first couple of rounds or trial games.
"That's what everyone is working towards so to be picked is pretty nice."
Castleford born and bred, the 25-year-old can see the irony in the fact that his most significant game in Broncos colours will come little more than 100 kilometres from where he grew up.
"It's pretty weird. As soon as we got off the plane it were chilly and it reminded me of what it used to be like but we've adapted now and we're keeping warm and making sure we're out here still doing his training," said Eden.
"I've got quite a few family and friends coming. I've asked for quite a few tickets so they should be loud and all cheering me on.
"It don't really make a difference to me whether I'm playing in England or Australia, it's just whether I'm playing."