UK trip makes Broncos dangerous: Mannah
Eels club captain Tim Mannah believes Brisbane's trip to the northern hemisphere for the World Club Series will prove a massive benefit to the Broncos ahead of their Round 1 blockbuster on Thursday night.
Mannah labelled it an "exciting challenge" for his Eels to take on Wayne Bennett's men after they recording a 30-point victory over the Wigan Warriors a fortnight ago.
"It's an advantage [the Broncos World Club Series appearance] due to the fact they were able to play some quality footy. This time of the year some things are a bit rusty because you haven't really played much with the combinations you're building," Mannah said.
"It's handy for them; they looked sharp and have a real good squad that are backing up from the grand final so they'll be a tough team to play against all year.
"Obviously travelling [to England] might have taken a bit out of them too but it's not going to change much come Thursday night."
The Eels will face one of the toughest starts to the season in the NRL with their Broncos clash to be followed up with a visit from reigning premiers North Queensland next week.
"It's a good chance to see where we're at. Those two teams are obviously the benchmark. It's a really great measuring stick for us to see how we've prepared this summer and where the squad is at," Mannah said.
Mannah added he holds high expectations for the Eels – the acquisitions of Michael Gordon, Kieran Foran, Michael Jennings and Beau Scott putting the club in good stead for their first potential finals campaign since their 2009 grand final defeat.
"I think the fans have been patient for a very long time. They know what we have here at the moment and they know we're building something with the squad we have," Mannah said.
"It's kind of hard to say whether it's going to be great from the start but one thing I know for sure is whoever takes the field for our team this week is going to be busting their butt to make sure they produce something our fans can be proud of.
"I feel expectation every year, I come into every year with high expectations and this season is no different."
Meanwhile Parramatta winger Clint Gutherson has opened up on coach Brad Arthur, and the respect he has for his new mentor.
Gutherson will play his first NRL game almost 12 months to the day after tearing his ACL playing in the Sea Eagles' 2015 season-opener against Brisbane.
"Everybody respects [Arthur]. There's something about him that gets you wanting to play for him, wanting to listen to him and do what he has to say," Gutherson said.
"I've had a couple of tough years so I'm hoping I'm past that now I'm here at the Eels and hoping I get a good 26 rounds in this year. I'm looking forward to showing everyone what I've got."