Gordon settled as standalone custodian
Michael Gordon is approaching his first season at the Eels in a positive state of mind following an unsettled final year at the Sharks.
While he only missed one game, Gordon's two-year stranglehold on Cronulla's No.1 jumper came under fire last season following the emergence of Valentine Holmes and the recruitment of Ben Barba.
Gordon was unsure whether he would play the full 80 in the lead-up to most games last year, a hesitation felt by Cronulla's outside backs for the best part as well.
Now uncontested for the role within the Eels' strongest 17, Gordon said life has been made easier following his shift to Parramatta.
"It was frustrating for all of us because there were a few of us playing fullback and we sort of went out to play not knowing what to expect going into any games. It was hard to prepare for in a way but I suppose we all just had to do our best," Gordon told NRL.com.
"Coming [to the Eels], doing a full pre-season here and training with all these players I suppose it's given me that confidence that they wanted me to play fullback.
"It gives you a nice feeling and going into games now I know I won't be coming off. Unless I get injured, touch wood I won't."
With his 180 NRL games of experience far superior to the Eels' second-string options Gordon is hoping his further job security will allow him to focus on other aspects of his game – like using the competition's new interchange rules to his advantage.
"We saw on the weekend that it certainly affected some teams more than others. That will help someone like me," Gordon said.
"Later in the halves I'm hoping to sneak around the ruck when the forwards are a bit more tired. Also obviously going into a game knowing you're going to play a full game should certainly help."
In saying all this Gordon's first game in Eels colours did not go to plan – a 17-4 loss to the Broncos marred by Parramatta skipper Kieran Foran's absence and Corey Norman's injury scare.
A nasty forehead cut compounded his lack of ball with Brisbane halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt opting to target their kicking game at winger Clinton Gutherson instead
"You never plan for your halves going off at all. At least with 'Foz' we could prepare with 'Kell' [Luke Kelly] but you don't plan for the other one to go off at half-time. It threw a spanner in the works," Gordon said.
"It was a little bit disappointing but there were some really good signs there so it's not all doom and gloom."