'I've always had to fight for my spot': Gower
Trivia time … can you name a player at the 16th-placed Eels who has won two NRL games this year and has yet to lose one?
There's only one, and his name is David Gower.
Asked about his perfect 2-0 record at NRL level this year – over the past fortnight having been called up following his club's horror 0-6 start – Gower smiled and suggested that could be a stat to raise to coach Brad Arthur.
"I'll be letting him know, that's for sure," Gower said.
"Honestly, I feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been physically and mentally and I knew I'd get my chance this year.
"Unfortunately we as a group started 0-6 but it's obviously given me my opportunity now and I feel like I'm in the perfect shape to really take advantage of that now and I hope I'm doing my job for Brad and the team."
Gower started the season strongly for Parramatta's Intrust Super Premiership team Wentworthville before earning his round-seven call-up, tallying 36 tackles, 175 running metres and five tackle busts in roughly 90 minutes of game time across the two matches.
"I'm relatively happy [with my form]," he said.
"I feel like I may have contributed to letting a try in [against the Wests Tigers] so if I can stay on top of my game defensively and physically it's going to go a long way to making sure I stay in the side long term.
"I knew I'd get my chance, I just had to remain patient and trust I was going to get that shot and I did and I'm relatively happy with how I played so far."
The 32-year-old said battling to hold his position was nothing new to him through his 89 games across 10 years in the Telstra Premiership.
"I've always had to fight for my spot throughout my whole career and that's fine with me, that's just been my journey and I don't have a problem with that," Gower said.
"I always believe in myself and I know what I offer the team and I think I offer something to the group."
Gower said the mood in the Blue & Gold camp had received a massive confidence boost after their back-to-back wins and they believe they can keep lifting their performances.
"Regardless of the results we knew we were a good side and we didn't become a poor side overnight," he said.
"We finished in the top four last year for a reason and we only improved our squad if anything this year so we just had to regain our confidence and we knew if we stayed at it it would start to turn.
"We just need to get back to being us and regaining our identity. Brad spoke about that last week and I think over the last few weeks we've been able to start doing that. I think we've still got a lot of improvement left in us and that's the good thing."