Norman bemused by rumours about his future
Eels playmaker Corey Norman is at a loss when it comes to explaining how his name is being bandied around various NRL clubs while he still has another year to go on his Parramatta contract.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Norman said on Thursday as the Eels players took a break from their regular routine to throw heavy, round, balls down a ten-pin bowling alley rather than oval-shaped Steedens around their Saleyards training ground.
The Parramatta Leagues Club has opened a new seven-lane bowling alley on its third floor and the Eels players had the joint to themselves before they face the Dragons in Wollongong on Thursday night.
Norman's current deal with the Eels it until the end of 2019. But this past fortnight he has been linked with Manly in a swap with Martin Taupau, or he is being chased by the Newcastle Knights.
"That's the first time I've heard of it. I'm more worried about getting us off the bottom of the table rather than worrying about myself," Norman said of the rumours.
"That's football. That's what happens all the time. I can only control what I do out on the paddock and that's what I'm willing to do.
"It's all been tossed around in the media. But I'm just about getting this team off the bottom and having a good back half of the year."
The Eels need it. Three wins and 12 losses has not made a happy season so far.
And Norman has been slingshotted around the backline to try and find the answers.
Playing the Dragons will be Norman's third game at halfback. He has played the majority of the season at five-eighth and had a brief sojourn at fullback.
He missed round 13 with injury and then his halves partner Mitchell Moses was out for rounds 14 and 15 [ankle]. So the pair have not linked for six weeks.
The strength of a refreshed Eels pair might be an advantage as a fatigued Gareth Widdop [England] and Ben Hunt [Queensland] will be directing the Dragons. There's always the chance coach Paul McGregor may rest a few of the eight representative players the Dragons boast.
"They're still going to be a tough side, even if they have players backing up," Norman said.
"We're preparing like Gareth and the rest are going to play. Our week hasn't changed. We're preparing like they're all going to back up."
Despite their lowly 16th position, the Eels are 6-0 over the Telstra Premiership competition leaders from their past six meetings.
"We've got a pretty good record against them. Hopefully we extend it on Thursday," Norman said.
"We need to play for the full 80 and we need to play for each other. We need to put a bit of pride back in that jersey and start stringing some wins together."