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Eels membership grew during the 2018 season to be the third highest in the NRL behind the Broncos and Rabbitohs despite the club finishing with the wooden spoon.

That has led to club officials hoping the new Western Sydney Stadium (WSS) will further boost membership as Parramatta fans flock to the state-of-the-art $360 million facility once it opens in April.

The Eels on-field woes didn't reflect in their membership, with numbers climbing from 24,501 last year to 25,110 in 2018.

"All signs are good for next season because we're selling the new stadium," CEO Bernie Gurr told

"I think the stadium is going to be a generational change and recalibrate how people think of a game-day experience.

"It's the right size at 30,000 which will make the atmosphere electric."

The Eels welcome key signings Blake Ferguson (Roosters), Junior Paulo (Raiders) and Shaun Lane (Sea Eagles) and have also signed boom 25-year-old Penrith winger Maika Sivo.

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The 103kg, 192cm Sivo enjoyed two great years in the Intrust Super Premiership with 22 tries in 25 games.

"They're the four we've brought in and they've got a bit of size about them," Gurr said.

After an extensive two-month football operations review, the Eels are engineering a return to the top-eight.

The club is salary cap-compliant for 2019, according to Gurr. Now the harder task is to remove club debt.

The Eels have taken great strides since the dark days of May 2016, when the NRL fined them $1 million and docked them 12 competition points for breaching the salary cap rules over a three-year period. The Parramatta Leagues Club still keeps the football club afloat financially.

While the new Western Sydney Stadium is expected to bring a spike in membership, Gurr doesn't expect it to be the panacea of getting the club back in the black by 2020-21.

On a positive note, Gurr expects the new stadium to be a vast improvement on the atmosphere for matches at ANZ Stadium.

"We think the stadium will be terrific financially because it will help us to present our club in an outstanding way," Gurr said.

"The atmosphere of watching the game will be special. It will be an electric atmosphere as opposed to ANZ Stadium which was like watching footy in a morgue."

Stability off-field has been achieved. Interim chairman Max Donnelly, who was brought in after the board resigned in the wake of the salary cap findings, has now stepped aside.

The football club's constitution has been revamped with five independent directors now, alongside two nominated by the Leagues Club: Donnelly and Jim Sarantinos.

The new Eels chairman is Sean McElduff. 

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