A delighted Eels coach Brad Arthur says while he expected his team to play well in their first game at their new home ground, he admitted to some nerves over the team's historic struggles to put it together on big occasions.
There have been occasions in Arthur's time at the club when the players failed to lift for a big game but that certainly wasn't the case in their 51-6 trouncing of Wests Tigers at the new Bankwest Stadium on Easter Monday, and by the time he walked into his post-match press conference a relieved Arthur could afford a few smiles.
"I was pretty nervous to tell you the truth – I wasn't much fun at home today," he laughed.
"We haven't made a habit of performing on the big stage and there was a lot of press around that game.
"The way it started wasn't that great either losing Daniel [Alvaro to concussion in the first minute] but we stuck to our guns and hopefully it's a step forward for us."
Arthur said with so much excitement around the new stadium the expectations were on Parramatta to put in a good performance and while that should be the case it was no guarantee with so many inexperienced players in the line-up.
Arthur lauds Gutherson amongst contract talk
He paid tribute to the work of Ray Stone and Oregon Kaufusi off the bench, with both finding their minutes boosted by the early injury to Alvaro. Josh Hoffman also played one of his best games for the club after being drafted in for Blake Ferguson.
Arthur would not be drawn on the ongoing contract speculation around himself and the large contingent of off-contract players headed by Clint Gutherson and Mitch Moses.
"They're footballers, that's the situation, they have to perform well for their teammates… it's about playing a role for each other. We weren't great at that last year," he said.
"I've made no secret that I love thing club and I want to stay but we have to keep playing well.
"It is what it is, you have to earn a contract, it's not about me or Gutho, it's about the team and we have to play well."
Historic night for Moses at Bankwest Stadium
The apparent marked difference in the team from last year's wooden spoon to this season's impressive 4-2 start is just down to the group evolving, he added.
"Everyone's fighting for their future but it's more than that, we were disappointing last year and let a lot of people down – none more so than ourselves," he said.
"The boys don't like walking off the field letting people down… I think we're evolving as a group."