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"We can win a grand final" is the message from Wests Tigers players, countering former teammate Ryan Matterson's alleged comment the club was nowhere near that standard when he left.

That players on Monday joked about what may or may not have been said by Matterson is great fodder ahead of Thursday's meeting between the Eels - his new home – and the Wests Tigers.

Club veteran Benji Marshall is not taking Matterson's alleged jibes too seriously.

"He didn't say that to me," Marshall said about Matterson's assertion he left the Wests Tigers because they would never win a grand final.

The alleged comments, reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, have been denied by Matterson and the Eels.

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"And I don't care," Marshall said, "because I think we are building something at this club.

"There's something building that is showing me signs ... you've got to have that belief otherwise you may as well not be here.

"Back to Matto, he's a great player and I thought he was one of our best players last year. I was gutted to lose him but in my opinion, I thought he did what he thought was best for his career."

Matterson requested an early release from his contract with the Wests Tigers to sign with the Eels for 2020.

Both teams are in the top eight, which prepares fans for a mouth-watering contest at Bankwest Stadium.

Marshall said Matterson was still one of his good friends and clubs would remain strong despite players coming and going.

"I love Ryan but whether he's here or not doesn't dictate what sort of club we are," Marshall said.

I don't care ... because I think we are building something at this club

Benji Marshall on Ryan Matterson's alleged comments

"He thinks that going to Parramatta is the best thing for him and judging by his footy, he's going great and he's added something to them on their right side attack."

Second-rower Luciano Leilua will be marking Matterson but wasn't with the Concord-based club last year.

The 24-year-old with more than 50 NRL games to his name believes the Wests Tigers of making and winning a grand final.

"I think we can. We're not really looking too far ahead of ourselves but we've got the team that can do it," he said.

"We've got to go out there each week and show it."

Toppling the Eels would be a great start in that quest.

"It would but within ourselves, we think we can do it. If we can get a win against Parramatta they are the benchmark, so why not?" Leilua said.

Ryan Matterson with Wests Tigers fans in 2019.
Ryan Matterson with Wests Tigers fans in 2019. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"Madge keeps driving into us that we can be a top-four team and that's what we want. It's about having [a] good attitude."

Meantime, it's about what Matterson can do with his hands and feet rather than what comes out of his mouth.

"He's a ball-playing back-rower who has played five-eighth before," Marshall said. "So when you're defending him you have to defend run, kick and pass."

That will be Leilua's job on Thursday night.

"It's a big challenge. He's got good size, good offload, a good running game and a good passing game as well," he said.

"I just have to go out and try to lock the ball up."

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