ORANGE’S Troy Campbell knows how excited the Parramatta players are to be in this week’s NRL grand final, because he was in the dressing sheds last week.
Campbell played over 80 top-level games for the Eels in the 1990s and was at the game last Friday when his old club downed Canterbury and earned a place in the decider.
He was one of a number of ex-players who were in the dressing sheds after the Eels win.
“It was great,” Campbell said.
“There was heaps of media. They were still doing interviews three-quarters of an hour after the game in the dressing sheds.
“Back when I was playing, after a game you might get two or three teams of media in the dressing room and they’d pick and choose who they wanted to interview. (On Friday) virtually every player was being interviewed.”
Campbell counts Parramatta captain Nathan Cayless and forward Nathan Hindmarsh as friends, along with Luke Burt and Eric Grothe Jr.
The former player said it was great to be celebrating with the players after the win.
Campbell was with Parramatta from 1992 to 1997 and made his first grade debut in 1994, where he had the privilege of playing with Eels legend Brett Kenny.
While at the Eels Campbell was awarded the 1996 Mick Cronin Clubman of the Year award and helped the club to the 1997 World Sevens title, where he was named player of the series.
Campbell was born and raised in Orange and moved to Sydney when he was 18 to follow his football career.
The 37-year-old said he has enjoyed fellow Orange product Daniel Mortimer’s rise in the game.
“He’s just shown so much maturity as a young guy,” Campbell said.
“He’s got a really good head on his shoulders and I think he’s going to go a long way.
“A lot of other guys at that age, the hype and all the media attention and everything can force a lot of country guys out of the game, because they’re not used to it. I’ve seen that many guys come from out west and they just couldn’t handle it.”
Campbell believes Melbourne Storm are the favourites for Sunday’s game and added the Eels need to contain hooker Cameron Smith if they are to be a chance of winning the premiership.
“He’s always been a good dummy-half runner. Everything revolves off him. He’s the drive behind their go-forward,” he said.
“”I feel that Parramatta’s got the momentum going into this. Melbourne’s had three pretty easy games with a week off as well leading into this.”
Campbell, who has played league for Orange CYMS and union for Orange City, feels confident the Eels can come out on top in Sunday’s NRL grand final.
“I’ve texted Nathan Cayless the last three weeks to wish him luck. Every week I said I’ve got a good feeling about it.” he said.
“I’ve got a really good feeling about this weekend, too.”