JT talks Eels challenge ahead

He was once their leader, as a halfback and then later as a coach, but this Friday night former Eel Jason Taylor will return to Parramatta Stadium attempting to plot their downfall and not dominance for the first time as a member of the Roosters NRL coaching staff.


And when we caught up with the Rothmans Medal winner to chat about the challenges ahead in the Round 13 opener this Friday night, Taylor was excited at the prospect of returning to one his favoured grounds in rugby league.


Its actually a ground I used to really enjoying playing at, its just one of those great suburban grounds.


I love that the crowd is on top of the field as those sorts of grounds and the big thing about Parramatta is they play better at home.


Taylor, who not only spent time in the Blue and Gold as a player but also a handful of years as a coach, knows the place inside-out. He knows what they strive to achieve in front of their members and the pride they have in their jersey, especially at home.


And, add to that the revenge factor from our round four 50-point win over them plus there last match against the Titans seeing more than 40 against their name. Its not going to be easy and Taylor knows it.


Theyve got a good record at home, including this year.


Its going to be a tough game. They would have been embarrassed in their performance last week and there will be a big bounce-back factor in play.


We put a big score on them last time and they won the following the week, they had a big score put on them in their last game so they go back home to where theyve played well and I think well be in for a really tough match.


Jaryd Hayne will return from Origin this Wednesday night, to lead his team from fullback, while here at Roosters HQ we will welcome back what will hopefully be three fit and healthy Blues stars in Jenko, Jimmy and Junior.


But, how much does the back-up period matter? And, especially with your halves facing 160 minutes of football in just two days.


You always hear a lot of talk about the back-up period, and there are a lot of players who would do it sooner rather than later, so we get to do it in only two days which is probably good.


Weve trained this week without them [Mitchell and James], so if they arent there then well be ready for it.


The boys know where theyll play if those boys arent available and were confident in whoever it may be.


What about yourself, Jason?


This Friday? Im happy to jump out on Allianz on Friday, as I dont think theres a game there.. but, no, please leave me out of the real stuff (he said with a laugh).


After suffering just two losses in our opening 10 clashes of the year, the Round 11 loss was a hard one to swallow for Roosters fans, but Taylor admits that it may not have been such a bad thing for the group following the stellar-start to the season.


We see that loss as a good one for us, in that it was a timely reminder that there are some really good teams in this competition.


They played better than us on the night, simple as that. But, we still get a bit of confidence in that we werent at our best and still in there for the full 80.


Lets hope we are come Friday night, Origin trio included...