Honest and upfront ... new Eels coach Ricky Stuart wasted no time yesterday. Photo: Supplied
Ricky Stuart began his Parramatta rescue mission yesterday with a simple message for his new players: ''Buy into what I'm doing.''
On day one of the Stuart regime, those were the words the former NSW coach was drumming into his players, who've given up their post-season holidays to begin training two months early.
It was the start of a new era - Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt didn't lob for day one of pre-season for the first time since 1997.
But at the helm was a man, described by the club as ''the best signing since Gibson'', intent on returning the club to its glory days.
Stuart used yesterday to get to know the players, elaborating on his expectations and demands as a coach. One Eels insider told the Herald he was ''honest and upfront'' on his first official day in charge.
Stuart didn't waste any time emphasising what he considers an important part of the Eels' evolution.
Parramatta, the worst defensive team in the competition this season, focused on defence in their first session under Stuart, gaining an understanding of the structure the former Cronulla and Sydney Roosters coach wants to adopt.
The players said there was a sense of excitement at training yesterday, with veteran Reni Maitua and fullback Jarryd Hayne taking to Twitter to express their feelings.
''First day back at Training. #3weektrainingblock first run in 6weeks on the #SpaceTredmill. Exciting times !!!!'' Hayne said.
Maitua was more concerned about how his body would hold up after a week of celebrations.
''Day 1 of preseason begins. After a week of festivities, let see how the body feels #nopainnogain #noretreatnosurrender,'' Maitua said.