Lee Mossop admits he feared for his future as a Parramatta player before he’d even pulled on a jersey when Ricky Stuart quit the club just three months after signing him from Wigan.
The England prop made an encouraging NRL debut off the bench clocking up over 100 metres from 11 runs against North Queensland on Friday, almost six months after his arrival in Australia.
It’s been a difficult start to life in Sydney for Mossop, whose shoulder surgery after the Rugby League World Cup last year ruled him out for the start of the season.
He also joined a team with a new coach in Brad Arthur who’d never seen him play.
He admits not being able to show what he could do due to his injury was a big concern.
“When the coach that signs you goes, it is a bit frustrating,” Mossop told AAP.
“Being injured was hard as well because when you come to a new team you want to prove yourself to your teammates and the coaches but I wasn’t able to do that.
“But in hindsight, I couldn’t be happier under Brad Arthur. Everyone here loves playing for him and he is the type of coach that looks after his players.”
The win over the Cowboys was the Eels’ seventh of the season – two more than they achieved under Stuart for the whole of 2013 as they claimed a second successive wooden spoon.
Mossop was fully aware of the plight of his future employers during his final season at Wigan but said at no stage did he have any second thoughts after meeting with the Eels’ former recruitment manager Peter Nolan.
“I am not being big-headed, but there were other clubs I could have gone to in the NRL,” he said.
“But it was Pete Nolan, who’s left the club to go to Brisbane now, who sold the Eels to me.
“He said Parramatta are a club that don’t belong at the bottom and I would be one of several new players coming in.
“I’ve come from a club where we won everything and this was a new challenge for me.”
Despite his positive start in the blue and gold, Mossop almost undid his good work by dropping the ball on the first tackle in front of his own line three minutes from time, handing the ball back to the fast-finishing Cowboys.
“I made a stupid error in the end that nearly let the Cowboys back in,” he said.
“Thankfully it didn’t come to anything, but for my first game in months I am pretty happy. And we got the win which makes it extra special.”