Feleti Mateo repeated the vow he made during his emotion-charged speech at last season’s Parramatta Eels presentation night that he intended to return to the Eels even though he’d grown as a player with the New Zealand Warriors.
Mateo, who joined the Warriors when his contract wasn’t renewed by the Eels, confessed he still harboured the dream to return ”home” when his deal expired at the end of 2013.
“It’d be nice to go back to where I came from,” he said.
“I love the people at Parramatta and I’m grateful they gave me my first shot … I hope I’ll get to finish there. I still have two more years here, and I should stress I’m very happy at the Warriors. It’s a great team and while the club has been tremendous I’d like to think I could return to Parramatta.”
Mateo had played 340 minutes more this season than he did under ex-Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson. In the process he’d revived his reputation as a creative player after he’d set up his teammates with some superb offloads.
“I’m a bit lighter than I was last season. I’m getting quality minutes too, last year I got about 55 minutes a game but this season I’ve played more, including a few 80-minute matches and I’ve enjoyed that. I’ve just worked hard, and breaking through for those 80-minute games was great because my aim was to put in a big effort.”