ON his day, Corey Norman is arguably the only playmaker who can match it with Johnathan Thurston when it comes to individual brilliance.
There were times last year when everything was going against Parramatta, but somehow Norman - who was also experiencing a turbulent season off the field - lifted them to victory.
Norman will head into Sunday's round-one clash against Manly as the Eels' most important player.
Had he not missed the final eight rounds of last season because of drugs possession, the gun No.7 was entitled to collect the $850,000 a season he was asking.
Ahead of the first-up trip to Brookvale, Norman cannot wait to try and steer the western Sydney club deep into the finals.
"I just want to play good football and really push this side to go well," Norman said.
"I'm here to do my role, play good footy, and help Parramatta win games.
"We have a good culture here, we need to keep building on that, and it's time we play at the back end of the year."
Norman did not complete the Auckland Nines because of a left hamstring strain, and the hampered pre-season means he will go into the first-up Manly clash without any game time along side new halves partner Clint Gutherson.
"But we have a good relationship off the field, and that's important," Norman said.
"Any new combination will take time."
Norman said there was no urgency to make up for lost time, nor try to fill the void left by marquee millionaire Kieran Foran.
He has lost none of his swagger with most of his Eels teammates finding it impossible to gets a word in when he is around.
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