Paulo says Eels can be hoodoo gurus in GF

Local product Junior Paulo says he's inpired by Parramatta's legacy as the Eels aim to end their 36-year premiership hoodoo and do the legends of the 1980s proud.

The Eels will play defending premiers Penrith in Sunday's NRL grand final and Paulo was bullish after playing a key role in the 24-20 preliminary final win over North Queensland.

After playing SG Ball and Harold Matthews Cup for the club as a youth, the 28-year-old can't wait to rip into the Panthers with the team he always dreamed of representing at NRL level.

"It is my junior club. (Playing in a grand final) is everything you imagine as a kid growing up playing in the Parramatta district," Paulo said.

"There was always going to be hoodoos about Parramatta not winning a grand final since 1986. That's 36 years.

"We are in a grand final and 80 minutes away from proving everyone wrong."

Each time the Eels run out at their home ground of Bankwest Stadium they are reminded of the legendary teams of the 1980s who won four titles in the space of six years. Brett Kenny, Mick Cronin and Peter Sterling all have grandstands named after them because of their feats.

Paulo is not daunted by that legacy. He is inspired by it.

"As a current player you want to become part of that history," Paulo said.

"This club is so rich in history all throughout the '80s. There is a lot of expectation on this group.

"There was always going to be pressure on us, the past couple of years not being able to get through to a grand final or falling out in the second week of finals.

"We have proved a lot of people wrong but there is still a long way to go."

The 2022 group of players have been better at handling the big moments in the finals series than in the past three seasons when they bowed out of the race in week one or week two.

"It comes back to how tight this group is," Paulo said.

"It is so passionate and desperate and we want to win. It's just about believing in each other.

"For the current group winning a comp has always been a dream. We have guys moving on next year so what better way to celebrate hopefully what can be a part of history next week."

Paulo has done the hard yards to become a regular NSW Blues representative and one of the leading props in the game.

When he was 20 he had a bad groin injury that required treatment from a specialist in Manly. Paulo was living in Sydney's west and had no driver's licence so he would catch the train and then the Manly ferry each day to be treated.

When reminded of those days Paulo said it felt like "a lifetime ago".

"I was certainly chasing the dream everyone wants to achieve and we are 80 minutes away from it," he said.