Shane Lane, Parramatta Eels, injury, recovery, premiership drought, Dylan Brown, coaching, future, Round 1


Shaun Lane has opened up on the weight of carrying the longest title drought in the NRL and what is driving him after an injury ravaged 2023 campaign heading into 2024.

In a wide-ranging interview with, Lane spoke about his horror run with injuries in 2023, the documentary he made to turn it into a positive and how he wants to restore his killer combination with Dylan Brown to take the Eels all the way.

He also detailed his future coaching ambitions and what he likes to do to get away from the pressures of being an NRL player.

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The Parramatta Eels have not won a title since 1986, which is the longest any team in the NRL has gone without a premiership.

Lane revealed he and his teammates are reminded about the drought constantly, but knows they need to embrace it rather than hide from it if they are to finally end the curse.

“When Parramatta make the finals everyone starts talking about the 38 year drought and you hear it from fans every week whenever you talk to them, so I don’t think there is any more pressure on a team to win a comp than Parramatta,” Lane told

“It is what it is and we have to accept that is our position and we are a big club. There is going to be a lot of pressure on us to perform.

“We have the resources here to be successful year in and year out and we have got to back that up.

“It is about us embracing that opportunity and taking on the challenge head on because that is what we have got to do if we want to come out on top.”


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Lane and his Eels teammates process the 2022 Grand Final loss.
Lane and his Eels teammates process the 2022 Grand Final loss.Source: Supplied


You could be forgiven for thinking Lane was cursed on the injury front last year after jaw, hamstring and elbow injuries restricted him to just 10 games.

However, the hulking second-rower believes the lay-off has given him a full pre-season to get his body at peak condition heading into Round 1 against the Bulldogs.

“The body is feeling good, we have had a long pre-season, but we have used the time really well,” Lane said.

“I got a lot of strength training into my body and a lot of conditioning, so it is feeling very resilient and ready to go to start the year strong.

“I can’t control any injuries from this point on, but I think everything I have done to this point I have done well to offset any chance of stuff like that occurring again.”

However, Lane admits there were dark times as he watched his teammates struggle without being able to help them on the field last season.

“It was a difficult season for me,” Lane said.

“It was a difficult season for everyone in the whole team. When I am off the field the whole left edge struggles a bit.

“Then Dylan Brown missed a bunch of games and Reagan Campbell-Gillard missed a bunch of games.

“We didn’t have much luck on a whole bunch of different fronts, so I think it has left a bit of a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.

“I’m not the only one who is hungry to get back to playing their best football that we know we can.”

Lane admits the elbow injury that finally ended his 2023 season was tough to swallow after the work he had done to get back on the field.

“The toughest injury was the last one because that was like write off the season,” Lane said.

“There was still hope leading into that one where I could have put a few games in at the back end of the season and string something together and hopefully help the team push into the finals.

Shaun Lane wants to win a title.Source: Getty Images

“But at that point it was pretty much season done and it was just a stop-start season for me and I couldn’t really ever find my groove and get comfortable out there.

“I couldn’t help the team and it was difficult to be sitting there when we fell off at the end of the year and fell out of contention.”

The fact that Lane was coming off his best season in 2022 and was being mentioned as a NSW Origin hopeful, made his injury-ravaged 2023 season even tougher to take.

“It was pretty crap timing,” Lane said.

“I was heading into the season full of confidence and full of hope of taking a step even further again beyond what we did in 2022 as a team and as an individual.

“As I’ve learnt it doesn’t always go to script and footy is a game that gives and takes and last year was a season that took more than it gave.

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“I guess all you can do is accept that and roll with the punches and that’s what I had to do and hopefully I will bounce back this year.

“It will be good if luck is on my side this year, but whatever happens, happens. I can’t really control that. I just go into every game trying to do what I can and control what I can.”

Despite his own setbacks, Lane tried to turn his attention to helping the other players in the rehab group and anything he could do to support the players on the field on the weekends.

“It is pretty difficult and I am lucky I had a lot of practice last year doing it,” Lane said.

“Not lucky, but I kind of got used to dealing with it.

“You just kind of just have to sit back and accept that is your fate. That is the way that it is and try and utilise the position that you are in to at least help other people in your position.

“Do what you can as a squad member to get the best out of the team on the weekend.”

Shaun Lane suffered an elbow injury that ended his 2023 season after just 10 games.Source: Getty Images


Lane’s time away from playing made him hungry to get into coaching in some capacity in the future.

“I got a bit of practice there with injuries last year and maybe I can use that experience to help me coaching in the future,” Lane said.

“I would like to get into coaching. I don’t know whether it would be just with football or with other sports as well in the space of psychology, which is what I am studying or sport in general I am not sure.

“I’m open to ideas and that is kind of just who I am. Just see what arrives for me. The opportunities and go with the flow a little bit.”


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Lane has designs on a coaching role in the future.Source: Getty Images


Rather than wallow in misery on the sidelines, Lane used his injury-enforced absence to make a documentary in the off-season with the support of the club, with aim of turning a negative into a positive.

“We toured around in the off-season filming a documentary and it is nearing completion now,” Lane said.

“We are a few weeks away form getting it out there, so it has been exciting times and seeing the finished product nearly now has been very exciting.

“The club has been so helpful with that and it is starting to look really good, so I think we should get plenty out of that and accomplish what we set out to do.”

The idea to make a documentary came after a dark time Lane spent processing his bad luck with injuries.

“The idea came about when I was injured with my elbow there at the back end of the season when I was a bit down in the dumps,” Lane said.

“I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and one of the ways I like to think about things is overlook my own circumstances and try and think how can I utilise this experience to give back in some way.

“I’m lucky enough to be in that position where I have the ability to do something about it in a positive and meaningful way.

“I had the opportunity to approach the club because I have such a good relationship with the content team here and all of the executives and they all went for it, so it was pretty cool.”

So could Lane be a movie producer one day after he hangs up the boots?

“I don’t know if it will go that far, but Fox Sports can give me a job one day, we will see what happens,” Lane joked.

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Lane made a documentary during his injury absence.Source: Supplied


Apart from making a documentary, Lane immersed himself in family time and reading and studying to get his mind away from football while injured.

“I just like to spend time with my friends and family and my girlfriend,” Lane said.

“I like to study and read books. I couldn’t play golf like everyone else because I was injured, but I’m not a big golfer anyway.

“I live by the beach, so I like to just get out and about in nature and relax that way.

“I like to keep my mind occupied by studying and learning and that’s what I am about.”

Lane revealed he read Nedd Brockman’s book while he was injured, which was one of the catalysts for making his documentary.

“I just read Ned Brockman’s book ‘Showing Up’,” Lane said.

“I listened to it actually and it is a good listen. He is a massive Parramatta fan and I think he is sponsoring us this year.

“What he was able to do with his run was very inspiring and I try and take what I can out of stories like that to inspire myself.

“Hearing things like that inspired me to do what I did in the off-season.”

Lane is a family man who enjoys studying and reading and spending time in nature.Source: Supplied


One of the most lethal parts of the Eels’ charge to the 2022 decider was Lane’s connection with five-eighth Dylan brown on the left edge.

Lane believes rediscovering their connection is one of the keys to turning the Eels’ poor 2023 season around after they missed the finals.

“I don’t want to sound like I have a big head, but I think that was a huge part of our team’s run there at the back end of 2022,” Lane said.

“We were gaining some momentum on that edge. I think Mitch Moses has always been good and he has grown quite a lot over the last few years.

“He has held down that right edge for us and we have some good talent there with Will Penisini and Bryce Cartwright.

“They hold themselves down really well and went really well last year, so we need to get that left edge back to its glory of where we were in 2022 and give our team some strike on both sides of the field.

“That’s when we will be at our best and that’s when we will be at our most dangerous.”

Lane wants to get back to his best alongside Dylan Brown.Source: Getty Images


Lane has plenty of personal goals he prefers to keep to himself, but the main goal heading into 2024 is the same as every season and that is to lift the trophy for long-suffering Eels fans.

“I want to get as much as I possibly can out of the season,” Lane said.

“I think as a team we haven’t really spoken about our individual goals as much because that comes secondary to the team goal and that is we want to win the comp.

“If we don’t do that I think we have established that the season is not necessarily a failure, but it is not achieving what we think we can achieve.

“That’s what we are setting our sights at and that’s why we are doing everything that we can to do that and individual accolades they come secondary to that.”


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