Parramatta five-eighth Clint Gutherson has warned the rest of the NRL Corey Norman is desperate to make up for lost time ahead of his return to action at Manly on Sunday.
Former Sea Eagle Gutherson has backed his No.7 to take the NRL by storm and said he wouldn't be surprised to see the Dally M medal hanging around his neck at the end of the season.
Norman endured a tumultuous 2016, enjoying a breakout season on the pitch but spent the final eight weeks suspended over a string of indiscretions including a conviction for drug possession and being warned by police about consorting with criminals.
Despite sitting in the stands for the finals two months of the year, he finished just eight points behind co-winners Cooper Cronk and Jason Taumalolo in the final Dally M count.
"He'll take a lot of the control and I'll just take a little bit of pressure off him," Gutherson said.
"If I can do that I'm sure he'll become an even better player than everyone knows that he is.
"He probably would have won Dally M last year (had it now been for his eight-week ban). He hasn't played in a long time, he's got a point to prove and he's going to come out firing."
The unlikely duo of Norman and winger-turned-playmaker Gutherson will be charged with reversing the Eels' fortunes this year after their salary cap-affected 2016.
Both Gutherson and Norman have been given a roving licence by coach Brad Arthur and will play on both sides of the field.
"We've just been floating around and anyone can jump in anywhere. It's a bit all over the shop but it's a bit of fun," Gutherson said.
"If you see something there, go an take it. Bevy's (Bevan French) a bit the same, he pops up, he can play first receiver as well. We're just going to have a bit of fun with it."