WILLIE Tonga will complete one of rugby league's great comeback stories when he captains Parramatta against the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday.
After injury limited him to only 16 games in his first two years back in the blue and gold, Tonga has turned back the clock in 2014 to show the form that had Eels fans fuming when he left the club back in 2004.
Tonga and Fijian flyer Semi Radradra have formed one of the most potent left edges in the NRL and his good form was reward with selection in the Queensland squad for game two.
"Wow! Words can't even describe how much it means 2 me 2 captain this GREAT club this weekend! Truly humbled & blessed," Tonga tweeted on Tuesday.
Tonga's leaderships skills will be put to the test straight away as the Eels attempt to manage a horrific injury toll.
Co-captains Jarryd Hayne (rested) and Tim Mannah (shoulder) will not make the trip across the Tasman and will be joined in the injury ward by Will Hopoate, Man Ma'u, Lee Mossop and Nathan Peats.
Darcy Lussick, who will replace Mannah in the front row, said this week's game against the Warriors was crucial to maintain pace with the top eight.
"I think every game from now until the end of the year is going to be crucial," Lussick said.
"Over the next couple of weeks those teams on equal premiership points are really going to be sorted out in terms of the ladder.
"The Warriors are a massive team with a massive forward pack and really physical.
"If you don't go in 100 per cent you're in trouble over there."
Chris Sandow has been named in the No.1 jumper to replace Jarryd Hayne who will be rested from the game after a tough Origin campaign.