RCG stunted by complacency at Penrith

Pamela Whaley
Reagan Campbell-Gillard says his move to rivals Parramatta was good for him and Penrith

Reagan Campbell-Gillard admits he grew complacent after signing a five-year deal with Penrith, but is confident the shake up of moving Parramatta will ensure there's no repeat despite a same-length contract.

The 26-year-old said the security provided by his Panthers deal was appealing financially when he signed it in 2018 at the height of his career, but says he fell into a rut and didn't know how to get out of it.

He had been in the Panthers system since he was a teenager, and the long-term deal further cemented his belief that he would never leave.

A drop off in form and a salary cap squeeze prompted his off-season move to Parramatta where he will attempt to reboot a career that had earned Test and State of Origin jerseys.

"I could have happily stayed at Penrith and been that same player that I was last year, just be there for the pay cheque," Campbell-Gollard told AAP on Monday.

"I didn't want that. I wanted to challenge myself so it was best for myself and both parties that I moved on. I haven't looked back since."

Two broken jaws in 2018 were blamed for his lack of impact last season in which he played all but three games from the bench as his form sagged.

"A lot of people were saying it was because of my jaw. Last year was definitely not because of my jaw," he said.

"It's like a relationship, at first when you meet someone your body is all really good, and then a few years down the track you're comfortable, you gain a few extra kilos here and there.

"You feel comfortable in a relationship and that was the club that I was in. Signing a long-term deal was security but that security doesn't mean much if my happiness isn't up to scratch.

"I feel really happy right now and ready to get my career back on track."

The biggest eye-opener, he says, has been accepting himself as an Eels player after being in the Penrith system so long and believing he would never play for their arch-rivals.

"I'm stoked with the move and happy to be here, but as a junior you come through the system where that is the rivalry," he said.

"I'm pretty sure I'm quoted too saying I'd never play for Parra.

"I'd definitely say it's different but until you be a part of a club or company, your thoughts on that change.

"It changed with me. I love it here and I'm just ready for a big year."