SYDNEY - Justin Horo is ready to utilise his unique relationship with new Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney to build on a boom rookie NRL season.

As a youngster growing up as the son of a national hero, Horo was always immersed in rugby league and a career in the sport seemed inevitable as he was dragged to games to watch his old man play.

But while his dad, former Parramatta and New Zealand champion Mark Horo, was doing the grunt work up front, the young Horo's eyes were drawn to Kearney, a raw-boned secondrower who regularly destroyed defences out wide.

"I used to watch (Kearney) as a kid and I was always a big fan, so this is pretty special," the 24-year-old forward told AAP.

"To have someone like that coaching me is awesome, I mean ... he played with my dad!

"That's not something that happens every day.

"I haven't really talked about him with dad yet, I probably just want to first of all just take him on as a coach rather than as dad's mate."

Horo enjoyed a monster season in 2010 in which the late-bloomer debuted in round three and didn't relinquished his spot for the rest of the season.

And after a bruising off-season under Kearney's watchful eye, Horo is ready to prove to Parramatta that they were wise to offer him a three-year deal last year.

"By giving me a three-year deal they showed that they have confidence in me, confidence that they can depend on me," he added.

"I've been on one-year contracts for the past three or four years, so I just want to prove them right and prove that they did a good job by signing me."

Horo's emergence was a bright spot in a disappointing year for Parramatta, who missed the finals despite starting the season as favourites to take out the competition.

His aggressive running style and bruising defence helped him become an established member of the Eels pack, but in a chilling warning to the NRL's other 15 forward packs Horo says he's bigger, meaner and stronger than ever.

"I'm definitely stronger than I was last year, after this pre-season we've had," he said.

"I couldn't really point out anything specific, or any big weights I've done, but I just know because I feel in my body that I'm getting stronger and fitter."

- AAP