Available hookers could be lucky rake for Parra
API Koroisau, Reece Robson and Jacob Liddle have all been pitched to the Eels in the wake of the crushing departure of Reed Mahoney to the Bulldogs.
The clean-up at Parramatta is already underway after yet another roster blow with the future Queensland Origin hooker accepting a four-year $2.4 million deal with Canterbury from 2023.
Mahoney, 23, is headed back to the Bulldogs – the club that originally scouted him to Sydney on a $1000 deal as a teenager from Queensland.
Mahoney’s exit comes in the wake of backrowers Isaiah Papali’i and Marata Niukore joining the Wests Tigers and Warriors respectively from 2023.
Off-contract NSW Origin prop Junior Paulo is now the Eels’ priority with negotiations to extend his future believed to be in its final stages.
Mahoney’s intention to join the Dogs after making his NRL debut with the Eels in 2018 – while disappointing – was far from a major shock for Parramatta officials, who were acutely aware of Canterbury’s massive pitch.
In the background, player agents with dummy-halves on their books have also been preparing to fix the Eels’ dummy-half issue, should it unfold as it did on Thursday.
Koroisau (pictured), currently off-contract at Penrith, will now become a discussion point for Eels recruitmers as a solution that would provide experience and class following Mahoney’s exit.
The Panthers are under salary cap pressure and are unlikely to enter an auction for the two-time premiershipwinner who will be seeking a new contract worth around $600,000 a season.
Robson, the former St George Illawarra junior now at the Cowboys, isn‘t off-contract until the end of 2023.
However, with the Cowboys working hard to secure Storm star Brandon Smith, on top of re-signing young hooker Reuben Cotter on Wednesday until 2025, Robson’s name has been bandied to rival clubs.
Those aware of Robson being shopped believe it’s an indication that he may achieve an early release from the Cowboys to return to Sydney.
Liddle is another hooker off-contract in 2023 with the Wests Tigers dummy-half linked to a move to the Raiders in a swap for Josh Hodgson.
Liddle has also been spruiked to Parramatta.
Despite widespread criticism of their inability to retain Mahoney, the Eels are standing firm that they couldn’t have done any more to keep him.
If they opt against recruiting an NRL-standard hooker, the club’s position is one of confidence in coach Brad Arthur developing another young hooker, as was the case with Mahoney who originally signed four years ago from Canterbury on a paltry contract worth $6000.
The Eels are also banking on their next wave of talented youngsters including Jock Brazel, Larry Muagututia, Will Penisini, Sean Russell and Blaize Talagi.
All five young guns have been included within the 2021 NSW Future Blues squad.