Available hookers could be lucky rake for Parra
DAVID RICCIO
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.

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  • Without being ' that guy' I do have it on excellent authority that Brendan Hands is a very good player. I think the fans will be pleasantly surprised.

    Reece Robson can also play and wouldn't be much of a step down from Mahoney. 
    Api is just a better player than Reed and that's a fact. 

    • You are right Fathead, even if Reed stayed Hands i still would've said is a decent pick-up for back-up. When i saw he was training with us i actually thought what a handy signing he is. Been unlucky with COVID but in 2020 he nearly debuted when Koroisau was out and Kenny was struggling for fitness, Api came back just in time for Hands to miss out.

    • API is also nearly 30 and an Anti vaxxing idiot, by 2023 his best days will well and truly be past him while Mahoney was just coming into his best years.  It would be classic Parra.  The rest of the names in that article aren't even close to the quality of Mahoney.  And Hands has played next to no football for two years he's hardly worth banking your future on.

      • Not often I agree with you Al but your post is 100% spot on.

        Api will be on the downwards slide by 2023 and none of those other options are anywhere near as good as Mahoney is now let alone when he hits his best form.

        Knowing this stupid R & R committee, we will end up with Api for what we could have kept Mahoney on or a two bit bum like Liddle.

        Either way I am sure there will be some on here who will defend the clubs decision and say they got it right.

        • Club needs to be making an ap;proach to Lussicks Club in the UK and see if they would be willing to release him. Get him back!

          • Lussick is no better than Rein so it would be a waste of a transfer fee.

            • Given the current circumstances, there would be no need to call Lussick back untill next year, Mahoney has his understudy in Rein and we can watch Hands development accordingly..... we need to look at a lot of english football and rugby union in the next 12 months.

              • You are assuming that Reed will be playingh first grade.  BA may make him play out his time in Reserves for his lack of loyalty or better still release him immediately if it can be negotiated with the Dogs.

                • Unrealistic sour grapes EE. We have to hope and pray for unity amongst the current playing group, to mount a serious assault on the 2022 premiership. After that they can go where ever they have elected to go and good luck to them ending up in a better team than the one which by then they would have left.

                  • Agree why waste another year ffs 

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