New Signings: Isaiah Papali'i

Arriving at the Eels from the New Zealand Warriors, Papali'i is a promising recruit who adds further backup to Parramatta's middle forwards.

Although beginning life as an edge player at the Warriors, he spent most of 2020 in the middle of the field, often coming from the bench.

He possesses intelligent line running, quick footwork and offers ball playing skills.

One of the major issues in Parramatta's bench during 2020 was a loss of aggression and ball skills when Junior Paulo and Nathan Brown exited the fray.

With the game speeding up even further in 2021, it's hard to imagine those players churning out longer minutes than they did in 2020 so a suitable backup is required.

While Papali'i doesn't possess the size of Paulo, he does possess plenty of aggression and his ball playing skills mean he can fill the ball playing gap left by Parramatta's two NSW Origin representatives.

His lack of size could also work in his favour given the speed of the game, although at 108kg he's not the smallest middle by any means.

He will be in an interesting battle to snag a bench spot with Oregon Kaufusi and Marata Niukore also vying for the middle bench role.

While both Niukore and Kaufusi put in big efforts in 2020, Papali'i may be seen as a point of difference to call on from the bench, so it could be left to Niukore and Kaufusi to battle it out for the same spot.

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            • He's the same size as Fuifui Moimoi, but probably not as quick.

            • 6 feet tall is basically a requirement for forwards these days. He's the same height as Dylan Brown.

            • An under weight, over tall nuggett?

              Or ...................... who cares as long as he goes good.

  • Should be putting a tonne of pressure on Lane for the 11 jumper. Lane fell off big time last season culminating in the worst game by an Eel in a long time in the final vs Souths. BA isnt really one to make many changes though.

    Lanes best games in 2020 were when he had short stints in the middle.

  • Yes definitely a good addition to The Mighty Eels pack and more power than Alvaro with better hands than Evans, consistency is key here, Id like to see shaun lane in the front row for 2021, he's big enough and played well there in 2020, 

  • My back row would be Matterson, Brown and Niukore. Shaun Lane was more than pedestrian last season and I fear his best games are behind him. Niukore hits harder in defence and can run good lines when given a bit of space. Regardless of what people say about Lane's 'body shape', you still have to be aggressive and committed. Lane doesn't appear to be so I reckon young Papalii might be head-to-head with Lane for a bench spot. 

  • just means that one of our fowards who are sick and tired of wanting a starting spot will look to leave. How many average fowards do we need?

    • Nathan Brown and Matterson are both off contract (Matterson has a player option for 2022) so either of them could get huge offers that we won't match. At the moment these are our contracted forwards for 2022:

      Campbell-Gillard
      Hipgrave (club option)
      Kaufusi
      Lane
      Niukore
      Papali'i
      Paulo

      That's not even enough to fill the top 17, so there's plenty of room for youngsters to force their way into the team. These guys would all be currently looking at their options for 2022:

      Brown
      Cartwright
      Hollis
      Hughes
      Matterson
      Stone

  • First up I see Nuikore as an optional middle or edge forward so that could play in his favour.

    I think there will be more competition for a bench spot than run on tbh. lol

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