New Signings: Nathaniel Roache

Nathaniel Roache arrives from the New Zealand Warriors to the Parramatta Eels as a development project. 

The 24 year old hooker is the only non-Eels junior to hold a development contract at the club, however presents an interesting proposition for coaching staff.

Roache has played just 26 games since 2016 due to a horrid run of injuries. He has had, among other injuries, a knee reconstruction, back surgery and ankle surgery.

The Warriors had hoped he would be their long term number nine to replace Issac Luke but his injuries put paid to that idea.

He arrives at the Eels with competition at the hooker position given the arrival of Joey Lussick. Both players will be competing for a bench position.

Lussick is almost assured to have first crack at being the number two hooker given he's been the starting hooker for Salford and has 60 first grade games to his name.

Roache, though, provides something a little different than Parramatta's two other number nines. He played in the halves as a junior at the Warriors and at one stage was being considered as a half for the NRL before shifting to hooker.

He's also the largest of all of Parramatta's hookers so can offer some extra size in the middle. He's actually the same size as Ray Stone who deputised for Mahoney on a couple of occasions during 2020.

If he gets his body right then Roache could play an almost Brandon Smith role for the Eels. They are both listed at the same height and weight.

Indeed, the Eels see him as a project player who could play an important role for the side not just this year but into the future given his skillset and the fact he's only 24.

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  • Good blog, Super. Let's hope Roache works out one-day, or Lussick.

    Imo, we need more spark & creativity from our bench, & dummy half.

    Stone has energy & is an agressive defender, which I like, but lacks in those areas.

  • Makes sense to buy both a backup hooker and a 14.Personally I hope they use Roache at 14 not Cartright as some are suggesting, I just think Reed is not running enough because he is tackling for 80 minutes. Don't think Cartright as versatile as he is is a noted hooker,could be wrong,so someone like Roache would be good.I think Will Smith is a pretty decent 14 as well so we are well covered for depth.Cant wait to see all this unfold,exciting for us to have such talent right across the entire squad. 

    • Can't see why we can't have both Cartwright and Lussick/Roache on the bench. We know Mahoney can play 80mins but, that is not good for the team. I believe him playing 80mins a game in '20 was our biggest downfall, he offered nothing in attack. The opposition knew this, it put a lot more pressure on our halves to create opportunities. All the top teams carry a hooker on the bench. I think BA has realised this, that is why he bought both Lussick and Roache, IMO one of them will be on the bench.

      • Bingo, 100% correct in all you say Wong. I agree with the hopes BA has realised that we need that 14. on the bench that can play hooker or halves in a pinch. Unfortunately, the Stone experiment there was not a success as his DH service was terrible. Mahoney could play 80 minutes as you say, no doubt, but I think he needs a rest after 25-30 and bring on the 14 and then again, possinly halfway thru the 2nd half or towards the end of the game depending ojn how the flow of the 2nd half is going. 

        • The only concern I have with adding Cartwright on the bench along with either Lussick/Roache (oneday) is exposing our middle.

          We saw last year when Junior/RCG and/or Brown were off we became vulnerable, especially with the increasing speed of the game & when we're under pressure.

          Perhaps we need two or maybe three middle guys guys like Nuikore, Kaufusi, Papilli (who could play in the edges if needed); or dare I say Stone if worse comes to worse. I suppose Lane could also shift to the middle if needed. We have enough edge options.

          Whatever the case and dynamic, it's something we need to be weary of, IMO. 

          • This could come back to playing different players against different teams HOE.

            Faster more mobile pack or strong middle.

            Say Bushy develops around 20 players (give or take) on rotation, both bench and run on could change match to match.

            Develop a solid core in the forwards with others floating in and out of the team.

            The added advantage is opposition coaches need to do extra homework figuring out who they are up against.


          • The good thing with Roache though is he's not a small body. He's a nugget and the same size as Brandon Smith. I feel like with the new rules it will be imperative to have a player like Roache on the bench.

  • King Gutho had more than his fair share of injuries early on and look at him now. You just never know. I'd love to see a hooker in the 14 jersey with the speed of the game increasing due to six again.

  • I am more than happy with the different options we seem to have in the team now.

    Fierce competition for a spot in the team is something Bushy should utilise to the greatest advantage.

    Some players would be better than others against certain teams - Bushy can rotate players without denting their egos or confidence if he handles it correctly.

    We need reggies to be playing this year to maintain the match fitness of these players.

    • Has there been any word yet on whether a second tier competition / reserve grade will actually be played this year?

      If it's at all doable, the NRL should make every attempt to make it happen - even if teams are limited to playing in smaller 'conferences'. Players who don't get regular first grade, still need match fitness and even a cut down second tier competition played in smaller conferences would be far better than nothing.

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