The injury-hit Eels have snagged experienced Sharks back-up hooker Isaac De Gois on a two and a half year deal, plugging a gap left by injuries to Nathan Peats and Kaysa Pritchard.
South Sydney recruit Nathan Peats had been one of the Eels' best in their early-season charge that had them at times inside the top four and currently just a win behind ladder-leaders Penrith.
However in a huge blow to the side's finals hopes Peats suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the Round 12 loss to Penrith, while NSW under-20s Origin hooker Kaysa Pritchard is taking longer than expected to recover from a shoulder injury suffered in the under-20s interstate clash.
The 29-year-old De Gois, who has played 174 games for Wests Tigers, Newcastle and Cronulla, was seen as the perfect fit to plug the experience gap left by Peats' injury. He was granted an immediate release from the Sharks and will join the Eels immediately.
In a club statement, Eels CEO Scott Seward said the mid-season move was good timing for the Blue and Gold.
“Brad Arthur identified the hooker and utility positions as areas where we needed depth, and we’re confident Isaac will add a great deal to the squad,” Seward said.
Head Coach Brad Arthur said the addition of De Gois would strengthen the Parramatta roster heading into the second half of the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership.
“Isaac has more than 150 games experience in the NRL and that’s a bonus for us,” Arthur said.
“We’re a young side, and his experience and cool head will be a real asset in a key playmaking position.”
The Eels also thanked the Sharks for their professional approach in facilitating De Gois’ signing.
After the Sharks' loss to the Dragons on Saturday night, stand in captain Wade Graham revealed the move had caught players by surprise.
"I think he tried to keep it quiet and keep the boys focused on the game but it broke in the media so obviously a lot of us knew beforehand," Graham said.
"When it broke in the media I don't think Isaac had told his parents yet because he wanted to keep it to himself. [And] as youse do, youse find out somehow and we had a chat after the game there.
"Isaac got us all in a group and let us know. None of us begrudge Isaac on what he's going to do. You gotta look after yourself and your family comes first in this game. And we wish him, as friends, all the best."