Eels hooker crisis as Peats goes down

Parramatta's dummy-half crisis is so bad right now that coach Brad Arthur joked about pulling son Jake from the Rouse Hill under-12s to face North Queensland on Friday night.

Asked who he would name at No. 9 on Tuesday, Arthur deadpanned: "No idea. My young fella."

Things are that desperate for the Eels right now after confirmation that first-choice rake Nathan Peats will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.

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And with back-up hooker Kaysa Pritchard also two weeks away with a shoulder injury, Arthur could be forced to give halfback Luke Kelly his first taste of rucking duties. Second-rowers Kenny Edwards and Joseph Paulo are also options, while former Cowboy Ben Jones – who hasn't seen first grade action in almost three years – has played some minutes for feeder club Wentworthville this season.

Peats, who was in line for an Origin debut before Robbie Farah's early return from an elbow injury, aggravated a knee problem he had been carrying for some time in Parramatta's defeat to Penrith last Friday night.

"He was playing well and he is going to be missed. It's hard for him because he is a competitor and was getting some form on the board. There was [even] talk about him being an Origin chance," Arthur said.

"He was carrying a lot of other injuries, so he can get himself right for next year now."

Arthur's second choice would've been Pritchard but he has been troubled by a shoulder problem since playing for NSW in the under-20s State of Origin early last month. The younger brother of Bulldog Frank made his NRL debut under Ricky Stuart last year, playing five games.

But with his only two hookers in the top squad both sidelined, Arthur said he was unsure who would fill the massive hole left by a player many regard as the best signing of the year.

"I'm not sure what we are doing. Kaysa has to have a cortisone, two weeks maybe. We'll have to wait and see but it's not responding to treatment," Arthur said.

Edwards filled in at hooker earlier this year, while Paulo deputised there last Friday and struggled. Arthur said the club could look at signing a player from outside its roster before the June 30 deadline but admitted there wasn't much space left in this year's cap.

"It was an area that we were concerned about. We thought we'd be right if we got an injury anywhere else. We'll try [look elsewhere], but you've got to have room to do it," he said.

Peats had played 10 games with his new club and was averaging 38 tackles in almost 80 minutes per game.