Eels backline injury crisis deepens
The Parramatta Eels backline depth has been rocked once more with news that Jarryd Hayne could be out for up to five weeks among a slew of top line injuries at the club.
After going down with a hip complaint in the Eels' third straight loss against Cronulla on Saturday, it had been hoped Hayne would only miss one or two weeks.
However scan results have since ruled the club's star recruit out until round nine with a quad injury.
Fellow fullback Bevan French will also be sidelined for the next fortnight due to a shoulder issue picked up in the same game, as is Kane Evans with a rib issue.
However it's understood both could push for returns as early as the Eels' round six trip to Canberra.
Utility Will Smith offers a handy fourth-string option for Brad Arthur at the back in a crucial Easter Monday clash with Wests Tigers.
The absence of Hayne and French is compounded by Clint Gutherson's continued recovery from an ACL rupture, which still has him scheduled for a round eight return with the club taking every measure to ensure he is not brought back too soon after his second knee reconstruction.
In a further blow for the Blue & Golds, it's understood highly rated 20-year-old Greg Leleisiuao would likely have been brought in for a first grade debut given the injuries elsewhere in the backline, only to suffer an ankle injury playing for feeder side Wentworthville last week that will keep him out for the next month.
With centre-turned back-rower Brad Takairangi (fractured eye socket) already out until round 10, George Jennings will make his club debut against the Tigers from the wing.
Veteran big man Tony Williams will also play his first game for Parramatta since his debut season in 2008 having served a two-game suspension for drink-driving.
Parramatta Eels Casualty Ward
Jarryd Hayne - Quad - Round 9
Kane Evans - Ribs - Round 6
Bevan French - Shoulder - Round 6
Greg Leleisiuao - Ankle - Round 7
Jaeman Salmon - Neck - Round 5
Clint Gutherson - Knee - Round 8
Brad Takairangi - Eye Socket - Round 10