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Mahoney ready to handle 80-minute role

Reed Mahoney is confident of becoming an 80-minute hooker as the Eels face the prospect of starting the 2019 season light in the dummy-half department.

Regular rake Kaysa Pritchard remains on indefinite leave after injuries last year, leaving coach Brad Arthur with only Mahoney and Will Smith as dummy-half options.

Mahoney averaged 57 minutes in his nine appearances for the Eels during his debut season and has backed his ability to complete a full game.

"100 per cent, I'm confident to play 80 minutes," Mahoney said on Monday.

"I think any hooker in the game, they've got to be able to play 80 minutes and especially early in the second, we need the bigger forwards to rotate because of the heat. I'm very confident I can play 80 minutes."

Eels officials continue to monitor the player market as they search for depth in the position.

"He's obviously told me what's going on and I'm happy he's kept me in the loop," Mahoney said.

Eels hooker Reed Mahoney.
Eels hooker Reed Mahoney. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"Obviously we do need a hooker at the club, we need more than one. Whoever does come in is going to help me and the squad."

Mahoney said Arthur had given him a role that would take his responsibility in the team to greater heights this season.

The 20-year-old joined Parramatta from the Bulldogs as a teenager after originally coming through the Sunshine Coast system in Queensland.

Amid the dismal performances the Eels produced last season, Mahoney's start to his NRL career provided a healthy shining light.

Mahoney breaking new ground

"I'd like to say I'm a runner of the game and take my opportunities. [Brad's] told me when an opportunity approaches to back my ability and play smart footy," Mahoney said.

"Obviously I've got a much bigger step up to come. I've got a bigger role. I come in halfway through the year and I was just coming off the bench with a bit of impact.

"It's a bit different role than starting. When I go out there on Sunday, it's going to be a different ball game. Me rolling the ruck, kicking to corners and all that, it's going to come into play."

Meanwhile, Eels teammate Mitchell Moses believes another youngster in the team's spine, Dylan Brown, has done everything right before his NRL debut on Sunday against Penrith at Panthers Stadium.

"As an 18-year-old he's real physical, loves the contact and is calm. I've never really seen it before," Moses said.

"It's a bit different, I've had to take a bit more control on the field now. I'm liking that responsibility. Having Dyl there has brought that calm approach upon me. He's going to have a big future."


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