Parramatta Eels back-rower Shaun Lane.

While Shaun Lane might be channelling Kieran Foran and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad with his pig-tail hairstyle, he's on his own with how he arrived at his long locks.

Lane said he had a bad ringworm infection on the back of his head during the Eels' pre-season.

"I don't know how I got it so obviously you can't go to a barber to get it shaved off," Lane told NRL.com, because the skin complaint is contagious.

"I started treating it with anti-fungal cream, my hair kept growing, but the infection wasn't disappearing. At the same time ring worm was spreading throughout the club.

"We had about 10 different blokes that contracted it. People were saying some cats might have got into the sand pit we use for leg-strength training."

Cats and dogs are susceptible to ringworm and can pass it on easily to humans.

"I'm pretty sure they are catching it from me. It was with us nearly the whole pre-season. I kept treating it and the doctor said I wasn't infectious because I was rubbing the cream on it.

"But it didn't go away. So they sent me to a dermatologist who said it was definitely ringworm and it had infected my hair follicles, which was why I couldn't get rid of it," Lane said.

Several courses of stronger medication finally cleared it up.  

"So I asked the dermatologist if the other guys could be getting it from me, and he said 'Yes'."

The story has a happy ending. Lane's infection finally cleared up and those players with the distinctive pink circle of irritated skin were able to get rid of it as they caught it in the early stages.

Lane's infection remained virtually invisible, as it was on the rear of his head, so left unabated it became more serious.

"The season started and my hair was already pretty long and I kind of didn't mind not chopping my hair every few weeks. I thought I'd see how long I could last before I couldn't put up with it any more," he said.

"I got used to it, but then it kept getting in my face, so I started to gel it back. Then my hair got slimy and my hands were slippery trying to catch the ball. So I just decided to pull it back.

"Kieran and Charnze were doing the same thing so that gave me the idea of how to pull it back."

So with the health of his head settled, the 24-year-old is now enjoying a comfortable left-side combination at the Eels with 19-year-old Dylan Brown.

"I didn't know what to expect when he came into the side because he was still in his teens," Lane said.

Match: Storm v Eels

Finals Week 2 -

Full Time
Storm

Home Team

Storm

Scored 32 points
Eels

Away Team

Eels

Scored 0 points

Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

"But Dylan has just got a natural knack of how to play footy. He never played rugby league until he was 16 or something. So to have the skill set to do what he does is pretty unbelievable."

Storm will see that skill set on Saturday as the Eels travel to Melbourne's AAMI Park for the knock-out semi-final.

"Dylan is a great runner of the ball. He can square up and draw in defenders like no other halves his age are able to do," Lane said.

"That frees me up a bit more when he passes to me, and defensively he's outstanding. He gets his body in front and he's a tough little bugger even though he's pretty skinny.

"He doesn't take a backwards step – has a really good head on his shoulders."

It all adds up to Lane not needing to be Brown's bodyguard as so often falls on the edge second-rowers.

"That's what you want as a back-rower – to be able to make your own decisions without having the thought of having to protect the half inside you. I've had that before and it can take away a little bit from what you want to do.

"With Dylan I feel like I can do whatever I want. I've told him certain things I like to do and he's like a sponge soaking up all the information. 

"If I'm bouncing off the line hard he's most often up there beside me."