You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

A host of promising youngsters approaching first-grade readiness and some handy off-season recruiting will make a difference to the Eels in 2021, according to halfback Mitch Moses.

While very reluctant to pile too many expectations on the up-and-comers, Moses told he'd been impressed by what some of the triallists had added to the squad, including players such as centre Will Penisini, utility back Sean Russell, halfback Jake Arthur and lock Caleb Tohi.

The latter three were all playing against 15- and 16-year-olds just a few months ago on their way to spots in the 2020 Schoolboys Cup team of the tournament (or second team) honours.

"It's a massive step up but they've earned that, they've been really impressive at training," Moses told

"I don't want to put too much pressure on them but they've been very good at training. I'm sure the other senior boys will look after them. [Penisini] has been really impressive.

Penisini finds space from a scrum

"They're full of learning and pretty keen to get stuck into it. I'm not sure what Brad [Arthur]'s thought process is going to be there. That's what's up for grabs and whoever impresses will get the job."

None of those up-and-comers are likely to play NRL this year, though Penisini is a chance as the year wears on, but some of the club's newer faces will also strengthen the roster in the shorter term.

Moses welcomed some support for hard-working hooker Reed Mahoney, with Joey Lussick joining from Salford and Nate Roache from the Warriors.

Eels suffer straight-sets finals exit

"Taking a bit of workload of Reed will be good," Moses added.

"Since he's come into grade he's been copping a bashing. Credit to him, he's been handling it very well. Reedy's still our number one man and I guess the club's shown faith in him in that way.

"Nate Roache has been very good at training and he's been through a lot of injuries in his career so it's good to see him get those sessions in so hopefully he gets a go this year. He's been through it all."

Roache has had a horror run with back and knee injuries, playing just 15 games in the past four years, but the talented rake drew praise from fellow Warriors recruit and current housemate Isaiah Papali'I, who was powerful in the club's opening trial against the Dragons last Thursday.

"I'm living with Nathaniel Roache which made the move a little bit easier to have other people in the same situation as me," Papali'i said.

"He's been going well, it's just those injuries keep setting him back. As a club I know they're not pushing him too hard to get out there and giving him that time to be ready when he's ready."

The Eels' 2020 season review

Papali'i's own move from the Warriors came about with both club and player happy to part ways.

"At the Warriors we had a mutual agreement it was time to move on then Parra came forward and offered two years," he said.

"I had a talk with BA and Buckets [football manager Mark O'Neill] and Peter Sharp and talked about what I could bring to the team and what they thought I had, assets. We built a good connection straight away and I was pretty happy to end up coming here."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners