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Hodgson, Simonsson ink deals with Eels

Raiders duo Josh Hodgson and Bailey Simonsson have sorted out their long-term futures with the pair signing deals to join Parramatta.

Hodgson, who has been linked to a Raiders departure throughout this season, will join the Eels in 2023 on a two-year deal while Simonsson will join the western Sydney club effective immediately.

The England hooker arrived at the Raiders in 2015, instrumental in helping the club become a genuine premiership force. He has played more than 270 matches in the NRL and Super League.

Hodgson's deal eases the blow of Reed Mahoney's expected departure to Canterbury after he was photographed meeting with club management in November.

"We are thrilled to have Josh join our Club from 2023 as he brings strong leadership and a wealth of experience in such a key position," Eels general manager Mark O’Neill said.

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"Josh has played for his country and has an incredible knowledge of the game which will add value to not only the NRL squad but our emerging juniors within our elite pathways.

"I have no doubt that he will have a big impact at our club both on and off the field."

Simonsson, 23, has played 45 games in lime green after switching to rugby league in 2019.

A former All Blacks rugby sevens player, Simonsson has signed with the Eels on a three-year deal and will join his new teammates immediately.

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"We are very excited to add Bailey to our playing roster, he has enormous talent and will bring depth to our backline," O'Neill said. 

Raiders CEO Don Furner said both players had been wonderful ambassadors for the club.

“Josh Hodgson arrived from England in 2015 with little fanfare and developed into a great player and leader at this club, Furner said.

"He led the way for a wave of UK players who joined the Raiders and helped turn the club around. His record which includes three preliminary finals, and one grand final is something he can be proud of.

"We’re very fortunate to have Josh for the 2022 season and we know his professionalism, experience and football ability will be a huge asset for us this season before he departs. 

"Bailey Simonsson is a young player with a bright future ahead of him and although it’s always hard to see good players who are also good people leave the club, we wish him nothing but the best.

"He’s a very talented player who has developed while at our club and we would always welcome him back."

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.

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