Having watched Reed Mahoney, Marata Niukore and Isaiah Papali’i all confirm they’d be moving on from the Eels to pastures new, fans of the blue and gold have finally received some good news as star forward Junior Paulo signed a new four-year deal with the club.
Paulo was coming to the end of his contract at the end of the 2022 season but was permitted to discuss his future with clubs a year in advance such are the NRL’s rules.
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The NRL’s 17th team, the Dolphins, were one of a number of teams that had Paulo firmly in their crosshairs, but the 28-year-old ended any speculation by sticking with the club he signed for in 2019.
Eels general manager Mark O’Neill believed retaining Paulo’s services was vital given his impact across all areas of the club.
“Junior is not just a skilful front rower, he is an asset to the club on and off the field,” O’Neill said.
“His selection into the NSW Origin team is a testament to his ability and the hard work he puts into his game.”
Paulo joins teammates Clint Gutherson and Reagan Campbell-Gillard in committing their future to the Eels.
It will no doubt be a bittersweet 2022 season for Eels fans knowing the talented forward trio of Mahoney, Niukore and Papali’i will play for the Bulldogs, Warriors and Tigers respectively in 2023.
They played a key role in Parramatta’s push to the semi-finals that resulted in a narrow 8-6 loss to eventual premiers Penrith.
Paulo, Gutherson and Campbell-Gillard will hope to celebrate their new deals with a victory in the Eels’ opening match of the 2022 season against the Gold Coast Titans on March 13.