Wednesday 23 August 2017 / 06:29 AM

RECRUITMENT WATCH: EELS

Next up in his NRL Recruitment Watch series, NICK TEDESCHI looks at who the Parramatta Eels may be looking at, who they should be going after, and the areas on the roster that need shoring up for 2018.

Needs: Parramatta have invested heavily in their halves and have two good options at fullback so will be looking to secure a quality to secure a quality hooker and some stocks in their pack. They have already signed Kane Evans and will be scouring for sizable forwards, particularly middles who can run with intent. A replacement winger for the departing Semi Radradra is also on the cards. With a ton of fringe players off-contract, the Eels will be looking for depth across the park.

2018 Recruits: Mitchell Moses (Wests Tigers – midseason 2017), Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters), Nathan Davis (Gold Coast)

2018 Losses: Semi Radradra (Rugby Union)

Off-Contract: Kirisome Auva’a, Frank Pritchard, David Gower, George Jennings, Cameron King, Cody Nelson, Will Smith, Peni Terepo, Jeff Robson, Kelepi Tanginoa, Bureta Faraimo, John Folau, Rory O’Brien

Rumours: There are many in the game expecting Jarryd Hayne to make a fairytale return to Parramatta, but the Eels look set at fullback so won’t offer the money – and likely don’t want the drama – Hayne demands. Daniel Tupou has long been linked to a move back to his junior club but after rediscovering his form is likely to stay at the Roosters rather than replace Semi Radradra. The Eels are going extremely hard at Nathan Peats and are pretty confident they can land his signature.

Players to Target: Nathan Peats needs to be priority No.1. The Eels are one of the few clubs in the NRL without an elite hooker and are in desperate need of one. If Parramatta don’t land Peats they will likely chase Michael Lichaa. With few other rakes on the market they have no choice.

Jorge Taufua and Kato Ottio are potential wing options, with Raiders lower-grader Ottio craving a top-grade chance.

There are a lot of good value forward options available. Albert Vete would be a nice fit at the Eels, as would Warriors teammate Jacob Lillyman. Knight Sam Mataora would be another prop in the style Parramatta need. Robbie Rochow and Aidan Guerra are both quality backrowers down on form but at their best are excellent players.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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