Eels NRL spots still up for grabs

A Reece Robinson hat-trick has guided Parramatta to a 30-22 NRL trial victory over Penrith, giving the club hope that there is life after Jarryd Hayne.


Canberra recruit Reece Robinson starred with a 22-point haul while Will Hopoate scored the match-sealer and look assured after inheriting the No.1 jersey from NFL aspirant Hayne.

Robinson kicked five goals, but is not assured of taking the club’s goal-kicking duties from Chris Sandow this year, but all but wrapped up a round 1 wing spot.

Eels coach Brad Arthur said he was still tossing up on a number of positions after returning prop Danny Wicks and halfback Sandow were rested from the clash at Pepper Stadium in Penrith on Saturday.

The club is also still waiting on an NRL clearance on Richie Fa’aoso, who is coming out of retirement.

“It’s tough (to come up with a best 17), I would have liked to have had a couple of other boys out there, Danny and Richie to see how they went, and Chris and Brad Takairangi,” Arthur said.

“I’ll just have to sit back and have a look at the tape.”

Arthur lamented his side’s cohesion, with both sides looking rusty just two weeks out from the season kick off.

Former Manly backrower Anthony Watmough had a fairly quiet afternoon in his first hit-out in a Parramatta, jersey however Arthur said he was happy with some of his touches.

Penrith centre Jamal Idris made a successful return from a back injury and said he was raring to go for round one against Canterbury.

Idris underwent back surgery just over three weeks ago and pushed himself in his recovery to play the side’s final trial.

“I actually went better than I expected,” he said.

“It’s been about three weeks since spinal surgery and I felt pretty good.

“I did all of the pre-season before (surgery) which was definitely a blessing.

“I had a week or so of running, which was good, and I felt pretty good out there.”

George Jennings scored twice and all but locked up the wing position of Josh Mansour, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and is due back in round 4.

Rob Jennings, the youngest of the Jennings trio, also scored after coming on in the second half, showing why he is so highly rated when he produced an eye-catching one-handed put down in the corner.

Parramatta prop Darcy Lussick had a game to forget – he was put on report for a head-high tackle on Matt Moylan before leaving the field midway through the first half with a minor hamstring injury. He is expected to be fit for round one.