KEEN: Sunshine Coast's Reed Mahoney is expected to be named in the No.9 jumper for the Eels season-opener on Sunday.
KEEN: Sunshine Coast's Reed Mahoney is expected to be named in the No.9 jumper for the Eels season-opener on Sunday. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

Mahoney ready to fire in key role for Parramatta

RUGBY LEAGUE: Parramatta youngster, and Sunshine Coast product, Reed Mahoney has declared himself ready to channel his inner Jake Friend and punch out a full 80 minutes for coach Brad Arthur this NRL season.

Mahoney is expected to be named in the No.9 jumper for the Eels season-opener on Sunday after the club granted Kaysa Pritchard indefinite leave late last month.

Pritchard's absence leaves Arthur with a dearth of options at hooker, with utility Will Smith the only other candidate at dummy-half.

The 20-year-old Mahoney played just nine games in his rookie season last year, with four of them in the run-on side at the back end of the campaign.

"I think any hooker in the game, they've got to be able to play 80 minutes,” Mahoney said.

"And especially early in the season, we need bigger forwards to rotate because of the heat I'm very confident I can play 80 minutes.”

Mahoney will form part of what is likely to be the most inexperienced spine in the league, including teenage sensation Dylan Brown.

"Obviously I've got a much bigger step up to come. I've got a bigger role,” he said.

"I come in halfway through (last) year and I was just coming off the bench with a bit of impact.

"It's a bit different role than starting.

"When I go out there on Sunday, it's going to be a different ball game.

"Me rolling the ruck, kicking to corners and all that, it's going to come into play.”

Mahoney arrived at the Eels in 2017 after playing SG Ball for Canterbury and hails from the Sunshine Coast along with Friend and Moses Mbye.

The Nambour product admitted to modelling his game on Roosters co-captain Friend, who is renowned for lasting the length in NRL matches.

"Moses and Jake are really big in the game,” he said.

"I do look to them, especially Jake Friend being in my role.

"I've been doing a bit of video on what he does because he's been in the game for such a long time and he's such a good leader.”