Mahoney eager to steer Parra with poise
RUGBY LEAGUE: He's only played a smattering of NRL matches but Sunshine Coast product Reed Mahoney is determined to steer Parramatta with steady hands and a cool head.
The 20-year-old made his debut midway through last season but has emerged as the front-runner for the hooking role at the Eels.
He's eager to play a leading role and guide them around the field with a calmness belying his age and inexperience.
"Last year I was coming off the bench and was a bit an impact player so I didn't have time to have that game management and composure," he said. "But I've worked really hard (at pre-season training) on being the most composed person on the field because I touch the ball twice as much as anyone in the team.
"My passing and which way I think we should go (has) results on the team winning. I've been working hard with Mitch (Moses) and Gutho (Clint Gutherson) and we're really trying to build good combinations and have that good game management and composure for what's best for the team."
Some solid outings in 2018 and some promising pre-season form have pitched Mahoney into the spotlight.
The former Beerwah and Kawana junior was a development player at the Eels last season, behind Kaysa Pritchard and Cameron King.
But Pritchard spent much of the season injured, so Mahoney laced up on nine occasions.
King will play in England this year while Pritchard was this week granted leave as he continues to deal with residual impact from the injury.
Mahoney has been promoted to the squad proper and re-signed until the end of 2020 and the Eels are likely on the look-out for another hooker.
He said he learned plenty last year.
"Twenty-five weeks of footy can take a toll, so you've got to do what's best for your body," he said.
"I've just got to try and keep improving my game. During the pre-season I've done more review, watching video of myself and other hookers."
He'll likely play for the Eels in their trial against the Panthers this weekend.
"I've ticked off a goal by upgrading and extending (my contract) so that was a good start to the year and against Penrith I'll try and push my case forward to try and seal that No.9 jersey," he said.
The Eels were wooden spoon recipients last season and are at long odds to win the premiership this year but Mahoney was optimistic.
"We've reviewed what went wrong in 2018 and we all took ownership of the direction we headed in," he said.
"It wasn't up to standard with the way it turned out but everyone at training is on the same page and having genuine conversations and keeping each other accountable.
"People might judge us and (say) it (a poor season) is going to happen again but it's definitely not."