They were players that were hardly known prior to the season beginning but after 13 rds, this particular Parramatta Eels duo have made their presence known.
The duo in question? Kenny Edwards and Manu Ma’u. Both back-rowers, the duo – aptly given the nickname of ‘enforcers’ – have performed well so far. Both have re-signed until the end of 2017.
Edwards, who has just made completed his recovery from injury, is pleased to have the deal sorted.
“Yeah, I’m over the moon at the moment,” said Edwards.
“I’m happy to be here for the next few years.”
Rugby league has been tough on Edwards in the past but with a new contract and a home for the next few seasons, Edwards is grateful for the opportunity.
“Yeah, it’s good. Moving my mum down in November so it’s good to have that stability,” said an excited Edwards.
“It’ll be better when my family get down here and get around us, so I’m just happy at the moment.”
The rough start was not to last, though, as the chance to pull on an Eels jersey is one that Edwards has taken with pride.
“Yeah, it’s pretty big for me. I’m 23 now and to come back into the game and play NRL is a massive achievement,” said Edwards.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and to do it at Parramatta with all these passionate fans, it’s awesome to pull the blue and gold jersey on.”
For coach Brad Arthur, he has been keeping track of how the duo have been performing and in his view, both have been impressive during their tenures so far.
“Manu and Kenny have both brought a hard-working attitude to their training, and they are very tough competitors on the field,” Arthur said.
“Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing them continue to develop over the next few years.”
For Ma’u, life was rough growing up and his story has been well documented in the past. Fast forward to 2014 and the born again person and player is keen to make his impact and forge a rugby league career.
“I’m excited. Looking forward to the next three years,” said a shy Ma’u.
The decision was an easy one for Ma’u, who has slotted into the Eels side nicely. The players at the club have made him feel welcome and played a part on his decision to stay.
“Good bunch of boys here,” said Ma’u.
“Club’s rebuilding and Brad Arthur is one of the reasons I wanted to stay to play under him.”
Arthur contributes to the performance of Ma’u by believing in him. Something that the back-rower acknowledges.
“He [Arthur] brings the best out of me every week,” said Ma’u.
“Every time I go out there on the field, I just want to give it my all.”
The Eels have always been about retaining players and to do so now is a great boost moving forward.
“With key players committing to our club for the next few years, Brad is able to assemble his playing roster both now and for the future,” Parramatta Eels CEO Scott Seward said.
“There are exciting times ahead at the Eels, and these re-signings are a crucial part of that building process.”
The club have also re-signed promising utility back Vai Toutai on a 2-year deal.