Blake leaves Panthers to join arch rivals Eels

New Parramatta Eels recruit Waqa Blake

The two are fierce rivals on and off the field and the pot is stirred once more, with Waqa Blake departing the Penrith Panthers to join the Parramatta Eels.

Blake, who has been granted an immediate release by the Panthers, will join the Eels on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

The move will ease some of the Panthers’ cap issues, as their club statement explained.

“Panthers was initially approached by Parramatta to express their interest in acquiring the services of Waqa Blake,” Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said.

“Ultimately it was a difficult decision to grant Waqa’s release but it will assist the management of our salary cap moving forward.

“We extend our sincere thanks to Waqa for his contribution at Panthers and wish him the best of luck for the future.”

Making his NRL debut in 2015 and playing in 88 games during that time, Blake is currently injured with an expected return date of round 20.

The NSW City Origin and Fijian international is a signing that Eels head coach Brad Arthur is pleased to have made.

“It’s pleasing to have landed a quality player in Waqa as we head towards the business end of the season,” Arthur said.

“We want to ensure that we complement our playing squad with strong acquisitions and Waqa certainly fits the criteria we are looking for.”

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