Will Penisini has signed a two-year contract extension at the Parramatta Eels that will tie the local junior to the club until at least the end of 2025.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout campaign last year, cementing his spot in the centres as Brad Arthur’s men made it all the way to the grand final, while he also went on to represent Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup.
Will Penisini inks two-year deal to remain at Parramatta
Since making his debut in 2021 as a teenager, Penisini has consistently showcased attacking talent and defensive nous beyond his years within the Eels’ backline.
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He has boasted a 90% tackle efficiency across his two seasons in first grade and registered 10 tries and five assists during his 28 appearances in 2022.
“The Eels jersey means a lot to me, I grew up in the system and to be playing alongside my mates for the club I’ve loved my whole life is surreal,” Penisini said after re-signing.
“Brad and the coaching staff have helped me come through the junior pathways since I was 14, I’m grateful for all the opportunities and the support I’ve had at the club.
“We finished the 2022 season strongly and I think we’ve laid a good platform to really challenge in the coming years.”
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Parramatta have had a busy past 12 months on the transfer front, locking down key forwards Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard and also retaining the services of captain Clint Gutherson and gun playmaker Dylan Brown.
Although Arthur has also seen plenty of talent depart, due to salary cap pressure, with Isaiah Papali’i and Reed Mahoney exiting from last season’s favoured line-up.
Mitch Moses’ future remains up in the air with a number of clubs still believed to be circling the halfback.
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Penisini’s signing will therefore come as a relief with the young centre receiving plenty of plaudits before he even made his NRL debut.
Former NSW coach Laurie Daley declared Penisini could rival Joseph Suaalii in the future for being one of the best young talents in the game.
“I think he was just as good as Suaalii,” Daley told the Big Sports Breakfast two years before either man had appeared in first grade.
“Obviously everyone rates Suaalii quite highly and he is something very special, but this kid is not far off him.”
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Meanwhile, the club’s General Manager of Football, Mark O’Neill, expressed his joy at locking down the emerging talent.
“It’s great to see another local junior commit his future to the Eels,” he said.
“Will is humble and hardworking, and he displays the leadership skills that we’re looking for at our club.
“His selection in the Tongan squad for the World Cup was a great reward for his outstanding performances during the season and there’s no doubt he has a bright future ahead of him at the Eels.”