Eels pack down for long haul

The Parramatta Eels have extended the contract of Daniel Alvaro.
The Parramatta Eels have extended the contract of Daniel Alvaro.

A signing spree means Parramatta can start the NRL season with little distraction, having locked in almost all of their starting line-up beyond 2017.

Rising prop Daniel Alvaro became the third re-signing announced in as many days, following Nathan Brown and utility Will Smith, after agreeing a new deal to the end of 2019.

Coach Brad Arthur has now secured almost all of his first-choice pack long-term, with hooker Cameron King the only forward without a deal beyond November.

In fact, King and backline pair Jarryd Hayne and Kirisome Auva'a are the only starters who aren't contracted beyond this year.

"A huge credit to Brad Arthur and his team for the team and culture they're building," skipper Tim Mannah said on Thursday.

"There's some really great young talent coming through that's showing their faith in the club. I'm really excited about the direction this club's headed in."

Alvaro, 24, has proven to be a key forward, beating Sydney Roosters recruit Kane Evans to a starting spot for Sunday's season-opener against Penrith.

He credited Arthur as critical to his development into an established NRL front-rower.

"He's really helped me and so have the rest of the coaching staff. They've done a lot for me to develop as a player. Now it's about repaying the faith going forward," Alvaro said.

Arthur said Alvaro's biggest improvement was in his work ethic.

"He's an impressive young footballer on and off the field, and I'm confident he will continue his development over the next couple of seasons," Arthur said.

Brown admitted being relieved to get his contract sorted prior to the season instead of allowing negotiations to drag on through the year.

The former South Sydney forward was voted the Eels' best player last year.

"Now I can just concentrate on playing good footy. I'm grateful to be part of such a great club. I feel right at home here and they made that job a lot easier for me," he said.

Australian Associated Press