Getting to know Reed Mahoney and Jaeman Salmon
Reed Mahoney and Jaeman Salmon are the most recent new additions to the starting side and bench, and both have done the hard work to get there.
Mahoney, pronounced Mar-ney, is named to make his first NRL start against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday after four consecutive appearances from the bench.
"I grew up on the Sunshine Coast, in Landsborough," the 20-year-old said.
"I went to an athletics school, I played touch football, Oztag and cricket.
"I played a bit (of representative cricket). I didn't like it, I didn't fit in with the group. I was a bit better at footy than cricket."
The first contract he signed to play rugby league was with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
"I was contracted to the Bulldogs while I was home. They wanted me to come down when I was 15-16 (years old), but I said I wanted to finish school (on the Sunshine Coast).
"Just after I finished school I went down to the Bulldogs, played SG Ball there and after that season came across to the Parramatta under-20s."
His talk on the football field has been compared to Michael Ennis, but Mahoney idolised a different dummy-half as a kid.
"When I was younger I definitely looked up to Robbie Farah."
Mahoney told The Herald about his encounter with Sam Burgess at last week's match, when he played 74 minutes from dummy-half to cover the injured Kaysa Pritchard.
"After the game Sammy Burgess came up to me and said, 'You're a cheeky little prick on the field'," Mahoney said.
"I said, 'You've got to do what you've got to do, mate'. He said, 'Good stuff'."
"I have a bit of fun on the field, that's what it's all about."
Named to start against Titans hooker and former Eel Nathan Peats, Mahoney was asked if his role for the team will change.
"It's not going to change much. I've still got to bring energy.
"I'm trying to learn from Kaysa and Kingy as much as I can.
Jaeman Salmon is named to make his NRL debut from the bench.
The utility has played 12 games for the Wentworthville Magpies this season, mostly at five-eighth.
"(It's) a lot of hard work paying off and it'd be a good feeling. I'd definitely take it with both hands," Salmon said.
The 19-year-old spoke with NRL.com in May about his footy aspirations for 2018.
"I've got a lot to learn still, more size to put on. This is a big development year for me," Salmon said.
"Hopefully I'll start in 20s, play a bit of second grade (for Wentworthville) and give it a go (making NRL) next year (2019).
"Brad's (Arthur) said 'when you're ready you'll play' – when that is is up to them."
Asked for his best position, Salmon continued: "I'm more of a running five-eighth or fullback. I'm a bit of a utility. I could be coming off the bench, playing anywhere, it doesn't bother me.
"They said they'd start me back in the 20s to ease me into things. I want to play for Wenty this year. Maybe push for a game at the end of the year in first grade but that's down the track."
He unknowingly played through a broken neck last season at an Australian Schoolboys team trial that put the under-16s and under-18s NSW Origin player in a life threatening situation.
"I got rushed to hospital on spinal precaution. They were saying I was very lucky."
So another injury while he was on the field the day after breaking his vertebra could've had nasty results?
"I could have been dead, that's what they were saying."
Get your tickets here for the Parramatta Eels v Gold Coast Titans this Saturday, a 5:30pm kickoff at ANZ Stadium!