The Parramatta Eels 2020 pre-season is underway and while many of the Club’s more experienced players are yet to return, a handful of young Eels have joined the NRL squad’s pre-season training spending valuable time working alongside the Blue & Gold Top 30.
The selection of Eels Elite Pathways players will benefit from the full-time training schedule, training alongside the Blue & Gold Top 30 squad as part of a wider squad.
Development players Rhys Davies, Stefano Utoikamanu and Sam Hughes will train full-time with the NRL squad throughout the pre-season and regular season, but are not eligible to play first-grade until Round 17.
Kyle Schneider & David Hollis, who played in the Eels Jersey Flegg side in 2019, will also train as part of an extended Blue & Gold squad.
Every club is allowed three to six development players each year outside of their top 30 NRL squad.
Under NRL guidelines, clubs are required to confirm a top 24 roster for 2020 with the NRL as of November 1, 2019 — the start of the financial rugby league calendar — with 29 players to be signed on when the regular season commences.
Clubs then have until the June 30 deadline to finalise their Top 30 squad, while also retaining between three and six players as part of the club's Development squad.
Rhys Davies – Rhys is a halfback/hooker who has represented the Wentworthville Magpies over the past two seasons. With 20 games under his belt in the 2019 season, Rhys finished with four tries, 62 goals (83.8%), 15 try assists and 8 line break assists.
Stefano Utoikamanu – A 19 year old with an 191cm and 115kg frame, Stefano is a young and upcoming prop with size and power to match. Stefano played 17 games for the Wentworthville Magpies in 2019 along with a NSW U20 State of Origin appearance.
Sam Hughes – Sam Hughes is an 18 year old forward who progressed through SG Ball into the Jersey Flegg side in the 2019 season. Hughes was also selected in the NSW U18 State of Origin side in 2019 and NSW U16 the year before.
Kyle Schneider – A skilful hooker who played with the Jersery Flegg side in 2019 after strong seasons with the Eels SG Ball sides in 2017 & 2018, Kyle is still eligible for the Eels Jersey Flegg side this season. He was previously selected in the NSW U16s State of Origin side and also was chosen in Brad Fittler’s Emerging Blues squad in 2018.
David Hollis – A tall front rower who hails from Wauchope, NSW. David played in the Eels SG Ball and Jersey Flegg side in 2019 and also represented the NSW U18s side in 2018 and 2019. He is still eligible to play Jersey Flegg this season.