Hagan excited as troubled halves combine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hagan excited as troubled halves combine

By Liam FitzGibbon 01/12/2006 09:00:58 PM Comments (0)

Aside from the fact they will both start in the halves during Parramatta's 2007 NRL campaign, Tim Smith and Brent Finch have something else in common.

Both would probably been keen to forget inconsistent 2006 seasons.

Smith missed the Eels' charge to the finals with injury and got into trouble off the field in alcohol-related incidents.

Finch, despite kicking the winning field goal in the opening State of Origin, lost the support of Roosters fans and could not hold down a position as the side slumped to second-last in the NRL.

But new Parramatta coach Michael Hagan is excited at the prospect of combining their talents.

"Tim Smith is a very talented player which he showed in his debut season and glimpses of this season and Brett Finch played some good footy in the last six to eight weeks of the Roosters at five-eighth," Hagan said.

"But they need to work well together and they need to have confidence for them to do that, so it's going to be a huge part of our pre-season trying to make sure they're both comfortable in their respective roles."

Hagan, who joined the club from Newcastle in a swap of jobs with Brian Smith, has settled in well and is most excited about getting the chance to see the talents of his young players develop.

He also has his eye on a number of the club's Premier League-winning squad that he feels can make an impact in first grade and help fill the void left by Glenn Morrison, Wade McKinnon, Dean Widders and Matt Peterson, who have all left the club.

"One of the things that impressed me about Parramatta is that there are a group of younger players that have been in the system for a number years," he said.

"I've inherited a very good roster and a good structure to work with an I'm looking forward to seeing a number of those players come through over the next couple of years."

Youngsters Zebelon Taia, Weller Hauraki, Feleti Mateo and Junior Paulo have already caught the coach's eye.

Another big focus for Hagan is getting the side performing early and avoiding a repeat of the Eels' sluggish start to recent seasons.

"I don't think you can afford to be too slow out of the blocks and that mentality is something we probably need to change," he said.

"I think the more work we get in pre-season and the more healthy we are the start, the more likely we can get off to a good start.

"There're only a couple of guys that had any surgery and even they are still able to run so that's not a bad situation to be in."

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