Whatuira desperate to repay the faith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Whatuira desperate to repay the faith

David Beniuk 09/02/2011 07:15:39 PM Comments (0)

Premiership talisman Paul Whatuira is desperate to repay the faith at Parramatta, but isn't promising yet he can win the competition with a third club.

Whatuira, who won grand finals with Penrith in 2003 and the Wests Tigers two years later, was thrown a lifeline by the Eels for 2011 after a troubled stint in the UK Super League.

If he was to notch a third premiership ring this year, he would equal Glenn Lazarus's record of three titles at three different NRL clubs.

The former Test prop won competitions with Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne.

"No, it's a long season ahead and a lot of hard work goes on in the background," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"All I want to do is, if my opportunity comes, I'll take it with both hands and hopefully I can front up for the team and play some good football."

Whatuira will make his Eels debut in Saturday's trial against the Warriors in Rotorua, his first match since finishing up with Nathan Brown's Huddersfield last June.

The centre is keen to repay new Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney, a former team-mate at Melbourne and also in the New Zealand Test side.

The quietly spoken 29-year-old endured a much publicised battle with depression in England, spending time in a psychiatric ward.

He feared his career could have been over before Parramatta came calling as part of a recruitment drive that netted fellow second-chancers Chris Walker and Reni Maitua.

"When Parramatta gave me the opportunity to come and play for them I was rapt," Whatuira said.

"I didn't have many opportunities come my way at the end of the season last year so hopefully I can repay the faith Steve Kearney's shown in me.

"He's a quality coach, he's got a great record.

"(Playing with him) he had a lot of mana, he just had an aura about him, I just grew up watching him play and having the opportunity to play alongside him was one of my highlights."

Parramatta on Wednesday named a squad which includes controversial half Brad Murray for Saturday's trial.

Murray faces sanction from the NRL after he was caught on CCTV footage placing a bet on the North Queensland-Canterbury match last August which is the subject of a police investigation.

The former Sydney Rooster joins fellow new recruits Walker, Chris Hicks and Casey McGuire as well as Whatuira in the line-up.

Forward Shane Shackleton also makes his long-awaited return after missing nearly all of his first season with Parramatta with a serious hamstring injury.

"We've definitely done the work and that gives me confidence going into the game," Shackleton said.

"I'm probably as fit as I've ever been."

Parramatta squad: Paki Afu, Mitchell Allgood, Rory Brien, Luke Burt, Ben Falcone, Chris Hicks, Justin Horo, Taniela Lasalo, Jacob Loko, Manase Manuokafoa, Casey McGuire, Ryan Morgan, Daniel Mortimer, Brad Murray, Jeff Robson, Billy Rogers, Shane Shackleton, Etu Uaisele, Chris Walker, Paul Whatuira.

NZ Warriors squad: Lewis Brown, Glen Fisiiahi, Pita Godinet, Ben Henry, Aaron Heremaia, Krisnan Inu, Jeremy Latimore, Jacob Lillyman, Kevin Locke, Sione Lousi, Micheal Luck, James Maloney, Alehana Mara, Ben Matulino, Russell Packer, Sam Rapira, Steve Rapira, Matt Robinson, Jerome Ropati, Ukuma Ta'ai, Elijah Taylor, Manu Vatuvei.

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