Eels ready to splash cash on whiz kid
He has played just one NRL game but the Parramatta Eels believe Dylan Brown is a future champion.
And they're willing to put their wallet on it.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Eels management are looking to re-sign the 18-year-old to a new four-year deal that could be worth $2 million.
Already under contract until the end of 2020, a new deal would make Brown an Eel until at least the end of 2024.
And based on Sunday's performance, five-eighth Brown will be a long-term NRL star. He showed unbelievable calmness and composure on debut in his side's 20-12 win over Penrith.
"It was huge. When I ran out on to the field I looked over to my family and I just knew I was there to do one job," Brown said.
"It just felt good to be out there with the boys. I'm not going to lie. When I stepped into the sheds my nerves went up another level. At home I was fine.
"I was already comfortable coming into round one but now that's out of the way I'm keen for another tilt."
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was careful not to heap excessive accolades on Brown, but it was difficult not to praise the kid.
"He showed good calmness and composure which is what we talked about during the week with him and throughout the off-season," Arthur said.
"That's what we like about him. I thought that composure was really good for Mitchell (Moses)."
Brown showed his class in the 25th minute when he went to the line and popped a splendid pass to Shaun Lane, who sent Michael Jennings over to score.
"What a player he's going to be. What a player he already is," Immortal Andrew Johns said. "He is quick with his feet, slow with hands, that is the sign of a ballplayer."
THE RISE OF MOSES
Moses got whacked late by Panthers prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard. He was shoved in the back by Panthers centre Waqa Blake off the ball. But he kept getting up. Surely no one can now doubt or question Moses' toughness.
He set up two tries, kicked well and led his side. Moses is off contract at season's end but he and Brown look to be Parramatta's long-term halves.
"He stuck to our plan and got the job done for us," Arthur said.
Moses and Brown clearly outpointed the Penrith and NSW halves, Nathan Cleary and James Maloney.
Insiders suggest Arthur would be given six to eight weeks to impress - or face the sack. A top-four finish in 2017 was nullified by a wooden spoon last year.
It's only round one but a strong win eases some pressure on Arthur.
"It's round one, there's a long, long way to go," Arthur said.
Arthur will have to find a replacement for lock Nathan Brown, who sustained a pectoral injury and will be out for between 10 to 14 matches.
Penrith were disappointing. It was a poor and unfulfilling start to Cleary's second stint at Penrith.
They fumbled and bumbled their way through 80 minutes, the only redeeming feature being a spirited if unsuccessful second-half comeback.
"In the first half we had a lot of early-tackle errors," Cleary said.
"I think from the 12th minute to the 32nd, 33rd minute, we only completed two sets. It was one of those games where we felt we couldn't get any sort of momentum."
JENNINGS IN THICK OF IT
Michael Jennings enjoyed some wonderful highs and endured some depressing lows.
The 30-year-old, whose sprinkling of grey hair caught the attention of fans, scored two tries, including the match sealer, but was also sin-binned for a high shot on Penrith's Isaah Yeo, who had to be assisted from the field.
Penrith scored twice while Jennings was off the field. The hit also denied the Eels a try to winger Maika Sivo.
PARRAMATTA 20 (M Jennings 2 R Mahoney M Niukore tries M Moses 2 goals) bt PENRITH 12 (W Egan J Tamou tries N Cleary 2 goals) at Panthers Stadium. Referee: Chris Butler, Ashley Klein