NRL Rd 2 - Eels v Sharks
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: J'maine Hopgood of the Eels looks to pass during the round two NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Cronulla Sharks at CommBank Stadium on March 10, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Parramatta Eels' forward J'maine Hopgood has capitalised on a strong start to his time at the club, extending his deal until at least the end of the 2025 season.

Hopgood, who moved from the Penrith Panthers at the end of last season in search of more playing time, has received exactly that at Parramatta, and has had a breakout season.

So strong has Hopgood been, Queensland State of Origin coach Billy Slater has earmarked him as a potential bolter for the Maroons' camp ahead of Game 1, which will be played on May 31 in Adelaide, with teams to be selected at the conclusion of Round 12.

Playing in all ten games for the Eels with a majority of those in the starting 13, Hopgood has landed 121 metres per game to go with 12 tackle breaks and 26 offloads.

His offload count has him leading the competition in the statistic, with his nearest rival being Brisbane Broncos and New South Wales Blues' star prop Payne Haas with 24.

Eels' head of football Mark O'Neill said Hopgood has been a fantastic addition to the club.

“J'maine has been a tremendous addition to the Eels' squad and has brought much more than his football talent.

“J'maine is tough, has a great work ethic and a good offload in his game. Not only is he performing on the field for the team, but he has connected well with everyone at the club and has brought a strong cultural presence."

Hopgood, who has been credited with his work in the middle third, filled a significant void for the Eels in 2023 after off-season departures, and will be a key part of the side's run if they are to play football in September once again.