Taniela Lasalo is set to sign a new contract with the Parramatta Eels, which could be inked as early as this week.
Lasalo has been far and away the most improved Eels in 2011 emerging from his role as a backup forward to owning a spot in the Eel’s starting back row. After an impressive pre-season, Lasalo has added a new dimension to the Parramatta forward pack which has lacked a powerful running backrower in recent years.
Speaking to 1EyedEel after another impressive performance against the Cowboys where he was the side’s second leading forward in terms of both metres gained and metres-per-hitup, Lasalo said he was hopeful that a re-newed contract with the club would be finalised shortly and that it could even be nutted out this week.
Primarily a centre at Under 20’s level, Lasalo made a permanent move into the forwards last year where he has quickly adapted to the position. He actually earned a debut in a brief interchange role in 2009 but then had to wait almost a year for a follow-up appearance where he impressive in Parramatta’s victory against Brisbane.
While he has always had the running game to make it as an NRL backrower, his defence and workrate has improved markedly over the past couple of seasons and he has subsequently arrived as a quality first grader that has moved passed all but Nathan Hindmarsh in the second-row pecking order at Parramatta.