NRL Rd 1 - Panthers v Sea Eagles
PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Morgan Harper of the Sea Eagles reacts during the round one NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Manly Sea Eagles at BlueBet Stadium on March 10, 2022, in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Departing Manly Sea Eagles centre Morgan Harper has officially snubbed the English Super League and a reported approach from Sam Burgess to sign a new two-year deal with the Parramatta Eels.

The centre had become an important part of the Sea Eagles side during 2021 and 2022 where he played a combined total of 41 games, but a horror outing last season when trying to defend Siosifa Talakai ended his run as a first-choice member in Manly's 17.

In and out of Des Hasler's 17 during his final days at the club, Harper then played just nine games in the centres for the Sea Eagles in 2023, with the emergence of Tolutau Koula and Christian Tuipulotu in the backs meaning even an injury to Tom Trbojevic didn't let him into the side.

In the end, three of the nine games for Harper during 2023 were played in the final three rounds of the season, with the 25-year-old failing to cross the tryline at all.

But his move to Parramatta, who lost Waqa Blake, likely to rugby union, will give him a chance to re-invigorate his career.

“We're looking forward to welcoming Morgan and his young family to our Club. His talent and competitiveness will be welcomed and I am sure he will prove to be a quality addition to our squad this season," Parramatta's general manager of football Mark O'Neill said in a club statement.

That said, he will likely still be on the fringes of the best 17 at the blue and gold, with the back line already featuring backs Will Penisini, Bailey Simonsson, Daejarn Asi, Haze Dunster, Maika Sivo, Sean Russell and youngster Samuel Loizou who will fight for a spot this season.

To go with 56 first-grade games across his time at the Canterbury Bulldogs and Sea Eagles, Harper has also played twice for the New Zealand Maori All Stars side in the annual pre-season fixture.