The Wests Tigers have signed Eels teenager Stefano Utoikamanu on a three-year deal from 2021.

And according to a report by The Daily Telegraph, they are keen to bring the prop over for this season.

Parramatta rejected the Tigers’ release to request the 19-year old in November, believing that he will boost their chances of success in 2020.

It is understood that Utoikamanu wants to depart the Eels immediately and the Tigers will continue to negotiate in the hope of securing a release.

Michael Maguire’s side needs an enforce following Ben Matulino’s retirement and Utoikamanu could be the perfect replacement.

The rising talent is yet to make his NRL debut but has been a stand out at Parra’s pre-season training.

He impressed in the Canterbury Cup for Wentworthville last season, scoring two tries and running for 1602 metres and 604.8 post-contact metres from 17 games.

10 COMMENTS

  1. If he wants out and doesn’t want to play 1st grade with us this year, he can spend the season in reserve grade.
    No point releasing him now to strengthen another team. Although it will take a heck of a lot more than Stefano to make the kittens any kind of a threat.
    They need a halfback, 5/8, hooker, fullback, two wingers, two centers, a couple of backrowers, a couple of quality props and four decent bench players.

  2. I hope they don’t come looking to get them from Penrith as well Kev.
    To be fair though , some of the Parramatta team does come from Wests & NZ.
    Even young Stephano Utoikamanu is a NZ born Tongan.
    I read a story about Parramatta wanting to become the main development powerhouse of the west. So I just took a look at a rep player from Parramatta ;Sam Hughes, as an example. Where does he come from ? Signed from Cronulla.
    So does Parramatta’s idea of becoming the main development powerhouse of the west , follows the Nuggets example? Buy them from everywhere else & then say ‘How great are we , developing all these young players’!
    Stephano’s family wanted him out of Parramatta . As they felt hurt by Parramatta’s poor treatment of his injured brother. So he was always going somewhere else.

  3. So I decided to do a little research since EOD is so big on local juniors and my findings were interesting. Based on Fox Sports estimation of who will line up for the Panthers in round 1 I found the following

    There will be 2 players who were born in the Penrith district in Brian To’o and Jerome Luai
    There will be 4 players who played all of their junior footy in the Penrith region, with Moses Leota and Spencer Leniu (both born in NZ) joining To’o and Luai.

    I am not sure exactly where Cleary was born, as it only says Sydney, but given he was born when Ivan was at the Roosters, I think we can be sure he wasn’t born in Penrith, and he of coarse played his first game of rugby league in NZ.

    So much for a team of local juniors hey EOD…..

  4. That’s a very convenient way of looking at things eels..
    Take a look at the lower grades & juniors. It would paint a very different picture.
    Where as the Eels are getting so many of them from Penrith & everywhere else. The vast majority of Penrith’s juniors are indeed produced from Penrith’s local area juniors.
    You’ll find that I was indeed commenting on your so called great juniors coming through. Not the actual first grade squads, in this case.
    However, if your going to then go to the first grade squads? At least a good amount of Penrith’s players have actually come through Penrith’s junior & lower grade teams in recent years. The same can’t be said even then for Parramatta.
    Parramatta can’t think of being any sought of Western Sydney development powerhouse , until they actually develop some of their own actual juniors.
    The Bulldogs, Penrith, & Wests all do a better job of doing that than Parramatta do right now.
    So Parramatta have a way to go yet.

  5. Not convenient at all, that is actual facts about the Penrith team. I am just pointing out that things aren’t as you constantly portray it. You are the one who said that even Stephano is a kiwi born tongan. I was just pointing out that most of your top line players are born outside of the Penrith area. You can’t have it both ways and call out other team for not having local juniors who are born in the area, but when we bring up your team, Oh but I was talking about the junior teams, not first grade. Even the guys that you constantly go on about Parra taking from the Panthers, only 1 of the 3 is a Penrith junior. Blake and Sivo are from Fiji….

    And yes, Parra wants to become a development powerhouse of the west. What is your issue with that comment? They haven’t stated that they are a powerhouse in that regard. The club has recognised that our development paths have fallen away in recent times and have goals to correct that. Somehow you have twisted that to be a negative thing. Good try, but you seem to have missed it completely.

  6. so eod, what do you claim as a local junior for interests sake?
    you say coming through the juniors, but what is the base grade of that? matts? ball? flegg? cc?
    if I am not mistaken, most clubs recruit players into those squads and rightly claim them as juniors….Penrith with their big nursery do the same…
    if you want to be pedantic, then how many played as Penrith juniors from the first time they laced on a boot at say under 6’s? that would be an interesting exercise now wouldn’t it?
    the parra review in 2019 identified that junior player development had been poor, that can all be pointed back to the club for taking their off the ball while putting all their eggs into the NRL basket….I think we can credit BA and Anthony Field for identifying a lack of suitable juniors and putting steps into fixing it – its got a long way to go but on the right track.
    How many juniors have they debuted in the last 2 years compared to the previous 10.?

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