SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: Reed Mahoney of the Eels scores a try during the round 6 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on April 22, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Eels hooker Reed Mahoney has firmed on Queensland’s State of Origin radar after a strong return from a foot fracture in round three.

The 22-year-old underwent surgery for a Jones fracture during the league shutdown and hasn’t missed a game for Parramatta the past two seasons.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters says Mahoney is very much in the Maroons mix after a strong showing in a pre-season camp and with incumbent No.9 Ben Hunt slipping in form, could be set to take the mantle come November.

“Reed Mahoney certainly is on the radar,” Walters told Fox Sports. 

“We had a good look at him last year and he’s been in our system for a couple of years now.

“I particularly like his character, he’s always got a smile on his face and he genuinely loves playing rugby league.

“It’s not easy playing in there where he does in the middle and he’s not the biggest bloke.

“But you can see he’s identified some areas to improve in his game and he’s doing that all the time.”

Walters explained he used the summer camp to pair Mahoney with Roosters co-captain Jake Friend during the summer camp so the young Eels hooker could be mentored and gain experience from an experienced hooker.

Mahoney has been a key contributor in the Eels’ best start since 1993 with three wins from their first three matches.

Paramatta face Manly on Saturday night in their biggest test to date.