Touted as a future star of the NRL, Parramatta Eels halfback Ethan Sanders has broken his silence on where his future lies after being linked with the Canberra Raiders.

Likened to Cooper Cronk, Sanders is coming off his first pre-season with the Eels after a successful junior career that saw him earn U19s NSW honours, guiding the Eels to the SG Ball Cup title (named Player of the Match in the Grand Final) and lead the club to their first finals campaign in the Jersey Flegg Cup since 2018.

However, behind two representative stars in Dylan Brown and Mitchell Moses in the pecking order - who are both on multi-year contracts - multiple clubs have attempted to pursue Sanders and lure him away from Parramatta.

For the first time, the playmaker has commented on his future, revealing that he is eager to stay with the Eels for the 2024 season and continue to learn from Brown, Moses and Brad Arthur.

"A lot of that was sort of built up in the media, but happy to stay at Parra this year, happy behind the boys and just happy to learn more and get my head down," Sanders said after his first NRL pre-season game.

Due to a new collective bargaining agreement between the RLPA and NRL, he cannot negotiate with a rival club until Round 6 unless he receives permission from the club.

Nonetheless, the promising halfback would double down on the statement that he would remain with the Eels for this year but did not indicate where his future lies beyond 2024.

It is understood that in the past the Canberra Raiders and Penrith Panthers have been interested in recruiting his services.

"Most of it was all bloody media buildup, so happy to stay at Parra and sort of knuckle down and love the boys and the coach and stuff."

An emerging force for years to come, Sanders scored 80 points, provided eight try assists, and accumulated six line-breaks and 31 tackle-busts throughout last year's SG Ball season.

His excellent form would continue when he made 12 appearances for the Jersey Flegg Cup team and helped NSW retain the U19s title with five tackle-busts, 79 run metres and 323 kick metres.

"Everything," he said when asked about what the club means to him.

"My dad supports Parramatta, and he sort of put a Parra jersey on me since I can remember. It means the world to me."

Embed from Getty Images

Aiming to mould his game after Moses, having watched him continually on television growing up in Quakers Hill, the Hills Bulls junior admitted that he has played a vital role in his development.

"Mitchie's been unreal," he added.

"I sort of try and double up with Mitchie and ask him as much as I can and try and learn from him, especially his kicking game and his chat and whatever else.

"It's been unreal."

Despite the constant chatter on where his future lies, Sanders is just seeking to continue his development this year through the NSW Cup.

Already playing through all the junior competitions, the NSW Cup is the last step before his eventual debut in the NRL.

Considering the first-grade halves will be Brown and Moses, it is understood that he will wear the number seven jersey alongside Daejarn Asi in the halves.

"Probably the first goal for me is to play (NSW) Cup. I haven't played this NSW Cup yet, so that's probably the first goal.

"Then sort of see how I go and where I'm at and then go from there."