NRL Rd 25 - Wests Tigers v Bulldogs
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 05: Zac Cini of the Tigers passes the ball during the round 25 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Moreton Daily Stadium, on September 05, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Young gun Zac Cini has played just four NRL games, but the Parramatta Eels are set to hand him a lifeline in the form of a two-year contract.

The 22-year-old, who started out with the Wests Tigers, was rated highly ahead of his 2021 debut, but struggled to make his way into first-grade, playing just four games for the club and scoring a single try before being discarded at the end of what should have been his rookie season.

Cini was then picked up on a train and trial deal by the Parramatta Eels ahead of 2022, which progressed into him playing NSW Cup for the club, and, at times late in the season, being named in Parramatta's 22-man squad for games when they had major issues with injuries in their backline.

Cini ultimately played 22 reserve grade games for the blue and gold in 2022, scoring 9 tries, adding a further 6 try assists and 84 tackle breaks, to go with 143 metres per game in a mix of games at centre and wing.

His form is ultimately set to see the Eels take a punt with a two-year contract for Cini, with The Daily Telegraph reporting that the first of those will be in the form of a development deal, before he progresses to the top 30 in 2023.

That will hand Cini a lifeline at reviving his NRL career, with the 22-year-old likely to be in the hunt for NRL minutes during the second half of the 2023 campaign if he continues his form at NSW Cup level.

The Eels have lost Tom Opacic and Hayze Perham from their backline depth for 2023, as well as youngster Solomone Naiduki, but as yet haven't added any names, with their signings to date - Josh Hodgson, J'maine Hopgood, Jirah Momoisea and Jack Murchie - all to play in the forwards.