• Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard is out for the NRL season after suffering a major knee injury. (AAP)Source: AAP
Parramatta's Will Smith is happy to become the team's next ‘Mr Fix-It’ as the club desperately searches for a replacement NRL hooker.
By
Scott Bailey

26 Jun 2017 - 10:28 AM  UPDATED 26 Jun 2017 - 11:16 AM

The Eels lost Kaysa Pritchard for the season to a serious knee injury, and while Smith has never started at hooker in the NRL, he has regularly filled in at dummy half off the bench this year.

Compounding the matter further is the fact Isaac De Gois is suffering from a long-term concussion injury and seems unlikely to play again this year.

And while Cameron King is favoured to take the No.9 jersey against Canterbury on Thursday night, Smith said he was keen to make an impression at dummy-half if given the chance.

"I would love to put my hand up and make that position my own," he said. "For now or at least until Kaysa gets back."

Smith had barely played hooker before turning out for Parramatta this season.

He spent time there in the 2015 Indigenous All Stars match, but was largely a five-eighth or fullback at club level while at Penrith, before he added the extra component to his game earlier this season.

"Kaysa Pritchard at the start of the year was struggling to get out the 80 minutes," Smith said.

"So I put my hand up to be the person that could come off the bench and support him.

"I'm getting used to it. The fitness side is the side I'm working on each week with the back-to-back efforts of the tackles."

Smith only arrived at Parramatta midway through 2016 after he suffered a horrific knee injury while playing reserve grade with the Panthers last year.

He tore both his anterior cruciate and medial ligaments, just days after beginning talks with the Eels about making an immediate switch to play in their halves.  

"Foran had left and there was no Mitchell Moses at the time either," he said.

"Gutho (Clint Gutherson) was playing halves as well. So there was an opportunity for the halves as well."

However, he said even after his injury, he opted to knock back interest from other clubs to join the Eels immediately.

"It was good to know they wanted me in the first place," he said.

AAP

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