The hits keep coming for Parramatta with the NRL club set to lose key man Reed Mahoney to rivals Canterbury from 2023.
The hooker was won over by a reported four-year deal to return to the Bulldogs, where the Sunshine Coast product ironically played under-20s before heading to the Eels for an NRL crack.
His 2023 departure will coincide with that of teammates Isaiah Papali'i and Marata Niukore, who secured moves to Wests Tigers and New Zealand Warriors in recent weeks.
With no obvious No.9 in mind other than Mahoney, the Eels were expected to go hard to retain his services and this represents another body blow for Parramatta.
Papali'i rose from obscurity to be named in the Dally M Team of the Year after a dominant season while Mahoney earned selection in Queensland's State of Origin squad and was robbed of a likely debut because of injury.
The 23-year-old Mahoney was spotted at Canterbury Leagues club with general manager Phil Gould and coach Trent Barrett after visiting the Bulldogs' Belmore headquarters a fortnight ago.
He's set to join premiership-winning Panthers second-rower Viliame Kikau, who has also signed from 2023, while Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Tevita Pangai Jr, Matt Dufty and Paul Vaughan will all begin with the club next season.
Mahoney, 23, has played 73 NRL games since debuting in 2018.
Australian Associated Press