Hodgson poised for Eels switch in 2023

Josh Hodgson is set to join Parramatta from Canberra at the end of his current NRL deal.
Josh Hodgson is set to join Parramatta from Canberra at the end of his current NRL deal.

Parramatta have found their replacement for Reed Mahoney with Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson to join the NRL club from 2023.

AAP understands Hodgson has agreed to terms on a deal with the Eels, ending more than six months of speculation over his future in the nation's capital after being told he could look elsewhere.

It means the 32-year-old will see out his contract with the Raiders in 2022, with the off-contract Tom Starling likely Canberra's long-term dummy-half unless they go to market.

The Eels will then hold onto Mahoney's services for next year before he moves to Canterbury.

Hodgson's signature represents a rare piece of good news for the Eels this off-season, after confirmation Isaiah Papali'i, Marata Niukore and Ray Stone will jooin Mahoney in the exit lounge at the end of next year.

It also leaves questions over the future of Sydney Roosters hooker Sam Verrills, who had been linked with the Eels.

Verrills is contracted with the Roosters until the end of 2024 but the expected arrival of Brandon Smith from Melbourne would severely dent his opportunities.

The Hodgson deal also limits the dummy-half options for clubs in 2023, including the incoming Dolphins who are without a recognised a hooker.

Smith, Apisai Koroisau, Mahoney and now Hodgson have all decided their futures for the season.

Mitchell Kenny, Freddy Lussick, Ben Marschke, Jake Turpin, Starling and the stood-down Manase Fainu are the only remaining No.9s off-contract.

Tigers hookers Jacob Liddle or Jake Simpkin could represent other options if granted a release, given Koroisau's impending arrival at the joint-venture from 2023.

Australian Associated Press