191 centimetre and 115-kilogram prop Stefano Utoikamanu has been regarded as one the most promising young players in next year's rookie class.
Wests Tigers have secured him from 2021 on one of the biggest contracts on record for a player yet to make his NRL debut, understood to be worth around $800,000 over three years.
The Tigers were hoping to have Utoikamanu join their first grade ranks immediately but the Eels rejected an immediate request for a release and instead, Parramatta have offered him a top 30 NRL position in 2020 – one he is yet to accept.
The Australian Schoolboys representative played 17 games for the Wentworthville Magpies in 2019, making a massive 604.8 post-contact metres, 35 tackle busts and 455 tackles.
Last year, Utoikamanu scored the match-winning try for NSW in a man-of-the-match performance in the Under-18s Origin game.
He backed that up again this year in the Under-20s match, coming off the bench and making 149 metres from 11 hit-ups in the Blues 36-10 victory over Queensland.
NSW Under-20s coach Mark O’Meley described the 19-year-old as “A big human who’s a really good kid that’s learning to push himself through boundaries more and more. Very easy to coach.”
New Zealand born Utoikamanu has been likened to the Bronco’s Payne Haas and will be expected to be, like Haas was, a damaging ball runner when he makes his NRL debut.