De Gois to answer hooking SOS for Eels

Parramatta hooker Isaac De Gois will undergo a fitness test on Sunday in a bid to return a month early from a cheekbone injury in time to play Wests Tigers.

The Eels are in the midst of a hooking crisis with first-choice rake Nathan Peats sidelined with a recurring knee issue and third-string Kaysa Pritchard out for the year with another torn pec.

Eels coach Brad Arthur was forced to play part-time hooker Cody Nelson in the No. 9 jumper in last week’s upset of Melbourne, but could get a boost for Monday night’s clash with the return of De Gois.

“He’ll have a bit of a fitness test today. His injury is quite severe, so we’re not going to rush him through,” Arthur said on Sunday.

Second-rower Manu Ma’u will also play for the first time in almost a month after being suspended for a raised knee against North Queensland in Round 13.

“Losing players through suspension is not great, but it was probably a rest that he deserved,” Arthur said.

“He’s feeling a little bit fresher and he’s ready to go. He feels he’s let his team down having those two games off but he’s looking for a big game tomorrow.”

Arthur batted away questions over the dramatic signing of Kieran Foran, who this week officially agreed to a two-year deal with the club beginning in 2016, with a player option for further two seasons.

“The boys are only focused on 2015. It’s great for our club, but what’s our priority right now is the rest of this season,” he said.

The former Manly assistant also refused to answer questions on his own future, which is now seemingly secure after reports of a clause inserted into Foran’s contract that allows him to leave should Arthur be let go.

“All these stories going around are all news to me. No disrespect to anyone, but our focus is on 2015,” he said.

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