Bullocking Parramatta prop Junior Paulo has confirmed he will move to Canberra on a two-year deal at the end of this NRL season.
The 22-year-old had been linked with a move to the nation’s capital for most of the summer, possibly before the start of the year, however Paulo confirmed he will see out 2016 with the Eels.
“Yeah, I’ve signed with Canberra,” Paulo told AAP.
“But so far I’m still in the blue-and-gold and I’m still 100 per cent committed to what we’re doing this year. Hopefully we can come away with a good season and get that under the belt.
“Canberra’s another story for the next chapter in my life. I’m just happy to be here at the Eels.”
Paulo, who has played 44 NRL games since debuting in 2013, said he was glad to sort out his future.
“It’s something I wanted to put to bed before the season actually started. I’m happy that’s done and I can just focus on playing footy week in, week out,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of talks, but I’m still an Eel and happy to be an Eel for the remainder of the year. I’m a junior here but I had to make the decision on looking after my family.”
The established No.8 was one of the Eels’ best in Saturday’s shock win over defending premiers North Queensland, making 125 metres off 16 carries and setting up what turned out to be the match-winning try.
He also added 24 tackles – one of them a bellringer on reigning Dally M winner Johnathan Thurston.
“It was just part of our game plan. We’ve been working on filling the space and a player like JT, you never know what’s going to happen when he’s got the ball in hand,” he said.
“It was just part of my job to fill the space.”
Paulo becomes another piece in the puzzle for Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, who has recruited the likes of Aidan Sezer, Blake Austin, Joey Leilua, Iosaia Soliola and Josh Hodgson over the past two seasons.