June 24, 2024

Young Richard Penisini of the Parramatta Eels will be sidelined for the whole 2024 NRL season due to an ACL injury.

Penisini, the younger brother of star center Will, will miss nine to twelve months due to the injury, which happened during pre-season training.

Junior Representative report: Round 13 | Storm

If all goes well, he could be ready to go back to pre-season training for the 2025 campaign.

The club has confirmed that the young player has already had surgery and started his rehabilitation program, but it is unclear exactly when the injury occurred.

Penisini, who was regarded as one of the top young players in Parramatta’s junior system, made his NSW Cup debut against the Sydney Roosters at the end of the 2023 season. He probably would have established himself as a staple in that lineup by 2024 as he pushed for a first-grade debut.

Some even speculated that the young player might have been in line for an NRL debut during the second half of this year’s campaign, given Parramatta’s lack of depth at center and in the backline more generally, as well as some of the struggles Brad Arthur’s team faced in the position throughout the 2023 campaign.

Richard will now need to rehabilitate his knee, therefore that will no longer be the case.

He is already said to have had a major role in brother Will’s decision to re-sign with the team on a long-term contract, even though rugby union expressed interest. Will is a fixture in the first-grade squad.

“Yes, absolutely. In the middle of 2023, Will had told News Corp, “It’s a dream for him to be able to debut for the club and a dream for us as brothers to be able to play together for the Eels.”

If that comes to pass, it will be a momentous occasion for my family. Though I’m sure he has a long way to go, I believe that having experienced the NRL preseason will help him get closer to realizing his dream by the start of next year.

The younger Penisini’s news has been offset at the Eels by the confirmation from the club that Ryan Matterson is back to full training, and that fellow forward Wiremu Greig should be back on the training track in the coming weeks.

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