Raiders NRL plea to keep Paulo in Canberra

Junior Paulo has played for Parramatta and Canberra in the NRL.
Junior Paulo has played for Parramatta and Canberra in the NRL.

Canberra captain Jarrod Croker has made an appeal for off-contract NRL forward Junior Paulo to re-sign with the Raiders.

Speculation continues about Paulo's future in the nation's capital, with Parramatta reportedly set to announce the 24-year-old's return to the club on a mammoth four-year deal.

But Croker says Paulo is yet to tell the Raiders of his plans despite a media report on Wednesday saying he had accepted the Eels deal.

Paulo said on Tuesday he was weighing up "several" offers from Sydney clubs but was yet to make a decision on his future.

Croker called Paulo a "fantastic bloke" and is desperate for him to remain at the Raiders, adding the players have not given up hope he will continue at the club he left Parramatta for in 2016.

"I've heard what you've heard, so until Junior makes a decision he'll tell us straight away whatever he's going to do and we'll go with that," Croker said on Thursday.

"He's a really good guy and the boys love playing with him and we want him to stay.

"It'd be really sad to see him leave if that's the case but Junior's got a young family and I'm sure he'll make a decision based on that as well."

If Paulo does sign with the Eels on the reported $2.8 million deal, Canberra won't release him before the end of this season.

Regardless, Paulo would be a massive addition to the Eels' pack which has been often criticised during their winless start to the season.

Only one Parramatta forward is averaging more than 100 metres per game this season, while they admit they are lacking size up front.

"It will be good to have him here because we need a few boys with a bit of weight behind them," Eels prop Kane Evans said of Paulo.

"We have a hard working forward pack and everyone is pretty solid, but he is a real heavy boy.

"He's a gangster, so it would be good to have him in the team.

"A feared front-rower like him. He is so hard to tackle."

The Raiders' other key forward, Josh Papalii and Shannon Boyd, are also coming off contract at season's end.

Australian Associated Press