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Scott Bailey

Hopgood ready to bring slice of Yeo to Eels' back row

J'maine Hopgood (c) offloads for Parramatta in their NRL trial match against Newcastle. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Off-season recruit J'maine Hopgood is ready to bring a slice of Isaah Yeo to Parramatta's back row, with the NRL club short-handed there ahead of the NRL season kick off.

Just 11 days out from Parramatta's opener against Melbourne, Hopgood is the only certainty to start in the back row at CommBank Stadium.

Shaun Lane this weekend became the latest casualty for the Eels in the position, suffering a fractured jaw in a pre-season trial against Newcastle.

Ryan Matterson will miss the opening game through suspension after taking a three-game ban over a $4000 fine last year, while star second-rower Isaiah Papali'i has left for Wests Tigers.

Recruit Matt Doorey is also in doubt for the season opener with an ankle injury, while Bryce Cartwright is battling to return from a fractured jaw.

All of while leaves Hopgood as the last man standing, set to make the No.13 jersey his own after being one of the stars of NRL champions Penrith's reserve grade title success last year.

All the while, Hopgood believed he was ready to make the step up.

"I think everyone has to think like that," Hopgood said.

"If you don't think you're made for first grade then you're probably not doing it for the right reasons.

"But I still learned a lot from last year, only playing four NRL games. I had a really good year in reserve grade and just tried to build up some consistent footy.

"That's what I am going to do this year."

It is Yeo that Hopgood believes he has to thank for that.

After he arrived at Penrith as a hooker and captained their under-18s SG Ball side, Hopgood transitioned into a lock under the NSW State of Origin representative.

"It's probably a credit to Yeoy" Hopgood said.

"It took me time to develop the ball-playing skills and knowing when to pass and when to dig in. That's what Yeoy does really well.

"I watched him for two years and like to think I took a bit of that out of his game and it rubbed off on me.

"It's one of my strengths now."

If Doorey is not fit to start the season, the Eels could run with fellow recruits Jack Murchie and Jirah Momoisea in the second row with Hopgood at lock.

Nathan Brown is another option off the bench, but he is off contract and has continued to be shopped around.

Hopgood insisted Eels' injuries did not add extra pressure on him.

"I just have to go out there and do my job," he said.

"If those guys get an opportunity to step up, I am sure they will."

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