Pirtek Parramatta Eels backrower Joseph Paulo is fast becoming an extra ball-playing option for coach Steve Kearney, and that’s just the way he likes it.
The dynamic back rower played five-eighth throughout his junior years and more recently, for the USA Tomahawks.
Last weekend, he showcased his ball skills alongside regular halves Chris Sandow and Ben Roberts during the side's 29-20 victory over Manly.
Paulo was named on the bench but started the match, constantly troubling the Manly defense which looked unsure of whether the former Penrith Panther would hit the line or distribute.
Paulo said the chance to mix hard work up the middle with some ball work was something he was enjoying.
“I was given more of a playmaker role last week to get the forwards going because a lot of our attack had been pretty basic of late, and [Kearney] feels I can help in that way,” Paulo said.
“It’s good for me, I like playing ball and distributing to the boys and hopefully I can keep the boys going forward this week.”
Having notched up their first win of the 2012 season, the Eels go into this Sunday’s game against the Newcastle Knights high on confidence and with one thing on their mind; winning.
The 24-year-old also pointed out it was important the Eels keep a close eye on Newcastle’s key weapons.
“Their winger Akuila Uate is a flyer, and Darius Boyd is an obvious one to watch.
“They’re actually a very similar team to us, they work really hard in the forwards and they’re an overall good team.
“The Wayne Bennett factor definitely helps them too.”
Both clubs have had trouble finding consistent form so far in the competition, but for the Eels at least, Sunday’s game is being viewed as an opportunity to string much needed back-to-back wins together.
“It’s all about moving forward as a club and as a team and we’ll definitely use the energy and confidence of last week’s win to do that,” Paulo said.