Joseph Paulo and Luke Kelly to fill the void in the halves

New role: Joseph Paulo will step into the halves to fill the void left by Chris Sandow and Corey Norman. Picture: Brendan Esposito
New role: Joseph Paulo will step into the halves to fill the void left by Chris Sandow and Corey Norman. Picture: Brendan Esposito

With Chris Sandow off to Warrington and Corey Norman on the injured list, the unfamiliar duo of Joseph Paulo and Luke Kelly have some big shoes to fill in the halves for Parramatta.

"It's always hard to replace a guy like Corey, he's been probably our best player this year," Paulo said.

"He's really tried to relieve the pressure on me, just coming in and talking to me and giving me some tips about five-eighth.

"It's really helped me with my confidence, just having the guys support me."

Although he has mostly played as a back-rower off the bench this season, Paulo is no stranger to changing positions. In his time at the Eels, he has become used to being seen as a utility and so doesn't really have a positional preference.

"I can't really have a preference, wherever they put me, I've just got to give it 100 per cent.

"It's the first time for us, we're not looking to change the world.

"Kells [Luke Kelly] is the director, I can make my job easier by giving the ball to Semi [Radradra] and the other outside backs who have been awesome at finishing tries off this year."

Although the departure of Sandow has been a big loss to the club, Paulo said the playmaker had the full support of his former teammates.

"At the end of the day, you've got to put Chrissy as a friend first, not a footy player.

"We've told him if there's anything you need, we're around.

"I've played with Chrissy since the under-18s, we played Schoolboys together with Timmy [Mannah] and a couple of other boys.

"He won't lose that cheekiness about him, wherever he goes, he'll add that spark.

"He's obviously been a great asset to this club and it's sad to see him go."

This story Paulo steps up to help relieve crisis first appeared on Parramatta Sun.