20 hours ago
Eels hold on to Finch till end of 2011
Dissatisfied in Canberra and unloved at the Sydney Roosters, Parramatta halfback Brett Finch appears to have finally found himself a home after agreeing to remain an Eel to the end of the 2011 NRL season.
Finch's new three-year deal was one of the most anticipated signings of the season, particularly after the club freed up some salary cap room by cutting troubled halfback Tim Smith last month.
After four years at the Raiders and another four at the Roosters, Finch is on target to play his 200th first grade game against Brisbane in round 12.
"It was always my intention to stay at Parramatta and I'm over the moon to have the deal squared away," Finch said.
"I can't speak highly enough of the players and coaching staff, I've really enjoyed my footy over the past 18 months under (coach) Michael Hagan and I'm looking forward to that continuing.
"The team has a lot of potential ... I have no doubt we're headed in the right direction.
Earlier in the year Finch looked headed for the exit door at the Eels, who he joined at the start of last season, with the signing of young guns Krisnan Inu and Jarryd Hayne putting a strain on finances.
Despite Finch starting the season in good form, Smith was always viewed as the long-term solution at halfback before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, while utility Feleti Mateo and young playmaker Kris Keating were other options at five-eighth.
But Hagan said re-signing Finch was a priority for the club.
"Its an important retention, the stability and enthusiasm that Brett brings to the team is really important both on and off the field," Hagan said.
"I think he's shown more consistency and understanding of the game this year than he has in his whole career, he's been instrumental in keeping us in games and helping us to win games this season."
Finch will be hoping to turn a good week - which began with him kicking the match-winning field goal in Sunday's 19-18 win over St George Illawarra - into a great one with the NSW team to be announced on Tuesday and the crafty playmaker one of several contenders for the vacant No.7 jumper.