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Maitua keen to repay Stuart at Eels
Ed Jackson
13:39 AEST Fri Aug 3 2012
Reni Maitua
Parramatta back-rower Reni Maitua says he can't wait to work under incoming NRL coach Ricky Stuart.

Parramatta back-rower Reni Maitua can't wait to work under incoming coach Ricky Stuart, believing he owes the former Cronulla mentor.

Maitua was handed a NRL career lifeline by Stuart in 2009 after having his contract terminated by Canterbury but only played eight matches for the Sharks before receiving a two-year ban for testing positive to a banned substance.

Maitua has since rebuilt his career at the Eels after returning last year following the completion of his ban.

The 30-year-old turned in what he feels was his best performance in an Eels jersey in last weekend's shock 42-22 win over Brisbane, running 183 metres and providing two line-breaks in the big victory.

But the former Australia representative says he'll still have plenty of making up to do when Stuart takes over as Eels coach in November.

"I owe a lot to Rick. He gave me an opportunity at Cronulla and I let him down," Maitua told reporters on Friday.

"I'm pretty excited that he's coming to the club ... I'm really looking forward to working with him on November 1.

"I let the club and Stick down and this is how I want to repay him."

Maitua says he's found a home at the Eels after his troubled past few years and despite the club struggling for a second straight season he wants to be a key part of Stuart's rebuilding.

"I've been here over 12 months now and I'm really happy at the club," he said.

"I couldn't be happier, I've got another two years here. I'd love to finish my career here.

"I'm just looking forward to obviously finishing the year strong and having a big year next year."

Stuart is yet to informed whether he'll be able to continue as NSW State of Origin coach once he begins the Eels' job, with the club's board refusing to discuss the matter until the NSW Rugby League concludes its own negotiations with Stuart.

But if he does head off to do Origin duties during the middle of next season, Stuart has Maitua's full backing.

"It'd be a shame to lose him over that period but I think he still should be the NSW coach," Maitua said.

"We've got a good coaching staff here that can keep a side on track through that period of the year.

"I'm happy for him to do both."


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