Sivo impressing Arthur but Eels recall still on hold

Jasper Bruce |

Dumped winger Maika Sivo is battling for an NRL recall for Parramatta from NSW Cup.
Dumped winger Maika Sivo is battling for an NRL recall for Parramatta from NSW Cup.

Maika Sivo is “too good” to remain in reserve grade for long but may still need to wait a few more weeks for the chance to return to Parramatta’s NRL side, says coach Brad Arthur.

Sivo is preparing to play NSW Cup for a second consecutive weekend, having been dropped after Parramatta lost back-to-back games earlier this month.

After last Saturday’s first-grade defeat of North Queensland, Arthur was pleased with the efforts of replacement winger Bailey Simonsson, who withstood extra attention from the Cowboys’ attack on a new-look left edge.

Sivo’s axing continued a turbulent season thus far for the Fiji international, rubbed out of the first three games through a suspension incurred during a trial game.

But Sivo is beginning to show Arthur he is ready for a first-grade recall.

“He is taking it really well,” Arthur said.

“He’s training well, he’s leaned up a little bit. He just needs to continue to do that for a few weeks, and then he’s got to wait for an opportunity.

“He is too good of a player to be playing reserve grade but we have standards that he along with everyone else needs to meet. 

“When you are not winning, sometimes it’s taken out of my hands. I need to force change to get change.”

Arthur saw more desire from Sivo as he scored two tries in Parramatta’s NSW Cup defeat of North Sydney last weekend, and wants to see the 30-year-old sustain that competitive edge.

“His effort on effort was better,” Arthur said of Sivo’s latest performance.

“We need competition for spots, we need people to feel the pressure and then be able to deliver under that pressure.”

Sivo has done some of his best work for the Eels playing on Dylan Brown’s left edge and the playmaker believed high standards came with the territory of being an elite winger.

“If (Sivo) doesn’t play to that then Brad obviously doesn’t want to choose him,” Brown said.

“It’s nothing against him, it’s not like he’s a bad person or anything bad has happened, it’s just we know what he’s capable of and Brad’s obviously given him a kick up the arse and said, ‘We want to see that’. 

“Our team’s better when he’s in it and we want him back at his best.”

Brown said returning from suspension into first grade came with challenges, not least because wingers have a bigger role than ever in the modern game. 

“To come straight back and get straight back into it, it’s pretty tough to come straight back at 100 per cent,” Brown said.

“Wingers, it’s getting tougher and tougher now, they’ve got to run into the line just as hard as forwards do and at the same time are expected to execute almost every time the ball comes their way. 

“It’s a big role.”