Former Featherstone Rovers forward Makahesi Makatoa will make his debut for the Parramatta Eels against Manly Sea Eagles this Saturday.
In doing so, the rampaging forward will be the third oldest debutant in NRL history as he replaces Oregon Kaufusi after the latter suffered a concussion last weekend.
Makatoa, at 28 years and 192 days, ranks behind former Eels teammate Andrew Davey, who made his debut in 2020 at the age of 28 and 232 days and the oldest debutant in NRL history, Darren Nicholls, who started his first game for St George Illawarra at a staggering 29 years and 80 days in 2018.
“He’s a late debutant, which is a great reward for his persistence,” Wentworthville Magpies boss Ryan Carr said.
“He deserves everything he gets because he’s gone the hard way, it hasn’t been easy for him.
“He’s found a way to push through adversity and keep finding a way. Now he’s finally getting a reward for all that hard work.
“He’s got a good footy IQ, which is why we’ve got along so well.
“He’s selfless, will do whatever the team needs, it’s not about him. If it’s rolling his sleeves up and making four tackles back to back, he will do that.
“He doesn’t do it for himself, it’s for what the team needs.”