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Horo revelling at Manly after Eels dumping

This time last year Justin Horo was preparing to face Brisbane in Parramatta's NRL season opener confident of being the successor to Nathan Hindmarsh as the Eels' back-row linchpin.
Horo revelling at Manly after Eels dumping
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, March 4 AAP - This time last year Justin Horo was preparing to face Brisbane in Parramatta's NRL season opener confident of being the successor to Nathan Hindmarsh as the Eels' back-row linchpin.

Fast forward 12 months and once again he's getting ready to start against the Broncos on Friday but in a Manly shirt after being told he had no future in the blue and gold under new coach Ricky Stuart.

The ball-playing lock, who still had a year remaining on his contract, admits he was stunned by the news, having rejected a huge offer from Newcastle to stay in 2010.

"I was told with about three or four games to go at the end of the season that Ricky was going to go a different way," Horo told AAP.

"They said it'd be best to get my manager to find an opportunity elsewhere."

His departure from the club where his father Mark played in the 1990s rounded off a year to forget for the young Kiwi.

He was deeply affected by the sudden death of his cousin during a holiday in Thailand and was axed by coach Stephen Kearney just one week into the season.

"I got dropped to the lower grades as Steve said there was a few things I needed to work on," he said.

"I was told I wasn't gone for good, but after about three weeks playing for Wenty I got injured and spent 10 weeks in rehab.

"I played a few times at the end of the season but it was hard to get any momentum."

Horo insists he holds no hard feelings towards Stuart, but said the trigger-happy Parramatta board make it difficult for players seeking stability.

Including interim coaches Jason Taylor and Brad Arthur, the Eels have gone through seven mentors in as many years with Brian Smith, Michael Hagan, Daniel Anderson and Kearney all being shown the door.

Horo said many of his former teammates are unsure what the future holds.

"Some of the boys have been signed by one coach, then another comes in and you're not sure where you stand.

"I think it's going to be the case there again this year. Ricky is going to come in and decide who he wants and who he doesn't.

"It's tough, but you have to learn, this is a business."

Although disappointed at leaving the Eels Horo said he's enjoying life at the Sea Eagles and living on Sydney's northern beaches.

"You never want to be chopping and changing clubs, but this could be a blessing in disguise for me," Horo said.

Horo will face competition in the side from Tom Symonds, whose move from Sydney Roosters was finally completed on Monday.




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