Eels NRL hooker leaves no Stone unturned

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He'll wear No.9 in Parramatta's most important game of the season on Sunday but Ray Stone is the first to admit he is not an NRL hooker.

A fullback and centre growing up in Moss Vale, Stone started moving in-field as he got older and eventually landed at lock at Parramatta.

But what Stone has made himself is a man for any situation, including an NRL elimination final against Newcastle.

"My debut I just got chucked in there (at hooker) out of nowhere," Stone told AAP.

"So the next pre-season I started training for it in case that happened again.

"With our (full-strength) starting team, if I am going to play it will be off the bench.

"I still train mostly at lock but I do a little bit of hooker stuff.

"And then after training I do however many passes for extras to make sure I keep on top of it on the off chance I have to go in there."

Stone is also a Brad Arthur kind of man.

People at Parramatta tell a story of the time he played on after losing his teeth in an under-20s game, before staff scoured the turf for them post match.

Stone maintains there is "a lot of GST" on that story, instead claiming he was left with a dead front tooth from a collision after his mouthguard accidentally went through the wash and lost its mould.

Accurate or not, the narrative tells a story of everything both the Eels and Arthur love about the hard-as-nails 24-year-old who is willing for anything.

He played hooker off the bench again in last year's run to the finals while battling a broken hand, answering the call by starting in a game against Penrith when Reed Mahoney was out.

Which no doubt is part of the reason why Arthur looked in his direction when back-up hooker Joey Lussick joined first-choice No.9 Mahoney on the sidelines this week.

And despite not being able to recall a minute spent at dummy-half in any grade this season, Stone is adamant he is better prepared to be used at hooker than ever.

"I definitely wouldn't see myself as a hooker," Stone said.

"But it's just been doing the fundamental stuff at training of getting the ball off the deck and being ready for it in case I need to get in there.

"Especially after last year. Like last year was good, I felt a lot more comfortable there.

"I've still been doing extra stuff there (this year), even if I haven't played it.

"Whenever I jump in there at training I am always just trying to do the extra stuff I need to do."

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