Matterson's NRL return finally locked in

·2-min read

Ryan Matterson's six-week wait to return to the NRL from a concussion is over with Brad Arthur promising big minutes after naming him on the bench for Parramatta.

Matterson has not played in the NRL since being knocked out by a Felise Kaufusi hit in round two, which saw the Melbourne forward suspended for two weeks.

Complicating the matter further has been Matterson's long history with concussions, which saw him return with a try and 80 minutes for Wentworthville in reserve grade last week.

But after being part of the Eels team for the past month only to be withdrawn on each occasion, Arthur is now comfortable to play him against Canterbury on Saturday.

"I've seen a real change and spring in his step last week," Arthur said.

"He handled having to play through the Cup because we thought that was his best pathway back in and he hadn't played for a while.

"He was able to get some match fitness and he played 80 minutes and done a really good job.

"He's bounced in this week and we'll give him plenty of game time and see where he's at. Everything's above board and he's ready to go."

Arthur also praised Matterson's willingness to return through NSW Cup, not letting his ego get in the way as he played his first reserve grade match since 2016.

He has, at least, had it easier than most this week after Parramatta limited their NRL players' workload on return from a hot week in Darwin.

Parramatta's management of Matterson's head blow was made easier by Isaiah Papali'i's outstanding run at left edge.

That will allow 26-year-old Matterson to return via the bench, but Arthur now has a headache to decide how to play out the situation.

He is adamant the star second-rower will soon return to starting, eventually putting a squeeze on Papali'i or Shaun Lane on the other side.

"It's really healthy for me and it's a tough position that I've got to be in that to make those calls," Arthur said.

"To be fair to Ice, he's done a really good job for us. He's scoring tries out on the edge.

"That would have probably been a tough conversation sitting him out or off the bench.

"Ice deserves to be in the starting team, he's been one of our best players. I've got to pick the team on form. And and that's where it is at the moment."